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Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben, known to history as 'Baron von Steuben' came from Madgeburg, Germany. He joimed the Prussian Army at the age of seventeen and served as a 2nd Lieutenant during the Seven Year's War (known in North America as the French & Indian War). He later was promoted to the rank of Captain and also served as aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great. He received training in military instruction by the king and so when he came to North America on 01 December 1777, he was well qualified to provide instruction to the untrained troops in General Washington's Continental Army. He joined the troops in bivuoac at Valley Forge on 23 February 1778 and reported for duty as a volunteer. General Washington gladly received the young Prussian and appointed him as an 'inspector general'. Von Steuben proceeded to train the troops, giving them some focus and direction during that dire winter. By the time that spring arrived, the raw recruits had been whipped into shape as a professional army.
"Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben Drilling the American Troops at Valley Forge"
After Felix O.C. Darley
Granger Historical Picture Archive, Brooklyn, NY
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