american flag                       Friedrich von Steuben (1730-1794)

steubencropThe son of a lieutenant of engineers, Friedrich von Steuben spent much of his early career as a staff officer in the Prussian Army. Following the Seven Years’ War, he served as chamberlain to a German prince and affected the title of baron despite substantial personal indebtedness. In 1777, during a visit to Paris, he met Benjamin Franklin, who recognized the value of his experience and recommended him in a letter to George Washington. By February of 1778, von Steuben had made his way to Valley Forge, where he began developing a comprehensive and much-needed training program for the Continental Army. Hot-tempered and profane, he made a habit of including a good deal of verbal abuse in his instructions to the largely undisciplined soldiers of the army, serving as a model for future generations of drill sergeants.

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