Weava Collection - Research on US History Essay (Steuben, Continental Army, Von Steuben, Army, Prussian Army)
Baron von Steuben Shows the Army a Bayonet Is Not a Grilling Tool - New England Historical Society
- The American soldier, never having used this arm, had no faith in it, and never used it but to roast his beefsteak, and indeed often left it at home,” he wrote.
- Steuben showed up in Valley Forge on Feb. 23, 1778, and taught the Continental Army to use bayonets for killing, not cooking.
- Nearly two years into the American Revolution, most patriot soldiers didn’t know how to use a bayonet. They didn’t trust the deadly weapon, often left it behind and relied instead on the musket. British regulars, on the other hand, knew how to attack with bayonets once their artillery and musket fire broke holes in the enemy’s ranks.
- He soon found each of the army’s regiments trained and drilled differently, according to the regiment commander’s preferences or, as he put it, ‘Each colonel exercised his regiment according to his own ideas, or those of any military author that might have fallen into his hands,’ and, ‘march and maneuvering step was as varied as the color of our uniforms.’
- By 1777 he was out of a job, heavily in debt and plagued by rumors he was gay. He solicited Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin in Paris for a job with the Continental Army. Von Steuben got the job, partly because he offered to serve without pay and partly because Franklin exaggerated his credentials, calling him a lieutenant general in the Prussian Army.
- e. Flintlock muskets were complicated and clumsy to use. It took 15 separate actions to load a musket and two more to fire. They hit a target about one out of five times. Bayonets were accurate and lethal. They weren’t sharp, so they tore the flesh rather than cut it, and often caused infection.
- the Continental Army was something more than an ill-equipped mob – and something less than a well-trained army
- "The American soldier, never having used this arm, h
- Before he became a baron, Steuben had fought with the Prussian Army in the Seven Years’ War and may also have fought in the War of the Austrian Succession.
- array in line and advance together as a group with the bayonet.
- Von Steuben understood the importance of bayonets in 18th century warfare
- During the Battle of Bunker Hill, the colonial militia’s resistance was broken by British bayonets after the regulars overcame their fortifications.
- And he drilled, drilled and drilled some more, furiously swearing at the men in German, then French, then asking his interpreters to swear in English.
Baron von Steuben: A Gay Warrior Taught Washington’s Army How to Fight | Harry Schenawolf
- Von Steuben was an excellent soldier, knowledgeable in all military matters and a strict disciplinarian of established drill regulations.
- February, 1778, it appeared that the colonialists’ cause for freedom was slowly being strangled by a superior force.
- . In this, America’s darkest hour
Biography of Baron von Steuben
- Combat was at close range, massed-fire melee, where rapidity of firing was of primary importance. Accuracy was little more than firing faster thatn the opposing line. Much of the Regulations dealt with the manual of arms and firing drills. But battle was close-order drill, and speed of firing could only be obtained by drilling men in the handling of their firearms until the motions of loading and firing were mechanical. Firing was done in eight counts and fifteen motions.
War in The American Revolution
- not professional soldiers
- Speaking through an interpreter, von Steuben drilled the troops, taught them how to properly handle their weapons, and how to march in formation.
- The Continental Army was fairly
- George Washington, on the other hand, led a combined force of approximately 19,000 Continentals and ragtag militiamen, almost all of whom had little formal military training or experience and who were unaccustomed to being told what to do.
- fairly well trained, but it was augmented by the much less organized colonial militia.
- try: they ambushed their opponents, wore hunting shirts instead of uniforms, and were fairly undisciplined.
- most American militiamen thrived in the guerilla warfare of the backcountry
Washington seeks to make militias into a military | American History
- Just as the British had discovered the difficulties of waging war with obstreperous Yankees for soldiers during the Seven Years’ War, Washington, the Virginia planter-cum-soldier, was unimpressed upon meeting his supposed army outside Boston after being appointed commander in chief of Continental forces in 1775. He saw “stupidity” among the enlisted men, who were used to the easy familiarity of being commanded by neighbors in local militias with elected officers. Washington promptly insisted that the officers behave with decorum and the enlisted men with deference. Although he enjoyed some success with this original army, the New Englanders went home to their farms at the end of 1775, and Washington had to start fresh with new recruits in 1776.
- On the merit of his efforts at Valley Forge, Washington recommended that von Steuben be named inspector general of the Continental Army;
- “Blue Book,” entitled “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.”
- ; Congress complied
- The Prussian military officer commenced training soldiers in close-order drill, instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army.
- Before von Steuben’s arrival, colonial American soldiers were notorious for their slovenly camp conditions. Von Steuben insisted on reorganization to establish basic hygiene, ordering that kitchens and latrines be put on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines facing a downhill slope. Just having latrines was a novelty to the Continental troops, who were accustomed to living in their own filth.
Friedrich von Steuben: Father of the U.S. military | The Gay History Project
- Washington and Franklin’s trust in von Steuben was rewarded. He whipped the rag-tag army into a professional fighting force, able to take on the most powerful superpower of the time, England. Some of his accomplishments include instituting a “model company” for training, establishing sanitary standards and camp organization and training soldiers in drills and tactics such as bayonet fighting and musket loading. According to “The Papers of Von Steuben,” the following is a timeline of his achievements.
PowerSearch - Document - Road to Valley Forge
- American army also had to match up with the British army, which consisted of professional soldiers.
- . The British knew how to march into battle two or three lines deep, fire coordinated volleys, and then charge the enemy with their bayonets. Precision marching and iron discipline marked the most successful armies. Great Britain had one of the best in Europe.
- Volleys are when all the soldiers in a given section, including front and rear ranks, fire their weapons at the same time.
- On October 4, Washington attacked the British just outside Philadelphia at Germantown. The assault nearly worked as the British light infantry ran from the Americans for the first time. But bad weather and the decision not to continue the speedy attack allowed the British to regroup. The tide of the battle turned in their favor, and Washington's troops "fled from victory." But while they lost the Battle of Germantown, the Americans gained confidence. The battle showed them that they could hold their own against the professional British soldiers in an open battle.
PowerSearch - Document - Steuben comes to America: a Prussian captain's discipline and vast military experience have had a lasting influence on the army of the United States
- That is unfortunate, for it caricatures the baron.
- Washington already knew him by reputation.
- Writing on his behalf to General Washington and Congress, Deane and Franklin fashioned an entirely new persona for Steuben. By the stroke of a pen, the retired captain was miraculously transformed into a former lieutenant general in the Prussian army, who had served the king for 20 years, partly as "Quarter Master General" and partly as personal aide-de-camp to King Frederick.
- St. Germain, Vergennes, Beaumarchais, Deane, and Franklin all saw something of value in Steuben's character and abilities, something that would profit the Revolution greatly, but they also recognized that the man's paper credentials were not all that impressive. All that Steuben could document was that he had once been an infantry captain in the Prussian army. And so began the process of selling Steuben to Congress as an undiscovered military savior.
- t. While most of his fellow junior officers idled away their precious off-duty hours gambling, drinking, and frequenting brothels, Steuben spent his limited cash and time at the theater or on books.
- But Steuben also read Miguel de Cervantes (his favorite book was Don Quixote), Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, and Voltaire, developing a deep reverence for republican political thought, tempered by his respect for the efficiency of the Prussian monarchy.
- The Baron de Steuben, then 47 years old, brought to the Continental Army the trained eye of a career soldier and a wealth of experience in the command and administration of field armies, experience that none of his future comrades in the American military could match.
- Steuben's friends in Paris, both new and old, had arranged the meeting. These same friends provided him with reams of glowing testimonials: from Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, Louis XVI's foreign minister; and from the controversial and avidly pro-American playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. While their visitor had much to offer, neither Franklin nor Deane was in a position to offer much, if anything, in return. They could not give Steuben a commission in the Continental Army, nor could they give him any kind of guarantee that Congress would. Ultimately, the commissioners could give Steuben nothing more than encouragement: He could journey to the colonies at his own expense, and the commissioners could provide him with written references.
- in the winter of 1778.
- The image of the Prussian martinet stomping through the snow at Valley Forge, putting Washington's dispirited citizen-soldiers through their paces in drill, cursing at them jovially in an awkward blend of English, French, and German profanities, has become an indelible icon of the American Revolution.
- The army was all but falling apart at the seams and Washington's leadership was under close scrutiny in Congress.
- the young Junker made himself a literate and cultured man. He had no formal education before enlisting in the Lestwitz Regiment. While living in Breslau, he had received some basic schooling from Jesuits, and he taught himself French--a must for aspiring officers in the Prussian army, since it was the lingua franca at the court and headquarters of Frederick the Great.
- . He was far more than a well-meaning and possibly gifted fraud who helped transform the Continental Army into a tactically proficient, professional fighting force in the winter of 1778.
- Intentionally using English names and a French title, the man styled himself Frederick William Augustus, Baron de Steuben, lately major general and quartermaster general in the Prussian army, one-time aide-decamp to the legendary warrior-king Frederick the Great. Steuben's credentials were largely falsified--he had indeed served under the great Frederick, though technically he had never risen above the rank of captain--but the abilities suggested by his exaggerated titles were anything but imaginary.
- Despite the rigors and monotony of his service as a company officer--or, perhaps, because of these adversities--Steuben came to the firm conviction that officers existed to serve the men, and not the other way around; that officers should lead by example, share in the privations of their men, and that military discipline must be tempered with loving concern for the welfare of the common soldier.
- Washington was pleased to see this man who had received glowing accolades from Congress.
- advocating tactical flexibility, open formations, and individual initiative.
- What is so often forgotten is the nature and depth of his military experience in Europe, and, as important, the extent of Steuben's contributions to the Continental Army after Valley Forge. For Baron de Steuben, more than any other individual, was responsible for transmitting European military thought and practice to the army of the fledgling United States. He gave form to America's first true army--and to those that followed.