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Friedrich Wilhelm Steuben, Baron von

Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von (styōˈbən, Ger. frēˈdrĭkh vĭlˈhĕlm bärōnˈ fən shtoiˈbən) [key], 1730–94, Prussian army officer, general in the American Revolution, b. Magdeburg. He served in the Seven Years War and was a general staff officer. In 1762 he became an aide to Frederick the Great. Later, he was court chamberlain for the prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. After leaving the prince's service he met (1777) Benjamin Franklin in Paris and was given letters of introduction to George Washington. Arriving in America, Steuben served with Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1778. He undertook the training of the Continental army, molding it into a powerful striking force. Congress made him army inspector general in May, 1778. The effect of Steuben's training was seen at the battle of Monmouth (June, 1778), when American forces who had begun the retreat under orders from Charles Lee rallied against the British on Washington's arrival. Steuben commanded in the trenches at Yorktown. He was later granted a pension by Congress and large tracts of land by various states.

See biographies by J. B. Doyle (1913, repr. 1970) and J. M. Palmer (1937, repr. 1966).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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