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von Steuben
he Continental Army needed a uniform system of training and discipline. A former Prussian Army officer, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who had served in Frederick the Great's army arrived at Valley Forge in February 1778. Washington assigned him the task of training the troops. Von Steuben developed an infantry manual to facilitate training. The resulting Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States was published in 1779. It remained the basic American infantry manual for the next 25 years.

he manual simplified the loading and firing of the smoothbore flintlock musket. Von Steuben trained soldiers to lay down a more efficient "field of fire," instead of the time-consuming "aim and fire" method. A well-trained soldier could load and fire three rounds a minute and hit an enemy at 80 to 100 yards. He could then use his bayonet for hand-to-hand combat. Rigorous training and drilling resulted in increased maneuverability on the battlefield.
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Last Modified: Monday, May 18, 2015