Image  Baron von Steuben Drilling American Recruits at Valley Forge in 1778

Making an Army

By December of 1777, most of the American officers had proved their mettle. They were supplemented by officers that arrived from Europe seeking status and opportunity in the American Army. Some, like the Marquis de Lafayette, arrived as volunteers believing in the American cause while others demanded positions of command and pay. While these foreign officers caused friction over promotion, the Continental Army badly needed their expertise. Washington smoothed out disagreements, selected the best candidates for important positions and forged an effective system of command and control.

Prior to the Valley Forge encampment, officers trained their men using a variety of drill manuals. There had been no time to hold unified training operations which resulted in chaos on the battlefield. When Prussian General Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, General Washington assigned him the task of standardizing the army’s training and creating a drill manual. Steuben began training American soldiers in the art of professional European warfare. He taught them how to use their bayonets in battle and he established a standard procedure for loading and firing muskets. Steuben prepared the Continental Army to face the British with the determination and skill needed to endure five more years of war. This training at Valley Forge united soldiers into a cohesive fighting force.


Link to General Baron von Steuben Youtube Video
General Baron Von Steuben
The Making of an American Army
Link to Fortifying the Camp Youtube Video
Fortifying the Camp
Link to Pistols and Powder Testers
of the American Revolution
Pistols and Powder Testers
of the American Revolution
Link to Swords of the 
George C. Neumann Collecto
Swords of the
George C. Neumann Collecton
Link to 15th - 18th Century Powder 
Horns and Flasks
15th - 18th Century Powder
Horns and Flasks

Image of Baron Von Steuben (1730-94)Image of Von Steuben Monument (detail)