Baron von Steuben arrives in America, December 1, 1777
The forty-seven-year-old Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben arrives with more than three decades of military experience in the Prussian army. He joins General George Washington at Valley Forge and offers his services in exchange for his expenses. The Continental Army was in shambles. The troops didn’t even know how to march in formation. Steuben, almost single-handedly, brought professionalism to a willing but untrained assembly of militias; he created the prototype of the tough drill sergeant. His drill manual, called “The Blue Book,” has remained the foundation of the American military for more than two centuries.