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Karen Palumbo

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On This Day 11/8/1775
10/30/2010 12:44:56 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]


General George Washington seeks to make militias into a military force


General George Washington seeks to resolve several problems facing the Army. How to encourage experienced troops to enlist. How to assemble a capable Officer Corps. and how to overcome provincial differences and rivalries.

Describing the difficulties, General Washington wrote:

"Connecticut wants no Massachusetts man
in her Corps. Massachusetts thinks there
is no necessity for a Rhode Islander..."

Just as the British had discovered the difficulties of waging war with obstreperous Yankees for troops druing the "Seven Years War". General Washington, the Virginia planter-cum-soldier, was unimpressed upon meeting his supposed Army outside Boston, Massachusetts after being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775.

General Washington saw "stupidity" among the enlisted men, who were used to the easy familiarity of being commanded by neighbors in local militias with elected Officers. General Washington promptly insisted that the Officers behave with decorum and the enlisted men with deference.

Although General Washington enjoyed some success with the original Army, the New Englanders went home to their farms at the end of 1775. General Washington was forced to begin fresh with new recruits in 1776.

General Washington fought an uphill battle for military order until Friedrich von Steuben arrived at the Continental Army encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on February 23, 1778. The Prussian Military Officer commenced training troops in close-order drill,instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army.

Before Von Steuben's arrival, colonial American troops were notorious for their stovenly camp conditions. Von Steuben insisted on reorganization to establish basic hygiene, ordering that kitchens and latrines be put on opposite sides of the camp site, 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. On the merit of his efforts at Valley Vorge, Pennsylvania General Washington recommended that Von Steuben be named Inspector General of the Continental Army.

The Continental Congress complied. In this capacity, Von Steuben propagated his methods throughout the Patriot troops by circulating his "Blue Book" entitled:

"Regulations for the Order and Discipline
of the Troops of the United States"



(K) (HST)




George Washington American General
President - USA
Friedrich von Steuben Prussian Officer
Military Camp Guide


Comments (1)

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