Historic Valley Forge

What kind of drill did Baron von Steuben give?

Q.What kind of drill did Baron von Steuben give to the troops and how did the troops respond to them?
Ashley Bell, New York, 8th Grade

A.A native of Prussia, Baron von Steuben required a translator to convey his German instructions to the English speaking troops. The language barrier notwithstanding, his training regimen transformed the Continental Army. He began by training a core group of soldiers — including training on how to train soldiers. These soldiers trained others who trained others until the entire army was up to speed.

The baron streamlined the use of the firearm, simplifying the complex procedure for firing and reloading muskets. He implemented a standard pace and cadence, allowing soldiers to keep step in a march without the use of a drum simply by watching the officer at the head of the column. You can read more about it in the copy of the Steuben drill manual, Baron von Steuben's Revolutionary War Drill Manual originally published as Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. The troops put their intensive training to the test in the battle of Monmouth shortly after the winter at Valley Forge, scoring a decisive victory for the Americans.