« PreviousContinue »
ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE, HISTORY, POLITICS AND
SOLD IN PHILADELPHIA BY E. L. CAREY AND A. HART-IN NEW YORK
CARTER & HENDEE.
Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1832, by
CAREY AND LEA,
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
STEUBEN, Frederic William Augustus, baron von; a distinguished Prussian officer, who attached himself to the American cause in the revolution of 1776. He had been aid-de-camp to Frederic the Great, and had attained the rank of lieutenant-general in his army. Sacrificing his honors and emoluments in Europe, Steuben came to America in 1777, and tendered his services to congress, as a volunteer in their army, without claiming any rank or compensation. He received the thanks of that body, and joined the main army under the commander-inchief at Valley Forge. Baron Steuben soon rendered himself particularly useful to the Americans, by disciplining the forces. On the recommendation of general Washington, congress, in May, 1778, appointed the baron inspector-general of the army, with the rank of major-general. His efforts in this capacity were continued with remarkable diligence, until he had placed the troops in a situation to withstand the enemy. In the estimates of the war office, 5000 extra muskets were generally allowed for waste and destruction in the army; but such was the exact order under the superintendence of Steuben, that in his inspection return, but three muskets were deficient, and those accounted for. A complete scheme of exercise and discipline, which he composed, was adopted in the army by the direction of congress. He possessed the right of command in the line, and at one period was at the head of a separate detachment in Virginia. At the battle of Monmouth, he was engaged as a volunteer. When reviewing the troops, it was his constant custom to reward the disciplined soldier with praise, and to pass se
vere censure upon the negligent. Numerous anecdotes are related illustrative of the generosity, purity and kindness of his disposition. After the treacherous defection of Arnold, the baron held his name in the utmost abhorrence. One day, he was inspecting a regiment of light horse, when that name struck his ear. The man was ordered to the front, and presented an excellent appearance. Steuben told him that he was too respectable to bear the name of a traitor; and at his request the soldier adopted that of the baron, whose bounty he afterwards experienced, and brought up a son by the same name. the siege of Yorktown, baron Steuben was in the trenches at the head of a division, where he received the first offer of lord Cornwallis to capitulate. The marquis de la Fayette appeared to relieve him in the morning; but, adhering to the European etiquette, the baron would not quit his post until the surrender was completed or hostilities recommenced. The matter being referred to general Washington, the baron was suffered to remain in the trenches till the enemy's flag was struck. After the capture of Cornwallis, when the superior American officers were paying every attention to their captives, Steuben sold his favorite horse in order to raise money to give an entertainment to the British officers, as the other majorgenerals had previously done. His watch he had previously disposed of to relieve the wants of a sick friend. On another occasion, when he desired to reciprocate the invitations of the French officers, he ordered his people to sell his silver spoons and forks, saying it was anti-republican to make use of such things, and adding, that the gentlemen should have one good dinner if he ate