Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron von Steuben was born in Magdeburg, Prussia on September 17, 1730. In 1777, Steuben, a former captain in the Prussian army, presented himself to George Washington as a Prussian general and volunteered to train the Continental Army. He arrived at Valley Forge in February 1778, shared the camp's hardships, and began drilling Washington's near-starved and often-defeated troops.
He trained them to follow a simplified manual of arms. By the Spring of 1778 he had converted the previously undesciplined Americans into a highly skilled fighting force, well able to hold their own against the British Regulars at the Battle of Monmouth. Steuben was commissioned as a major general in the Continental Army and settled permanently in the United States.
After the war, he settled near Utica, New York and died on November 28, 1794.