Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Harry M. Ward


The subject of this thesis is Major-General the Baron von Steuben and his role in military events in Virginia during 1780-1781. Steuben came south in November 1780 with Major-General Nathanael Greene to help re-form, re-equip, and re-man the Southern Army. Finding Virginia potentially valuable, General Greene detached General Steuben soon after their arrival with the primary mission to remain and expedite supplies and manpower southward. While so engaged, Steuben also assumed a secondary mission when he found himself, for a time, military commander of the Continental and state militia forces in Virginia. His performance from November 1780 until October 1781 with an evaluation of his successes, failures, strengths, and weaknesses is the central theme examined here. This thesis is limited to this period of service which was, in itself, filled with events that brought him both praise and criticism.

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