“Well, Baron von Steuben had the idea to start by training a few men, then have those men train others, who would in turn train others, and so forth. That was the ‘School of the Soldier.’”
“Smart idea,” said Joss.
“Now I shall tell you something a little, well, vulgar. But it is as much a part of history as General Washington’s language at the battle of Monmouth, so I suppose it is all right,” Prissy said, with a hint of a smile.
Prissy told us that the men had actually liked it when von Steuben himself worked with them, because he would swear up a storm in German or French when they marched in the wrong direction, and would then ask his aide to swear at them in English. “Our soldiers thought it very funny, but it worked! By the end of that terrible winter, Washington’s army was a skilled fighting force. Lafayette’s nimble escape from the British at Barren Hill was the first test of von Steuben’s training, and it worked beautifully, if such a thing can be said about a military maneuver.”
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