George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Steuben, 17 March 1779

From Major General Steuben

Philadelphia March the 17th 1779


Your Excellency’s approbation of the Regulations I had the honor of presenting,1 gives me the greatest hopes that they will be easily reduced to practice, and prove agreeable to the Army. Encouraged by this hope, I Shall immediately present them to Congress for their Sanction.2

As I am convinced of the necessity of the Regulations taking place as soon as possible, your Excellency may depend I Shall do every thing in my power for that purpose.

The Engraving of the Plates and correcting the Press, will I am afraid detain me till the middle of April, and as before that time the season will permit the Troop to Exercise, I think it would be necessary they Should be Exercised in detail on the Principles laid down.

If your Excellency approves it, I will Send Col. Fleury who has assisted me in composing the Regulations, to receive your Orders on the Subject3—He may carry with him a Copy of that part of the Regulations which is necessary, and each Adjutant take a Copy, that the Troops may begin to put them in practice.

I Shall have the honour to forward Your Excellency a model of the several tools mentioned in the Regulations, and which I think are necessary, if Circumstances will allow to procure them. I have the honour to be With great respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient and very humble Servant



2Steuben sent the completed manuscript of his military regulations to Congress on 25 March with a cover letter of that date, in which he wrote: “These Regulations, having been begun by order his Excellency the Commander in Chief, corrected by him and examined & approved by the Board of War I hope they will meet with the approbation of Congress and that they will give them such Authority as will ensure the observance of them in the Army–I wait only this to return to Camp and use every possible endeavour to see them carried into execution, the repose of a Camp being much more proper to introduce Discipline in an Army than during the tumult of a Campaign and the little time that remains being too precious to be lost” (DNA:PCC, item 164). On 29 March, Congress read Steuben’s letter and approved his regulations for use by the army (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:384–85).

3GW gave this approval in his reply to Steuben of 27 March.

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