Militiamen to regular: the training of the American soldier 1763-1783
Perry, Edwin M.
Gruber, Ira D.
Master of Arts
The militiaman of 1775 evolved into the regular soldier of 1783 because Americans changed their perception as to what constituted military preparedness. Political pamphlets and religious sermons had readied the colonists emotionally and intellectually to take up arms against the British. But their militia's training which which stressed musket drill was inadequate and prepared them only for battle. During 1776 and 1777 Washington attempted to correct the soldiers' deficiencies and used his General Orders to train the Continental Army for war. After 1778 Washington was assisted by Steuben, who as the army's Inspector General stressed uniformity in drill and maneuver, as well as emphasizing the maintenance of equipment. Steuben's and Washington's efforts transformed the soldiers of the Continental Army into competent professionals who were able to engage successfully their European counterparts in battle while sustaining themselves in a war.