Monday, December 22, 2008

The Drillmaster of Valley Forge

After anticipating this new biography of Baron von Steuben, by Paul Douglas Lockhart, overall I am disappointed in his integration and ultimate whitewashing of the Baron's homosexual relationships under the guise that there isn't much proof in letters and documents within the many Steuben collection here in America. I am not sure if this author has traveled to Germany to do any research, but I am sure he could have found some letters pointing to Steuben's romantic realtionships with his aides-de-camp. One historian, William Benemann, has mined many letters for extraordinarily provocative evidence that the Baron had homosexual attachments. Unfortunately there is about a half-page in Lockhart's book, which the author unconvincingly tries to assert Steuben's heterosexuality with only one example of what he describes as "circumstantial evidence to the contrary[:] While traveling through New York near the end of his life, Steuben once dropped a miniature portrait of a beautiful young woman . His personal assistant asked him about her identity, and the baron was chocked up. 'She was a matchless woman,' he finally managed to say, but would speak no further about her." I believe the young girl may have been a picture of his daughter or his mother (painted when she was a young girl) he had left behind in Germany.

1 comment:

  1. Nick:

    Just FYI, you might be interested in a debade going on over at the American Creation blog (, which has to do with Von Steuben. One of my fellow bloggers enjoyed your posting and referenced it over there. It has spawned a small but potentially massive debate.

    If you have the time give it a look!