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Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
He was forced to take sick leave, rejoining the army for the final campaign at Yorktown, where his role was as commander of one of the three divisions of Washington's troops. Steuben gave assistance to Washington in demobilizing the army in 1783 as well as aiding in the defense plan of the new nation. He was discharged from the military with honor on March 24, 1783.
Steuben became an American citizen by act of the Pennsylvania legislature in March 1784 (and later by the New York authorities in July 1786). With the war over, Steuben resigned from service in 1784 and first settled on Manhattan Island, where he became a prominent figure and elder in the German Reformed Church. However, even with Congress giving him large sums of money, he still managed to become largely indebted. Thus, congress gave him a yearly pension of $2,500 a year which he had to keep until his death. Steuben eventually settled on a small estate in the vicinity of Utica, New York, on land granted to him for his military service. He later assisted in the founding of the Society of the Cincinnati and was appointed a Regent for what evolved into the State University of New York. He never married and had no children. He left his estate to General Benjamin Walker and Captain William North, who had served as his aides-de-camp during the war, and with whom he had had an "extraordinarily intense emotional relationship". He is buried at what is now the Steuben Memorial State Historic Site.
Von Steuben has a holiday which takes place in September in the United States. It is a often considered the German-American event of the year. Participants march, dance, wear Germanic costumes and play Germanic music, and the event is attended by millions of people. The largest event is the Annual German-American Steuben Parade in New York City, which is traditionally followed by a Volksfest (People's Festival) in Central Park as well as celebrations in Yorkville, Manhattan, a traditionally German section of New York City. The German-American Steuben Parade has been taking place since 1957. Chicago's von Steuben Day parade is featured in the American movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Philadelphia is also known to host a very large von Steuben Parade that runs throughout the Northeast of the city.
The post-World War I years were difficult times for the German-American community during which they reorganized their main association into the Steuben Society, now the largest organization for Americans of German extraction.
A warship, a submarine, and an ocean liner (later pressed into military service) were named in von Steuben's honor. In World War I the captured German ship SS Kronprinz Wilhelm was renamed as USS Von Steuben, and in World War II there was the Dampfschiff General von Steuben, an ill-fated German luxury passenger ship which was turned into an armed transport ship during the war. During the Cold War, the US Navy submarine USS Von Steuben was named for him.
Several locations in the United States are named Steuben, most of them in his honor. Examples include Steuben County, New York, Steuben County, Indiana, and the city of Steubenville, Ohio.
Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center is a public high school in Chicago, Illinois.
Steuben is one of four European military leaders who assisted the American cause during the Revolution honored with a statue in Lafayette Square just north of The White House in Washington, DC.
The Steuben House presented to Steuben as a gift for his services in the Continental Army is located in River Edge, New Jersey. Originally belonging to a Loyalist family, the house and surrounding farmland were seized in 1781. It was bought by the county of Bergen in 1928 for $9,000 and preserved as a national monument and public museum. The area around the house is used for both Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactments.
The Hamilton College football team plays on Steuben Field constructed in 1897, one of the top ten oldest collegiate football fields in the United States. The field is named for Baron von Steuben who laid the cornerstone of the school acting as Alexander Hamilton's surrogate. Upon graduating, all Hamilton seniors receive a cane as a gift from the college. The cane's design features a tricorn hat at the top of the cane to honor von Steuben.
The various depictions of Steuben in popular (American) media include portrayals by Nehemiah Persoff in the 1979 U.S. TV Miniseries The Rebels, Kurt Knudson in the 1984 TV miniseries George Washington, and being voiced by Austrian-American Arnold Schwarzenegger in the animated series Liberty's Kids.
Steuben has been cited (most notably by Randy Shilts in his book Conduct Unbecoming) as an early example of a gay man in the military, but the evidence in this matter is inconclusive.
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