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Anthony Wayne

aka Mad Anthony

Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, on January 1, 1745. Sent to Philadelphia to be educated by an uncle, young Anthony was more interested in the military than his studies. After some hard talk from his father, however, he finally applied himself to schoowork and became proficient in mathematics and the profession of surveying. In 1765 he was hired by a Philadelphia land company and sent to Nova Scotia to supervise the surveying and settlement of land. He subsequently served in the colonial assembly.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Wayne raised a regiment for the ill-fated campaign against Quebec, and later served in the garrison at Ticonderoga. In 1777 he became a Brigadier General and joined General George Washington's army to command the Pennsylvania line. During the remaining course of the war, he led a division at Brandywine, commanded the right wing at Germantown, spent the winter with Washington at Valley Forge, led the advance attack at Monmouth, and took part in the siege of Yorktown. On July 16, 1779, Wayne led a daring night attack in which American troops surprised and defeated British troops at Stony Point, New York. It was Wayne's seeming recklessness with his own life that led to his getting the nickname "Mad Anthony."

"Mad Anthony" at Stony Point
Anthony Wayne at Stony Point

Wayne became a brevet Major General in 1783, but he retired the same year. He represented Georgia in Congress in 1791, but the seat was declared vacant because of election irregularities. He then returned to the army as a Major General and Commander in Chief.

In 1792, Wayne was sent to quell Indian uprisings in the Northwest Territory. Over the next two years he established a series of military posts, gradually working his way westward along the Ohio River. On August 20, 1794, his army defeated a sizable force of Indians in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, fought on a field in what is now Toledo, Ohio. The following year he concluded the Treaty of Greenville with the Miami Indians, securing a great tract of land for the United States.

Wayne at Fallen Timbers
Wayne leading his troops at Fallen Timbers

The victory at Fallen Timbers made Wayne a hero to the settlers of the Northwest, and to the nation as a whole. He may very well have been able to challenge John Adams and/or Thomas Jefferson for the presidency in 1796 and/or 1800, but he died suddenly on December 16, 1796.


Historic Valley Forge

See Also

George Washington
Valley Forge
Battle of Monmouth
Siege and Battle of Yorktown
Battle of Fallen Timbers
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson

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The Robinson Library >> The Revolution, 1775-1783 >> Individual Biography, A-Z

This page was last updated on January 01, 2019.