Mad Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne

[weyn]

Anthony Wayne (January 1, 1745–December 15, 1796) was a United States Army general and statesman. Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general and the sobriquet of "Mad Anthony".

Early life

Wayne was born in the family home to Isaac Wayne in Easttown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, near present-day Paoli, and educated as a surveyor at his uncle's private academy in Philadelphia, as well as at the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), Class of 1765, although he did not earn a degree. He was sent by Benjamin Franklin and some associates to work for a year surveying land they owned in Nova Scotia, after which he returned to work in his father's tannery, while continuing his surveying. He became a leader in Chester County and served in the Pennsylvania legislature in 1774–1780. His son Isaac Wayne, future U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, was born in 1772.

American Revolution

At the onset of the war in 1775, Wayne raised a militia and, in 1776, became colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment. He and his regiment were part of the Continental Army's unsuccessful invasion of Canada, during which he commanded the distressed forces at Fort Ticonderoga. His service resulted in the promotion to brigadier general on February 21, 1777.

Later, he commanded the Pennsylvania Line at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown. After winter quarters at Valley Forge, he led the American attack at the Battle of Monmouth. During this last battle, Wayne's forces were pinned down by a numerically superior British force, and was abandoned by General Lee. However, Wayne held out until relieved by reinforcements sent by Washington. This scenario would play out again years later, in the Southern campaign.

The highlight of Wayne's Revolutionary War service was probably his victory at Stony Point. On July 15, 1779, in a nighttime, bayonets-only assault lasting thirty minutes, light infantry commanded by Wayne overcame British fortifications at Stony Point, a cliffside redoubt commanding the southern Hudson River. The success of this operation provided a boost to the morale of an army which had at that time suffered a series of military defeats. Congress awarded him a medal for the victory.

Subsequent victories at West Point and Green Spring in Virginia, increased his popular reputation as a bold commander. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, he went further south and severed the British alliance with Native American tribes in Georgia. He then negotiated peace treaties with both the Creek and the Cherokee, for which Georgia rewarded him with the gift of a large rice plantation. He was promoted to major general on October 10, 1783.

Political career

After the war, Wayne returned to Pennsylvania and served in the state legislature for a year in 1784. He then moved to Georgia and settled upon the tract of land granted him by that state for his military service. He was a delegate to the state convention which ratified the Constitution in 1788.

In 1791, he served a year in the Second United States Congress as a U.S. Representative of Georgia but lost his seat during a debate over his residency qualifications and declined running for re-election in 1792.

Frontier general

President George Washington recalled Wayne from civilian life in order to lead an expedition in the Northwest Indian War, which up to that point had been a disaster for the United States. Many American Indians in the Northwest Territory had sided with the British in the Revolutionary War. In the Treaty of Paris that had ended the conflict, the British had ceded this land to the United States. The Indians, however, had not been consulted, and resisted annexation of the area by the United States. The Western Indian Confederacy achieved major victories over U.S. forces in 1790 and 1791 under the leadership of Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Little Turtle of the Miamis. They were encouraged and supplied by the British, who had refused to evacuate British fortifications in the region as called for in the Treaty of Paris.

Washington placed Wayne in command of a newly-formed military force called the "Legion of the United States". Wayne established a basic training facility at Legionville to prepare professional soldiers for his force. Wayne's was the first attempt to provide basic training for regular U.S. Army recruits and Legionville was the first facility established expressly for this purpose.

He then dispatched a force to Ohio to establish Fort Recovery as a base of operations. On August 3, a tree fell on Wayne's tent. He survived, but was rendered unconscious. By the next day, he had recovered sufficiently to resume the march. On August 20, 1794, Wayne mounted an assault on the Indian confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, in modern Maumee, Ohio (just south of present-day Toledo), which was a decisive victory for the U.S. forces, ending the war. Wayne then negotiated the Treaty of Greenville between the tribal confederacy and the United States, which was signed on August 3, 1795. The treaty gave most of what is now Ohio to the United States, and cleared the way for that state to enter the Union in 1803.

Wayne died of complications from gout during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit, and was buried at Fort Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania) where the modern Wayne Blockhouse stands. His body was disinterred in 1809 and, after boiling the body to remove the remaining flesh, as many of the bones as would fit in two saddlebags were relocated to the family plot in St. David's (Radnor) Episcopal Church cemetery in Radnor, Pennsylvania. A legend says that many bones were lost along the roadway that encompasses much of modern U.S. Route 322, and that every January 1 (Wayne's birthday), his ghost wanders the highway searching for his lost bones.

Legacy

There are many political jurisdictions and institutions named after Wayne, especially in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, the region where he fought many of his battles.

Popular culture

Wayne's legacy has extended to American popular culture in a number of ways:

  • Actor Marion Robert Morrison was initially given the stage name of Anthony Wayne, after the general, by Raoul Walsh, who directed The Big Trail (1930), but Fox Studios changed it to John Wayne instead. John Wayne was leading man in 142 of his 153 movies, more than any other actor.
  • Contrary to the popular belief that the character was named after John Wayne, comic book writer Bill Finger named Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, after Robert the Bruce and Anthony Wayne. In the DC Comics, General Wayne is depicted as Bruce's grandfather.
  • In Tender Is the Night, Dick Diver mentions his descent from Mad Anthony Wayne.
  • In The Catcher in the Rye, Mr. Spencer, one of the teachers at fictitious Pencey Prep, lives across the street from campus on "Anthony Wayne Avenue".
  • Anthony Wayne is one of the main characters in Ann Rinaldi's historical novel A Ride into Morning.
  • The Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, a side-wheel steamboat, sank in April 1850 in Lake Erie while en route from the Toledo area to Buffalo, New York. Thirty-eight out of 93 passengers and crew on board died. On June 21, 2007, it was announced that the wreck had been discovered by Thomas Kowalczk, an amateur shipwreck hunter.
  • Erie Brewing Company in Erie, Pa brews an American pale ale (APA) named after "Mad" Anthony Wayne: Mad Anthony's APA.

See also

References

  • Carter, Harvey Lewis. The Life and Times of Little Turtle: First Sagamore of the Wabash. ©1987, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01318-2.
  • Dubin, Michael J. United States Congressional Elections, 1788–1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st through 105th Congresses. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 1998. ISBN 0-7864-0283-0.

External links

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