Biography of Anthony Wayne
Anthony Wayne was an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature and was appointed to the Committee of Safety in 1775. When the war started, he raised a regiment of troops and was commissioned as a Colonel by Congress in January 1776. He fought in the Battle of Three Rivers during the Canada Campaign and was promoted to Brigadier General. During the Philadephia Campaign, he led men at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown and then spent the winter at Valley Forge. At the Battle of Monmouth, Wayne led the American attack but was forced to fall back when General Charles Lee failed to send reinforcements. In 1779, he won the Battle of Stony Point and was awarded a medal by Congress. Wayne was transferred to the Southern Department, pushed the British out of Georgia, and then took possession of Charleston. After the war, Wayne retired and lived as a farmer in Georgia. However, he was called back to duty during the Northwest Indian War, after General Arthur St. Clair lost the Battle of the Wabash. He took command of the army and marched into the Northwest Territory to confront the tribes of the Western Confederacy of Native Americans. He tried to negotiate peace with them but was unsuccessful. As a result, Wayne launched an attack at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and pushed on toward Fort Wayne, Indiana. Then, in August 1795, the Treaty of Greenville was agreed to, which ended the war.
This painting depicts Wayne and his officers negotiating the Treaty of Greenville with leaders of the Native American Indian tribes. Image Source: Wikipedia.
5 Things to Know About Anthony Wayne
- Anthony Wayne was born on January 1, 1745, in Easttown Township, Pennsylvania, and died on December 15, 1796, at Fort Presque Isle in Erie Pennsylvania.
- After the Battle of Brandywine, Wayne and his men were camped near Chester, Pennsylvania. British forces ambushed Wayne and only used bayonets in a brutal attack. The Americans lost nearly 275 men at the Battle of Paoli, which is perhaps more memorable as the “Paoli Massacre.”
- In 1779, Wayne planned and executed a surprise attack of his own on the British garrison at Stony Point. Wayne rallied his men with the battle cry, “Remember Paoli!” Although he was injured in the battle, the Americans won. Wayne sent a message to General George Washington to inform him and wrote, “The fort and garrison, with Colonel Johnston, are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free.”
- When Wayne returned to military service, he was given command of the Legion of the United States, which was the first standing army authorized by Congress. After the Jay Treaty was signed with Britain, the Legion was transitioned in 1796 into the Army of the United States.
- Over the course of his military career, he a reputation as being an aggressive leader on the battlefield and was given the nickname “Mad Anthony.”
Anthony Wayne was important to United States history because of his brave leadership of American forces during the American Revolutionary War. After the war, he played a key role in opening the Northwest Territory for settlement when he led American forces to victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and negotiated the Treaty of Greenville.