mad anthony wayne


Back to School week continues into the weekend here in Columbus. Some of our contributors will be participating in a DIY Drunk History party tonight. If you aren’t familiar with the concept basically, someone gets drunk and recounts a historical event. We’re keeping it local and doing Ohio history. Topics include: Mad Antony Wayne, Ambrose Burnsides, Annie Oakley, Joseph Smith (yeah, the Morman started off here), The Battle on Bluffington Island, Tecumseh, and more. 

Have a crazy and educational weekend! 


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 Wayne.

Wayne was born to Isaac Wayne in Easttown Township, Pennsylvania in Chester County, near present-day Paoli, Pennsylvania and educated as a surveyor at his uncle’s private academy in Philadelphia. 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 1774-1775.

At the onset of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, Wayne raised a militia and in 1776 became colonel of the Fourth Regiment of Pennsylvania troops. 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 in 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.

The highlight of Wayne’s Revolutionary War service was probably his victory at Stony Point. On July 16, 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 became major general on October 10, 1783.

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 reelection in 1792.

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 (1783) that had ended the conflict, the British had ceded this land to the United States. The Indians, however, had not been consulted, and were now resisting annexation of the area by the United States. A confederation of Miami, Shawnee, Delaware (Lenape), and Wyandot Indians had 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. He then dispatched a force to Ohio to establish Fort Recovery as a base of operations.

On August 20, 1794, Wayne mounted an assault on Blue Jacket’s confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, just south of present-day Toledo, Ohio, which was a decisive victory for the U.S. forces, ending the war. Soon after, the British abandoned their Northwest Territory forts in the Jay Treaty. Wayne then negotiated the Treaty of Greenville between the tribal confederacy and the United States, which was signed on August 3, 1795.

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). His body was disinterred in 1809 and after boiling the body to remove the remaining flesh where the modern Wayne Blockhouse stands, was relocated to the family plot in St. David’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Radnor, Pennsylvania. A legend says that many bones were lost along the roadway that encompases much of modern PA-322, and that every January 1st (Wayne’s birthday), his ghost wanders the highway searching for his lost bones.

Wayne’s was the first attempt to provide formalized basic training for regular Army recruits and Legionville was the first facility established expressly for this purpose.

The Treaty of Greenville, which was procured due to Wayne’s military successes against the tribal confederacy and gave most of what is now Ohio to the United States, clearing the way for that state to enter the Union in 1803.

(text and picture source: 1 + 2 )