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Anthony Wayne

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Anthony Wayne
Portrait by Edward Savage, c. 1795
5th Senior Officer of the United States Army
In office
April 13, 1792 – December 15, 1796
PresidentGeorge Washington
Preceded byArthur St. Clair
Succeeded byJames Wilkinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1791 – March 21, 1792
Preceded byJames Jackson
Succeeded byJohn Milledge
Legislature Member of the Pennsylvania Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born(1745-01-01)January 1, 1745
Easttown Township, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedDecember 15, 1796(1796-12-15) (aged 51)
Fort Presque Isle, Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Resting placeFort Presque Isle, Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.
St. David's Episcopal Church, Radnor, U.S.
Political partyAnti-Administration party
Mary Penrose
(m. 1763)
Children2, including Isaac
RelativesWilliam Wayne (great-grandson)
William Wayne (great-great-grandson)
Blake Wayne Van Leer
Samuel Van Leer (brother-in-law)
NicknameMad Anthony
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/servicePennsylvania Militia
Continental Army
United States Army
Years of serviceContinental Army (1775–1783)
United States Army (1792–1796)
RankMajor general

Anthony Wayne (January 1, 1745 – December 15, 1796) was an American soldier, officer, statesman, and a Founding Father of the United States. He 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 brigadier general and the nickname "Mad Anthony".[1] He later served as the Senior Officer of the Army on the Ohio Country frontier and led the Legion of the United States.

Wayne was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and worked as a tanner and surveyor after attending the College of Philadelphia. He was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and helped raise a Pennsylvania militia unit in 1775. During the Revolutionary War, he served in the Invasion of Quebec, the Philadelphia campaign, and the Yorktown campaign. Although his reputation suffered after his defeat in the Battle of Paoli, he won wide praise for his leadership in the 1779 Battle of Stony Point and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.[2] Soon after being promoted to major general in 1783, he retired from the Continental Army. Anthony Wayne was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati of the state of Georgia.[3] In 1780, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.[4]

After the war, Wayne held a brief career in congress and private business. Following St. Clair's defeat, Wayne was recalled by President Washington from civilian life to command of U.S. forces in the Northwest Indian War, where he defeated the British-backed Northwestern Confederacy, an alliance of several American Indian tribes. Leading up to the war, Wayne oversaw a major change and reorganization of the entire United States Army. Following the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers, he later negotiated the Treaty of Greenville which ended the war and their alliance with the British.[5]

Wayne's legacy is controversial and debated in the 21st century with his legacy contested, due to his tactics under the Washington administration’s policies against Indian tribes during the Northwest Indian War.[6][7][5]

Early life[edit]

Wayne was one of four children born to Isaac Wayne, who had immigrated to Easttown, Pennsylvania, from Ireland, and Elizabeth Iddings Wayne. He was part of a Protestant Anglo-Irish family; his grandfather was a veteran of the Battle of the Boyne, where he fought for the Williamite side.[8]

Wayne was born on January 1, 1745, on his family's 500 acre Waynesborough estate.[9][10] During his upbringing, Wayne clashed with his father's desires that he become a farmer.[11] As a child, his father served as a captain during the French and Indian War, leaving an impression on Wayne who would mimic stories of battles at the time.[10] He was educated as a surveyor at his uncle's private academy in Philadelphia and at the College of Philadelphia for two years.[10] In 1765, Benjamin Franklin sent him and some associates to work for a year surveying land granted in Nova Scotia, where he surveyed 100,000 acres. He assisted with starting a settlement the following year at The Township of Monckton and was involved with preparing the infrastructure to last through winters.[12][13]

He married Mary Penrose in 1763, and they had two children. Their daughter, Margretta, was born in 1770, and their son, Isaac Wayne, was born in 1772. Wayne had romantic relationships with other women throughout his life, including Mary Vining, a wealthy woman in Delaware, eventually causing his wife becoming estranged from him.[14][15]He later became a U.S. representative from Pennsylvania.[16]

Wayne was an avid reader and often quoted Caesar and Shakespeare at length while serving in the military.[17]

In 1767, he returned to work in his father's tannery while continuing work as a surveyor.

As discontent with the British grew in the Thirteen Colonies, Wayne stepped into the political limelight locally and was elected chairman of the Chester County Committee of Safety and then to the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly.[18]

American Revolution[edit]

A statue of General Wayne at Freimann Square in Fort Wayne
A 1780 letter from Wayne to Israel Shreve

In 1775, Wayne was nominated to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, where he served along with three other Pennsylvania committee members, John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Morris.[19] Following Great Britain's enactment of the Intolerable Acts, Wayne began to oppose the British and by October 1775, his chairman position for the Chester County Committee of Safety was replaced by a Quaker as citizens described him as a "radical" against the British, an accusation Wayne denied.[19] On January 3, 1776, Wayne was nominated as colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment by the Pennsylvania delegation of the Second Continental Congress.[19] The poor supplies and controversies between his regiment and the Pennsylvania assembly would later influence Wayne to support the centralization of government.[19]

American Revolutionary War[edit]

Wayne discarded the conventional tactics of line warfare, stating "the only good lines are those nature made", and instead focused on maneuver warfare and strict discipline.[10] He and his regiment were part of the Continental Army's unsuccessful invasion of Canada where he was sent to aid Benedict Arnold. Wayne commanded a successful rear-guard action at the Battle of Trois-Rivières and then led the forces on Lake Champlain at Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. His service led to his promotion to brigadier general on February 21, 1777. Some historians claim Wayne's nickname "Mad Anthony" came from his bold military tactics from the Battle of Green Spring in Virginia, which his men barely escaped an outnumbered British force with a bold bayonet charge. Others claim it was from his quick temper and what historians label "off-color language," specifically during an incident when he severely punished a skilled informant for being drunk.[20][21][22]

On September 11, 1777, Wayne commanded the Pennsylvania Line at the Battle of Brandywine, where they held off General Wilhelm von Knyphausen in order to protect the American right flank. The two forces fought for three hours until the American line withdrew and Wayne was ordered to retreat.[23] He was then ordered to harass the British rear in order to slow General William Howe's advance towards Pennsylvania. Wayne's camp was attacked on the night of September 20–21 in the Battle of Paoli. General Charles Grey had ordered his men to remove their flints and attack with bayonets in order to keep their assault secret.[24] The battle earned Grey the sobriquet of "General Flint", but Wayne's own reputation was tarnished by the significant American losses, and he demanded a formal inquiry in order to clear his name.

On October 4, 1777, Wayne again led his forces against the British in the Battle of Germantown. His soldiers pushed ahead of other units, and the British "pushed on with their Bayonets—and took Ample Vengeance" as they retreated, according to Wayne's report.[25] Wayne and General John Sullivan advanced too rapidly and became entrapped when they were two miles (3.2 km) ahead of other American units. They retreated as Howe arrived to re-form the British line. Wayne was again ordered to hold off the British and cover the rear of the retreating body.

After winter quarters at Valley Forge, Wayne led the attack at the 1778 Battle of Monmouth, where his forces were abandoned by General Charles Lee and were pinned down by a numerically superior British force. Wayne held out until relieved by reinforcements sent by General George Washington. He then re-formed his troops and continued to fight.[26] The body of British Lt. Colonel Henry Monckton was discovered by the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, and a legend grew that he had died fighting Wayne.[27]

Wayne also set an example for coping with adversity during military operations. In October 1778, Wayne wrote of the brutal cold and lack of appropriate supplies, "During the very severe storm from Christmas to New Year's, whilst our people lay without any cover except their old tents, and when the drifting of snow prevented the green wood from taking fire."[28] Through these tough conditions, Wayne wrote that he sought to keep his soldiers "well and comfortable."[28]

In July 1779, Washington named Wayne to command the Corps of Light Infantry, a temporary unit of four regiments of light infantry companies drawn from all the regiments in the main army. His successful attack on British positions in the Battle of Stony Point was the highlight of his Revolutionary War service. On July 16, 1779, he replicated the bold attack used against him at Paoli and personally led a nighttime bayonet attack lasting 30 minutes. His three columns of about 1,500 light infantry stormed and captured British fortifications at Stony Point, a cliff-side redoubt commanding the southern Hudson River. The battle ended with around 550 prisoners taken, with fewer than 100 casualties for Wayne's forces. Wayne was wounded during the attack when an enemy musket ball gashed his scalp. The success of this operation provided a small boost to the morale of the army, which had suffered a series of military defeats, and the Continental Congress awarded him a medal for the victory.[21]

On July 21, 1780, Washington sent Wayne with two Pennsylvania brigades and four cannons to destroy a blockhouse at Bulls Ferry opposite New York City in the Battle of Bull's Ferry. Wayne's troops were unable to capture the position, suffering 64 casualties while inflicting 21 casualties on the Loyalist defenders.[29]

On January 1, 1781, Wayne served as commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army when pay and condition concerns led to the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, one of the most serious of the war. He successfully resolved the mutiny by dismissing about half the line. He returned the Pennsylvania Line to full strength by May 1781. This delayed his departure to Virginia, however, where he had been sent to assist General Lafayette against British forces operating there. The line's departure was delayed once more when the men complained about being paid in the nearly worthless Continental currency.[30][31]

On July 4, General Charles Cornwallis departed Williamsburg for Jamestown, planning to cross the James River en route to Portsmouth. Lafayette believed he could stage an attack on Cornwallis' rear guard during the crossing. Cornwallis anticipated Lafayette's plan and laid an elaborate trap. Wayne led a small scouting force of 500 in 1781 at the Battle of Green Spring to determine the location of Cornwallis, and they fell into the trap; only a bold bayonet charge against the numerically overwhelming British enabled his forces to retreat. The action reinforced the perception among contemporaries that justified the moniker "Mad" to describe Wayne.[32] During the Yorktown campaign, Wayne was shot in the leg; the lead musket ball was never removed from his leg.[33]

After the British under Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Wayne went farther south and disbanded the British alliance with Native American tribes in Georgia.[31] With the goal of establishing peace between settlers and Native Americans, Wayne captured Creek troops early in his time in Georgia, releasing them in order to establish goodwill between the Creek people and the United States.[34]

Assuming good relations with the Creek soldiers and fearing an attacked from Lt Colonel Thomas Brown from Savannah, Wayne made camp and prepared for a British confrontation. Unbeknownst to him, Brown spent time influencing the Creek and Cherokee, and persuaded them to attack Wayne. The Creek people ambushed his camp at night which woke Wayne. Assuming another bayonet style British ambush, Wayne alerted his soldiers to arm themselves and prepare to die with him. The attack would be repelled.[35] He eventually negotiated peace treaties with both the Creeks and the Cherokees during a bout with malaria, for which Georgia purchased a rice plantation for 4,000 guineas and rewarded it to him.[10][31] Wayne would suffer from complications related to malaria for the remainder of his life.[10]

Civilian life[edit]

Statue of Wayne at Valley Forge, facing toward his home in nearby Paoli, Pennsylvania

Brief retirement and slavery[edit]


In 1783, Wayne returned to Pennsylvania and was celebrated as a war hero, deciding to enter politics with other friends at the time.[19] Initially a supporter of more democratic views, Wayne later aligned more with Federalist Party and George Washington after the end of the Revolutionary War had aligned himself with that party as well. Like most federalists, he favored centralization, federalism, modernization, and protectionism.[36] He went on to support Republicanism because Wayne ultimately believed that the United States should have a strong centrally-controlled government, stronger banks, manufacturing, and a standing army and navy.

Eventually Wayne presented himself as a candidate for the Pennsylvania Council of Censors and on election day in October 1783, he gathered troops and approached electoral judges, demanding that they would be allowed to vote. On October 10, 1783, he was promoted to major general. Wayne was elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly for two years.The Council convened to assess Pennsylvania's governmental operations and ascertain if constitutional reforms were deemed imperative.[37]

Wayne was a member and took an active part of the Constitutional Convention.[38]


Wayne's view on slavery was the same as most of the American planters at the time, which is he supported slavery. However, like Washington, Wayne gradually grew to oppose the practice of it. His ownership of slaves was during his brief private career. Letters by Wayne from this time express concern about the economic efficiency of finding and managing slaves and concern about their harsh punishments. He was documented providing refuge for slaves from punishment in Georgia. During the Revolutionary War, Wayne wrote letters expressing how horrified he was by the treatment of slaves while traveling between camps and even urged Governor Martin to recruit blacks to fight with the Patriots.[39]

He owned enslaved African Americans after the war, he would eventually take over the family farm and tannery business in Chester County. Wayne inherited a 40-year-old male slave named Toby, who was registered in Chester County as a "slave for life."[40] In 1786, he obtained slaves through the confiscated plantations, Richmond and Kew with a total area of 1,134 acres (459 hectares). The 47 slaves were purchased from Adam Tunno, Samuel Potts, and others. He hired a plantation overseer to manage the plantation and direct the actions of his slaves.[11] A record shows 9 boys, 12 girls, 11 women, and 15 men – from Adam Tunno for 3,300 pounds, paying 990 pounds initially and then 2,310 pounds over a five-year period.[11][41] Wayne also had a personal slave named "Caesar" that he named after his favorite historical figure, Julius Caesar.[42][43][44][45]

The plantations, were confiscated and officially given to Wayne in 1786 along with loans from Dutch bankers for repairs.[11][41][46][47] Wayne quickly fell into debt running the plantations. He is also documented neglecting his business, frequently attending out of state political events, social parties, time with former soldiers, time in Pennsylvania, or traveling. His plantations were ultimately unsuccessful because of neglect and acquiring a large amount of debt. He later begged various acquaintances to assist him with making payments before selling the plantations. His contemporaries criticized him and his overseer for having a "relaxed" hand.[41][48][49][41]


After the war, Wayne spent his time living a retired life between Pennsylvania and Georgia. He had a brief career in private business running his tanner business in Pennsylvania and two rice plantations in Georgia.[50]

President George Washington however called Wayne out of retirement in spring 1792 to command the newly formed Legion of the United States to secure the Northwest Territory for American settlers. Wayne became the senior commander in the U.S Army.[51]


18th-century print of Wayne

He was a delegate to the state convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1788 and lost an election to the Senate that same year.[19] In late 1790, he was elected into the 2nd United States Congress as a representative of Georgia's 1st congressional district.[19][52] During his brief political career, he would remain loyal to George Washington with support. While in Congress, Wayne promoted the increased militarization of the United States and warned against future attacks from the British. He supported an act of 5,000 troops entering to secure ceded land in the Northwest Territory.[19]

Wayne's opponent James Jackson accused Wayne's campaign manager Judge Thomas Gibbons of electoral fraud.[19][53][39] A House committee determined that electoral fraud had been committed in the 1790 election and Local magistrates would later be implicated and not Wayne himself.[19][54] A special election was held on July 9, 1792. Wayne attempted to run again, however was disqualified due to failing residency qualifications. John Milledge eventually filled Wayne's vacant seat.[55][56][57][49][58][56]

During his time in Georgia, his wife abandoned him after rumors of a relationship between Wayne and General Nathanael Greene's wife Catherine spread.[59] As a civilian, Wayne ultimately found himself bankrupt, abandoned by his wife, and later removed from office.

Later military career[edit]

The Northwest Indian War had been a disaster for the United States, as the British refused to leave the ceded land and continued their influence in Native American politics. Four years after the start of the British-supported Native American military campaign, the Constitution of the United States went into effect; George Washington was sworn in as president, which made him the commander-in-chief of U.S. military forces. Accordingly, Washington directed the United States Army to enforce U.S. sovereignty over the territory. The U.S. Army, mainly consisting of untrained recruits and volunteer militiamen, suffered a series of major significant defeats.

The British also sought to make the Ohio River the border with the United States and Native Americans to slow their progress.[10] Many Native Americans in the Northwest Territory had sided with the British in the Revolutionary War, but the British had ceded any sovereignty over the land to the United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1783. The British were known for persuading Native Americans to fight for them and continued to do so.[60] Although the British were reluctant to directly engage the United States, historian Reginald Horsman writes of their involvement in organizing Native American support, "The Indian Department at Detroit had done all within its power to bolster northwestern Indian resistance to American expansion. The agents had acted as organizers, advisers, and suppliers of the Indians, and they had made it possible for an Indian army to face Wayne."[61]

The United States formally organized the region in the Land Ordinance of 1785 and negotiated treaties allowing settlement, but the Northwestern Confederacy refused to acknowledge them. The British and their allied Native Americans were determined to make the Ohio River the permanent boundary between the United States. People in the area quickly became embroiled in conflicts. The skirmishes resulted with 1,500 deaths over a period of seven years.[10][61]

Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkinson had a goal of becoming the next military leader and launched what he thought was a clever raid at the Battle of Kenapacomaqua, Wilkinson killed 9 Wea and Miami, and captured 34 Miami as prisoners, including a daughter of Miami war chief Little Turtle.[62] Many of the confederation leaders were considering terms of peace to present to the United States, but when they received news of Wilkinson's raid, they readied for war.[63] Wilkinson's raid thus had the opposite effect and contributed to St. Clair's defeat. Up until that point, it was "the most decisive defeat in the history of the American military"[64] and its largest defeat ever by Native Americans.[65] Wayne's close friend Major General Richard Butler died during St. Clair's defeat. Wayne felt a lack of a well organized military and politics contributed to this defeat.[54] This defeat would leave the United States completely open to attack from the British and their allies without the ability to defend itself. It was also later discovered that the British had a frequent tactic of dressings up as Native Americans to participate in their battle.[66]

Interested in helping the U.S. Military rebuild, Wayne wrote to President Washington in the spring of 1789 asking to "organize & discipline a Legionary Corps," writing that "Dignity, wealth, & Power" in the United States could only be achieved by the military.[67] United States Secretary of War Henry Knox would agree with Wayne in July 1789, writing "the sword of the Republic only, is adequate to guard a due administration of Justice, and the preservation of the peace," believing that treaties with Native Americans were worthless.[67] At a time of his life when Wayne experienced a shameful political and personal status, President Washington recalled Wayne from civilian life to lead an expedition in the British-led Northwest Indian War.[68]

In the north In May 1793, Wayne wrote to then Secretary of War Henry Knox, "Knowing the critical situation of our infant nation and feeling for the honor and reputation of the government which I shall support with my latest breath, you may rest assured that I will not commit the legion unnecessarily."[28] Samuel W. Pennypacker, a former governor of Pennsylvania and president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, goes on to elaborate on Wayne's perceived importance of American demonstrations of strength, "Wayne had reached the conclusion that we should never have a permanent peace until the Indians were taught to respect the power of the United States, and until the British were compelled to give up their posts along the shores of the lake."[28]

The confederacy achieved major victories in 1790 and 1791 under the leadership of Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Little Turtle of the Miami tribe. The tribes were encouraged to refuse peace treaties and were supported by the British, who refused to evacuate their own fortifications in the region as stipulated in the Treaty of Paris, arguing that the American refusal to pay the debt agreements in the treaty meant that the treaty was not yet in effect[61]

At the same time, Washington was under congressional investigation and needed to raise a larger army to protect the borders against the British and their allied tribes. He felt his best choice was to recruit Wayne to take on this daunting task despite Wayne's recent past. Injured, with swollen legs and recurring malaria, Wayne accepted command of the new Legion of the United States in 1792.[69] Washington also allotted an extraordinary budget for Wayne to triple the size of the army, administering $1 million, about 83% of the federal budget, to establish control of the Northwest territory through 1,280 enlisted soldiers.[5][70][71]

Command of the Legion of the United States[edit]

Portrait of Wayne, circa 1795

Upon accepting his new position, Wayne said, "I clearly foresee that it is a command which must inevitably be attended with the most anxious care, fatigue, and difficulty, and from which more may be expected than will be in my power to perform."[72] As the new commanding officer for the Legion of the United States, Wayne was first tasked with increasing the number of soldiers in his force. He expanded Fort Hamilton while he began recruiting in the spring of 1792 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[73] Although recruiting proved to be a difficult effort with the failures of past American expeditions still fresh, Wayne eventually was able to successfully boost the number of soldiers in the Legion.[71] He helped create several infantry regiments that still exist today, one of them being the Third United States Infantry, called 1st Sub-Legion at the time and later namedThird Regiment of Infantry.[74]

Wayne then established Fort Lafayette on September 4, 1792, as a frontier settlement from Fort Pitt.[75] Based on earlier failures of American generals, it was vital to train new soldiers and prepare them for new conflicts. Wayne established a basic training facility at Legionville to prepare professional soldiers for the reorganized army, stating that the area near Pittsburgh was "a frontier Gomorrah" that distracted troops.[75] Using the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States authored by Prussian military officer Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Wayne began to train his troops.[75] This was the first attempt to provide basic training for regular Army recruits, and Legionville was the first facility established expressly for this purpose. Wayne set up a well-organized structure of sub-legions led by brigadier generals, seen as forerunners of today's brigade combat teams.[76] Wayne was a strict disciplinarian and executed several troops for offenses.[75] Two soldiers were executed for sleeping at their posts.[10] He required his soldiers to adhere to a sharp dress code, with each sub-legion having a distinctive cap and regimental standards with their unit colors.[39] On April 7, 1793, Wayne's troops moved to Fort Washington in Ohio and continued their intense training while also entrenching themselves to repel potential attacks.[75]

Although some experts today are quick to point to the drawbacks of Wayne's severe disciplinary methods, Major John Brooke finds they also helped build confidence among his troops.[71] Each day, he allowed troops to receive half a gill of whiskey with their rations and an extra one for the best shooters. Barrels of rum, whiskey, wine, flour, and rations were stockpiled at various forts and traveled with Wayne's legion.[39] Brooke goes on to write about Wayne's strong relationship with his soldiers, "The winter passed drearily at Greeneville. They were almost in the heart of the Indian country, cut off from communication with the outside world, and surrounded by crafty and treacherous foes. Wayne shared the hardships and privations of his men, and personally saw that discicipline and instruction were kept up. The sentinel on post might know when to expect the conventional visit from the officer of the day, but he never knew at what hour he might see the form of the commander-in-chief emerge from the wintry gloom."[71] Wayne's support of his soldiers builds on his earlier experiences with his soldiers during the Revolutionary War.[28]

During his command of the Legion of the United States, Wayne also encountered domestic problems en route to securing the Northwest Territory. On May 5, 1793, Wayne entered Cincinnati in preparation for future conflict further West. Although Kentucky was a newly independent state after breaking away from Virginia, many citizens still believed that the United States federal government did little to protect their economic interests in the region. Historian, Paul David Nelson, writes of the local sentiment,"Thus, a few of Kentucky's citizens continued into 1793 to plot all sorts of schemes, including assisting the French to attack Spanish territory, using Kentucky as a base of operations; taking Kentucky out of the federal union and uniting it with the Spanish Empire; and striking a deal with some Canadian citizens to form a separate nation in the West, free from the control of the United States, Britain, or Spain."[77] After learning of a smaller than originally anticipated military force, Wayne had to turn to recruiting local Kentucky citizens with the help of Kentucky Governor, Isaac Shelby. Although Wayne was able to successfully add Kentucky citizens to the Legion, there were still fewer than expected and many joined too late to have a significant impact.[77] Nelson goes on to write about the ineffectiveness of the Kentucky troops during the Northwest Indian War, "Once the Kentucky soldiers reached Wayne's winter head quarters, moreover, they did not cover themselves with glory. The commander, knowing that the troops were restless and murmuring about returning to their home state, suggested to Scott in late October that the Kentucky Mounted Volunteers be detached for a 'desultory expedition against the Indian Villages at Au Glaize'...To Wayne's utter disgust, one-third of Scott's men — through no fault of Scott — simply decamped for home in mid November without order."[77]

On December 24, 1793, Wayne dispatched a force to Ohio to establish Fort Recovery at the location of St. Clair's defeat as a base of operations.[75] Friendly Native Americans helped Wayne recover a cannon that the attackers had buried nearby, with its redeployment at the fort.[75] The fort became a magnet for military skirmishes in the summer of 1794, with an attack led by Miami chief Little Turtle failing after two days and resulting in Blue Jacket becoming war leader.[75] In response, the British built Fort Miami to block Wayne's advance and to protect Fort Lernoult in Detroit. Wayne's army continued north, building strategically defensive forts ahead of the main force. British officer Alexander McKee provided strategic battle advice to the western confederacy beforehand.[78]

On August 3, 1794, a tree fell on Wayne's tent at Fort Adams in northern Mercer County. He was knocked unconscious, but he recovered sufficiently to resume the march the next day to the newly built Fort Defiance on August 8, 1794.[75][79] After observing Wayne's activities for two years, Little Turtle declared that Wayne was "the Chief that does not sleep" and advised fellow Indians to answer calls for peace, though British agents and Blue Jacket were opposed.[75] On August 20, 1794, Wayne mounted an assault on the Indian confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near modern Maumee, Ohio, which was a decisive victory for the U.S. forces, effectively ending the war. It was later discovered that a British company under Lieutenant Colonel William Caldwell had dressed as Native Americans and participated in the battle.[66] Following the battle, Wayne used Fort Defiance as a base of operations and under the direction of Washington's policies, destroyed their villages and food stocks.[21] Like many wars throughout history, the U.S. military essentially used a common war tactic known as scorched earth tactics in the later part of the campaign, destroying fields and homes of Native Americans as winter approached.[80][5] Reporting on the progress, Wayne would write "their future prospects must naturally be gloomy & unpleasant".[81]

The Native American troops attempted to find refuge at their British ally's fort, known as Fort Miami. The British realizing their ally lost the battle, locked the doors and prevented refuge.[82] Wayne then used Fort Deposit as a base of operations because of its proximity to Fort Miami and encamped for three days in sight of Fort Miami. Wayne attempted to provoke the fort's commander, Major William Campbell, by destroying McKee's post as well as Native American crops and villages within sight of Fort Miami before withdrawing.[83] When Campbell asked the meaning of the encampment, Wayne replied that the answer had already been given by the sound of their muskets. The next day, Wayne rode alone to Fort Miami and slowly conducted an inspection of the fort's exterior walls. The British garrison debated whether to engage Wayne, but in the absence of orders and with Britain already being at war with France, Campbell declined to fire the first shot at the United States.[84] Neither Campbell nor Wayne was willing to be the one to start a second war, and the Legion finally departed for Fort Recovery.

Throughout the campaign, Wayne warned against future British attacks and planned for another large battle while the Legion was at full strength. When Wayne arrived at Kekionga unopposed on September 17, 1794, he razed the Miami capital and then selected it as the site for the new Fort Wayne.[75][85] Wayne wanted a strong fort, capable of withstanding a possible attack by British artillery from Fort Detroit. Fort Wayne was finished by October 17 and was capable of withstanding 24-pound cannon. Although the British did not attack from the Northwest and Native Americans did not re-form into a large army, small bands continued to harass the Legion's perimeter, scouts, and supply trains.[86]

Anthony Wayne letter to Colonel Meigs, November 25, 1795

Wayne then negotiated the Treaty of Greenville between the tribal confederacy — which had experienced a difficult winter – and the United States, which was signed on August 3, 1795. The U.S. stated the land was already ceded to the French or British in previous wars. At the meetings, Wayne promised the land of "Indiana", the remaining land to the west, to remain Indian forever.[68] Wayne also supplied food and farming supplies as a good faith gesture. Wayne read portions of the Paris Treaty, informing them that the British were encouraging them to fight for land and forts the British already ceded to the United States.

While crops were planted and farmed again, Wayne's promise of land and treaty were left vulnerable after his death. A Spanish spy Wilkinson would take command of his army. Citizens eventually continued to settle beyond the borders and the state of Ohio later entered into the Union in 1803. After Wayne's death, settlers continued moving past the borders and pushing natives further westward.[68][87][36]

Betrayal by Wilkinson[edit]

When picking a general to lead the Legion of the United States, President Washington considered a few options, most notably Wayne and James Wilkinson.[88] When thinking of his choices, Washington found Wayne to be, "more active and enterprising than Judicious and cautious," and Wilkinson to be lacking experience, "as he was but a short time in the Service."[72] Throughout the campaign, Wayne's second in command, General James Wilkinson, secretly tried to undermine him. Wilkinson wrote anonymous negative letters to local newspapers about Wayne and spent years writing negative letters to politicians in Washington, D.C. Wayne was unaware as Wilkinson was recorded as being extremely polite to Wayne in person. Wilkinson was also a Spanish spy at the time and even served as an officer.[89] In December 1794, Wilkinson secretly instructed suppliers to delay rations and send just enough to keep the army alive in hopes of preventing progress.[36] Secretary of War Henry Knox eventually alerted Wayne about Wilkinson, and Wayne began an investigation. Eventually, Spanish couriers carrying payments for Wilkinson were intercepted. Wayne's suspicions were confirmed, and he attempted to court-martial Wilkinson for his treachery. However, Wayne developed a stomach ulcer and died on December 15, 1796; there was no court-martial. Instead Wilkinson began his first tenure as Senior Officer of the Army, which lasted for about a year and a half. He continued to pass on intelligence to the Spanish in return for large sums in gold.[90]

Death and legacy[edit]

Wayne's grave at St. David's Episcopal Church, which contains Wayne's buried remains

Wayne died during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit. It has been speculated but never proven that Wilkinson had him assassinated by poison. Wilkinson is documented secretly undermining him throughout his later career, benefited from his death, and would replace him as commander after his death.[91][92] Wayne was buried at Fort Presque Isle, where the modern Wayne Blockhouse stands. His son, Isaac Wayne, disinterred the body in 1809 and had the corpse boiled to remove the remaining flesh from the bones.[93] He then placed the bones into two saddlebags and relocated them to the family plot in the graveyard of St. David's Episcopal Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania.[94] The other remains were reburied but were rediscovered in 1878, giving Wayne two known grave sites.[93][95][96]

Wayne's army overhaul and build up is considered the first attempt by the United States to provide formalized basic training for regular Army. His recruits and Legionville were the first facility established expressly for the purpose of a regular army.[76]

President Theodore Roosevelt later praised Wayne as America's best fighting general. Henry Cabot Lodge mentions with the exception of Washington, and perhaps Greene, that he was the best general the Americans developed in the contest.[97]

Over the years, Wayne's reputation has been scrutinized. He has been condemned for holding slaves and for his tactics under the Washington administration's policies against Indian tribes during the Northwest Indian War. Shortly after the Northwest Indian War, Wayne died and his treaty was not enforced. What happened after his death is recognized by some historians as the turning point that provided the geographical and imaginative base for manifest destiny. The Miami people later said that fewer than one hundred adults survived twenty years after the treaty.[98]

His skills as a military leader received mixed views by his contemporaries, some of whom he had personality clashes with.[99][100][101][98] Historian and author of Unlikely General Mary Stockwell highlighted his decisive military victories while shedding light on his many personal flaws, being a spendthrift, womanizer, and heavy drinker.[43][99][102][103]"[14][100] Some considered him impulsive, bad-tempered, an aggressive as a military leader with a fiery personality who advocated the tactics of Julius Caesar and Maurice de Saxe.[10][58][99][100][104]

Several of Wayne's uniforms, ranks, tactics and military legions exist today in the US Army. His legions were renamed regiments. One of them is now known as the Third Regiment of Infantry which is best known for its role in the changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.[105][74]

In popular culture[edit]

Wayne has been covered in numerous books, comics, TV shows and articles. In 2017 Wayne was played by Michael J. Burg in the TV series Turn: Washington's Spies.[106] In 2018, Anthony Wayne was featured on PBS series A Taste of History in episode Remember Paoli![107] Wayne is one of the main characters in Ann Rinaldi's historical novel, A Ride into Morning. Wayne is a character in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Batman co-creator and writer Bill Finger named Bruce Wayne after him. Anthony Wayne was featured in the comic series as Bruce's direct ancestor and a main character from 1930s-2011.[108] Most recently in 2020, historian and writer Mary Stockwell published a biography with Yale University Press.[43]

Descendants and relatives[edit]

Wayne's notable relatives and descendants include:


Memorials and honor[edit]

Equestrian statue of Anthony Wayne (1937) by American sculptor John Gregory, located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A lunette above the door in the United States Senate room 128, designed originally to house the Senate Committee on Military Affairs and Militia, features a fresco by Constantino Brumidi named "Storming at Stonypoint, General Wayne wounded in the head carried to the fort".[118] On September 14, 1929, the U.S. Post Office issued a stamp honoring Wayne which commemorated the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The post office issued a series of stamps often referred to as the "Two Cent Reds" by collectors, most of them issued to commemorate the 150th anniversaries of the many events that occurred during the American Revolution. The stamp shows Bruce Saville's Battle of Fallen Timbers Monument.

In February 2019, the city council Fort Wayne, Indiana, approved the creation of Anthony Wayne Day by a vote of 6–3.[119] The approval sparked debate, was criticized by other councilmen, reporters, and the Miami tribe. The Miami tribe, who maintain a strong connection with Fort Wayne as part of their ancestral homeland, objected to many of the facts put forward by supporters to champion Wayne. The Miami's were quoted, "In a show of respect for Fort Wayne's own sovereignty, the tribal council came to a decision: It would object to the resolution's historical errors and omissions, but not to the honoring of Wayne himself."[105]

The Wayne National Forest located in southeast Ohio was named in honor of General Wayne. It was established as a National Forest for the public in December 1992.

The Village of Wayne, IL is named after Anthony Wayne.[120]


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General and cited references[edit]

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1791 – March 21, 1792
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Senior Officer of the United States Army
Succeeded by