Born in the township of Easttown, Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the 1st of January 1745, of a Yorkshire family. As a boy he exhibited a marked bent toward a military life. He was educated in Philadelphia, and was a surveyor in Pennsylvania and (1765) in Nova Scotia, where he was agent for a proposed colony. He married in 1766 and passed the next few years on the Chester county farm inherited from his father, holding some minor offices and after 1774 taking an active part upon various patriotic committees.
Having recruited and organized the Fourth Pennsylvania battalion of Continental troops, he first saw active service at its head in Canada during the retreat of Benedict Arnold after the Quebec campaign. His excellent behaviour at the skirmish of Three Rivers led Philip Schuyler to place him for some months in command of Ticonderoga. While at this post, on the 21st of February 1777, he was commissioned brigadier-general. In April, Washington ordered him to take command of the "Pennsylvania Line" at Morristown, and he rendered distinguished service during the Battle of Brandywine and Germantown, and by his coolness and courage at Monmouth, after the retreat of General Charles Lee, did much to save the day for the Americans.
Later in 1778 political necessity led to his being superseded by St. Clair, his ranking officer, in the command of the regular Pennsylvania troops, but upon Washington's recommendation he organized a new Light Infantry corps, with, which he performed the most daring exploit of the War of Independence - the recapture of Stony Point by a midnight attack (15-16 July 1779) at the point of the bayonet. This well-planned enterprise aroused the greatest enthusiasm throughout the country and won for Wayne the popular soubriquet " Mad Anthony." Upon the disbanding of the Light Infantry corps, Wayne, again in command of the Pennsylvania line, rendered effective service in counteracting the effect of Benedict Arnold's treason and of the mutiny of the Pennsylvania troops.
Wayne received a medal for his conduct during the battle, which was a rare occurrence during the struggle for independence.
In 1781 he was sent south to join General Nathanael Greene, but in Virginia was defected to aid Lafayette against Lord Cornwallis. After the American success at Yorktown, Wayne served with such marked success in Georgia, that the state rewarded him with a large rice plantation (which proved a financial failure) and Congress breveted him major-general.
In 1792 Washington offered him the command of the regular army with the rank of major-general to fight the hostile Indians north-west of the Ohio, in the lead up to the Battle of Fallen Timbers. They had been rendered insolent by their successes over General Josiah Harmar in 1790 and General Arthur St Clair in 1791, and indirectly to compel the British to yield the posts they held on the American side of the lakes. Wayne spent the winter of 1792-1793 in recruiting his troops near Pittsburg and in drilling them for effective service in the reorganized army.
Northwest Indian War
The government continued its efforts to induce the Indians to allow white settlements beyond the Ohio, but a mission in 1793 ended in a failure. Meanwhile, Wayne had transferred his troops to Fort Washington(Cincinnati), and upon learning of the failure of the negotiations, advanced the greater part of his forces to Greenville, a post on a branch of the Great Miami, about 80 miles north of Cincinnati.
During the winter he also established an outpost at the scene of St Clair's defeat. The Indians attacked this post, Fort Recovery, in June 1794, but were repulsed with considerable slaughter. Late in July Wayne's legion of regulars, numbering about 2000, was reinforced by about 1600 Kentucky militia under General Charles Scott, and the combined forces advanced to the junction of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers, where Fort Defiance was constructed. Here Wayne made a final effort to treat with the Indians, and upon being rebuffed, moved forward and encountered them on the 20th of August in the battle of Fallen Timbers, fought near the falls of the Maumee, and almost under the walls of the British post Fort Miami. This decisive defeat, supplemented by the Treaty of Greenville, which he negotiated with the Indians on the 3rd of August 1795, resulted in opening the North-west to civilization.
Wayne retained his position as commander of the army after its reorganization, and he rendered service in quelling the proposed filibustering expeditions from Kentucky against the Spanish dominions, and also took the lead in occupying the lake posts delivered up by the British. While engaged in this service he died at Erie, Pennsylvania, on the 15th of December 1796, and was interred there. In 'Soo his remains were removed to St David's Churchyard, Radnor, Pennsylvania.
|“||Dear General (Washington) - The fort and garrison, with Colonel Johnston, are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men who are determined to be free. Your's, most sincerely, ANTHONY WAYNE.||”|
- Charles J. Stine, Major-General Anthony Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line (Philadelphia, 1893)
- J. Munsell, (ed.), Wayne's Orderly Book of the Northern Army at Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence (Albany, 1859)
- Boyer, A Journal of Wayne's Campaign (Cincinnati, 1866)
- William Clark, A Journal of Major-General Anthony Wayne's Campaign against the Shawnee Indians (MSS. owned by R. C. Ballard Thruston)
- H. P. Johnston, The Storming of Stony Point (New York, 1900)
- J. R. Spears, Anthony Wayne (New York, 1903).