Anthony Wayne

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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.

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American Revolution

At the onset of the war in 1775, Wayne raised a militia unit 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 where he was sent to aid Benedict Arnold, during which he commanded a successful rear-guard action at the Battle of Trois-Rivières, and then led the distressed forces at Fort Ticonderoga. His service resulted in a 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. 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. In July 1779 Washington named Wayne to command the Corps of Light Infantry, a temporary unit of four regiments of light infantry companies from all the regiments in the Main Army. On July 16, 1779, in a bayonets-only night attack lasting thirty minutes, three columns of light infantry, the main attack personally led by Wayne, stormed 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.

On January 1, 1781, Wayne, then the commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army, was faced with a mutiny over pay and conditions that was one of the most serious of the war. The mutiny was successfully resolved by dismissing about one half of the line, which Wayne then had to rebuild. This work was largely completed by May 1781, but it delayed his departure to Virginia, where he had been sent to assist the Marquis de Lafayette against British forces operating there. The line's departure was delayed once more when the men again complained about being paid in the nearly-worthless Continental currency.

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