General Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne was an American Statesman, who became a general and fought in the Revolutionary War. He made military his career. His bravery and daring exploits earned him the nickname “Mad Anthony.”

General “Mad” Anthony Wayne
Public domain image.

Early Life

Anthony Wayne was born on January 1, 1745. As a child, Wyne studied to be a surveyor at a private school in Philadelphia, owned by his uncle. He went on continue his studies at the college of Philadelphia. In 1766, he was hired by Benjamin Franklin to survey some land in Nova Scotia. After working there for a year, he returned and took a jab at his father’s tannery. During this time he continued his career as a surveyor. In late 1766, he married Mary Penrose, and together they had two children.

Military Career

In 1775, when the war was beginning, Anthony raised a group of militia in Philadelphia. The following year, they were titled 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, and Anthony Wayne became a colonel.

Once in the army, Anthony’s competence as a leader helped him climb through the ranks very quickly. In 1779, after working his way up to Brigadier General, Anthony was hiding out on the cliffs near Stony Point, New York. The British were stationed at what was called an “impregnable” fortress, just a few miles down the river.

Washington had explained to Anthony that gaining this fortress was critical to their tactical advantage in the war, and that they needed to find a strategy to take it. On June 16, 1779, with only a few light infantry, Anthony attacked the fortress in the middle of the night, using only bayonets. Their strategy relied on the element of surprise, so no shots could be fired, and anyone they came across was captured or killed.

The attack lasted a total of 30 minutes. General Anthony walked away with 472 British prisoners and only 18 American casualties. Congress, then, presented General Anthony Wayne with an award for his actions, and the army  awarded him the lifelong nickname “Mad Anthony.” This mad mission was the highlight of Anthony’s career.


After the war, General Anthony decided to try his hand at politics. In 1748, he served as Pennsylvania State Legislature. In 1788, he was a member of the state convention, which ratified the United States Constitution. Wayne continued to pursue his political career, until the arrival of the Northwest Indian War.

George Washington had been doing his best to contain the growing conflict with the Native Americans, however as the strife quickly escalated into a war, Washington called upon General Wayne to be the head of the newly formed American Army. Wayne proved to be proficient at this task, and took control of all dealings with the natives from there on.

Wayne served the Army until his death on December 15, 1796. The good he had done for this new country and its army, long outlived him. America was benefitting from his dealings and treaties with the Indians for many years after his death.

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