Anthony Wayne


I asked a friend once if he would vouch for my character.  He said, "I'll vouch you ARE a character!"

On the eve of Independence Day, a story about Mad Anthony Wayne, a genuine character in the War of Independence and afterwards, and the men under his command in the Hudson Valley in mid-July, 1779...

...Wayne's successful attack on British positions at Stony Point, New York in the Battle of Stony Point was the high point of his revolutionary war service. On July 16, 1779, Wayne personally led a bayonets-only night attack lasting thirty minutes, wherein his three columns of light infantry 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. The Continental Congress awarded him a medal for the victory...

That's fine as far as it goes. But it's the rest of the story that's relevant today:

...A portion of the troops crossed the causeway, and formed in two columns, the van of the right, consisting of 150 volunteers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel De Fleury; that of the left, 100 strong, also volunteers, commanded by Major Stewart. These composed the forlorn hope. They moved to the attack at two different points simultaneously, with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, followed by the two main divisions, the left led by General Wayne in person.

Stony Point FortThe Americans were undiscovered until within pistol-shot distance of the pickets on the height. The pickets fired several shots. The advanced guard pressed forward with the bayonet. The garrison were aroused by the roll of the drum and the cry "To arms! to arms !" Very soon musketry rattled and cannon roared in defence of the fort, but the Americans forced their way through every obstacle, until the van of each column met in the centre of the work. Wayne had been hit on the head and stunned by a musketball (ed. note: Wayme received a severe scalp woundnot quite as minor as it sounds here), but speedily recovered. The garrison soon surrendered, and not a life was taken after the flag was hauled down. Wayne wrote to George Washington: "Stony Point, 16th July, 1779, 2 A.M. Dear General, —The fort and garrison, with Colonel Johnson, are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men determined to be free."

Are we still "determined to be free"?

You may want to give that some thought whilst you're grilling hamburgers and hot dogs and enjoying a brew or two.

And here's a brief reading assignment for the day.

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