Anthony Wayne Trains The Legion of the United States
On Monday we spoke of the early military career of Anthony Wayne.
Piggybacking off of that article, I thought it would be fun to look at his participation in the growth of the Northwest Territory. That is why I wrote yesterday about St. Clair’s Defeat, as it is an important stepping stone to Wayne’s promotion.
Now, let’s take a peak at Mad Anthony as he fights in the Northwest.
Anthony Wayne, 1792
By 1792, Anthony Wayne was sitting in the United States House of Representatives.
Unfortunately for him, Wayne had only relocated to Georgia shortly before his election and he was kicked out of the House as he did not fit all the residency requirements.
This was a blessing in disguise, as President Washington needed someone to head to the North West and lead an army.
The Legion of the United States
One of the reasons the Constitution had been ratified was the belief that a standing army was needed.
On top of their British and Spanish neighbors, the Founders were concerned with the Native Americans on their borders. As opposed to poorly trained militia, it was assumed that the best protection for the citizens was a full time, well paid, professional militia.
In his first term, Washington created the Legion of the United States...who’s name has since been changed to the Army of the United States.
The first Major General given command of the Legion?
Mad Anthony Wayne.
The Northwest Indian War
Wayne was a perfect choice for this position.
He had earned both his nickname and the respect of his men during the Revolutionary War. He also had some free time, having just lost his position.
Anthony traveled to Ohio, where the Northwest Indian War was waging.
In the wake of St. Clair’s Defeat, a strong leader was needed, and Wayne showed up ready to take up the challenge.
What is interesting about Wayne’s position is that he was tasked with winning the war, but also had the additional job of building an army from scratch.
It had been nine years since the Continental Army disbanded and very few Federal troops had been kept around.
Anthony build Legionville, the first ‘army town’ just outside modern day Pittsburgh. Here, he established the first basic training facility and he formed the first professionally military in American history.
When Wayne arrived, the Northwest Indian War had already been raging on and off for almost a decade.
Wayne’s decisive maneuvers allowed him to achieve victory and sign a peace treaty in just over a year.
Although there are several interesting battles from this war, perhaps the most notable moment was when a tree fell on Wayne’s tent.
Anthony was struck on the head and knocked unconscious, but fortunately survived.
A year later he returned to Pennsylvania where he from complications of gout (which may have elevated into dropsy) at just 51 years old.
The Legion of the United States was soon renamed, leaving Anthony Wayne as the only Commander of that Army.
Want to read about more Founders of the Ohio Valley?
Great! Check out these articles:
Anthony Wayne has a ton of books about him, many specifically focus on his time out west.
‘Autumn of the Black Snake’ is a great book that goes into detail about the Northwest Indian War and its effects on the future of the United States.
Pick up a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).