My buddy K, a scholar of military history, called me while I was sipping coffee in Cindy’s Diner.
He was appalled that I knew nothing about the history of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it’s namesake and father, General Anthony Wayne (all thanks to Wikipedia):
In 1790, President George Washington ordered the United States Army to secure Indiana. Three battles were fought in Kekionga against Little Turtle and the Miami Confederacy. Miami warriors annihilated the United States Army in the first two battles. Anthony Wayne led a third expedition, destroying the village while its warriors were away. When the tribe returned to their destroyed village, Little Turtle decided to negotiate peace. After General Wayne refused it, the tribe was advanced to Fallen Timbers where they were defeated on August 20, 1794. On October 22, 1794, the United States army captured the Wabash-Erie portage from the Miami Confederacy and built a new fort at the three rivers, Fort Wayne, in honor of General Wayne.
Incorporated as the City of Fort Wayne on February 22, 1840, the city prospered under the launch of the Wabash and Erie Canal. Fort Wayne’s nickname, The Summit City, was coined due to its location at the zenith of the locks on the canal. The city lost national prominence in the demise of the Wabash and Erie Canal as the railroad system quickly took its place. Population growth occurred most in the 19th century, with the arrival of German, Polish, and Irish immigrants, bringing large numbers of Roman Catholics and Lutherans.
And a little more information on General Anthony Wayne:
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.
In Virginia, Wayne led Lafayette’s advance forces in an action at Green Spring, where he led a bayonet charge against the numerically superior British forces after stepping into a trap set by Charles Cornwallis. This increased his popular reputation as a bold commander. After the British surrendered at Yorktown, he went further south and severed the British alliance with Native American tribes in Georgia. He then negotiated peace treaties with both the Creek and the Cherokee, for which Georgia rewarded him with the gift of a large rice plantation. He was promoted to major general on October 10, 1783.