What made Anthony Wayne an “unlikely general”? He was not President George Washington’s first choice to lead an army against the confederation of Ohio tribes blocking America’s advance across the Ohio River in 1792. Wayne, a notorious womanizer, heavy drinker, and spend-thrift, had just been removed from Congress for voter fraud. Though he had fought bravely throughout the American Revolution, most notably at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth Courthouse, he had suffered a physical and mental breakdown during the last year of the war while fighting in Georgia. Over the objections of his cabinet, including Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, Washington took a chance on Wayne and appointed him the commander of the Legion of the United States with orders to open the West for settlement. Wayne took the assignment, worried that his untried soldiers would never be able to defeat the Indians, whom he considered the best fighters in the world, and certain that he would never survive this last campaign into the wilderness.
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