Wayne was born and raised in neighboring Chester County, just a few miles from Valley Forge. Prior to the outbreak of war, Wayne served in the Pennsylvania Legislature. In 1775, he joined the cause of the colonies in their uprising against Great Britain. By 1776, he had been named a Colonel; and by February 1777, a brigadier-general.
Wayne's troops were in the thick of the fighting during the battles at Brandywine and Germantown in the months before the Valley Forge encampment. After the Army marched out in June of 1778, Wayne's troops went back into the thick of the fight at the Battle of Monmouth.
The greatest victory for "Mad Anthony" came in July, 1779 during the Battle of Stony Point. The British held Stony Point, a key strategic site along the Hudson River. Though both sides saw relatively few casualties, the Continental Army secured the victory and more than 500 prisoners of war. Stony Point would continue to be a strategic crossing site for the Army throughout the remainder of the war.
After George Washington was elected President, Wayne was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army and sent to Ohio to subdue Indian uprisings. Wayne passed away at Fort Presque Isle in 1796. He is buried at St. David's Church in Radnor, Pa., just five miles from Valley Forge National Historical Park.