In the TV show "Turn: Washington's Spies" (which I like to recommend throughly), there are some scenes in the 4th season which show Brigadier General Anthony Wayne of the Continental Army, who earned himself the sobriquet (nickname) "Mad Anthony" during the war.

In one particular scene of the show, he orders to execute the leaders of a mutiny through their comrades, who were also involved in the mutiny and - this stands out the most - from a distance of approx. just one meter. This is a very cruel way to execute personel and is actually a huge contrast in this war in which - at least I have that impression - usually a Gentleman like conduct was also applied in all aspects, also during hangings, shootings. Through the short distance, the executioners are forced to see the vivid impact of the projectile and the muzzle fire much clearer and it forces them to vomit.

The scene can bee seen here at begin from second 41, to which I linked the video. I suggest not watching the 40 seconds before if you have not finished this show, as thy contain a massive spoiler: https://vimeo.com/224506690#t=0m41s

My question: Is there any evidence that "Mad Anthony" Wayne ordered such sort of executions as illustrated in the show or is it just a hyperbole purely invented by the showrunners?

1 Answer 1


Anthony Wayne is well described as "mad," but that is in "angry (arglich), not "crazy (Wahnsinn). He was a tough, demanding commander who was either loved or hated (more of the former than the latter), who was perfectly capable of the actions you describe. As hard as he was on his soldiers, sometimes executing them in cold blood, he was equally hard on himself. Once, after he was investigated for losing a battle, he demanded a court martial for himself (so could clear his name).

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