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Monday, July 16, 2012

Stony Point and Wayne's Revenge

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Stony Point.  On July 16, 1779, American forces under General "Mad Anthony" Wayne avenged Wayne's loss at Paoli (Pennsylvania) by surprising and defeating the British force at Stony Point, New York. Faced with British General Henry Clinton's approach, two days after the victory Wayne abandoned the Point and rejoined Washington.  The picture is of the flagstaff battery.




Like Washington's surprise and defeat of the Hessians at Trenton, this Patriot victory had little strategic value but was of significance for its boost to morale at this point in the war.  the


Washington reiterated this rationale in the post-battle report to Congress (July 20, 1779): “The necessity of doing something to satisfy the expectations of the people, and reconcile them to the defensive plan we are obliged to pursue, and to the apparent inactivity which our situation imposes upon us; the value of the acquisition in itself, with respect to the men, artillery, and stores, which composed the garrison; the effect it would have upon the successive operations of the campaign, and the check it would give to the immediate depredations of the enemy at the present season . . . ” 


Here is another example of military action as public relations exercise.  We may find a metaphor for our current political climate, where procedure is more important than substance, light more important than heat, motion mistaken for movement, and spin the ultimate victory.


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