Battle of Stony Point:  July 16, 1779

By | July 16, 2021

[July 16, 2021]  The Revolutionary War, like other wars, had its dramatic battles.  Stony Point was thought to be an impenetrable fortress (actually more of a reinforced outpost) and threatened West Point, New York.  General Anthony Wayne attacked at night with 1,200 light infantry using only bayonets.

With the outpost at Stony Point isolated and vulnerable, Washington wanted to take it back. He tasked this mission to the fiery American General Anthony Wayne. Two years earlier, in September of 1777, Wayne’s men had been surprised by a British night attack that resulted in more than 200 American soldiers being killed or wounded by British bayonets. Wayne survived but wanted revenge, and this would be his opportunity.1

It was an impossible mission.  Stony Point is a tall rocky outcropping that juts into the Hudson River. Rising to almost 150 feet above the water, the ground the Americans needed to cover was extremely steep. A narrow neck of land connected the point to the mainland. On either side of this neck was tidal marshland.

An hour before the assault, Wayne wrote a letter to a friend stating, “This will not reach you until the writer is no more.” After asking his friend to look after his children, he wrote that he would be eating breakfast “either within the enemies’ lines in triumph or another world.” Wayne was determined to capture the post or die trying.

As he advanced boldly, a British musket ball hit Wayne in the head. He fell to the ground, wounded. The ball had luckily only grazed his head, and though bloodied and dazed, he cried, “March on, boys. Carry me into the fort! For should the wound be mortal, I will die at the head of the column.”

So impressed by the action on that day, actor Marion Morrison changed his professional name to John Wayne.  John Wayne, of course, epitomizes manly traits that are timeless; bravery, strength, stoicism, and integrity.

Of interest, and part of this story is that Gen. Wayne earned the nickname “Mad Anthony Wayne: for achieving what most thought impossible.  The name stuck to him for the rest of his life.

While the battle of Stony Point itself played a minor role in the outcome of the war, it displayed the prowess and bravery of American troops and served as a much-needed morale boost for the young American army.

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  1. The Battle of Stony Point | American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org)
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Battle of Stony Point:  July 16, 1779

    1. Willie Strumburger

      This Biden/Harris administration is so embarrassing and they do things that are so much against what we stand for – as a country devoted to freedom – that it amazes me any one with any brains at all pays attention to this stupid duo. And, now we hear from Gen. Satterfield himself that his website is being written off by social media search engines. I’m not surprised. When you tell the truth, it hurts.

      Reply
      1. Pooch T.

        Willie, excellent point. What to do about it? Maybe we an hear from those with good ideas.

        Reply
  1. Fred Weber

    While the strategic value of capturing Stony Point was up for debate, it was regardless, a huge victory for morale for the Continental Army.[Its minimal strategic value was that it asserted Washington’s foothold on the nearby West Point. Washington visited the battle site on the 17th of July, and applauded the men responsible for its capture after viewing the harsh terrain that was traversed by the assaulting forces.

    Reply
    1. Gil Johnson

      Good suggestion is to read more about this battle on the Internet. Be careful about what others take as lessons from the battle because the importance of this attack is greatly underrated.

      Reply
      1. Linux Man

        I agree with Gil that many historians (writing from their comfortable armchairs in a univeristy tower) are quick to downplay the action that occured on this date in 1779. Let’s not forget the situation that Gen. Washington and his army was in at the time. The were being whopped on by the British. Any victory was needed, esp one that forced the British to change their plans, which they did.

        Reply
  2. Pink Cloud

    Those who fail to learn history and the lessons from history, are doomed. Doomed not just to repeat those mistakes but to fail even worse than those who were there originally.

    Reply
  3. Army Captain

    Excellent. My good friend from High School attended West Point and knew all sorts of history, including this battle that occured near the college.

    Reply
    1. Max Foster

      Thanks. Good to see you back in these leader forums for discussions of topic brought up by us or Gen. Satterfield. Hope you have been well. And, that your Soldiers are also moving forward and avoiding the “woke” requirements of our NEW ARMY certified by SECDEF Austin (first black SECDEF and first man to try to destroy the US miliitary).

      Reply
      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        WOW, you got that right. Max you are on it. Past-General (no longer deserving of the title) Austin brings great shame to the USA.

        Reply
      2. KenFBrown

        Great comment. Our army is going woke and that means less fighting capacity because we are now focused on treating LGBTQIII like soldiers and soldiers like fairies.

        Reply
  4. Valkerie

    Thanks General Satterfield for a short history lesson on this battle that was important from a morale point of view. Can you tell us other leadership lessons we can gain from it?

    Reply

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