Featured Comitia Americana Medals, Part 3, The Battle of Stoney Point

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by johnmilton, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Anthony Wayne, Francois de Fleury and John Stewart

    The Battle of Stoney Point

    July 15, 1779

    Stony Point was the site of a fort on the Hudson River 30 miles north of New York City. A large marshy area to its rear and imposing cliffs 150 feet high made it seem like an impregnable position. In 1779 the British were looking to capture the American fort at West Point. The fall of West Point would have given the British control of the Hudson River and would have isolated New England from the rest of the colonies. To relieve the British pressure on West Point and open the transportation lines from New England, George Washington ordered Anthony Wayne to take the British held forts at Stony Point and Verplanck’s Point.

    After a long, forced march, a select group of 1,300 American troops, penetrated the marshes behind the fort and scaled the cliffs in front of it. They surprised the British and captured the fort using only bayonets. The avoidance of gunfire contributed greatly to the element of surprise, which allowed the Americans the carry the day. Although the Americans soon abandoned Stony Point because it was too difficult to defend and failed in a similar attack on Verplanck’s Point, the overall operation was a success. Following their debacle at Stony Point, the British decided that gaining control of the Hudson River was not worth the cost. They never mounted another campaign to take West Point, which freed American forces to fight in other areas.

    On July 26, 1779 Congress voted to award a gold medal to General Wayne and silver medals to his reporting officers, French Lieutenant Colonel, Louis De Fleury, and American Lieutenant, John Stewart. The dies and the medals were produced in Paris. De Fleury received his medal in 1783. General Wayne received his medal in 1790, and Lieutenant Stewart’s piece was posthumously awarded at the same date. Years, before Stewart had been killed in a riding accident.

    All of the Stony Point medal dies were lost before 1800, and the French Mint produced very few examples of these pieces in any metal. Toward the end of the 19th century the United States Mint produced replacement dies for the Wayne and De Fleury medals. Replacement dies have never ever been made for the Stewart medal.

    Today most the original Stony Point medals for all three of the heroes are rare and unobtainable for most collectors. The Wayne and De Fleury pieces that the U.S. Mint issued at the end of the 19th century are the only pieces that most collectors can hope to acquire. The only a handful of Stewart medals are known. Collectors, who are able to fill that spot in their cabinets, must be content with electrotype or cast copies. Even those pieces bring strong prices.

    The "Mad" Anthoney Wayne Medal

    Anthony Wayne O.JPG Anthony Wayne R.JPG

    There was an earlier version of the Wayne medal that Wayne did not like. This design was the replacement.
    •The original dies dropped out of sight and never made it to America.
    •The gold medal that was awarded to Wayne was auctioned by Sotheby Parke Bernet to the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution for $52,500. They have loaned it for display at Independence Hall.
    •The only older pieces available to collectors were struck from U.S. Mint copy dies first struck in 1889. The reported mintage is 47. Translations Obverse “To Anthony Wayne, general of the army” Reverse “Stony Point captured, July 15, 17

    The Franҫois-Louis Teissédre de Fleury Medal

    DeFleury O.JPG DeFleury R.JPG

    De Fleury was a French officer who received a commission in the Continental Army. He was an expert in designing and building fortifications. He fought in a number battles
    •Benjamin Franklin made arrangements for the de Fleury medal to be the first Comitia Americana medal struck. He awarded the silver medal to de Fleury in 1783. De Fleury died during the French Revolustion.
    •The Roman soldier figure on the obverse is not de Fleury, but the god Mars trampling on a British Flag.
    •The original dies remained in France and were not well stored. They rusted and produced few additional medals.
    •The Philadelphia Mint produced copy dies of this medal and issued examples starting in 1880. Mintage 47.
    •Translations Obverse “A memorial and reward for courage and boldness, to the French officer de Fleury the first to mount the walls” Reverse “Fortifications, marshes and the enemy overcome Stony Point taken …”

    The John Stewart Medal

    John Stewart O Ve.jpg John Stewart R Ve.jpg

    •The French dies for the John Stewart medal disappeared soon after the medal was struck. The Philadelphia Mint has never made a set of copy dies for this medal, and examples of it in any form are virtually unavailable to most collectors. Collectors have filled this spot in their cabinets with electrotypes and cast copies.
    •Stewart died in a riding accident in March 1783. He was riding to home of William Washington, Sandy-hill plantation in South Carolina, who had given an “entertainment” for the officers of the army. He fell from his horse and dislocated his neck, dying the next morning.
    •Stewart’s silver medal was awarded to his family.
    •Translations Obverse “To John Stewart, commander of the company” Reverse “Stony Point assaulted, July 15, 1779”

     
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  3. Johndoe2000$

    Johndoe2000$ Well-Known Member

    Thanks for yet another interesting, and informative thread.
     
  4. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

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