Maj. General Nathanael Greene (Continental Army)

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Nathanael Greene, Major General

Also Known As: "Major General Nathanael Greene", "Continental Army"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Potowomut, Township of Warwick, Rhode Island
Death: Died in Mulberry Grove, Harris, Georgia, United States
Cause of death: sun stroke
Place of Burial: Johnson's Square, Savannah, GA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathanael Greene I and Mary Greene
Husband of Catharine Greene
Father of George Washington Greene; Martha Washington Turner; Cornelia Lott Skipwith; Ann Thurston; Nathaniel Ray Greene and 2 others
Brother of Jacob Greene; Phebe Greene; Elihue Greene; Niobe Briggs Blanchard; William Greene and 3 others
Half brother of Benjamin Greene and Thomas Greene

Occupation: Major General of the Continental Army, COmmander in Chief of the Souther Army, Major General in the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, Major General, Continental Army
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maj. General Nathanael Greene (Continental Army)

A Patriot of the American Revolution for RHODE ISLAND with the rank of MAJOR GENERAL.  

DAR Ancestor # A047219

NATHANAEL GREENE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION





"It had been happy for me if I could have lived a private life in peace and plenty, enjoying all the happiness that results from a well-tempered society founded on mutual esteem. But the injury done my country, and the chains of slavery forging for all posterity, calls me forth to defend our common rights, and repel the bold invaders of the sons of freedom."(Thane 20) This excerpt from a letter written by Nathanael Greene to his wife before leaving for war, illustrates completely why Greene, a Rhode Islander of Quaker heritage, chose to become embroiled in America’s Revolutionary War.

There are few men who rival Nathanael Greene in serving such a prominent and important role in the American Revolution. With the exception of George Washington, he was the only American general to serve continuously for all eight years and had Washington been captured or killed, he was to take his place as commander-in-chief of the American army. When reading Greene’s exploits, it is uncanny how he seems to be a part of some of the most famous campaigns fought throughout the whole war, but for the most part receives little recognition. Therefore, for someone as significant as he, yet so ambiguous in our history, it is important to determine his exact role in America’s War for Independence.

Nathanael Greene was born on August 7, 1742, in Potowomut, Rhode Island. (Thane 1) His heritage stems from Quaker immigrants five generations prior, who left Salisbury, England in 1635 to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. His father, also named Nathanael, was a respected minister among the Society of Friends, as well as the owner of a series of forge, grist and saw mills. His mother, Mary Mott, was his father’s second wife, and she regrettably died when young Nathanael was only ten. Nathanael was the fourth of eight boys who survived to adulthood. (Maltbie, internet)

At an early age, Nathanael manifested a strong interest in knowledge and learning, which his father hardly appreciated. His interests concerning knowledge outside of the Bible was almost anathema to the Quakers, but this did little to deter Nathanael who later attended school at the age of fourteen. (Thane 2) He worked at his father’s iron foundary in Potowomut until 1770, when his father purchased a forge at the town of Coventry and put him in charge there at the age of 27. (Adams 569) Prior to that, with the death of two of his elder half-brothers, Nathanael had inherited property, thus making him a freeman in Warwick, which had jurisdiction over Potowomut since the time of Nathanael’s birth. Shortly after Nathanael had moved to Coventry, his father died in the November of the same year.

No stranger to public service even before the war, Greene served as deputy in the General Assembly of Rhode Island from 1770 to 1772, and also in 1775. (Adams 569) With the deterioration of the relationship between England and America, augmented especially in Rhode Island with the infamous Gaspee Affair in 1772, which involved the burning of the hated British patrol ship Gaspee, Greene showed an unusual interest in the military for a Quaker. On September 30, 1773, Greene was cast out of a meeting with the Society of friends for attending a "place of Publick Resort," namely, a military parade. (Adams 569) Later, on July 20, 1774, at the age of 32, Greene married Catherine Littlefield, a young, non-Quaker woman nineteen years of age. This marriage proved to be a long and happy one which lasted until Nathanael’s death in 1786. (JBC, internet)

Greene’s first real military pursuit began when he became one of the first volunteers

of the Military Independent Company of East Greenwich which had gathered informally in the summer of 1774. (Maltbie 8) The decision to join the militia was not without consequences, for taking up arms was strictly against his pacifistic Quaker heritage. Regardless of such inner turmoil, he put in his membership as a private, but this only led to another problem, one which humiliated his sensitive personality.

At an early age Nathanael suffered from asthma as well as a stiff knee caused by unknown circumstances. Despite these ailments, Greene could still participate and excel in sports and recreation, but the newly formed military group, who had gained official status under the name Kentish Guards on October 25, 1774, questioned whether he was fit for service and worried that his limp would make them all look bad. It was only the support of his friends which kept him as a member, but this incident prevented Greene from attaining any deserved higher position, and this vexed him greatly.

The Kentish Guards were composed of respectable young men throughout the community surrounding the Narangasset Bay area, and their organization was loosely based on the British Guards. It was not until the news of fighting at Lexington and Concord in the April of 1775 that they had any real activity, and even their march to the Massachusetts border was halted by Governor Wanton of Rhode Island. However, Greene himself played an active role, though not in combat, for he was appointed to a committee assembling on April 22 consulting with the Connecticut Assembly concerning the common defense of the New England Colonies. (Thane 19)

The consensus reached at this assembly called for the raising of 1,500 men to form an "army of observation." This brigade was therefore divided into three regiments, each consisting of eight companies. On May 8, 1775, Nathanael Greene at the age of 33 was promoted from private to Brigadier General of the Rhode Island forces, an act which has baffled historians to this day. (Maltbie) Nevertheless, Greene undertook his task immediately, leaving his young wife behind, and arrived at Roxbury outside Boston with his Rhode Islanders in late May, 1775. (Maltbie)

His arrival, along with several other colonial forces, had now shown how the fighting in Massachusetts had escalated into a pan-colonial effort. After his entrance outside Boston, which was still in British control, Greene was made Brigadier General of the Continental army on June 22, and stationed at Prospect Hill during the siege of Boston in July under Charles Lee. During this time, Greene managed his brigade with such diligence and care, that it caught the attention of General George Washington, who had recently taken command in the north. Washington was impressed immediately with Greene’s knowledge of military history and began early on to trust his strategic competence. Later, while on visit in Rhode Island, Greene missed the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, and by the March of 1776, Boston had been evacuated. (Maltbie)

Following the action to New York, Greene, after being appoint Major General on August 9, 1776, (Mitchell) spent most of early April traveling south with his brigade, and he took command on Long Island on April 29, 1776. (Maltbie) The situation for the Patriots in New York was bleak, for the island was for the most part indefensible and they were grossly outnumbered by the British fleet consisting of 32,000 men. Both Greene and John Jay favored the idea of evacuating New York and burning the city, but Congress, for the sake of appearances, disliked the prospect and left the final decision to their commander-in-chief. The decision became moot when 20,000 British landed and the Americans broke ranks and retreated during the Battle of Long Island, on August 27. (Mitchell 52) The battle was missed by Greene who had taken ill and for this reason he does not see any real combat until the Battle of Harlem Heights on September 16. (Maltbie) This battle was really only a minor one, but through the Americans standing their ground for the first time, they were able to inflict 200 British casualties at the cost of only 130 of their own. Needless to say, after the disaster at Long Island, Harlem Heights was somewhat of a morale booster.

Despite Harlem Heights, the American situation in New York and the Hudson was weak and untenable, yet Washington still hoped to retain control of the area, regardless of the clear British naval superiority. Currently, the Americans held two forts on the Hudson’s banks, Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, and Fort Lee opposite in New Jersey. During November, the bulk of the American Army had been evacuated to New Jersey, yet Greene felt that Fort Washington should be held not only to prevent the British from launching a drive into New Jersey, but also to prevent Charles Lee’s forces in Westchester County from being threatened. In short, Greene was hoping for another Bunker Hill, for he thought, truthfully so, that the Patriots fought far better defensively and if the tide of the battle took a turn for the worst, the troops could easily be evacuated. His decision was supported by both Israel Putnam and Hugh Mercer, yet Washington was skeptical of keeping untrained soldiers in such a vulnerable position, but he left the final decision to Greene.

The attack on Fort Washington was a complete disaster. On November 15, 10,000 British under General Howe attacked in several directions against 3,000 Americans, hopelessly disorganized with a weak inner force. (Maltbie) The result was the surrender and capture of 2,800 Americans as well as an immense supply cache, and Greene and Washington themselves barely evading the British. (Abbazia 10) Fort Washington was also disastrous for Greene’s reputation, and Washington’s own confidence in Greene was temporarily shaken. Greene himself was distraught by the defeat, saying "I feel mad, vexed, sick, and sorry…" (Abbazia 10)

There are conflicting sources as to who was to blame for the failure at Fort Washington. Some say that the fault lies completely with Greene, while others tend to give Washington some responsibility, for he had the power to overrule the decision. Fort Washington however, did serve a purpose, for it led to a severe change in Greene’s tactics, which he will eventually use in his southern campaigns against General Cornwallis. Greene was now much more cautious and he realized the importance of fighting a war of attrition and the necessity of being able to rally an army again, relatively unscathed, after a engaging in battle.

After the evacuation of Fort Lee four days later, Green played a prominent role in the retreat across New Jersey and led the left wing during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. (Maltbie) After participating in the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777, he spent the winter of 1777 in Morristown, New Jersey and in March he was sent in place of Washington to Congress, who was not satisfied with their Commander-in-Chief ‘s conduct in the war. (RGA 570) After skirmishing with the British in northern New Jersey for the rest of the spring, Greene served an integral part in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. (Maltbie) After the British occupied Philadelphia, the Patriots attacked the British outpost at Germantown, with Greene leading the left column. After a series of indecisive campaigns in Pennsylvania, which all served to build up Greene’s knowledge and development as a commander, both Washington and Greene were put under heavy criticism from Congress, amplified especially after Gate’s victory at Saratoga on October 7. (Maltbie)

This presented and even greater issue, for there began much talk among Congressmen and even some military personnel of replacing Washington with Gates. Greene was not saved from such talk, for he was blamed for giving the Commander-in-Chief bad advice, yet Washington restated still his choice of Greene to replace him in the event of his death or capture.

Unfortunately for Greene, this was only the beginning of his trouble with Congress, for during the July of 1777, there was talk of placing a French officer in a command higher than Greene’s. (RGA 570) Such a notion led Greene, Henry Knox and John Sullivan to threaten resignation, leading Congress to be angry not only because of the directness of the threat, but at the fact that the deal with the French was hardly concrete. After demanding an apology from Greene, who resolutely refused to do so, Congress did little else.

Afterwards, Greene’s role in the war effort shifted dramatically, for Thomas Mifflin, the present Quartermaster-General (who coincidentally was a strong supporter of Washington’s replacement) was clearly not managing the army’s supplies efficiently, and was replaced. Washington had already been consulting with Greene on matters of supply, and satisfied with his ability, asked Greene to fill the position. On February 25, 1778, (RGA 570) Greene reluctantly consented, saying that "No one ever heard of a quartermaster in history!" (Abbazia 12) Apparently, his sense of duty to restore an army in shambles compelled him to accept, and Congress officially appointed him on March 2. (RGA 570)

Greene was presented with no easy task as Quartermaster, and he had to deal with scarcity of funds and supplies and the lack of an effective transportation system. He approached this gargantuan task with diligence and care, often spending some of his own money for the war effort, and handling and administering funds reaching as much as $50,000,000 in 1779 alone. (RGA 571) Quartermastering also gave him a valuable experience in the vital role of an army’s supply line and mobility, another facet which he will use to his advantage in his triumph in the south. In addition to being Quartermaster, he still retained some command by his own insistence, and he was still consulted by Washington on strategy and decisions.

On June 28, 1778, he commanded the right division in the Battle of Monmouth, which was the first time the Americans held a field against a sizable British army. (Thane 132) Afterward, Greene returned to his home in Rhode Island and served under John Sullivan in the successful campaign to drive the British out of the state. He spent the winter of 1778-1779 in Middlebrook, New Jersey, where his able control of supplies made American suffering there far less acute. Later, after a severe winter at Morristown and a period with little battle activity in 1780, Greene found his duties as Quartermaster intolerable after Congress refused to give him the authority necessary for dispatching supplies efficiently to the struggling American army. After his resignation, Washington immediately voiced his desire to appoint Greene the highest command in the south, but Congress chose the old Saratoga hero General Horatio Gates.

Afterward, as if to affirm his support of Greene, Washington placed him in charge while he attended a conference saying:


In my absence the command of the army devolves upon you. I have such entire confidence in your prudence and abilities that I leave conduct of it to your discretion, with only one observation: that with our present prospects it is not our business to seek action, nor to accept one, except upon advantageous terms.


On September 30, 1780, Greene presided over the military court which condemned Benedict Arnold’s accomplice John Andre for spying. He was appointed to Arnold’s position at West Point on October 6, 1780, but Greene did not stay long, for on October 14, he was placed as the commander of the southern army. (Maltbie)

By this time, the situation in the south did not bode well for the Patriot’s cause. By 1789, both Savannah and Augusta were under British control, and Charleston soon followed on May 12, 1789. (Ketchum 322) After being given command of the south, Horatio Gates was crushed at Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1780, making it the worst defeat ever inflicted upon an American army in any battle. The consequences of the battle were disastrous, for it left not only 1,050 American soldiers killed wounded or missing, but it also insured undisputed British control over South Carolina and Georgia, thus making both Virginia and North Carolina vulnerable. (Mitchell 167) However, it must be noted that although there was no recognizable American field army, there was still partisan guerrilla bands, led most notably by Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and Andrew Pickens, who constantly harassed the now dispersed British outposts throughout the state. With the arrival of Greene later in the war, these three men were used most effectively, resulting ultimately in dismembering all British holdings in the Carolinas and Georgia.

After the catastrophe at Camden, which ended Gates’ command, Lord Cornwallis went ahead with the British invasion of North Carolina. It was at this point that the Americans recovered somewhat at King’s Mountain on October 7, where 900 Patriot backwoodsmen and 1,000+ American Tories (British loyalists) clashed, resulting in the destruction of any Tory support in North Carolina and Cornwallis having to retreat across the state. (Morris 83) Even though the Battle of King’s Mountain had marginal effects on the regular British army, it was called by Greene himself as "the first turn in the tide in favor of the Americans." (Furneaux 325)

With Gates out of the picture, the choice of Greene as commander of the south was obvious. With such men as Alexander Hamilton, who said after the Battle of Camden: "For God’s sake, overcome prejudice and send Greene," as well as Washington in favor of Greene, Congress had to look past their umbrage with men of humble beginnings, as well as Greene’s straightforward attitude, and leave Washington to decide. (Morris 83) To Greene, Washington wrote: "It has been [Congress’] pleasure to appoint an officer to command [the southern theater.] It is my wish to appoint you…I have only to add that I wish your earliest arrival, that there be no circumstances to retard your preceding southward." (Morris 327) On November 3, 1780, Greene regretfully leaves his wife again at Philadelphia, en route to Charlotte, North Carolina, as Commander of the Southern Army. (Thane 178)

Upon his arrival in Charlotte on December 2, he found himself in command of a motley force of 1,000 to 2,200 Continentals and untrained militia. Conditions were poor as well, for the army was short of provisions, arms, clothing, shoes, blankets, medical supplies, lumber and nails, and wagons. Morale was also low due to these deprivations, their previous string of defeats, and their fragile esteem for themselves as a fighting force. Greene recalled:


The appearance of the troops was wretched beyond description, and their distress, on account of provisions was little less than their suffering for want of clothing and other necessaries. General Gates had lost the confidence of the officers, and the troops all their discipline, and so addicted to the plundering that they were a terror to the inhabitants. The General and I met upon very good terms, and parted so. The old gentleman was in great distress, having but just heard of the death of his son before my arrival.

Such was the situation that Greene found himself in when placed in command, and early on he stated that unless the army gets any kind of effective support, "the country is lost beyond redemption." (Furneaux 317)

Meanwhile, the British with no formal threat, had already dispersed their troops into the southern countryside, amassing several far-reaching outposts in South Carolina and Georgia. At the same time, the war was still being carried on by various partisan groups, most notably being Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter and Andrew Pickens, who constantly harassed the British supply trains. Prior to Greene’s arrival, the combined genius of these three men was hardly used effectively, and Greene knew early on the importance and efficacy that the partisans would play.

Francis Marion knew guerrilla warfare the best out of three. Swarthy in appearance and small in size, Marion was one of the most imaginative generals of the war, thus earning him the name of "Swamp Fox." Early into the war, he focused most of his attention on the swampy areas of the eastern South Carolina coast.

A handsome man, Thomas Sumter proved himself to be recklessly brave and a natural leader. His fierce hatred for authority often made him uncooperative, and his guerrilla operations were focused mainly in central South Carolina.

Andrew Pickens brought to the war skill and devotion and matched both Marion and Sumter in daring. He proved himself to be less imaginative than Marion, but more cooperative than Sumter, and his exploits took place mostly in western South Carolina near the Appalachian foothills.

Greene knew that he could count on these men and several others to make the right the decisions, but the task of swift reorganization and replenishment of supplies still needed to be done. He first secured friendly relations with local political leaders as well as the provisional militias and ordered the improvement of roads and supply distribution. For an army ragged with lack of supplies, Greene assured that "no man will think himself bound to fight the battle of a state that leaves him to perish for want of covering." (Abbazia 16)

It was at this point that Greene decided to divide his men and organize them into a "flying army." (Furneaux 325) The command of one part fell to Daniel Morgan, who had previously resigned out of resentment for not being appreciated for the Battle of Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights, but had recently rejoined the army following the Battle of Camden. Under his command were two battalions of Maryland Continentals under Colonel Eager Howard, militiamen from the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, and 600 cavalry under Colonel William Washington. (Furneaux 325) His orders were to go the western part of South Carolina and harass any British outposts he could in the area. Greene himself took command of 1,000 troops, mainly consisting of militia, and he headed to the north-central section of South Carolina to aid any guerrilla activity there. (Peckham 150)

The decision to divide an already small army baffled Cornwallis, stationed at Winnsborough with 4,000 men, who was left to decide which one of the partitions to follow. After the two armies were 140 miles apart, Cornwallis finally decided on January 2, 1781, to divide his army as well and send the able Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, a British officer known for being excessively brutal, with 1,100 regulars and Tories to crush Morgan’s division, which he thought posed a far more serious threat than Greene’s. He himself headed stealthily northwestward, to cut off Morgan’s route of retreat from Tarleton. After learning of their plans, Greene warned Morgan on January 13, saying: "Colonel Tarleton is said to be on his way to pay you a visit." (Furneaux 325) Morgan was more than ready to fight at a site called the Cowpens, a hillside once used for grazing cattle.

What followed was one of the best fought battles of the whole Revolutionary War. Morgan’s unorthodox strategy, as well as his clear perception of the capabilities of militia and regulars, were the defining factors ensuring his clear victory. His strategy was simple, but effective. To begin with, the location of his forces were contrary to any existing military doctrine, for he placed his army between the Broad and Pacolet River, thus making escape impossible if the army were routed. His reason for cutting off escape were obvious; to ensure that the untrained militiamen would not, as they had been accustomed to do, turn in flight at the first hint of battle and abandon the regulars. "Had I crossed the river," Morgan recalled, "one half of the militia would have abandoned me." (Furneaux 326)

His army was grouped into three lines of battle. The front was composed of the raw militia under Colonel Pickens, their orders being to fire just two volleys and retreat to safety in the rear. In the second battle line behind them were the Continentals, mostly composed of seasoned Virginians, who were ordered to hold their ground. To the rear were William Washington’s cavalry and Morgan decided to have no protection on his flanks.

On the morning of January 17, Morgan walked through the front militia’s ranks and encouraged them to fire just a few shots, saying: "Hold up your heads, three fires and you are free." (Furneaux 326) Tarleton soon deployed his troops consisting of a front infantry line, two fieldpieces, cavalrymen on both sides and a battalion of regulars in the rear. As the British advanced towards the militiamen 200 yards ahead, the front line waited, for they were ordered not to fire until they saw the whites of their target’s eyes. The militia did as ordered, firing two well aimed shots, largely directed at the officers, shredding the British front line. After two volleys, they retreated as they were told, but the British took this as a full blown retreat and charged right into the awaiting second line of Continentals.

With bayonets the Virginians charged, causing the British to retreat. As the British dragoons entered the fray to cover their retreat, Washington’s cavalry came too, while the militia who had fled behind the cavalry rallied and regrouped to "redeem their credit". (Furneaux 328) The heroic charge of Washington’s cavalry was recounted by James Collins, who said: "In a few moments, Col. Washington’s cavalry was among them in a whirlwind…" (Furneaux 329)

In the face of this, the British "fled with such precipation that they left their fieldpieces behind…they never had an opportunity of rallying." (Furneaux 329) The results of the battle were disastrous for the British, for only Tarleton himself and a few others managed to escape. Morgan listed the British casualties as 110 non-commissioned officers and privates and 10 commissioned officers, with 200 rank and file wounded and 502 prisoners, 29 of which were officers. On the American side, there were only 12 casualties with 60 wounded, as well as the acquisition of 800 British muskets, 100 horses, 2 guns and 35 wagons. (Furneaux 329)

Beyond the mere numbers of the battle, Cowpens, occurring early in 1781 showed that even after the disaster at Camden, the south was still very much attainable. This battle was also a clear exhibition of Britain’s failure to subdue the south completely. Plus, both Morgan’s and Greene’s divisions were still relatively unscathed, and they still held a very serious threat to all British cities, including New York and Charleston. The formation of the battle and Morgan’s strategy at Cowpens was important as well, for Greene will later use a similar arrangement at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

The news that Tarleton was annihilated at the Cowpens infuriated Cornwallis who decided to begin his disastrous campaign to crush the Americans completely. He began his march northwest to the Cowpens to overtake Morgan’s army, but Morgan had anticipated this and swiftly headed east toward the Catwaba River. After Morgan continued to evade him, in late January Cornwallis decided to turn his whole army into light troops by destroying all extra baggage and supplies, thereby resting his gambit on the speed of his men.

After Morgan crossed the Catawba, Greene himself joined him with only a few escorts to discuss strategy, with Cornwallis only twelve miles behind. (Furneaux 331) It was decided that Greene’s troops, who were in great need of replenishment at Cheraw, were to march 125 miles north to Salisbury, North Carolina. Morgan and his men would go northeast, were they would meet at the Yadkin River and march into Virginia after crossing the Dan River. Greene planned the campaign well, for the march filled the need to gain the local militias along the way, and it combined nicely with his previous order to the new Quartermaster to explore and map the Dan River and gather boats for transport. Cornwallis also had three to two numbers over Greene, with battle hardened troops, and to lead them on a chase would serve to avoid battle and distance the British from their supply lines.

Cornwallis finally crossed the Catawba on February 1, while Greene and Morgan crossed the Yadkin on February 2, the British arriving hours later. (Aaron, internet) Greene arrived at Guilford Courthouse on February 7 after marching 47 miles for 48 hours, and it is here that he is joined by the army stationed at Cheraw, who had marched north under the command of Issac Huger. (Aaron) Along with Huger came Light-Horse Harry Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee, who arrived with an elite group of cavalry and infantry specializing in guerrilla warfare. Meanwhile, on February 9, Cornwallis arrived at Salem, located 25 miles to the west of Guilford Courthouse, putting him into a good position to cut off Greene from the River Dan, for they were both equally close. In this pivotal juncture, Greene held a council of war with Huger, Morgan and Otho Williams.

The army at this point consisted of 1,426 infantry and 600 militia who were both badly armed and supplied. With the Dan 70 miles away, Greene reluctantly decided to cross it, which meant complete abandonment of North Carolina. First, the army was divided again, with Otho Whilliams commanding 700 light soldiers to march north and screen the retreat of the main body under Greene who marched northeast. Cornwallis assumed that Greene would head west to the shallower part of the Dan, for he was not aware of the pre-positioned boats at the lower end in the opposite direction. His next decision decided the fate of the war, for if Greene were destroyed, Georgia and the Carolinas would be in British hands, and Virginia would soon follow.

Cornwallis fell for the ruse and followed Williams with an extremely arduous march. Now, the march had to be carried out with extreme vigilance, with Harry Lee’s troops doing most of it and fighting minor skirmishes to the rear. On February 13, Cornwallis learned of the deception, finally realized that Greene planned to cross at the lower ford, and followed Williams 20 miles to the east as exhausted as the Americans. Lee’s cavalry continued to skirmish along the way into the night. (Aaron)

On February 14, both sides stopped briefly for rest until 2 p.m. when part of Greene’s troops began cross the Dan. By 5:30, Greene wrote to Williams, saying: "All our troops are over…I am ready to receive you with a hearty welcome." (Aaron) At sunset, Williams crossed, with Lee’s men holding off the British until finally crossing themselves between 8 and 9 p.m. Cornwallis, arriving too late, could do nothing but watch and retreated on February 17 to Hillsborough. Cornwallis’ chase was futile and logistically and tactically lacking, but it taught Cornwallis a lesson which he recounted himself: "Greene is more dangerous than Washington. I never feel secure when encamped in his neighborhood." (Aaron)

The American army, though dilapidated by marching 200 miles, the last 40 of which in 16 hours, celebrated on the other side of the Dan, with all the laurels belonging to Greene. Praise came from both sides. "Bloody" Tarleton later recounted: "Every measure of the Americans during the march from Catawba to Virginia was judiciously designed and vigorously executed." (Aaron) Otho Williams 10 years later corresponded with Light-Horse Harry Lee: "The retreat of the southern army to the Dan River, though now forgotten, was, in my estimation, one of the most masterly and fortunate maneuvers of our beloved Greene." (Aaron) The event was so popular that it led to a song written to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"

Cornwallis led a country dance,

The like was never seen sir,

Much retrograde and much advance

And all with General Greene, sir.

They rambled up and rambled down,

Joined hands and off they ran, sir,

And General Greene was like to drown

Cornwallis in the Dan, sir.


Despite all the jubilation of crossing the Dan in one piece, Greene was still faced with impoverished men and an army awaiting aid from the local militias. He soon found that he could not wait any longer for their supposed arrival and re-crossed the Dan on February 23. (Furneaux 333) Cornwallis quickly began his pursuit of the army that had so effectively evaded them, and the two men vied for a superior position for the next ten days. Finally, after being joined by the Virginia militia, Greene was determined to stand and fight at a place called Guilford Courthouse.

The courthouse was situated atop a hill which sloped down gradually for about a half mile. Greene commanded a total of 4,360 men, consisting of 1,600 continentals, 2,600 militia and 160 cavalrymen. (Furneaux 333) With such a high ratio of undependable militia, Greene was previously advised by Daniel Morgan on how to deal with the combination of militia and regulars. Their importance in the upcoming battle was crucial, and Morgan told Greene: "If they fight, you’ll beat Cornwallis; if not, he will beat you, and perhaps cut your regulars to pieces." (Furneaux 333)

Greene situated his men in the Cowpens manner with three battle lines stretching over the hill. The first line consisted of two brigades of North Carolina militia under John Butler and General William Eaton. On their flanks were William Washington on the right and Harry Lee on the left. The second line, situated 300 yards behind, was composed of the Virginia militia with Generals Stevens and Lawson in command. The third line, 400 yards behind the Virginians, was made up of the continentals, with two guns separating Huger’s brigade on the right and Otho Williams’ brigade on the left. Greene himself stood behind the continentals to view the battle. (Furneaux 333)

On March 15, 1781, Cornwallis deployed his troops, consisting of 2,400 British and Hessian soldiers, all regulars with discipline and battle experience. (Furneaux 334) There were also 75 First Highlanders on the right, the Twenty-Third Regiment on the left, and two battalions of Guards to the rear. (Furneaux 334) The battle that ensued was an equal match, with the Americans having the numbers and the British the experience.

After opening the battle with an artillery exchange lasting twenty minutes, the British advanced on the first line, but the North Carolina militia, who had been ordered to fire just two shots and retreat, broke ranks and ran without discharging a shot. Had the North Carolinians done their duty, Greene was confident that they would have won the day. He later remarked of the militia: "They had the most advantageous position I ever saw, and left it without making scarcely a shadow of opposition." (Furneaux 334)

After routing the first line of battle, the British advanced on the second, where the Virginians fired and executed their orders perfectly. Meanwhile, the left American flank in the face of the British onslaught was able to hold firm, while the right gave way and the British began assaulting the third line. In the face of this British assault, the third line discharged when the British were within a hundred feet and charged with bayonets, causing the British to retreat and then later rally. It was at this point that Greene may have been able to attain a complete victory, but knowing that all hope of recovering the south rested with his army alone, he held his hand, knowing the importance of living to fight another day.

Meanwhile, the British were able to bypass the left side of the second line of battle and assault the third line, who broke ranks and ran. Then, Colonel Washington bravely led his cavalry forward to the left to fill the void while the Delaware and Maryland Continentals attacked the British flank where the fighting was especially severe. At this juncture, Cornwallis began discharging grapeshot into the field of battle, claiming both British and Americans. This exchange allowed the British to reform and charge again, but the Americans were able to hold and repulse them back, and it was at this point that Greene decided to withdraw from the field.

Even though Cornwallis claimed victory for gaining the hill, over 530 men were killed and wounded, which totaled about a quarter of his command. (Mitchell 185) On the American side 260 men were killed and wounded, and over a thousand militia disappeared into the interior. Charles James Fox, a British statesman recounted: "Another such victory would destroy the British army." (Morris 84)

Although gaining the hill at a high cost, Cornwallis soon withdrew soon afterward as well, making a hasty retreat with a struggling force into Wilmington, North Carolina until ultimately marching to Virginia to establish communications there. For a short time Greene pursued, but then swung south, for there were still many outposts peppered throughout the south still under British hands, and they all had to be taken before the colonies could be recovered. With a small army under his command, Greene began one of the most unusual campaigns ever recorded in American history, and it is doubtful that anyone else could have executed it so successfully.

Greene knew immediately that he had to rely on the various partisan groups, and, as mentioned before, without Brigadier Generals Marion, Pickens and Sumter, the south may never have been recovered. With the combination of regular and guerrilla troops, Greene developed a strategy that he would use for the remainder of the war. With the smaller bands, he would harass the enemy supply lines and seize the smaller bases to cut off communications, and with his main contingent, he would attack the larger garrisons throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Above all, the main army had to remain intact, and from the start he knew that it was better to lose the battle then to not rise and fight again.

The actual campaign began on April 9, 1781, after Greene left North Carolina and sent Harry Lee, his legion and a company of Marylanders to join Francis Marion. (Ketchum 333) He first moved for Camden, which was under the command of Lord Rawdon, who immediately swept out of the city with 1,500 troops and attacked Greene’s men stationed at Hobkirk’s Hill. Greene had already arranged his men as he had at Guilford Courthouse, and the actual battle took place on April 25. (Ketchum 333) The battle almost resulted in a clear American victory, but confusion within William Washington’s cavalry led to the eventual American withdrawal to the north. The British lost 258 men, 38 of which were killed, while the Americans lost 270, with 19 killed, 115 wounded and 136 missing. (Furneaux 345)

Greene was extremely disappointed about the battle, for he was hoping for at least some kind of real victory. He wrote to Chevalier de la Luzerne, a French envoy to Congress: "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again." (Ketchum 333) Although winning the battle, Rawdon eventually had to retreat on May 10 from his post in Camden to Charleston, burning the city behind him. In all, Greene had gained the post without winning a battle, which would prove to be typical for him throughout the campaign. (Ketchum 333)

Meanwhile, Francis Marion and Light-Horse Harry were faring well, taking Fort Watson with ingenious siege tactics and later taking Fort Motte. Andrew Pickens also secured Augusta at about the same time. At Fort Motte, Lee and Marion were joined by Greene who sent Marion east to cause as much trouble he could in the Georgetown area, and Lee and the Marylanders west to Fort Granby, a strong point of British occupation. Greene himself proceeded west to Fort Ninety-Six.

Thus far, the plan had been working well, for Greene and the partisan bands continued to maintain the equilibrium necessary to carry out the campaign. Without the irregulars, Greene’s main army would have been overwhelmed early, either at Hobkirk’s Hill or afterwards. The guerrillas, without the main army, would have been hunted down and eliminated one by one. This system of Greene dealing with the British strength and the others strangling the British supply routes carried the war on, and Greene proclaimed: "I will recover the country, or die in the attempt." (Ketchum 334)

Greene was joined by Lee and Pickens during the formal siege of Fort Ninety-Six beginning on May 22 and lasting until June 19, 1781. (Mitchell 195) The post was masterfully defended by the New York Tory, Lieutenant Colonel John Cruger who continued halting the American assault until Lord Rawdon’s arrival with reinforcements prompted Greene to regretfully retreat. Yet again, Greene lost the battle, but won the fort, for Cruger was ordered to return with his men to Charleston and destroy the post behind them.

A series of maneuvers and minor skirmished followed between Greene and Rawdon until, due to the hostile southern summer, the two armies retired to summer quarters. While Rawdon withdrew to Orangeburg and Greene stayed in the High Hills of the Santee, Lee, Marion and Pickens continued their shadowy war, striking the British supply depot at Monck’s Corner and harassing any British activity they could find.

The summer was spent ninety miles from Charleston, with Greene desperately short of soldiers, money and provisions and the threat of desertion always looming over him. For this reason, he threatened any deserters with death, something which weighed heavily on his kindly nature. He wrote to his wife, who he hadn’t seen in two years that he wished "for a peaceful retirement where love and softer pleasures are to be found."

At Orangeburg, Rawdon had handed command to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stuart, who, after constant rains flooded the lowlands, led his army to the south bank of the Santee Hills, only sixteen miles from the Americans. Greene saw this as an immediate opportunity and proceeded with an incredibly difficult march through the flooded territory to Stuart, who had now stationed his 2,000 men at a place called Eutaw Springs. (Ketchum 335) The sheer numbers of Stuart’s men made Greene weary of any assault, but when he was joined by Marion and his men he decided to go forward with the attack.

Breaking his usual policy of guerrilla and regular formation, Greene incorporated Marion’s men into formal lines of battle. Meanwhile, Stuart had so far received no intelligence on Greene’s position and remained sat the Springs confident of his position until the actual battle, taking place on September 8. (Ketchum 335) Stuart finally learned from two American deserters of Greeene’s position and sent the Tory Major John Coffin and some cavalry and infantry to investigate the veracity of the report. Coffin was soon overwhelmed however, by John Armstrong’s North Carolinians, followed closely behind by Lee and his cavalry. Soon, Armstrong, Lee, and Greene’s whole army were in pursuit.

The Marquis de Malmedy, accompanied with Marion and Pickens, brought up the center of the assault while Lee, Henderson and Hampton covered the flanks. William Washington and Robert Kirckwood backed up the rear. On the British side, Stuart reacted quickly enough, forming a hasty battle line which began to waiver, resulting in the left collapsing and the right holding firm, mainly because of the skill of Major Majoribanks. The American force all made an attempt on Majoribanks’ line, all of which ended in failure, and chaos and heavy bloodshed ensued. With the right holding firm, the chance of victory was gone, and Stuart had already rallied his men and given support to Majoribanks. Greene also had time to reorganize his men, but decided against smashing against the right, which could lead to victory, but only with a severely diminished force. Not wanting to make the same mistakes he had caused Cornwallis and Rawdon to make, Greene held his men back and withdrew.

Greene at that time made the right decision. For all he knew, the war in the south may still continue into 1782 and even 1783, and he would need a strong army to continue his campaigns. Greene wrote of Eutaw Springs to Washington, saying it was "a most bloody battle - by far the most obstinate I ever saw." (Furneaux 356) Indeed it was, for over a thousand men were killed or wounded, 408 of which were American and 693 British. With his men decimated, Stuart could do nothing else but march back to Charleston, while Greene returned to the Hills to recuperate and begin planning his siege of the city.

Eutaw Springs was an extremely significant battle, for not only did it force the British to abandon the south with no real hope of ever reestablishing any real chain of British posts, it also effected the circumstances to the north. It is doubtful that if Greene had lost at Eutaw Springs, Washington would have risked victory or defeat at Yorktown, and John Adams even wrote that Eutaw Springs was just as important as the British surrender at Yorktown. It should also be noted that Greene was awarded a gold medal for Eutaw Springs, the second largest medal given to an American General for the Revolutionary War.

Thus, Greene had recovered the south without winning a battle, and the British now only held Charleston and Savannah. On October 18, 1781, over a month after Eutaw Springs, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown and the war was practically over. (RGA 572) Greene wrote of the surrender: "We have been beating the bush and the General has come to catch the bird." (Ketchum 342)

Outside of Charleston, although his troops were in complete disorder, Greene held his army together until the British evacuation on December 14, 1782, and he gave his men the satisfaction of marching into the city. (Abbazia 28) Greene later recounted his strategy to claim the south: "There are few generals that have run oftener, or more lustily than I have done…But I have taken care not to run too far and commonly have run as fast forward as backward, to convince our enemy that we were like a crab, that could run either way." (Ketchum 343)

Until the war officially ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Greene held his army together, paying them most of the 10,000 guineas which had been awarded to him by the South Carolina legislature. After being joined by his wife Kitty at Charleston, he began his journey home to Rhode Island to repair his family’s fortunes on August 11, 1783 and soon arrived at Philadelphia where he was greeted by crowds shouting "Long life to Greene!" (Thane 270) He later met Washington at Trenton and visited Congress in Princeton before reaching Newport on November 27, 1783. (RGA 572) Throughout this time Greene was embroiled by the duplicity of a businessman named John Banks who Greene had relied on financially for supplying the army supplies during the war. From the affairs of the scoundrel Banks, Greene was eventually exonerated, but he was left with no property in Rhode Island, leading to his final establishment at Mulberry Grove, an estate outside Savannah in the autumn of 1785. (Thane 275)

Unfortunately, Greene’s life was cut short on June 19, 1786 at the young age of 45. (RGA 572) His cause of death was a severe case of sunstroke caused by overexertion and the intense Georgia sun. At the time of his death, Greene had five children, George Washington, Martha Washington, Cornelia Lott, Nathanael Ray, and Louisa Catherine. His widow, Kitty Greene, later remarried in 1796 and lived until 1814. (RGA 572) The news of his death was carried to Washington by Harry Lee himself who said: "How hard is the fate of the United States, to lose a man in the middle of life. Irreparable loss! But he is gone, and I am incapable to say more." ( Thane 279)

Greene, a self-made genius of war and hero of the Revolution, in the end fulfilled his wish to be remembered in the history books. Most historians agree that Greene was second only to Washington in military prowess, charisma, and ingenuity. Yet to this day, Greene has yet to break free from his Commander-in-Chief’s shadow, usually unrecognized by those not intimately familiar with the Revolutionary War, and often overlooked when praise is given to those who fought for America’s Independence. With a country for the most part out of touch with its own history, Greene’s story is one that should always be remembered, for without the self-sacrificing service of the "Fighting Quaker" from Rhode Island, the country may not have finally gained its independence over 200 years ago.

Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United States are named for him.

Before the American Revolutionary war

The son of a Quaker farmer and smith, also named Nathanael, was born at Potowomut in the township of Warwick, Rhode Island, on July 27, 1742 (old style)/August 7, 1742 new style. His mother, Mary Mott, was his father's second wife. Though his father's sect discouraged "literary accomplishments," Greene educated himself, with a special study of mathematics and law. The Rev. Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale University, was a strong influence in the young Nathanael's life.

In 1770, Greene moved to Coventry, Rhode Island, to take charge of the family-owned forge (foundry), shortly prior to his father's death. There, he was the first to urge the establishment of a public school and in the same year he was chosen as a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, to which he was re-elected in 1771, 1772 and 1775. It is debatable that he was a member of the General Assembly since there is no mention of his participation in his personal papers and because there were several of his contemporaries with the same name from Rhode Island. He sympathized strongly with the "Whig," or Patriot, element among the colonists.

Marriage

In 1777, he married Catherine Littlefield Greene of Block Island. "Caty," as she was known by friends, had been living in East Greenwich with her aunt and uncle (William and Catharine [Ray] Greene of Greene Farm, East Greenwich, R.I.) since her mother died when she was ten years old. Her uncle was a Whig Party leader and governor of Rhode Island. Her aunt and namesake, Catherine Ray, was a close friend and correspondent of Benjamin Franklin from 1751-1784. Nathanael Greene and Catherine Littlefield were married in the "best parlor" at Greene Farm, East Greenwich, R.I. where a framed invitation to their wedding hangs on the back wall to this day (2010).


Militia

In August 1774, Greene helped organize a local militia which was chartered as the Kentish Guards that October. His participation in the group was challenged because he had a slight limp. At this time he began to acquire many expensive volumes on military tactics and began to teach himself the art of war. In December 1774, he was on a committee appointed by the assembly to revise the militia laws. It has been speculated that his zeal in attending to military duty led to his expulsion from the Quakers in 1773.

Early years of the war

On May 8, 1775, he was promoted from private to Brigadier General of the Rhode Island Army of Observation formed in response to the siege of Boston. He was appointed a brigadier of the Continental Army by the Continental Congress on June 22, 1775. Washington assigned Greene the command of the city of Boston after it was evacuated by Howe in March 1776. Letters of October 1775 and January 1776 to Samuel Ward, then a delegate from Rhode Island to the Continental Congress, favored a declaration of independence. On August 9, 1776, he was promoted to be one of the four new major generals and was put in command of the Continental Army troops on Long Island; he chose the place for fortifications, and built the redoubts and entrenchments of Fort Putnam (the site of current day Fort Greene Park) east of Brooklyn Heights. Severe illness prevented him from taking part in the Battle of Long Island. Greene was also a Rhode Island Freemason and bore a masonic jewel, the gift of his Masonic Brother the Marquis de Lafayette, on his person throughout the whole of the revolution.

Greene was prominent among those who advised a retreat from New York City and the burning of the city so that the British might not use it. He was placed in command of Fort Lee on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. On October 25, 1776, he succeeded General Israel Putnam in command of Fort Washington, across the river from Fort Lee. He received orders from Washington to defend Fort Washington to the last extremity, and on October 11, 1776, the Congress passed a resolution to the same effect; but later Washington wrote to him to use his own discretion. Greene ordered Colonel Magaw, who was in immediate command, to defend the place until he should hear from him again, and reinforced it to meet General Howe's attack. Nevertheless, the blame for the losses of Forts Washington and Lee was put upon Greene, but apparently without him losing the confidence of Washington, who himself assumed the responsibility.

At the Battle of Trenton, Greene commanded one of the two American columns. After the victory there, he urged Washington to push on immediately to Princeton, but was overruled by a council of war. At the Battle of Brandywine, Greene commanded the reserve. At Germantown, Greene's command, having a greater distance to march than the right wing under Sullivan, failed to arrive in good time: a failure which Greene himself thought would cost him Washington's trust. But when they arrived at length, Greene and his troops distinguished themselves.

At the urgent request of Washington on March 2, 1778, at Valley Forge, he accepted the office of Quartermaster General. His conduct in this difficult office, of which Washington heartily approved, has been characterized as "as good as was possible under the circumstances of that fluctuating uncertain force." However, he had become Quartermaster General on the understanding that he should retain the right to command troops in the field. Thus we find him at the head of the right wing at Monmouth on June 28, 1778. In August, Greene and Lafayette commanded the land forces sent to Rhode Island to co-operate with the French admiral d'Estaing, in an expedition (the Battle of Rhode Island) which proved unsuccessful. In June 1780, Greene was in command at the Battle of Springfield. In August, he resigned the office of Quartermaster General after a long and bitter struggle with Congress over the interference in army administration by the Treasury Board and by commissions appointed by Congress. Greene had vehemently argued with Congress over how to supply the Continental Army. Congress was in favor of having the individual states provide equipment, which had already proven to be ineffective since the federal government held little to no power over the states. A month before Washington appointed him commander of West Point, it fell to Greene to preside over the court which, on September 29, 1780, condemned Major John André to death.

Command in the South

The Congress had been unfortunate in the selection of commanders in the South. It had chosen Robert Howe, and he had lost Savannah. It had chosen Benjamin Lincoln, and he had lost Charleston. In the summer of 1780, near Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, the British attacked Horatio Gates' army, which broke and ran in wild confusion. This defeat effectively ended the American Southern Army as a cohesive fighting force. It left the way clear for Cornwallis to pursue his goals of gathering southern Loyalists and taking the war to Virginia. He planned then to use his southern ports to move men and material into the interior of North and South Carolina.

When Gates' successor was to be chosen the Congress decided to entrust the choice to Washington. On October 5 it resolved "that the Commander-in-Chief be and is hereby directed to appoint an officer to command the southern army, in the room of Major General Gates." Washington delayed not at all in making his selection. On the day after he received a copy of the resolution, he wrote to Nathanael Greene at West Point, "It is my wish to appoint You." The Congress approved the appointment, gave Greene command over all troops from Delaware to Georgia with extraordinarily full powers, "subject to the control of the Commander-in-Chief". Greene took command at Charlotte, North Carolina on December 2. Brig. Gen. Isaac Huger of the South Carolina Continentals was appointed his second in command. He was one of the dependable leaders in the state.

[The strategic retreat

The army was weak and badly equipped and was opposed by a superior force under Cornwallis. Greene decided to divide his own troops, thus forcing the division of the British as well, and creating the possibility of a strategic interplay of forces. Starting with the success of the great and heroic Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 under then Colonel William Campbell (he would later be appointed as a Brigadier General in 1781) the entire war changed. The entire British force was captured or killed (100% of all opposing forces) in an unbelievable battle of astounding magnitude. A new strategy led to General Daniel Morgan's victory of Cowpens on January 17, 1781, where nearly nine-tenths of the entire British force were killed or captured. Many of the same forces who were at King's Mountain also came to Cowpens.

With over 800 prisoners Morgan began a strategic retreat, moving north towards Salisbury where he was joined by Greene at Cowan's Ford on the Catawba River where a force of Patriot Militia fought a small engagement against Cornwallis's forces. Greene then wrote to Huger to direct his troop movement from Guilford Courthouse. Arriving on February 9 at Guilford, Greene summoned his field officers to a council of war of his chief officers and put forward the question of whether the army should give battle. It was voted that for the time being, the army should continue retreating to gather more forces, and defer engagement with Cornwallis. On the tenth he writes to Patrick Henry requesting troops, "If it is possible for you to call forth fifteen hundred Volunteers & march them immediately to my assistance, the British Army will be exposed to a very critical and dangerous situation."

"In all probability you will find me on the North side of Dan River. I must repeat it, the present moment is big with the most important consequences, & requires the greatest & most spirited exertions."

The race to the Dan River

Greene at this same time formed a special light corps to be commanded by Col. Otho Williams to cover the main army’s retreat. In a letter to George Washington on February 9, he described the "light army" he had formed under Williams as composed of: "cavalry of the 1st and 3rd Regiments and the Legion amounting to 240, a detachment of 280 Infantry under Lieut. Col. Howard, the Infantry of Lieut. Col. Lee's Legion and 60 Virginia Riflemen making in their whole 700 men which will be ordered with the Militia to harass the enemy in their advance, check their progress and if possible give us opportunity to retire without general action." Also saying "I called a Council, who unanimously advised to avoid an action, and to retire beyond the Roanoke immediately. A copy of the proceedings I have the honor to inclose." The re-united army only numbered two thousand and thirty-six men, including fourteen hundred and twenty-six regulars. Col. Edward Carrington joined the command, with the report that boats had been secured, and secreted along the Dan River in Virginia, so as to be collected on a few hours' warning. The British army was at Salem, only twenty-five miles from Guilford. This was on the tenth of February.

By the fourteenth, Greene's army had outrun the British and crossed the Dan River at Irvine's ferry in Halifax County, Virginia with boats being delivered from Boyd's ferry in Halifax and from Dix's ferry in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Cornwallis got the news in the course of the evening. The river was too high to cross without boats, and every boat was on the farther shore. Greene had won the race.

"This American retreat, which extended across the breadth of North Carolina, is considered one of the masterful military achievements of all time." Dennis M. Conrad, Project Director and Editor, The Papers of General Nathanael Greene

In a letter to General John Butler, Greene writes "I have some expectation of collecting a force sufficient in this County to enable me to act offensively and in turn race Lord Cornwallis as he has done me."

Battle of Guilford Court House

After only a week's encampment at Halifax Court House, Greene had sufficient promises and reports of help on the way to recross the river. Greene and the main army re-crossed the Dan River into North Carolina on the 22nd. Greene then pursued Cornwallis and gave battle on March 15, 1781, at the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, on ground he had himself chosen. Greene was defeated, but inflicted a great loss of men to Cornwallis. Three days after this battle, Cornwallis withdrew toward Wilmington, North Carolina. Greene's generalship and judgment were again conspicuously illustrated in the next few weeks, in which he allowed Cornwallis to march north to Virginia and himself turned swiftly to the reconquest of the inner country of South Carolina. This he achieved by the end of June, in spite of a reverse sustained at Lord Rawdon's hands at Hobkirk's Hill (2 miles north of Camden) on April 25. From May 22-June 19, 1781 Greene led the Siege of Ninety-Six, which ended unsuccessfully. These actions helped force the British to the coast.

Greene then gave his forces a six weeks rest on the High Hills of the Santee River, and on September 8, with 2,600 men, engaged the British under Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart at Eutaw Springs. Americans who fell in this battle were immortalized by American author Philip Freneau in his 1781 poem "To the Memory of Brave Americans." The battle, although tactically a draw, so weakened the British that they withdrew to Charleston, where Greene penned them during the remaining months of the war.

Greene's Southern Campaign showed remarkable strategic features. He excelled in dividing, eluding and tiring his opponent by long marches, and in actual conflict forcing the British to pay heavily for a temporary advantage; a price that they could not afford. However, he was defeated in every pitched battle he fought against the British during his time as southern commander. He was greatly assisted by able subordinates, including the Polish engineer, Tadeusz Kościuszko, the brilliant cavalry officers, Henry ("Light-Horse Harry") Lee and William Washington, and the partisan leaders, Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens, Elijah Clarke, and Francis Marion.

Post-war activities

North and South Carolina and Georgia voted Greene liberal grants of lands and money, including an estate, "Boone's Barony," south of Edisto in Bamberg County. This he sold to meet bills for the rations of his Southern army. After twice refusing the post of Secretary of War, Greene settled in 1785 on his Georgia estate, "Mulberry Grove," in Chatham County 14 miles above Savannah. He died at 43 years old on the estate on June 19, 1786, of sunstroke.

Greene was singularly able and, like other prominent generals on the American side, a self-trained soldier. He was second only to Washington among the officers of the American army in military ability, and the only general, other than Washington and Henry Knox, to serve the entire eight years of the war. Like Washington, he had the great gift of using small means to the utmost advantage. His attitude towards the British was humane and even kindly: he even generously defended Gates, who had repeatedly intrigued against him, when Gates's conduct of the campaign in the South was criticized.

Quotations

"I am determined to defend my rights and maintain my freedom or sell my life in the attempt."

"It had been happy for me if I could have lived a private life in peace and plenty, enjoying all the happiness that results from a well-tempered society founded on mutual esteem. But the injury done my country, and the chains of slavery forging for all posterity, calls me forth to defend our common rights, and repel the bold invaders of the sons of freedom." Nathanael Greene to his wife, Catharine Littlefield Greene.

"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again."

"Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. Let these be your motives to action through life, the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness."

"Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country's cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the Great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof."

"We are soldiers who devote ourselves to arms not for the invasion of other countries, but for the defense of our own, not for the gratification of our private interests but for public security"

"I hope this is the dark part of the night which is generally just before day."

"I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price we did Bunker Hill."

Memorials

There are countless cities, counties, and parks named in honor of Nathanael Greene across America. In addition, there have been four Coast Guard revenue cutters named for him. There was also the Navy's USS Nathanael Greene, a James Madison-class nuclear submarine (decommissioned in 1986). Other vessels include an Army cargo ship, hull number 313 (1904), Liberty class steam merchant (1942), which was sunk by a U-boat during World War II, and a 128-foot Army tug, USAV MG Nathanael Greene (LT 801), which is still in service today.

A monument (under which his remains are interred) to Greene stands in Johnson Square in Savannah (1829). His statue, with that of Roger Williams, represents the state of Rhode Island in the National Hall of Statuary in the Capitol at Washington; in the same city there is a bronze equestrian statue of him by Henry Kirke Brown at the center of Stanton Park. A small statue of Greene by Lewis Iselin, Jr. is part of the Terrace of Heroes outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He is also memorialized by an equestrian statue designed by Francis H. Packard at the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse near what is now Greensboro, North Carolina, the city named after him. Greeneville, Tennessee is also named after him. In 2006, the city of Greenville, South Carolina, also named for him, unveiled a statue of Greene designed by T. J. Dixon and James Nelson at the corner of South Main and Broad Streets.

In 2000, a six-foot tall, bronze statue of Greene by sculptor Chas Fagan was unveiled in St. Clair Park, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

As part of Greensboro, North Carolina's bicentennial celebration, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation commissioned sculptor Jim Barnhill, a city native and associate professor at NC A&T University, to create a bronze statue of Nathanael Greene which was dedicated on March 26, 2008. This eleven and a half-foot tall statue is mounted on a brick and marble pedestal inside a roundabout at Greene and McGee Streets.

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathanael_Greene -------------------- Nathanael Greene was born in Rhode Island in 1742 of Quaker parentage. From boyhood he was trained to work in the mills and the forge owned by his father. While he attended no college, he displayed an aptitude for study, and his reading was guided by Ezra Stiles, who became president of Yale.

In the face of the impending struggle with England he had helped to organize a militia company in 1774, but his fellow members denied him a lieutenancy because of his limping gait, and some went so far as to suggest that even as a private he would detract from the smart appearance of the company. Greene was deeply mortified, but his character is revealed by the fact that he remained in the company as a private. In 1775 he was a member of the General Assembly as he had been in 1770 to 1772. When the news of the Battle of Lexington arrived, Greene and his fellow militiamen set out for Boston. Although the Loyalist governor recalled them, Greene and three others continued on.. It was there that Greene's ability began to be realized. The private became a brigadier general in the Continental Army on June 22, 1775. For the next three years he was in constant service as a field commander.

He was the general in whom Washington most confided. Though resolute and firm, Greene was a pleasant man, who controlled a naturally impulsive and nervous temperament. A man of great integrity, he later treated with scorn the accusations made against him as Quartermaster General. When Mifflin began to neglect his Quartermaster duties, General Washington relied more and more upon General Greene's energy and wisdom in matters of supply. The dire distress of the army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78 forcibly called the attention of Congress to the necessity of filling the vacancy in the Quartermaster's Department. Under pressure from Washington, Greene reluctantly agreed to accept the post. Congress met the conditions of his acceptance and permitted Greene to retain his rank of Major General in the line and appointed John Cox and Charles Pettit his assistant quartermasters general.

Greene entered upon his duties with characteristic energy and began preparations for the spring campaign. He attacked the knotty problem of transportation, he established a chain of forage depots and he struggled to obtain funds from Congress for the purchase of horses, wagons, forage, tents, and other necessary supplies. So effective were his measures that the condition of the soldiers was much improved and their movement greatly facilitated, enabling them to pursue the British promptly when they evacuated Philadelphia in 1778. During the campaign that summer, Greene often combined the functions of Quartermaster General with the duties of a field commander.

His activities as Quartermaster General required unremitting, annoying, and thankless labor. The mounting expense of the Department alarmed him and gave rise to considerable criticism. Congress, concerned with reducing expenses, appointed three commissioners late in January 1780 to introduce such reforms as were necessary in the Department. In the midst of making preparations for the campaign soon to be launched by Washington, Greene learned that Congress insisted upon holding the Quartermaster General personally and financially liable for the acts of his subordinates. Greene flatly rejected this doctrine, and when he observed that the reorganization at the same time took away his two trusted officers, Pettit and Cox, he immediately sent in his resignation, on July 26. 1780. His letter of resignation so angered Congress that there was even talk of dismissing him from the service entirely. This move failing, Congress elected Timothy Pickering to the office of Quartermaster General on August 5, 1780.

General Greene returned to commanding troops. In the fall of 1780, when Congress suspended General Gates from his command after his crushing defeat at Camden, South Carolina., and asked Washington to name a successor, he promptly chose Greene. General Greene proved himself competent and thwarted the plans of trained British professionals, such as Generals Rawdon and Cornwallis, brilliantly leading the southern army to victory.. His military exploits brought him the renown he had sought, and ranked him second to Washington in military leadership. The administrative ability he exhibited as head of the Quartermaster's Department, his quick, comprehensive grasp of complex details, and the indomitable energy and industry with which he carried out his duties make him rank among the ablest of Quartermasters General.

General Green died when he was forty-four, less than three years after the war ended. His early death was attributed to a sunstroke suffered while viewing, bald headed, the extensive rice plantation of a friend. He had expended much of his personal fortune in support of the war in order to keep the southern army form starving. He died on June 19, 1786, and was buried in the cemetery of Christ Episcopal Church in Savannah. In 1902 his remains were reinterred beneath the Greene monument erected in Johnston Square, Savannah. General Greene was inducted into the Quartermaster Hall of Fame in 1989.

Born with a stiff knee that actually disqualified him from military service early on, Greene emerged from the Revolution second only to Washington in reputation as a strategist and commander. His successful Southern campaigns of 1780-81 helped drive Cornwallis into Yorktown-although Greene technically "lost" every battle. Even as a young man, Greene showed a voracious interest in military science. He was an avid reader and saved his money to buy books (he eventually bought his own library!) In spite of his devotion to reading, he was also active in his community, and helped found one of the first public schools in the area. In 1770, he was elected to the General Assembly of Rhode Island. When the first shots of the Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord, Rhode Island put Greene in charge of a small force and sent him to Boston in June 1775. Washington arrived as Commander-in-Chief a month later, and from the moment they met, a lasting friendship was formed. When the Continental army spent its miserable winter of December 1777 in Valley Forge, Washington appointed Greene as Quartermaster-General. It was not Greene's ideal job: he wanted to be with his troops and fighting. But Washington knew that Greene would do as he asked, and promised Greene his time in the field would come. Little did Washington or Greene know that "Greene's time in the field" would be some of the most important military action of the entire war.

After Horatio Gates' disaster at Camden, South Carolina, Washington kept his promise. Greene was given command. Washington had wanted Greene in charge of the South all along because Greene embodied the Commander-in-Chief's military strategy: never go for a victory that would cost too many men. Greene jumped into action. He pulled together the scattered and demoralized troops, and put his plans into place. His tactics against the British are still regarded by military strategists as brilliant. Instead of just taking things he needed from the Southerners, Greene was careful to make the Continental presence there as non-intrusive as possible. Being from Rhode Island, he was sensitive to Southern attitudes about "Yankees." He led Cornwallis further away from his base, forcing him to pillage for food and supplies. By the time Cornwallis finally gave up and headed into Yorktown, Greene had reclaimed Georgia, South and North Carolina-effectively negating all the earlier British conquests-without winning a single battle.

After the war, Congress gave him long overdue recognition for his spectacular service. Washington was also finally able to express publicly his own deep-felt gratitude for not only a great general, but also a friend. Surprisingly enough, Greene retired in the South, opening a plantation on the Savannah River in Georgia. He died a few years later from an illness contracted while visiting a friend's plantation. The entire nation, led by George Washington, mourned his untimely passing. But the country did not forget his service. Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as many other cities and counties, bear his name in tribute.

From: http://www.whosyomama.com/gabroaddrick3/4/27956.htm

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathanael_Greene

The son of a Quaker farmer and smith, also named Nathanael, was born at Potowomut in the township of Warwick, Rhode Island, on July 27, 1742 (old style)/August 7, 1742 new style. His mother, Mary Mott, was his father's second wife. Though his father's sect discouraged "literary accomplishments," Greene educated himself, with a special study of mathematics and law. The Rev. Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale University, was a strong influence in the young Nathanael's life. In 1770, Greene moved to Coventry, Rhode Island, to take charge of the family-owned forge (foundry), shortly prior to his father's death. There, he was the first to urge the establishment of a public school and in the same year he was chosen as a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, to which he was re-elected in 1771, 1772 and 1775. It is debatable that he was a member of the General Assembly since there is no mention of his participation in his personal papers and because there were several of his contemporaries with the same name from Rhode Island. He sympathized strongly with the "Whig," or Patriot, element among the colonists.

In 1774, he married Cathrin Greene of Block Island.

In August 1774, Greene helped organize a local militia which was chartered as the Kentish Guards that October. His participation in the group was challenged because he had a slight limp. At this time he began to acquire many expensive volumes on military tactics and began to teach himself the art of war. In December 1774, he was on a committee appointed by the assembly to revise the militia laws. It has been speculated that his zeal in attending to military duty led to his expulsion from the Quakers in 1773.

On May 8, 1775, he was promoted from private to Brigadier General of the Rhode Island Army of Observation formed in response to the siege of Boston. He was appointed a brigadier of the Continental Army by the Continental Congress on June 22, 1775. Washington assigned Greene the command of the city of Boston after it was evacuated by Howe in March 1776. Letters of October 1775 and January 1776 to Samuel Ward, then a delegate from Rhode Island to the Continental Congress, favored a declaration of independence. On August 9, 1776, he was promoted to be one of the four new major generals and was put in command of the Continental Army troops on Long Island; he chose the place for fortifications, and built the redoubts and entrenchments of Fort Putnam (the site of current day Fort Greene Park) east of Brooklyn Heights. Severe illness prevented him from taking part in the Battle of Long Island. Greene was also a Rhode Island Freemason and bore a masonic jewel, the gift of his Masonic Brother the Marquis de Lafayette, on his person throughout the whole of the revolution. Greene was prominent among those who advised a retreat from New York City and the burning of the city so that the British might not use it. He was placed in command of Fort Lee on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. On October 25, 1776, he succeeded General Israel Putnam in command of Fort Washington, across the river from Fort Lee. He received orders from Washington to defend Fort Washington to the last extremity, and on October 11, 1776, the Congress passed a resolution to the same effect; but later Washington wrote to him to use his own discretion. Greene ordered Colonel Magaw, who was in immediate command, to defend the place until he should hear from him again, and reinforced it to meet General Howe's attack. Nevertheless, the blame for the losses of Forts Washington and Lee was put upon Greene, but apparently without him losing the confidence of Washington, who himself assumed the responsibility. At the Battle of Trenton, Greene commanded one of the two American columns. After the victory there, he urged Washington to push on immediately to Princeton, but was overruled by a council of war. At the Battle of Brandywine, Greene commanded the reserve. At Germantown, Greene's command, having a greater distance to march than the right wing under Sullivan, failed to arrive in good time: a failure which Greene himself thought would cost him Washington's trust. But when they arrived at length, Greene and his troops distinguished themselves.

Painting by Charles Willson Peale At the urgent request of Washington on March 2, 1778, at Valley Forge, he accepted the office of Quartermaster General. His conduct in this difficult office, of which Washington heartily approved, has been characterized as "as good as was possible under the circumstances of that fluctuating uncertain force." However, he had become Quartermaster General on the understanding that he should retain the right to command troops in the field. Thus we find him at the head of the right wing at Monmouth on June 28, 1778. In August, Greene and Lafayette commanded the land forces sent to Rhode Island to co-operate with the French admiral d'Estaing, in an expedition (the Battle of Rhode Island) which proved unsuccessful. In June 1780, Greene was in command at the Battle of Springfield. In August, he resigned the office of Quartermaster General after a long and bitter struggle with Congress over the interference in army administration by the Treasury Board and by commissions appointed by Congress. Greene had vehemently argued with Congress over how to supply the Continental Army. Congress was in favor of having the individual states provide equipment, which had already proven to be ineffective since the federal government held little to no power over the states. A month before Washington appointed him commander of West Point, it fell to Greene to preside over the court which, on September 29, 1780, condemned Major John André to death.

The Congress had been unfortunate in the selection of commanders in the South. It had chosen Robert Howe, and he had lost Savannah. It had chosen Benjamin Lincoln, and he had lost Charleston. In the summer of 1780, near Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, the British attacked Horatio Gates' army, which broke and ran in wild confusion. This defeat effectively ended the American Southern Army as a cohesive fighting force. It left the way clear for Cornwallis to pursue his goals of gathering southern Loyalists and taking the war to Virginia. He planned then to use his southern ports to move men and material into the interior of North and South Carolina. When Gates' successor was to be chosen the Congress decided to entrust the choice to Washington. On October 5 it resolved "that the Commander-in-Chief be and is hereby directed to appoint an officer to command the southern army, in the room of Major General Gates." Washington delayed not at all in making his selection. On the day after he received a copy of the resolution, he wrote to Nathanael Greene at West Point, "It is my wish to appoint You." The Congress approved the appointment, gave Greene command over all troops from Delaware to Georgia with extraordinarily full powers, "subject to the control of the Commander-in-Chief". Greene took command at Charlotte, North Carolina on December 2. Brig. Gen. Isaac Huger of the South Carolina Continentals was appointed his second in command. He was one of the dependable leaders in the state.

The army was weak and badly equipped and was opposed by a superior force under Cornwallis. Greene decided to divide his own troops, thus forcing the division of the British as well, and creating the possibility of a strategic interplay of forces. Starting with the success of the great and heroic Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 under then Colonel William Campbell (he would later be appointed as a Brigadier General in 1781) the entire war changed. The entire British force was captured or killed (100% of all opposing forces) in an unbelievable battle of astounding magnitude. A new strategy led to General Daniel Morgan's victory of Cowpens on January 17, 1781, where nearly nine-tenths of the entire British force were killed or captured. Many of the same forces who were at King's Mountain also came to Cowpens. With over 800 prisoners Morgan began a strategic retreat, moving north towards Salisbury where he was joined by Greene at Cowan's Ford on the Catawba River where a force of Patriot Militia fought a small engagement against Cornwallis's forces. Greene then wrote to Huger to direct his troop movement from Guilford Courthouse. Arriving on February 9 at Guilford, Greene summoned his field officers to a council of war of his chief officers and put forward the question of whether the army should give battle. It was voted that for the time being, the army should continue retreating to gather more forces, and defer engagement with Cornwallis. On the tenth he wrote to Patrick Henry requesting troops, "If it is possible for you to call forth fifteen hundred Volunteers & march them immediately to my assistance, the British Army will be exposed to a very critical and dangerous situation." "In all probability you will find me on the North side of Dan River. I must repeat it, the present moment is big with the most important consequences, & requires the greatest & most spirited exertions."

Greene at this same time formed a special light corps to be commanded by Col. Otho Williams to cover the main army’s retreat. In a letter to George Washington on February 9, he described the "light army" he had formed under Williams as composed of: "cavalry of the 1st and 3rd Regiments and the Legion amounting to 240, a detachment of 280 Infantry under Lieut. Col. Howard, the Infantry of Lieut. Col. Lee's Legion and 60 Virginia Riflemen making in their whole 700 men which will be ordered with the Militia to harass the enemy in their advance, check their progress and if possible give us opportunity to retire without general action." Also saying "I called a Council, who unanimously advised to avoid an action, and to retire beyond the Roanoke immediately. A copy of the proceedings I have the honor to inclose." The re-united army only numbered two thousand and thirty-six men, including fourteen hundred and twenty-six regulars. Col. Edward Carrington joined the command, with the report that boats had been secured, and secreted along the Dan River in Virginia, so as to be collected on a few hours' warning. The British army was at Salem, only twenty-five miles from Guilford. This was on the tenth of February. By the fourteenth, Greene's army had outrun the British and crossed the Dan River at Irvine's ferry in Halifax County, Virginia with boats being delivered from Boyd's ferry in Halifax and from Dix's ferry in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Cornwallis got the news in the course of the evening. The river was too high to cross without boats, and every boat was on the farther shore. Greene had won the race. "This American retreat, which extended across the breadth of North Carolina, is considered one of the masterful military achievements of all time." Dennis M. Conrad, Project Director and Editor, The Papers of General Nathanael Greene In a letter to General John Butler, Greene writes "I have some expectation of collecting a force sufficient in this County to enable me to act offensively and in turn race Lord Cornwallis as he has done me." After only a week's encampment at Halifax Court House, Greene had sufficient promises and reports of help on the way to recross the river. Greene and the main army re-crossed the Dan River into North Carolina on the 22nd. Greene then pursued Cornwallis and gave battle on March 15, 1781, at the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, on ground he had himself chosen. Greene was defeated, but inflicted a great loss of men to Cornwallis. Three days after this battle, Cornwallis withdrew toward Wilmington, North Carolina. Greene's generalship and judgment were again conspicuously illustrated in the next few weeks, in which he allowed Cornwallis to march north to Virginia and himself turned swiftly to the reconquest of the inner country of South Carolina. This he achieved by the end of June, in spite of a reverse sustained at Lord Rawdon's hands at Hobkirk's Hill (2 miles north of Camden) on April 25. From May 22-June 19, 1781 Greene led the Siege of Ninety-Six, which ended unsuccessfully. These actions helped force the British to the coast. Greene then gave his forces a six weeks rest on the High Hills of the Santee River, and on September 8, with 2,600 men, engaged the British under Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart at Eutaw Springs. Americans who fell in this battle were immortalized by American author Philip Freneau in his 1781 poem "To the Memory of Brave Americans." The battle, although tactically a draw, so weakened the British that they withdrew to Charleston, where Greene penned them during the remaining months of the war. Greene's Southern Campaign showed remarkable strategic features. He excelled in dividing, eluding and tiring his opponent by long marches, and in actual conflict forcing the British to pay heavily for a temporary advantage; a price that they could not afford. However, he was defeated in every pitched battle he fought against the British during his time as southern commander. He was greatly assisted by able subordinates, including the Polish engineer, Tadeusz Kościuszko, the brilliant cavalry officers, Henry ("Light-Horse Harry") Lee and William Washington, and the partisan leaders, Thomas Sumter, Andrew Pickens, Elijah Clarke, and Francis Marion.

North and South Carolina and Georgia voted Greene liberal grants of lands and money, including an estate, "Boone's Barony," south of Edisto in Bamberg County. This he sold to meet bills for the rations of his Southern army. After twice refusing the post of Secretary of War, Greene settled in 1785 on his Georgia estate, "Mulberry Grove," in Chatham County 14 miles above Savannah. He died at 43 years old on the estate on June 19, 1786, of sunstroke. Greene was singularly able and, like other prominent generals on the American side, a self-trained soldier. He was second only to Washington among the officers of the American army in military ability, and the only general, other than Washington and Henry Knox, to serve the entire eight years of the war. Like Washington, he had the great gift of using small means to the utmost advantage. His attitude towards the British was humane and even kindly: he even generously defended Gates, who had repeatedly intrigued against him, when Gates's conduct of the campaign in the South was criticized.

Quotations:

"I am determined to defend my rights and maintain my freedom or sell my life in the attempt."[1] "It had been happy for me if I could have lived a private life in peace and plenty, enjoying all the happiness that results from a well-tempered society founded on mutual esteem. But the injury done my country, and the chains of slavery forging for all posterity, calls me forth to defend our common rights, and repel the bold invaders of the sons of freedom." Nathanael Greene to his wife, Catharine Littlefield Greene. "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." "Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. Let these be your motives to action through life, the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness." "Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country's cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the Great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof." "We are soldiers who devote ourselves to arms not for the invasion of other countries, but for the defense of our own, not for the gratification of our private interests but for public security" "I hope this is the dark part of the night which is generally just before day." "I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price we did Bunker Hill."

Memorials:

There are countless cities, counties, and parks named in honor of Nathanael Greene across America. In addition, there have been four Coast Guard revenue cutters named for him. There was also the Navy's USS Nathanael Greene, a James Madison-class nuclear submarine (decommissioned in 1986). Other vessels include an Army cargo ship, hull number 313 (1904), Liberty class steam merchant (1942), which was sunk by a U-boat during World War II, and a 128-foot Army tug, USAV MG Nathanael Greene (LT 801), which is still in service today. A monument (under which his remains are interred) to Greene stands in Johnson Square in Savannah (1829). His statue, with that of Roger Williams, represents the state of Rhode Island in the National Hall of Statuary in the Capitol at Washington; in the same city there is a bronze equestrian statue of him by Henry Kirke Brown at the center of Stanton Park. A small statue of Greene by Lewis Iselin, Jr. is part of the Terrace of Heroes outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is also memorialized by an equestrian statue designed by Francis H. Packard at the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse near what is now Greensboro, North Carolina, the city named after him. Greeneville, Tennessee is also named after him. In 2006, the city of Greenville, South Carolina, also named for him, unveiled a statue of Greene designed by T. J. Dixon and James Nelson at the corner of South Main and Broad Streets. In 2000, a six-foot tall, bronze statue of Greene by sculptor Chas Fagan was unveiled in St. Clair Park, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. As part of Greensboro, North Carolina's bicentennial celebration, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation commissioned sculptor Jim Barnhill, a city native and associate professor at NC A&T University, to create a bronze statue of Nathanael Greene which was dedicated on March 26, 2008. This eleven and a half-foot tall statue is mounted on a brick and marble pedestal inside a roundabout at Greene and McGee Streets.

-------------------- Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United States are named for him.

For more info, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathanael_Greene

-------------------- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nathanael Greene (August 7, 1742 – June 19, 1786) was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United States are named for him.

Militia

In August 1774, Greene helped organize a local militia which was chartered as the Kentish Guards that October. His participation in the group was challenged because he had a slight limp. At this time he began to acquire many expensive volumes on military tactics and began to teach himself the art of war. In December 1774, he was on a committee appointed by the assembly to revise the militia laws. It has been speculated that his zeal in attending to military duty led to his expulsion from the Quakers in 1773.

[edit] Early years of the war

On May 8, 1775, he was promoted from private to Brigadier General of the Rhode Island Army of Observation formed in response to the siege of Boston. He was appointed a brigadier of the Continental Army by the Continental Congress on June 22, 1775. Washington assigned Greene the command of the city of Boston after it was evacuated by Howe in March 1776. Letters of October 1775 and January 1776 to Samuel Ward, then a delegate from Rhode Island to the Continental Congress, favored a declaration of independence. On August 9, 1776, he was promoted to be one of the four new major generals and was put in command of the Continental Army troops on Long Island; he chose the place for fortifications, and built the redoubts and entrenchments of Fort Putnam (the site of current day Fort Greene Park) east of Brooklyn Heights. Severe illness prevented him from taking part in the Battle of Long Island. Greene was also a Rhode Island Freemason and bore a masonic jewel, the gift of his Masonic Brother the Marquis de Lafayette, on his person throughout the whole of the revolution.

Greene was prominent among those who advised a retreat from New York City and the burning of the city so that the British might not use it. He was placed in command of Fort Lee on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. On October 25, 1776, he succeeded General Israel Putnam in command of Fort Washington, across the river from Fort Lee. He received orders from Washington to defend Fort Washington to the last extremity, and on October 11, 1776, the Congress passed a resolution to the same effect; but later Washington wrote to him to use his own discretion. Greene ordered Colonel Magaw, who was in immediate command, to defend the place until he should hear from him again, and reinforced it to meet General Howe's attack. Nevertheless, the blame for the losses of Forts Washington and Lee was put upon Greene, but apparently without him losing the confidence of Washington, who himself assumed the responsibility.

At the Battle of Trenton, Greene commanded one of the two American columns. After the victory there, he urged Washington to push on immediately to Princeton, but was overruled by a council of war. At the Battle of Brandywine, Greene commanded the reserve. At Germantown, Greene's command, having a greater distance to march than the right wing under Sullivan, failed to arrive in good time: a failure which Greene himself thought would cost him Washington's trust. But when they arrived at length, Greene and his troops distinguished themselves.

At the urgent request of Washington on March 2, 1778, at Valley Forge, he accepted the office of Quartermaster General. His conduct in this difficult office, of which Washington heartily approved, has been characterized as "as good as was possible under the circumstances of that fluctuating uncertain force." However, he had become Quartermaster General on the understanding that he should retain the right to command troops in the field. Thus we find him at the head of the right wing at Monmouth on June 28, 1778. In August, Greene and Lafayette commanded the land forces sent to Rhode Island to co-operate with the French admiral d'Estaing, in an expedition (the Battle of Rhode Island) which proved unsuccessful. In June 1780, Greene was in command at the Battle of Springfield. In August, he resigned the office of Quartermaster General after a long and bitter struggle with Congress over the interference in army administration by the Treasury Board and by commissions appointed by Congress. Greene had vehemently argued with Congress over how to supply the Continental Army. Congress was in favor of having the individual states provide equipment, which had already proven to be ineffective since the federal government held little to no power over the states. A month before Washington appointed him commander of West Point, it fell to Greene to preside over the court which, on September 29, 1780, condemned Major John André to death.

[edit] Command in the South

Washington & Nathanael Greene

The Congress had been unfortunate in the selection of commanders in the South. It had chosen Robert Howe, and he had lost Savannah. It had chosen Benjamin Lincoln, and he had lost Charleston. In the summer of 1780, near Camden, South Carolina, on August 16, the British attacked Horatio Gates' army, which broke and ran in wild confusion. This defeat effectively ended the American Southern Army as a cohesive fighting force. It left the way clear for Cornwallis to pursue his goals of gathering southern Loyalists and taking the war to Virginia. He planned then to use his southern ports to move men and material into the interior of North and South Carolina.

When Gates' successor was to be chosen the Congress decided to entrust the choice to Washington. On October 5 it resolved "that the Commander-in-Chief be and is hereby directed to appoint an officer to command the southern army, in the room of Major General Gates." Washington delayed not at all in making his selection. On the day after he received a copy of the resolution, he wrote to Nathanael Greene at West Point, "It is my wish to appoint You." The Congress approved the appointment, gave Greene command over all troops from Delaware to Georgia with extraordinarily full powers, "subject to the control of the Commander-in-Chief". Greene took command at Charlotte, North Carolina on December 2. Brig. Gen. Isaac Huger of the South Carolina Continentals was appointed his second in command. He was one of the dependable leaders in the state.

[edit] The strategic retreat

The army was weak and badly equipped and was opposed by a superior force under Cornwallis. Greene decided to divide his own troops, thus forcing the division of the British as well, and creating the possibility of a strategic interplay of forces. Starting with the success of the great and heroic Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 under then Colonel William Campbell (he would later be appointed as a Brigadier General in 1781) the entire war changed. The entire British force was captured or killed (100% of all opposing forces) in an unbelievable battle of astounding magnitude. A new strategy led to General Daniel Morgan's victory of Cowpens on J

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Maj. General Nathanael Greene (Continental Army)'s Timeline

1742
July 27, 1742
Township of Warwick, Rhode Island
1747
1747
Age 4
Newport, Newport County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
1774
July 20, 1774
Age 31
East Greenwich, Kent, Rhode Island, United States
1776
February 1776
Age 33
Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States
1777
March 14, 1777
Age 34
Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States
1779
September 23, 1779
Age 37
Potowomut, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States
1780
January 31, 1780
Age 37
Morristown, Morris, New Jersey, United States
1784
1784
Age 41
Warwick, Kent County, Rhode Island, United States
1786
June 19, 1786
Age 43
Mulberry Grove, Harris, Georgia, United States
1786
Age 43
Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island, United States