Nathanael Greene (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Greene was one of George Washington’s most trusted subordinates throughout the Revolutionary War, playing a significant role both as a field commander and as the Continental army’s quartermaster general.
Nathanael Greene was one of the numerous descendants of the Quaker John Greene, who followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island in 1636 in search of religious freedom. He was born on August 7, 1742, in Potowomut (modern Warwick), Rhode Island. Because of his father’s suspicion of learning, Greene was largely self-educated, his early reading being directed by a chance meeting with Ezra Stiles, later president of Yale College. The young Greene was five feet, ten inches tall and well built, with an oval face, blue eyes, a straight nose, a full, determined mouth, and a large forehead and firm double chin. A stiff right knee gave him a slight limp, but neither this nor periodic bouts of asthma prevented him from engaging in normal physical activity.
Like his brothers, Greene spent most of his youth working in the prosperous family forge and mills. In 1770, his father gave him control of the family forge in Coventry, Rhode Island, where he built his own house, including a library of 250 volumes. From early youth he had shown a fondness for dancing and an interest in things military; some time after his father’s death, the Quaker meeting in Coventry dismissed him for attending a...
(The entire section is 3133 words.)
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Nathanael Greene (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Although Greene lost or drew all three major battles in the southern theater, his overall campaign so weakened Lord Charles Cornwallis that it turned the British toward Yorktown and final defeat.
At age twenty-one, Nathanael Greene abandoned his Quaker pacifist heritage to concentrate on military history and strategy. In 1774, he organized a militia unit, the Kentish Guards, and in 1775 became general of the army of Rhode Island. After the start of the American Revolution (1775-1783), he reported to General George Washington in 1776 and was quickly promoted to major general. In command of two forts in New York, Greene allowed both outposts to be captured. He redeemed himself by serving as a major strategist in the Battles of Trenton in 1776 and Brandywine and Germantown in 1777. Washington then asked him to become quartermaster general. Believing the post beneath him, Greene reluctantly agreed but resigned in disgust in 1780.
In 1781, Greene received command of the Southern Department and devised a strategy of speed and attrition against the British in the Carolinas. In the southern campaign, Greene’s brilliant tactics during his war of attrition against Lord Charles Cornwallis’s superior forces confirmed his reputation as “the strategist of the Revolution.” He was defeated at Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk’s Hill, and Eutaw Springs in 1781. His statement, “We fight, get beat,...
(The entire section is 312 words.)