Nathanael Greene Fact File: Lifespan: 1742 - 1786 *** Full Name: Nathanael Greene *** Nickname: The Savior of the South and The Fighting Quaker *** Occupation: Major General in the Continental Army *** Date of Birth: Nathanael Greene was born on August 7th 1742 *** Place of Birth: Nathanael Greene was born on Forge Farm at Potowomut in Warwick on Rhode Island, USA *** Family background: His father was Nathanael Greene, a farmer, Smith and Quaker and his mother was Mary Mott, his fatherís second wife *** Early life and childhood: He grew up Warwick, Rhode Island *** Education: Nathanael Greene largely educated himself by studying law and mathematics ***
Nathanael Greene Fact 1: Nathanael Greene was born on August 7th 1742 and during the 18th century period in history when France and America both went through revolutions and the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.
Nathanael Greene Fact 2: By 1770 prior to his fatherís death, he moved to Coventry in Rhode Island where he began to take over running the family owned foundry.
Nathanael Greene Fact 3: It was while he was there that he raised the issue of the establishment of a public school.
Nathanael Greene Fact 4: He met Catherine Littlefield and in July of 1774 the couple married. Together they went on to have five children together and as was quite rare for the time, all survived infancy. Cathy was considerably younger than her husband by around twelve years.
Nathanael Greene Fact 5: The following year he put together a local militia which in October was chartered as the Kentish Guards. Around this time, he began to collect and read books on military tactics and learned much about the art of war.
Nathanael Greene Fact 6: As a member of the Quakers his enthusiasm for conflict with the British and his involvement in organizing the militia went very strongly against the pacifist ideal and he was subsequently expelled.
Nathanael Greene Fact 7: In 1775 he would be promoted to Major General of the Rhode Island Army of Observation which had been created after the siege of Boston.
Nathanael Greene Fact 8: In June of 1776 he was appointed by the Continental Congress to the rank of brigadier in the Continental Army and was assigned by Washington to command the city of Boston after the British had evacuated.
Nathanael Greene Fact 9: By August of 1776 he was put in command of the Continental Army troops currently positioned on Long Island as one of the new major generals. He immediately set about fortifying the area and oversaw the construction of entrenchments and redoubts to the east of Brooklyn Heights.
Nathanael Greene Fact 10: Unable to take part in the Battle of Long Island he was outspoken in favor of retreating out of New York and setting fire to the city to prevent the British from returning stating that the majority holders of property in New York were Loyalist. Congress refused to pass the idea.
Nathanael Greene Fact 11: He was in charge of the reserves at the Battle of Brandywine and although with further to travel he was late arriving for the Germantown conflict he and his troops nevertheless distinguished themselves in battle.
Nathanael Greene Fact 12: With the choice of commanders for the southern campaign falling to Congress, their choices left a lot to be desired, Benjamin Lincoln lost Charleston, Robert Howe lost Savannah and under Horatio Gatesí command South Carolina was also lost.
Nathanael Greene Fact 13: Having made poor decision previously Congress decided to give General Washington the choice for a commander of the southern army. As soon as he received the missive he immediately wrote to Greene at West Point.
Nathanael Greene Fact 14: On December 3rd 1780 Nathanael Greene became second-in-command with unlimited powers over all the troops from Georgia to Delaware which was basically the entire Continental Army and was only answerable to General Washington himself.
Nathanael Greene Fact 15: The superior force at that time was definitely under Cornwallis compared to the weak and poorly equipped American troops and so Greene decided to split his troops and forced the British to do the same as he began to plan a tactical war to take to Cornwallis. The tide began to turn.
Nathanael Greene Fact 16: Having convened a war council and the decision made to make a tactical retreat until reinforcements could be provided, Greene and his men removed themselves to the Dan River and in the nick of time crossed before Cornwallis caught them. News was received that the rive level had risen to such that boats were required and all suitable vessels were on the far side with Greene and his forces. It was said "This American retreat, which extended across the breadth of North Carolina, is considered one of the masterful military achievements of all time.".
Nathanael Greene Fact 17: Greene wrote to General John Butler "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." In one week Greene had sufficient confirmation of approaching reinforcements that he re-crossed the Dan River.
Nathanael Greene Fact 18: The Battle of Guildford Court House in North Carolina commence on March 15th 1781. Greene drove Cornwallis into North Carolina. At Santee River he rested his troops for six weeks and in September engaged Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart and the British army and they retreated to Charleston where Greene was able to hold them for the final months before wars end.
Nathanael Greene Fact 19: In honor of his service he was given generous grants of money and land. Some of which he sold to pay the debts incurred by the Southern Army. Twice he was offered the position of Secretary of War and twice he refused, preferring to return to his Georgia Estate, Mulberry Grove.
Nathanael Greene Fact 20: On June 19th 1786 Nathanael Greene died aged forty three years and his body laid to rest in The Graham Vault in Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah. His remains would later be moved to Johnson Square in Savannah.
Influence and Legacy: One of his greatest achievements would be that he was a self-taught soldier. He had studied many books on military tactics and won some of his biggest conflicts by using his brain over brawn.
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