Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rev War Ancestors VI: The Fighting Quaker

Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene [1742 RI - 1786 GA]: Nathanael Greene was a Quaker who chose patriotism over the pacifist doctrine of his faith. At the outbreak of hostilities in Boston, Rhode Island's congress placed Greene in command of 1600 militiamen and appointed him Major-General.
Upon Washington's arrival the army was reorganized and Greene was named a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. He would be with Washington at Long Island, the retreat across New Jersey, Trenton, the Philadelphia Campaign and Valley Forge. Greene was promoted to Major General, then named Quartermaster General of the Army in 1778. He would replace Arnold as commander at West Point. Nathanael continually campaigned for a return to a field command.

Washington wanted Greene appointed commander of the Southern Department in 1780, but Congress opted for Saratoga's "hero" Horatio Gates. After Gates nearly lost his army and fled the field of battle at Camden, SC, Nathanael Greene received his field command - replacing the publically disgraced Gates.

Greene would take advantage of partisan leaders like Marion, Pickens and Sumter to wage a guerilla war against Cornwallis. He put Daniel Morgan in command of part of his army and Morgan defeated Tarleton at Cowpens. Greene, like Washington, faced defeat after defeat, but kept his men in the field. At Guilford Court House in 1781, Greene used Morgan's Cowpens tactics to punish Cornwallis and deal the British a devastating victory. He would be with Washington at Yorktown.

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