Nathanael Greene papers  1762-1852 (bulk 1780-1785)
full text File Size: 41 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag

Biography

American Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) was born in Potowomut, Rhode Island, to Quakers Nathanael Greene and Mary Mott. Greene married Catherine Littlefield in 1774, and they had five children. In 1775, Rhode Island appointed Greene to command their newly raised regiments. He served under Washington through the siege of Boston, and took his troops to New York in the spring of 1776. Promoted to major general in April 1776, he fought in the New York campaign and accompanied Washington in the attack on the Hessians at Trenton in December. He spent the following winter at Valley Forge, and participated in battles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the summer of 1777.

Greene distinguished himself for his ability to gather and regulate supplies. He served as quartermaster general from early 1778 until he resigned in 1780. During that time, he reorganized the department and made it more efficient and effective, though he constantly struggled with Congress for funds. While serving as quartermaster, Greene also participated in several battles, for example at Monmouth, and aided General John Sullivan in the 1778 Rhode Island campaign. In August 1780, Greene replaced Horatio Gates as commander of the Southern Department. On his way south he accomplished the prodigious task of equipping and supplying his almost destitute army. Facing Lord Cornwallis's superior forces, Greene out-maneuvered the British and left them with costly victories at Guilford Court House, Hobkirk's Hill, Ninety-Six, and Eutaw Springs. Cornwallis, drawn northward from his base at Charleston, pushed into Virginia and was forced to surrender at Yorktown. Meanwhile, Greene, with the aid of General Anthony Wayne, concentrated on expelling the British from Savannah and Charleston in 1782.

After the war, South Carolina and Georgia gave Greene tracts of land as a reward for his service. Greene, however, had amassed considerable debts during the war, and struggled to pay them back. He moved his family to a plantation called Mulberry Grove, near Savannah, Georgia, but he struggled to make it profitable. Greene died suddenly of either heat stroke or an infection on June 19, 1786.

Catherine (Caty) Littlefield Greene (1755-1814) was born on Block Island, Rhode Island. She and Nathanael married in 1774 and over the course of the war they had five children. When possible, Caty joined Nathanael at his headquarters; however they spent much of the war separated. After Nathaniel's death, she hired Phineas Miller as the plantation manager of Mulberry Grove, and under his management the plantation prospered for a time. She and Miller married in 1796, and in 1798 they moved to a plantation called Dungeness on Cumberland Island, which Caty managed until her death in 1814.