GREENE, Nathanael 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. Greene suffered financial difficulties in the post-war years and died suddenly of sunstroke in 1786.
Nathanael was the son of Nathanael Greene (1707–1770), a Quaker farmer and smith, and the great great grandson of John Greene and Samuel Gorton, both of whom were founding settlers of Warwick, Rhode Island. Nathanael was born on Forge Farm at Potowomut in the township of Warwick, Rhode Island, on August 7, 1742. 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), just prior to his father's death. There, he was the first to urge the establishment of a public school.
In 1774, he married Catharine Littlefield Greene, also known as "Caty," of Rhode 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 pronounced 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 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. Severe illness prevented him from taking part in the Battle of Long Island.
He 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. He was prominent among those who advised a retreat from New York City. He also advocated the burning of the city so that the British might not use it. He justified this by asserting that the majority of property was owned by Loyalists. 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, Washington wrote to him to use his own discretion. He 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 him, but apparently without him losing the confidence of Washington, who himself assumed the responsibility.
At the Battle of Trenton, he 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, he 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 he 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.
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"; effectively becoming the second-in-command of the entire Continental Army. 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 at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 under then Colonel William Campbell he would later be appointed as a Brigadier General in 1781 the campaign changed. The entire British force was captured or killed. 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 the Salisbury District 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.
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's army engaged Cornwallis's Army. At the height of the battle as the Continentals started to turn the British flank Cornwallis ordered his artillery to fire grapeshot into the thick of the battle killing as many of his own men as Greene's. Greene ordered his army to execute a tactical retreat and left the field to Cornwallis, but inflicted a great loss of men to Cornwallis. Three days after this battle, with his army battered and exhausted, 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 Francis 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 Kosciuszko, 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. In the end Greene and his forces liberated the southern states from British control. When the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the war British forces controlled a couple of southern coastal cities while Greene controlled the rest.
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. Nathanel Green left five children, George Washington, Martha, Cornelia Lott, Nathanael Ray, and Louisa Catharine. George accompanied Lafayette to France in 1785, and pursued his education until 1794, when he returned to Georgia. Soon after his return he was drowned in the Savannah River. Martha married John C. Nightingale, and afterwards Dr. Henry Turner of Tennessee. Cornelia married Peyton Skipwith, and after his death K. B. Littlefield, of Tennessee. Nathanael married Miss Ann Lirke, and settled in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Louisa, who was born a few moths after the death of her father, married Mr. James Shaw and settled on Cumberland Island. Mrs. Greene remained a widow a few years and then married Mr. Phineas Miller. She died September 2, 1814.
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.
STUART, Charles Gilbert was born in Saunderstown, Rhode Island on December 3, 1755 and baptized at Old Narragansett Church. He was the third child of Gilbert Stewart, a Scottish immigrant employed in the snuff-making industry, and Elizabeth Anthony Stewart, a member of a prominent land-owning family from Middletown, Rhode Island. Stuart's father worked in the first colonial snuff mill in America, which was located in the basement of the family homestead.
Gilbert Stuart moved to Newport, Rhode Island at the age of six, where his father pursued work in the merchant field. In Newport, Stuart first began to show great promise as a painter. In 1770, Stuart made the acquaintance of Scottish artist Cosmo Alexander, a visitor of the colonies who made portraits of local patrons and who became a tutor to Stuart. Under the guidance of Alexander, Stuart painted the famous portrait Dr. Hunter's Spaniels, which hangs today in the Hunter House Mansion in Newport, when he was fourteen years old. The painting is also referred to as Dr. Hunter's Dogs by some accounts.
In 1771 Stuart moved to Scotland with Alexander to finish his studies; however, Alexander died in Edinburgh one year later. Stuart tried to maintain a living and pursue his painting career but to no avail, and so in 1773 he returned to Newport
Stuart's prospects as a portraitist were jeopardized by the onset of the American Revolution and its social disruptions. Following the example set by John Singleton Copley, Stuart departed for England in 1775. Unsuccessful at first in pursuit of his vocation, he then became a protégé of Benjamin West, with whom he studied for the next six years. The relationship was a beneficial one, with Stuart exhibiting at the Royal Academy as early as 1777.
By 1782 Stuart had met with success, largely due to acclaim for The Skater, a portrait of William Grant. At one point, the prices for his pictures were exceeded only by those of renowned English artists Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Despite his many commissions, however, Stuart was habitually neglectful of finances and was in danger of being sent to debtors' prison. During this period he married Charlotte Coates. In 1787 he fled to Dublin, Ireland, where he painted and accumulated debt with equal vigor
Stuart returned to the United States in 1793, settling briefly in New York City. In 1795 he moved to Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he opened a studio. It was here that he would gain not only a foothold in the art world, but lasting fame with pictures of many important Americans of the day.
Stuart painted George Washington in a series of iconic portraits, each of them leading in turn to a demand for copies and keeping Stuart busy and highly paid for years. The most famous and celebrated of these likenesses, known as The Athenaeum, is currently portrayed on the United States one dollar bill. Stuart, along with his daughters, painted a total of 130 reproductions of The Athenaeum. However, Stuart never completed the original version; after finishing Washington's face, the artist kept the original version to make the copies. He sold up to 70 of his reproductions for a price of US $100 each, but the original portrait was left unfinished at the time of Stuart's death in 1828. The painting now hangs in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Another celebrated image of Washington is the Lansdowne portrait, a large portrait with one version hanging in the East Room of the White House. During the burning of Washington by British troops in the War of 1812, this painting was saved through the intervention of First Lady Dolley Madison and Paul Jennings, one of President James Madison's slaves. Four versions of the portrait are attributed to Stuart, and additional copies were painted by other artists for display in U.S. government buildings. In 1803, Stuart opened a studio in Washington, D. C.
Stuart moved to Boston in 1805, continuing in critical acclaim and financial troubles. He lived on Devonshire Street. He exhibited works locally at Doggett's Repository and Julien Hall. In 1826 he suffered a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed. Nevertheless, Stuart continued to paint for two years until his death in Boston at the age of 72. He was buried in the Old South Burial Ground of the Boston Common. As Stuart left his family deeply in debt, his wife and daughters were unable to purchase a grave site. Stuart was therefore buried in an unmarked grave which was purchased cheaply from Benjamin Howland, a local carpenter. When Stuart's family recovered from their financial troubles roughly ten years later, they planned to move his body to a family cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island. However, since his family could not remember the exact location of Stuart's body, it was never moved.
Mr. Stuart, while residing in London in 1786, married Charlotte Coates the daughter of Dr. Coates. By this marriage he had thirteen children, two of whom were born in London. Two of his children were sons, one of whom had much of the ability of his father as a painter. The youngest daughter. Miss Jane Stuart, has achieved success and reputation as an artist. Stuart died in Boston, July, 1828. His remains were placed in the cemetery of the Episcopal Church, in which he worshipped while residing in Boston.
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