The Patriot Resource - American Revolution


Continental General Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene Born: July 27, 1742; Potowomut (Warwick), Rhode Island
Died: June 19, 1786; Savannah, Georgia

Battles: Trenton, Guilford Courthouse



Revolutionary War: 1778-1780
On February 25, 1778, Maj. General Nathanael Greene agreed to the appointment of Quartermaster General of the Continental Army by General Washington and it was confirmed by Congress on March 2, 1778. Washington had recognized Greene's skill in requisitioning supplies during the hard winter at Valley Forge. Greene at first resisted the appointment, because he yearned for the glory of a field command. He feared he would fade into obscurity in the position, but Washington urged him to take the post, which he finally did with the condition that he had complete control over the department. Greene spent hours cleaning up the Quartermaster's Department.

In spite of his official posting as Quartermaster General, General George Washington still consulted Greene on matters of strategy and tactics and he was present at all councils of war. He next saw action at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey on June 28, 1778, where he commanded the right wing and repelled an assault by Lt. General Charles Cornwallis. Later that summer, he was sent to Rhode Island to participate in Maj. General John Sullivan's campaign there. At the Battle of Rhode Island at Newport on August 29, he again distinguished himself against the German mercenary battalions.

Greene then went on to Boston in September 1778 to help stop a breakdown in Franco-American relations. By October, he was back in Rhode Island carrying out his duties as Quartermaster General. On March 27, 1780, Thomas Mifflin, Nathanael Greene's predecessor as Quartermaster General, proposed a plan for reorganizing the Quartermaster's department. He disagreed with the Continental Congress' new policy on requisitioning supplies from the states. On June 7, 1780, he commanded the front line at the Connecticut Farms in New Jersey. On June 23, 1780, he led the force that held off the British at the Battle of Springfield.

After Congress refused a vote of confidence, Greene resigned as Quartermaster General on July 26, 1780, which was accepted on August 3. Some congressmen even wanted to run Greene out of the army, but failed. General George Washington next appointed Greene in September 1780 to preside over the military court that convicted Major John Andre, who had been the British spy involved in Benedict Arnold's treason. On October 5, Greene succeeded Benedict Arnold when Washington gave him command of West Point and the Hudson Highlands Department.


The Southern Campaign: 1780
Following news of Maj. General Horatio Gates' defeat by General Cornwallis at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina on August 16, 1781, Congress gave General Washington full authorization to choose the Southern Department Commander on October 5th. Washington had recommended Greene for the post back in May as Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln's replacement following the surrender of Charleston, South Carolina. However, Congress had overruled Washington's selection and Gates had been selected. Washington received Congress' resolution on October 13th and again chose Greene for the post on the very next day on October 14th. On October 22nd, Greene accepted his orders from Washington and set out from camp with his designated second-in-command, Baron von Steuben. They travelled to Philadelphia and presented Washington's letters to Congress. On October 31, 1780, both appointments were approved by Congress. There would be no politics over the post this time. Congress had been momentarily humbled.








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