The Patriot Resource - The Patriot

The Patriot Film Fact or Fiction: People

In The Patriot:
The movie character of General Nathanael Greene is based on the real-life Maj. General Nathanael Greene. In his one scene, Greene is portrayed correctly. Greene's sentiments concerning the unreliability of militia were true to life. General Greene has lost confidence in militia since their poor performance in the defense of New York City in 1776.

General Greene's concerns over the militia were reinforced by the way the militia fled the field at the Battle of Camden. When he had assumed command of Continental forces in the South, Greene decided to only use militia as scouts and on small raids.

The discussion of battle strategy following Greene's comments were not accurate. Though the strategy of using militia as decoys was a real strategy, it was used by Brig. General Daniel Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens against Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Neither General Greene nor General Charles Cornwallis were present at that battle.

The filmmakers have admitted that they combined elements of the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, so this explains the fudging of details. Unconventional tactics were the keys to Cowpens, while traditional maneuvering on favorable terrain was used by Greene against Cornwallis at Guilford Cornwallis.

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