; born in Warwick, R. I.
, May 27, 1742; was the son of a member of the Society of Friends or Quakers.
His education was confined to the English
of the common school, and his youth was spent on the farm, in a mill, or in a blacksmith's shop.
At the age of twenty years he studied law and afterwards military tactics.
He was fond of books from his childhood.
In 1770 he was elected a member of the Rhode Island legislature, wherein he held a seat until appointed to the command of the Southern
army in 1780.
His military proclivities caused him to be “disowned” by Friends, and he became a member of a military company.
Three regiments of militia were organized in Rhode Island
after the affair at Lexington
, as an “army of observation,” and these Greene
, as provincial brigadier-general, led to Cambridge
, where he was created a brigadiergeneral in the Continental
army, June 22, 1775.
saw and appreciated his soldierly qualities, and in August, 1776, he was made a major-general.
He commanded the left wing of the army at Trenton
; was active in New Jersey
; by a rapid movement saved the army from destruction at the Brandywine
; was in the battle of Germantown
, Oct. 4, 1777, and in March, 1778, accepted the office of quartermaster-general, but with a guarantee that he should not lose his right of command in action.
This office he resigned in August, 1780.
In the battle of Springfield
, in June, 1780, he was conspicuous.
's visit to Hartford
(September, 1780) he was in command of the army, and was president of the court of inquiry in the case of Major Andre
soon afterwards (see Andre, John
in command of the Southern
army, Oct. 14, 1780, which he found a mere skeleton, while a powerful enemy was in front of it. He took command of it at Charlotte, N. C.
, Dec. 4.
By skill and energy he brought order and strength out of confusion, and soon taught Cornwallis that a better
general than Gates
confronted him. He made a famous retreat through Carolina
, and, turning back, fought the British
army at Guildford Courthouse, N. C., March 15, 1781.
then pushed into South Carolina
, and was defeated by Lord Rawdon in the battle of Hobkirk's Hill, April 25.
Soon afterwards he besieged the fort of Ninety-Six, and on Sept. 8 gained a victory at Eutaw Springs, S. C.
, for which Congress gave him thanks, a British standard, and a gold medal.
Expelling the British
from the Southern
returned to Rhode Island
at the close of the war.
Congress presented him with two pieces of artillery.
The State of Georgia
gave him a fine plantation a few miles from Savannah
, where he settled in the fall of
1785, and died June 19, 1786. South Carolina
also gave him a valuable tract of land.
A monument dedicated jointly to Greene
stands in the city of Savannah
, and the State of Rhode Island
has erected an equestrian statue of him at the national capital, executed by H. K. Browne
The doubt that had long existed as to the actual burial-place of
the hero was settled early in March, 1901, when Col. Asa Bird Gardiner
, acting in behalf of the Rhode Island
Society of the Cincinnati, made an exploration of the cemeteries in Savannah, Ga.
, and, in the Jones vault of the long-abandoned colonial cemetery, found, the plate that had been on General Greene
's coffin and three metal buttons, with the American
eagle on them, doubtless from the uniform in which it is known that General Greene
and his army remained on the Santee Hills
until late in the fall, his partisan corps, led by Marion
, and others, were driving the British
forces from post to post, in the low country, and smiting Tory bands in every direction.
finally evacuated all their interior stations and retired to Charleston
, pursued almost to the edge of the city by the partisan troops.
The main army occupied a position between
that city and Jacksonboro
, where the South Carolina legislature had resumed its sessions.
had failed to win victories in battle, but had fully accomplished the object of his campaign— namely, to liberate the Carolinas and Georgia
from British rule.
In the course of nine months he had recovered the three Southern States, and at the close of 1781 he had all the British
troops below Virginia
hemmed within the cities of Charleston
After the disaster at the Cowpens, Cornwallis placed his force in light marching order and started in pursuit of Morgan
, hoping to intercept him before he could cross the Catawba River
The earl ordered all his stores and superfluous baggage to be burned, and his whole army was converted into light infantry
The only wagons saved were those with hospital stores, salt, and ammunition, and four empty ones for sick and wounded.
Sensible of his danger, Morgan
, leaving seventy of his wounded under a flag of truce, crossed the Broad River
immediately after the battle at the Cowpens
(q. v.), and pushed for the Catawba
Cornwallis followed the next morning.
Two hours before the van of the pursuers appeared, Morgan
had passed the Catawba
at Trading Ford
, and before the British
could begin the passage, heavy rains produced a sudden rise in the waters, and time was given to Morgan
to send off his prisoners, and to refresh his weary troops.
heard of the affair at the Cowpens, he put his troops in motion to join Morgan
Pressing forward with only a small guard, he joined Morgan
two days after he had passed the Catawba
(Jan. 29, 1781), and assumed, in person, the command of the division.
And now one of the most remarkable military movements on record occurred.
It was the retreat of the American
army, under Greene
, from the Catawba
through North Carolina
When the waters of the Catawba
subsided, Cornwallis crossed and resumed his pursuit.
He reached the right bank of the Yadkin
(Feb. 3), just as the Americans
were safely landed on the opposite shore.
Again he was arrested by the sudden swelling of the river.
Onward the flying patriots sped, and after a few hours Cornwallis was again in full pursuit.
At Guilford Court-house Greene
was joined (Feb. 7) by his main army from Cheraw
, and all continued their flight towards Virginia
, for they were not strong enough to give battle.
After many hardships and narrow escapes, the Americans
reached the Dan
(Feb. 15, 1781), and crossed its rising waters into the friendly bosom of Halifax county, Va.
When Cornwallis arrived, a few hours afterwards, the stream was so high and turbulent that he could not cross.
There, mortified and disappointed, the earl abandoned the chase, and, moving sullenly southward through North Carolina
, established his camp at Hillsboro