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Nathaneal Green addresses his troops.

Nathanael Greene was one of nine children. He was raised as a member of the Society of Friends, a religious group also known as the Quakers. Quakers are pacifists-they believe that wars and fighting are wrong. On July 20, 1774, Greene married Catharine Littlefield, who was nineteen years old.

Despite his religious background, Greene helped organize a militia in October 1774, because the possibility of war with Britain was increasing. The Society of Friends no longer let him be a member. Because Greene had a limp, the militia group didn't want him to be an officer. So, he began his military career as a private.

When the American Revolution began, Rhode Island created an army for its defense. Nathanael Greene was appointed Brigadier General to command this army.

Greene fought at Fort Washington, Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown, gaining the trust of General George Washington. In March 1778, Greene was appointed Quartermaster General of the Continental Army because he was good at gathering and conserving military supplies. As quartermaster, his responsibilities included getting supplies to the far-flung army and organizing the army's camps. When he accepted the position, he reserved the right to also continue as a commanding general in the field.

Greene's efforts during the winter of 1779-1780, when the army was encamped at Morristown, NJ, greatly benefited the Continentals. His wife Catharine gave birth to their fourth child in Morristown in late January.

In October 1780, following the disastrous patriot defeat at Camden, SC, Washington gave Greene command of forces in the South. In a brilliant campaign, Greene reversed the new nation's fortunes in the South. In a series of battles (Guilford Courthouse) and marches, Greene wore down the British army and paved the way for the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. He emerged from the war with a military reputation second only to Washington's.

After the war, Greene was deeply in debt because he had pledged his own money to feed the troops. But South Carolina voted to give him a gift of money, in gratitude for his defense of the state. A grateful Georgia gave him a plantation on Cumberland Island. In 1785, with his debts cleared, he moved to his Mulberry Grove plantation on the island. A year later, Greene died at the age of forty-four, from an illness brought on by sunstroke. He is buried within the boundaries of Cumberland Island National Seashore.


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