Nathanael Greene: Strategist of the American Revolution

Nathanael Greene: Strategist of the American Revolution

Nathanael Greene: Strategist of the American Revolution

Nathanael Greene: Strategist of the American Revolution

Excerpt

Nathanael Greene has always been considered among the great of the American Revolution. Time, however, has dimmed remembrance of the part he played in the winning of independence and the forging of the new nation. He was considered a military strategist of the first order by the men of his own time and the opinion would appear justified in the light of history. Indeed, it may be no overstatement to say that Greene, while with the army in the North, generally masterminded Washington's campaigns. Very early Washington made known his desire to have Greene his successor should anything happen to him in the course of the war. In Congress, also, he was considered the most eligible to succeed Washington.

In the South, Greene's strategy and daring played a major role in the final undoing of British power in America. At the outset this was implemented by a major stroke of good fortune. Greene sent Morgan to harass Cornwallis' flank at Winnsborough but not to risk a pitched battle with any part of the enemy. Cowpens was a lucky break for Greene. It weakened Cornwallis to such an extent that Greene could turn on him at Guilford Court House and give him such a mauling that he was forced to leave North Carolina. After that good fortune was Washington's when the French fleet sailed into the Chesapeake to seal the fate of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

After Guilford Court House, Greene dazzled the world by invading South Carolina and driving the British into Charleston. Sensational as was the campaign in South Carolina, in reality it may have had little bearing upon the outcome of the war. However, it could have been of the greatest importance had the French fleet failed to arrive off Yorktown. If that had not occurred, Greene's army and his successes in South Carolina could have been the only important obstacle between the British and the complete subjugation of the South.

The British had been heavily reinforced and Greene understood what it would mean if he marched to Virginia leaving the enemy . . .

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