Major Generals, Part 3

As you are probably wondering - which generals will I showcase today?  I have chosen two generals who were key to the revolution on both sides.  First, the Patriots had General Nathanael Greene.  The British had Sir Henry Clinton.  Let's take a look at the Patriots' general - Nathanael Greene.
Nathanael Greene

General Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) was born on July 27 in Rhode Island.  His family was one of the original settlers to the area. He was an apprentice to an anchorsmith and merchant.  He had no formal education but loved to read and write.  His father purchased a mill and he learned to manage it.  Greene helped establish the first public school in the area.  Over the years, he read many books on military strategy and was even called before the Quaker council because of this interest. In 1770, he was elected to the General Assembly.

As men were training in preparation for the British attack, he also trained.  He was part of a group called - the Kentish Guards. After Lexington and Concord, he rushed to offer help.  When Rhode Island called 1600 men into service, they named him major-general of the forces. He became the youngest general in the Continental Army at the age of 32.  He had no military experience but won the respect of his soldiers because of how he handled himself.  His forces were ready and in place outside of Boston in 1775.

Washington arrived in Boston and the two men became friends immediately.  He was given the rank of Brigadier General and was ordered to New York to drive off the British.  Unfortunately, the British proved quite formidable and Green was forced to retreat in 1776.  He was promoted back to Major General and helped Washington face the British in Princeton and Trenton.  He also assisted Washington at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.

While Washington was encamped at Valley Forge, he placed Greene in charge of securing supplies and made him Quartermaster-General.   "The Honourable Continental Congress have been pleased to appoint Major-General Greene, Quartermaster-General in the army of the United States - reserving his rank of Major-General in the same."  Greene was not thrilled with the duty but did as he was ordered.

When the British evacuated Philadelphia, Washington and Greene along with their troops followed them to New Jersey.  Greene's service at the Battle of Monmouth was key to the success.  When Benedict Arnold turned traitor and escaped, Greene was given command of West Point.  He was in charge of Andre's trial and even though the British argued for his defense, Andre had confessed.  Greene had the man executed for his treason.

After Gates is defeated at Camden, South Carolina, Congress asks Washington who should replace the man.  Washington names Greene. He headed south and placed men in key positions to help secure supplies and more troops. He arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina in December 1780. Cornwallis started after Greene who was not prepared.  He kept to the rivers and streams until he could gather a force to confront Cornwallis.  He decided to lure Cornwallis to Guildford Court in North Carolina.  He sent word to all Patriot forces to meet him there. He had only 1500 troops, but he broke his forces into three lines.  Although the patriots did not necessarily win the battle, they crippled the British with their repeated attacks. Cornwallis began to retreat and Greene pursued him.  Even with his small army, he secured North Carolina for the Patriots.

Greene decided to move into South Carolina.  He was joined by Frances Marion's forces.  They managed to capture many British strongholds at this time.  He managed to chase Rawdon from his stronghold and gave him chase.  Through continual battles and attacks, he managed to force the British to retreat and lose control of South Carolina as well.  All that remained was Charleston.

When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Greene and his men took control of Charleston on December 14, 1782.  Finally, sending his best generals and men, he helped free Georgia from British control.

In August of 1783, he surrendered his command, the battles over, the war won and peace finally had arrived for the new country.

Sir Henry Clinton

Sir Henry Clinton - (1730-1795) was the son of Commodore George Clinton, the governor of Newfoundland.  His father later became governor of New York. He was educated in the colonies and actually joined the local militia in 1746. In 1751, he traveled to England and joined the British Army. He purchased a commission as captain and was a gifted officer.  He continued to purchase additional ranks over the years.  In 1758, he became a lieutenant of the 1st Foot Guards.  He was an aide-de-camp to Duke Ferdinand during the Seven Years' War (the French and Indian War).  He was then promoted to colonel in 1762 and in 1772, he was promoted again to Major General.  Not long after, his family secured him a position in Parliament.

When war broke out in the colonies, he was sent to Boston with William Howe and John Burgoyne to help Gage.

In June of 1775, he helped with the British victory at Bunker Hill.  Howe was asked to replace Gage as Commander-in-Chief.  Clinton was made second in command and given the rank of lieutenant general.  He was then sent to the Carolinas.  His attack there was not successful as the troops could not navigate the swamps surrounding Charleston.  He decided to return north to assist how in New York.

He advised Howe and together they won at the Battle of Long Island.  Unfortunately he did not get along with Howe and when he was made a Knight of the Order of Bath, he asked to return to England.  He went into New York to hold it while Howe sailed south to capture Philadelphia.  When Burgoyne asked for assistance, he sent some troops, but kept most of them in New York to guard against an attack from Washington.  Unfortunately, his assistance did not help Burgoyne who surrendered Saratoga.

He was made Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in 1778 after Howe resigned. He took command of Philadelphia with Cornwallis as his second-in-command.  He sent men to assist in the Caribbean against the French which left him weak.  He decided to abandon Philadelphia in order to hold New York.

While stationed in New York, he decided the British could make a stand in the south where many Loyalists still lived.  His men captured Savannah, Georgia and then Charleston, South Carolina.   When he learned the French were heading to New York, he left the southern campaign in Cornwallis' control so he could hold New York.  He tried to offer assistance to Cornwallis, but the man was very independent and made many decisions on his own. When he learned of Cornwallis' troubles at Yorktown, he tried to send men but was too late.

When Cornwallis surrendered, the British government decided Clinton needed to be replaced.  In March of 1782, he was replaced by Sir Guy Carleton.  Clinton was blamed for the defeat in the Americas.

He was responsible for taking and holding New York and Rhode Island (Greene's home state).  He also took hold of Charles Towne (which we call Charleston today) in 1780.  His superiors did not heed his advice and he did not come to Cornwallis' assistance at Yorktown.  He resigned in 1782 and returned to Great Britain.

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