Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!
Need an article for your Trestleboard/Newsletter see our Use Policy

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

Nathanael Greene is Born

Today in Masonic History Nathanael Greene is born in 1742.

Nathanael Greene was a member of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War .

Greene was born on August 7th, 1742 in Potowomut a township of Warwick, Rhode Island. Greene was born a Quaker and in that sect "literary accomplishments" were discouraged. Greene educated himself studying mathematics and law.

In 1770, Greene moved to Coventry, Rhode Island to take over the family foundry. There he pushed for the establishment of a public school. It is believed that over the next few years that Greene was chosen a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly. This fact though is in question since his personal papers make no mention of it and there were several other individuals in the state who shared his name.

Despite still being a Quaker, Greene, in 1774, formed a local militia. He also began educating himself on military strategies. By the end of the war he was considered to be on equal ground with Washington in regards to his prowess. His military abilities also caught the attention of the Quaker sect he was member who expelled him for going against their pacifist ways. Greene was not unique in this, many Quakers who served during the American Revolution dealt with the conflict of fighting for a cause and their religious beliefs.

In the early part of the American Revolution, Greene was in the northern colonies. Shortly before Valley Forge, General Washington appointed Greene as the Quartermaster General. Later Washington would praise Greene for his efforts to help keep the Continental Army fed and clothed during the harsh winter. Despite having General Washington's full confidence, Greene was at odds with the Continental Congress who insisted on using the already failed plan of having the states provide supplies as needed. With no real federal government in place, the states would not answer to the calls of the Continental Army.

In 1780, Greene was appointed by Washington to head the armies from Delaware to Georgia. This effectively put Greene in a position as second in command of the entire Continental Army, answering only to General Washington. Greene took over the southern command just as things were looking bleak. Cornwallis had pushed Horatio Gates out of his way and had begun a move north to Virgina. Faced with a difficult situation, Greene made some daring and unorthodox moves to maneuver Cornwallis and the British Army into harms way. He did this by a series of strategic retreats, forcing Cornwallis to stretch his resources thin. Greene did not win a single major engagement while he commanded the southern forces, yet his tactics caused the British Army to be weakened and easier for Washington to defeat as they moved north.

Greene was one of only four Generals who served during the entire American Revolution.

Greene retired to his estate in Georgia, a land grant given by Georgia for his efforts during the war. There he passed away on June 19th, 1786.

Greene's masonic affiliation is not known. Some believe he was a member of a Rhode Island Lodge and others believe it was a Military Lodge. Regardless he had strong ties with the fraternity. He was friends with the Marquis de Lafayette who presented Greene with a masonic medal which Greene wore throughout the American Revolution. In 1825, Lafayette and the Grand Lodge of Georgia worked together to lay a cornerstone for a monument to Greene.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.