A supporter of the Patriot cause, Greene assisted in the formation of a local militia near his home at Coventry, RI in August 1774. Dubbed the "Kentish Guards," Greene's participation in the unit's activities was limited due a slight limp. Unable to march with the men, he became an avid student of military tactics and strategy. The following year, he was again elected to the General Assembly. In the wake of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Greene was appointed as a brigadier general in the Rhode Island Army of Observation. In this capacity he led the colony's troops to join in the siege of Boston.
Nathanael Greene - Becoming a General:
Recognized for his abilities, he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Continental Army on June 22, 1775. A few weeks later, on July 4, he first met General George Washington and the two became close friends. With the British evacuation of Boston in March 1776, Washington placed Greene in command of the city before dispatching him south to Long Island. Promoted to major general on August 9, he was given command of Continental forces on the island. After constructing fortifications during early August, he missed the Battle of Long Island on the 27th due to a severe fever.
Greene finally saw combat on September 16, when he commanded troops during the Battle of Harlem Heights. Given command of American forces in New Jersey, he launched an abortive attack on Staten Island on October 12. Moved to command Fort Washington (on Manhattan) later that month, he erred by encouraging Washington to hold the fortification. Though Colonel Robert Magaw was ordered to defend the fort to the last, it fell on November 16 with over 2,800 Americans captured. Three days later, Fort Lee, across the Hudson River was taken as well.
Nathanael Greene - The Philadelphia Campaign:
Though Greene was blamed for the loss of both forts, Washington retained confidence in the Rhode Island general. After falling back across New Jersey, Greene led a wing of the army during the victory at the Battle of Trenton on December 26. A few days later, on January 3, he played a role at the Battle of Princeton. After entering winter quarters at Morristown, NJ, Greene spent part of 1777, lobbying the Continental Congress for supplies. On September 11, he commanded a division during the defeat at Brandywine, before leading one of the attack columns at Germantown on October 4.
Moving to Valley Forge for the winter, Washington appointed Greene quartermaster general on March 2, 1778. Greene accepted on the condition that he be allowed to retain his combat command. Diving into his new responsibilities, he was frequently frustrated by Congress' unwillingness to allocate supplies. Departing Valley Forge, the army fell upon the British at near Monmouth Court House, NJ. In the resulting Battle of Monmouth, Greene again led a wing of the army. That August, Greene was sent to Rhode Island with the Marquis de Lafayette to coordinate an offensive with French Admiral Comte d'Estaing.
This campaign came to dismal end when American forces under Brigadier General John Sullivan were defeated on August 29. Returning to the main army in New Jersey, Greene led American forces to victory at the Battle of Springfield on June 23, 1780. Two months later, Greene resigned as quartermaster general citing Congressional interference in army matters. On September 29, 1780, he presided over the court-martial that condemned spy Major John Andre to death. After American forces in the South suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Camden, Congress asked Washington to select a new commander for the region.
Nathanael Greene - Going South:
Without hesitation, Washington appointed Greene to lead Continental forces in the South. Departing, Greene took command of his new army at Charlotte, NC on December 2, 1780. Facing a superior British