Revolution 250 Podcast

Nathanael Greene with Janet Uhlar

August 08, 2023 Janet Uhlar Season 4 Episode 32
Revolution 250 Podcast
Nathanael Greene with Janet Uhlar
Show Notes Transcript

Nathanael Greene put aside his Quaker faith and successful business to lead Rhode Island troops in support of the people of Massachusetts.  From the Siege of Boston to the British evacuation, Greene was in the field--as the Revolution's best strategic thinker, and Washington's designated successor.   Janet Uhlar joins us to talk about the extraordinary and brief life of Nathanael Greene, which she also recounts in her book Freedom's Cost:  The Story of General Nathanael Greene.

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 Hello, everyone.
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 Welcome to the Revolution 250 podcast.
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 I'm Bob Allison.
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 I chair the Rev 250 advisory group.
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 We are a collaboration among about 70 groups in Massachusetts looking at ways to commemorate the beginnings of American independence.
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 And I'm coming to you today from the Edward Kennedy Institute at Columbia Point, a replica of the United States Senate chamber, really a fabulous space.
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 And I thank them for letting us have our conversation today with Janet Euler.
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 Janet, thank you for joining us.
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 It's wonderful to be here, Bob.
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 And Janet's coming to us from sunny Cape Cod.
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 Actually, you're in the middle of a wind and rain storm.
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 Very windy right now, yeah.
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 Yeah, and in addition to being on the, having been on the board of the Cape and Islands Commission on the Status of Women and a co-founder of the Open Doorway of Cape Cod, which is an advocacy organization for people struggling with addiction and being the mother of five, grandmother of one, Janet is an historian.
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 She has written two really good books on the revolution.
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 We talked to you earlier about your earlier book on,
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 blanking on Joseph Warren, right?
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 You wrote about Joseph Warren.
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 Yes, but we did an interview on Josiah Quincy.
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 Josiah Quincy, right?
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 And today we're going to talk about Freedom's Cost, the story of General Nathaniel Greene.
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 Thank you.
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 So Greene is a figure well known in some circles, less well known in others, but he's definitely someone we should know more about in terms of the Revolution.
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 Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
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 He's a true unsung hero.
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 In fact, I believe he was negated in early history, the retelling of the American Revolution.
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 Yeah, but you make the point that I know there were three generals there from the siege of Boston until the end, Greene, Washington, Knox, and very quickly Nathaniel Greene came to Washington's attention during the siege of Boston, which is a
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 Can you tell us a little bit about who Green was?
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 I'm sorry, you were about to say something.
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 Prior to the war, prior to meeting Washington, Green was a Quaker up until 1774 when he was read out of the Society of Friends for participating in the formation of a militia unit in Rhode Island, the Kentish Guards.
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 He had no military experience whatsoever.
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 He came from a strict Quaker family.
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 which owned a lot of businesses.
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 Any education he had on military affairs came from reading many of the books he purchased from Henry Knox when he was the bookseller in Boston.
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 So Green actually helped form the Kentish Guards.
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 He actually smuggled muskets out of Boston to bring to the Kentish Guards.
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 He actually smuggled a British drill sergeant out of Boston who was deserting to train the Kentish Guards.
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 But when the Kentish Guards went to appoint their officers, they would not appoint Green because he had a noticeable limp.
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 And they thought that that wasn't proper for a military officer.
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 So he was made private.
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 So he still served in the guards.
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 He'd helped form this unit, got them their muskets.
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 But then they said, no, you limp.
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 He was mortified.
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 He said so in letters.
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 But he took his place in the ranks.
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 And then when the Rhode Island militia units were marching toward Massachusetts after the battles of Lexington and Concord,
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 the governor turned them around.
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 He wanted to appoint a commander over all the different units and the Rhode Island assembly met for a number of days.
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 We do not have the records of those assembly meetings, but the outcome was that Nathaniel Green went from private to brigadier general overnight.
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 Well, that's quite a leap, but it wasn't.
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 Pardon me?
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 Go on, go on.
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 Well, his take on it, because now we have access to his letters in the 13 volumes.
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 He had a country sense of humor.
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 He said they offered it to the Baptist, he turned it down.
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 They offered it to the Congregationalist, he turned it down.
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 So they gave it to the newly fallen Quaker.
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 Yeah, not many Quakers become military officers.
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 No, especially generals.
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 That's right.
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 So how does he come to Washington's notice at the siege of Boston?
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 He greeted Washington.
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 His militia units were set up properly as far as their encampment went.
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 And he greeted Washington with perfect military protocol.
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 And Washington was very impressed from the start.
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 They became best friends.
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 Greene became his confidant.
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 In fact, Greene, with only book learning, would go on to be referred to as the strategist of the American Revolution.
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 So what are some of the battles he's in where he demonstrates his military strategy, his strategic abilities?
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 Well, let's start with the Battle of Brandywine Creek.
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 This was right before they went into Valley Forge, the September before.
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 And he was now a major general appointed by the Continental Congress.
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 He had a division under him.
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 Washington was holding him in reserve that day.
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 General John Sullivan of New Hampshire had gone in with his division.
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 And toward the end of the day, around four o'clock,
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 Washington sent orders for Green to get to Sullivan's aid as quickly as possible because Sullivan was basically being decimated.
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 And Green actually marched his division, and it was supposed to be a brutally hot day, four miles in a quarter of an hour, I believe it was.
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 It was a remarkable feat.
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 And he came to the aid of Sullivan, allowed his men to retreat, and basically saved the Continental Army that day.
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 Yeah, because Brandywine was a defeat for the Continental Army, but they were able to stick together.
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 So he's coming to understand the nature of the war, and it's not necessarily winning the battles.
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 It's something else they're trying.
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 They're not trying to lose battles.
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 He would become masterful at that.
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 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
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 But before he does, though, he also becomes the quartermaster at Valleyport.
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 Now, this is something that has been so ignored or overlooked in history.
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 It is amazing.
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 You know, we go, the army's going into Valley Forge a few months later.
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 And the reason the army went in in such pitiful condition, I mean, we've all learned about it throughout our schooling, the bloody footprints in the snow, the whole bit, was because the acting quartermaster general, Thomas Mifflin,
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 who would go down as a founding father of the country, had basically abandoned his post as quartermaster general.
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 And he was not supplying the army.
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 That's why they were in dire straits.
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 Now, while in Valley Forge, we see General Washington writing to Congress and telling them, basically, if something doesn't happen,
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 We're going to be forced to disband.
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 This is a very desperate moment.
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 And what we're taught in school, be it third grade, seventh grade, tenth grade, is that what saved the army or what happened with the army is they come out in the spring, they face the British on the field at Monmouth Courthouse.
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 it's a draw between the British and the Continental Army.
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 And my question is, how does a dying army face the most mighty army on the face of the earth?
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 And basically, it's a draw.
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 And the answer we got in third grade, seventh grade, 10th grade, was the Baron von Steuben came and trained the troops.
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 How do you train dying troops?
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 There's this
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 Huge gap that historians have absolutely not addressed, nor has Valley Forge National Park addressed.
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 And what happened between going in there and between Von Steuben and the battle was Nathaniel Green took a demotion from Major General Battlefield Commander to Quartermaster General.
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 and started pulling supplies into Valley Forge within three weeks of taking that position to have the army ready for von Steuben and the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.
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 And he gets no credit for that.
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 Did I lose you, Bob?
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 Bob, I'm thinking we have a time delay.
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 Do you hear me?
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 I think there's an adage about a thing to write about March
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 You're back.
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 Interesting you to write about drilling and so on.
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 But supply supply supply chains.
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 I mean, supply chains are really critical.
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 And Nathaniel Green seemed to understand that and was able to get the army supplied.
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 He absolutely didn't.
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 He saved the army.
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 He saved the army from Washington.
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 We're talking with Janet Euler, the author of Free Lost the Story.
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 connection seems to be spotty here with Janet Ewell Earle.
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 Jeremy, can we talk a little bit about Green's wife, Catherine Green, who was with him during much of the war?
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 We can talk about Catherine, but I'd rather focus on Nathaniel because so much is missed about him.
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 But Catherine Green,
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 do you have me sure okay um catherine did come to him okay so tell us what yes yes we do so tell us about catherine green and then we can go back to talking about nathaniel green
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 Catherine came to him every winter when she could.
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 She came to him even when she was very pregnant.
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 She enjoyed being with him in the winter.
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 She enjoyed being with his military family and the society of the officers during the winter.
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 She livened up the camp.
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 We know that.
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 You're fine.
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 was an independent woman, a beautiful woman, and a flirtatious woman.
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 And for that, she's been maligned often by historians.
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 And to wrap her up quickly, it's said by some historians or questioned if she was having affairs with other officers during the war.
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 And one of the situations brought out is that at the close of the war when she left him in the south, she did go to stay with him for a year in the south.
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 She came back by ship, he came back by land.
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 We know the last time they were together through his letters.
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 And historians have implied that because she ended up being pregnant when she got back to Rhode Island and because she didn't deliver her baby till 44 weeks after she left her husband, historians have implied, suggested that.
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 that she cheated on him.
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 Now, I have taken that question to obstetricians.
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 I am a nurse by profession.
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 And I wanted to check out if, you know, there could be another story to this because Nathaniel Green never seemed to doubt his wife.
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 And in fact, obstetricians plural told me
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 that the women would understand this better, the wheel that they use to predict the due date of a pregnancy goes to 44 weeks.
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 And in fact, women can go 44 weeks, but today they don't allow that.
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 They will induce the labor before that.
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 So in fact, this very likely was her husband's baby, but historians have taken her
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 And they have created this whole narrative about her, which is not based in fact.
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 Another narrative they have used is he wrote her a letter.
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 It was written in a biography written in 1976 about Catherine.
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 And in the letter, Nathaniel Green is scolding her.
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 And we don't have the entirety of the letter, only a couple of sentences.
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 Now, when his letters came out in the 13 volumes and you read that letter in full, there's a whole different meaning behind it.
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 What this biography came out with as the narrative was that he was scolding her because she was drinking too much, drinking alcohol.
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 Now, when you read the letter in its entirety,
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 He is scolding her because she had just had a baby and she was overdoing it in his estimation and he wanted her to rest.
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 Totally, totally different meaning.
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 Now I'll give you a third example and then hopefully we'll go back to Nathaniel Green.
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 After he died, when she was down in Savannah, a widow,
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 with an insurmountable debt on her, which I hope we will talk about, George Washington as President of the United States stopped to visit her on his way south and then on his way back north.
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 Now, some historians again will suggest
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 that they were having an affair with Washington and Katie Green.
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 And that's why he stopped there twice.
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 What we do know is that, first of all, the house wasn't that big.
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 This was not a gone with the wind type of plantation house.
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 She had five children.
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 She had a tutor.
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 She had slaves, unfortunately.
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 And Washington, when he got back up north, he and Alexander Hamilton, or Alexander Hamilton actually, wrote a 20-page petition to Congress to relieve Catherine Greig of the debt that she was under from the war.
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 And chances are, or it's highly likely, because
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 the Secretary of the Treasury did this upon Washington's return, that George Washington was counseling her when he went to visit her about this petition and about what she needed to do because she was in an awful, awful situation.
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 And I don't think the President of the United States was going to announce that he was counseling the widow Green on how to get out from under this debt.
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 So we have to explore all the facts and stop putting personal bias into historical accounts.
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 And she did lose her husband.
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 He was quite young when he passed.
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 She did lose her husband.
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 And she was stuck with the enormity of not only, you know, raising the family and running a plantation, but in the astronomical debt that Congress stuck Nathaniel Green with.
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 One of the, I think we did want to talk more about Nathaniel Green, or you did.
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 She sounds like a fascinating person, though.
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 I'd be happy to talk more about her.
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 But let's get back to General Green.
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 She was actually interviewed at one point because of all the rumors even then going around.
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 And the interviewer walked away and said she was just basically a woman who was confident in herself, a woman who was ahead of herself, and just enjoyed life.
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 And because of that, all kinds of stigmas were attached to her.
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 That is unfortunate.
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 Now, Washington entrusts Greene with some of the most difficult things that come up during the war.
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 One is the trial of Major Andre after Benedict Arnold.
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 The other, of course, is taking over the disastrous Southern Campaign.
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 I wonder if you could talk a bit about those episodes.
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 Yeah, he did give him the
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 the Andre trial, that situation.
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 Of course, when that was going on, some of the continental general officers were concerned because Andre was such a likable fellow.
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 They really didn't want George Washington to have any dealings with him because it would be difficult for him to do what needed to be done in the end.
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 So yeah, General Green did preside over that trial.
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 As far as...
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 You know, the things that he depended on, Green, for Washington, I mean, first of all, was the situation at Valley Forge becoming quartermaster general.
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 I mean, in Green's letters, we see that he says that Congress and George Washington, his dear friend, was hounding him night and day, day and night to take on this position.
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 He did not want the position.
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 He referred in his letters, he said, who's ever heard of a quartermaster general in the golden pages of history?
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 And when I give a talk on him, I ask the audience, do you know who the quartermaster general is?
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 Can you name any quartermaster general?
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 And nobody does.
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 I mean, he was right about it, but he took it anyway.
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 And it's interesting that during his term as quartermaster general, it was only supposed to be a one-year term.
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 That's what he agreed to with Congress.
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 Congress expanded on it, wouldn't let him out of that position going on two years.
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 Now, when Greene was quartermaster general, I'm saying this leading up to the whole Southern campaign, he was adamant with Congress in a respectful manner that they needed to supply the army.
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 that they needed to find means to properly supply the army in the field that was attempting to still obtain this independence that they had declared, which had not yet been obtained.
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 And the army was always in short supply.
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 And so he made a couple of enemies in Congress who resented him
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 kind of they saw it as insubordination in a sense that he would hold them to the task so when he finally got out of the quartermaster's um position and let me let me tell you that um right before he did they were threatening to just just send him off i'm thinking about i can't think of a military term now to dishonorably discharge him from the service because he
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 They didn't like him trying to get supplies for the Army.
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 That was his job.
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 And so there was a meeting of Congress to have hearings about discharging him from the military.
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 And in the end, it was agreed that they would discharge him as quartermaster general.
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 and return him to his post if he would train the next quartermaster general, which he had every intention of doing anyway.
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 So now he's got enemies in Congress.
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 Now, within a few short months of them wanting to discharge him,
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 They are pleading with him and Washington to take command of the Southern campaign.
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 Two generals had attempted it already and basically had failed miserably.
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 Now they're going to send the one that if any of the generals can handle this other than Washington, who could not go down there and take command because of the situation with the British, it was going to be Green.
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 Now also, remember that Washington had let Greene and Congress and the other general officers know that should something ever happen to him,
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 Green was to become the commander-in-chief, okay?
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 So now they want him to go south because the war had switched to the south.
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 That's where the British was.
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 That's where the attention had to be.
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 But Washington could not move the main army because if he moved the main army south, the British could easily come back to the middle states.
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 So he had to have an army throughout the colonies, the states.
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 So Green goes down.
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 He's got a ragtag army down there.
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 He puts everything into motion that he learned as quartermaster general.
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 He starts getting supplies in for these sickly troops.
 22:28.395 --> 22:30.196
 He starts getting them strengthened.
 22:30.723 --> 22:33.065
 and he begins to weaken the British.
 22:33.145 --> 22:35.886
 Now he's down there for a total of two years.
 22:36.407 --> 22:43.431
 He's down there a year after the victory at Yorktown, which most Northerners have no idea of.
 22:43.511 --> 22:45.572
 They think the war ended at Yorktown.
 22:45.772 --> 22:49.535
 It did not, especially in the Southern campaign.
 22:50.495 --> 22:52.817
 So he has to develop tactics
 22:53.447 --> 22:59.392
 that had not been used yet because he doesn't have as much militia down there to draw upon.
 22:59.853 --> 23:05.658
 The Continentals are, you know, 2,000 at the most when he was at his strongest.
 23:06.378 --> 23:08.580
 And the British are strong and supplied.
 23:09.801 --> 23:16.307
 Supplies are harder to come by in the South because there are more Tories than Patriots.
 23:16.327 --> 23:20.591
 So he develops strategies of retreat.
 23:21.909 --> 23:25.051
 He would pull the British into the field of battle.
 23:26.231 --> 23:29.613
 He would fight to some degree and then retreat.
 23:30.053 --> 23:35.115
 And while he was retreating, he was pulling the British further north.
 23:35.355 --> 23:38.277
 Their supply base was in the deep south.
 23:39.277 --> 23:48.622
 So now during one of these retreats, again, just to give you an indication of what he was up against and the political powers that be at the time,
 23:49.693 --> 24:01.616
 He did a 100-mile retreat when he realized he didn't have militia to fall back on to face the British in a battle at Guilford Courthouse, the first time he attempted this.
 24:02.796 --> 24:07.777
 When he realized he didn't have the men necessary, he ordered this retreat.
 24:07.877 --> 24:10.138
 It's called the Retreat to the Dan River.
 24:10.658 --> 24:12.079
 It was 100 miles.
 24:13.019 --> 24:14.099
 Four days it took.
 24:14.199 --> 24:17.620
 The British were right in sight of his rear guard.
 24:18.410 --> 24:25.516
 He ended up getting all his troops over that river safely, all the animals, but he was in the cavalry horses.
 24:26.296 --> 24:27.417
 They needed more of them.
 24:27.497 --> 24:28.438
 They had been weakened.
 24:28.798 --> 24:29.899
 He needed supplies.
 24:29.999 --> 24:32.061
 He needed militia that were supplied.
 24:32.501 --> 24:41.188
 So he went to the governor of Virginia and he asked the governor to give him cavalry horses, to give him a well-equipped militia.
 24:41.590 --> 24:46.055
 So he could turn around and go back and face the British at Guildford Courthouse.
 24:46.696 --> 25:00.952
 And the governor of Virginia denied him those supplies, denied him the horses, denied him the equipped military, and basically told him, I might need those if the British come into Virginia.
 25:01.613 --> 25:05.595
 And the British did in fact come into Virginia, and you know what happened?
 25:05.975 --> 25:12.819
 They took those supplies and they used them to fight against Greene and the Continental Army in the field.
 25:13.199 --> 25:26.586
 And that governor was none other than Thomas Jefferson, who had declared this independence, which Greene and these Continental soldiers were dying to obtain still.
 25:27.507 --> 25:30.909
 I mean, it's an outrageous story when you think of it.
 25:31.750 --> 25:37.295
 He did go back, he faced the British at Guildford Courthouse, and again, he continued his retreat.
 25:37.755 --> 25:47.383
 Green would write letters to his friends in the main military that we fight, get beat, rise and fight again.
 25:48.464 --> 25:52.488
 I mean, this was his life for two solid years.
 25:53.218 --> 26:19.212
 and um at one point during that race to the dn and then you know getting ready to face the british again on the field he and his men did not take off their clothing for six weeks wow well we're talking with janet euler author of freedom's cost the story of general nathaniel green an extraordinary story of someone who is forgotten although there are places like
 26:19.554 --> 26:25.136
 Greensville, Greensboro named for him in the southern states, even though he's a Rhode Islander.
 26:25.276 --> 26:29.157
 He is really one of the heroes of the war in the southern states.
 26:29.357 --> 26:44.442
 And I'm wondering about his relations he may have had with some of the other southern commanders like Francis Marion or Thomas Pickens or others of the folks who loom large in the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas.
 26:44.980 --> 26:48.461
 He did, those militia units fell under his command.
 26:48.561 --> 26:50.421
 He would call upon them frequently.
 26:50.441 --> 26:55.062
 Had a great respect for Francis Marion.
 26:55.802 --> 26:59.143
 He and Thomas Sumter did not get along too well.
 26:59.723 --> 27:06.725
 Basically, from what you can read, you know, as Sumter kind of was used to being on his own and calling the shots.
 27:07.529 --> 27:12.971
 and kind of resented Greene, expecting him to kind of go along with the program down there.
 27:14.211 --> 27:21.653
 And there are other militia officers that some of them resented him for different things, which if we have time, we can talk about later.
 27:22.013 --> 27:33.677
 And both Sumter and a particular captain in the militia, Captain Gunn, would play a role in the debt that his wife fell under.
 27:35.982 --> 27:42.167
 And he comes into the South, as you said, two other generals that failed.
 27:42.187 --> 27:52.935
 You know, Lincoln had surrendered Savannah or Charleston, and then Horatio Gates goes to shore things up, and that doesn't go very well for Gates.
 27:53.256 --> 27:56.038
 No, Gates kept retreating even ahead of his men.
 27:56.698 --> 28:03.043
 Yeah, he set some records in getting from Camden to 160 miles away, record time.
 28:05.848 --> 28:10.274
 And so how does Nathaniel Greene shore things up?
 28:10.355 --> 28:16.243
 I mean, he comes into this disastrous situation and almost immediately has to do things to turn this around.
 28:18.089 --> 28:22.372
 One of the things he did immediately was to separate the army into two portions.
 28:22.472 --> 28:25.254
 He kept the weaker part of the army with him.
 28:25.354 --> 28:31.818
 They were sickly, they were weak, and he wanted to strengthen them before he put them in a dangerous situation.
 28:32.418 --> 28:41.865
 And he sent the other part of the army off with Daniel Morgan to basically face the British or take on the British in situations.
 28:42.403 --> 28:47.906
 They developed strategies up north, even though the militia could always be shaky.
 28:48.106 --> 28:51.607
 You never knew exactly what the militia might do under pressure.
 28:53.288 --> 28:55.669
 They would expect them often in battles.
 28:55.729 --> 29:03.693
 They were the first to face the British, and they were expected to fire, say, three rounds, and then they could retreat.
 29:04.571 --> 29:34.046
 down south because things were so shaky they actually told them you only have to face you deal with one round then you can retreat then they knew they would get that round out of them because often they would just vanish when they saw the british approaching yeah so things like that were switched up um a great degree in how they faced the british guerrilla warfare tactics were being used in the south um just different strategies different tactics and how they dealt with things
 29:35.362 --> 29:37.903
 No, it really is a much different war in the South.
 29:38.043 --> 29:41.605
 It's much more of a civil war, a fratricidal war in the South.
 29:42.225 --> 29:50.069
 It seems like long-term bent-up resentments against neighbors or fighting neighbors, so it is much more of a civil war.
 29:52.971 --> 29:57.315
 I think a lot more brutality being seen by the British as well.
 29:57.796 --> 30:09.987
 Mr. Charlton, you know, his quarter was no quarter, for instance, or, you know, putting elderly or disabled patriots
 30:10.686 --> 30:17.967
 in the front lines of the British Army, dressed as British soldiers so their own kin were killing them and didn't know it.
 30:18.067 --> 30:21.828
 I mean, great brutality down in the South.
 30:23.068 --> 30:27.729
 And then, as you said, Greene remains in the field after Yorktown.
 30:28.290 --> 30:33.371
 And even at the time of the surrender, he and his army are still in the southern states.
 30:33.391 --> 30:39.752
 Because the British don't, you know, they evacuate the Charleston, Savannah relatively late in the war.
 30:41.684 --> 30:58.419
 And, you know, most people don't realize or consider, it seems, Green's involvement in New Yorktown, even though he didn't fight in that battle, and he got no credit for what happened in New Yorktown.
 30:59.019 --> 31:04.504
 It was because of him pulling General Cornwallis and the British troops
 31:05.114 --> 31:23.241
 further and further north, weakening them without supplies, that he was able to pull them into Virginia, knowing that Lafayette and von Steuben were already there, and drop them in the lap basically of Washington and the French forces.
 31:23.741 --> 31:26.762
 Now, Green didn't stay to witness any of it.
 31:27.262 --> 31:31.482
 He did not partake in the victory and the laurels being thrown around.
 31:31.562 --> 31:33.223
 He wasn't even mentioned.
 31:33.683 --> 31:50.246
 He turned his troops around immediately after delivering Cornwallis and went back to the Deep South because, as you said, the British were still in Savannah and Charleston, and there was always the risk of them being reinforced and all of it starting all over again.
 31:50.726 --> 31:54.829
 So he laid siege for another year in the Deep South.
 31:55.650 --> 32:09.280
 And it was during this time that he was not being properly supplied or monies were not coming to him for supplies from Congress to hold this army there.
 32:11.481 --> 32:14.243
 So how does he hold it together?
 32:14.944 --> 32:16.225
 He tries to make a deal.
 32:16.245 --> 32:18.987
 Of course, he's trying to get the monies needed.
 32:19.677 --> 32:27.219
 The British paying gold and silver instead of continental notes were virtually worthless, so the merchants were too thrilled about that anyway.
 32:27.819 --> 32:43.164
 He finally got one person to kind of represent the army to get supplies by the name of John Banks, not realizing that John Banks was basically going to take the little bit of money Green had to give him for supplies and run and take off with it.
 32:44.260 --> 32:48.143
 So now Greene is left without any money whatsoever.
 32:48.944 --> 32:56.509
 And unfortunately, I will say one of Greene's aides was involved with John Banks to get a job after the war.
 32:56.910 --> 33:01.573
 And this would fall onto Greene as far as rumor and innuendo.
 33:03.539 --> 33:05.780
 So Green needs to get these supplies.
 33:05.840 --> 33:07.480
 He's got men in the field still.
 33:07.861 --> 33:28.668
 And the merchants tell him that the only way they're going to supply his troops, we're talking basic supplies here to keep body and soul together, and that the only way they're going to supply his troops if he signs his name on the dotted line as being legally responsible for repayment.
 33:29.406 --> 33:33.127
 Now, here you have a major general of the Continental Army.
 33:33.247 --> 33:35.708
 He's been in this war from day one.
 33:36.628 --> 33:46.750
 And again, he and General Washington are the only two general officers who began as generals and stayed in the war till the very end.
 33:46.970 --> 33:48.051
 He is devoted.
 33:48.171 --> 33:49.191
 He is committed.
 33:49.831 --> 33:52.273
 So he does sign his name on that line.
 33:52.473 --> 33:55.915
 He is the commander of the Southern Campaign.
 33:56.395 --> 34:07.662
 He believes soul and heart that the Continental Congress is going to respect this need and they are going to pay the monies needed.
 34:08.582 --> 34:10.683
 I don't believe he ever had a doubt of that.
 34:10.704 --> 34:10.744
 34:11.824 --> 34:14.886
 And so the supplies come in for his men.
 34:15.827 --> 34:20.290
 Finally, you know, there's peace and he's able to disband his troops.
 34:20.370 --> 34:21.491
 He sends them off.
 34:22.131 --> 34:26.654
 He heads back to New York to meet with the main army.
 34:26.735 --> 34:30.617
 He hasn't seen the main army, Washington or his friends for two years now.
 34:31.438 --> 34:40.144
 And when he gets back to New York, he realizes that the Continental Congress is not going to honor that debt.
 34:40.882 --> 35:08.440
 i mean this is just outrageous outrageous and he um turns in his commission he doesn't even stay to see the british leave new york he is so disheartened his friends are begging him to stay for that celebration when we see that famous portrait of washington saying farewell to his officers nathaniel green wasn't up there he had already left
 35:08.897 --> 35:14.801
 He told Washington and his friends, I have a family in Rhode Island that I dearly love.
 35:15.182 --> 35:17.483
 He hadn't seen his children for two years.
 35:18.104 --> 35:33.354
 He went home and he tried to prepare for how he was going to basically keep out of debtor's prison because of this debt that was the responsibility of the Continental Congress, but the Continental Congress would not honor.
 35:34.095 --> 35:34.195
 35:35.004 --> 35:41.148
 We're talking with Janet Euler, the author of Freedom's Cost, the story of General Nathaniel Green.
 35:41.188 --> 35:50.295
 So the cost is both in terms of the years of service and sacrifice as well as this debt that he accrues in fighting the war.
 35:50.355 --> 35:54.618
 So he goes back to Rhode Island and then what does he do?
 35:55.874 --> 36:05.842
 He realizes he can't raise his family in Rhode Island because he had businesses, family businesses, but he's got, at this point, I think it was six other brothers who have families.
 36:05.902 --> 36:07.263
 There's just not enough work.
 36:07.364 --> 36:16.191
 Now, certain of the states down south, in recognition of what he had accomplished in the south, had granted him lands.
 36:16.803 --> 36:17.885
 that were abandoned.
 36:18.606 --> 36:26.960
 North Carolina granted him 25,000 acres in their frontier territory, which is now around Nashville, Tennessee.
 36:27.916 --> 36:52.481
 at the time it was worthless to green he you know that was just something he had his daughters ended up moving there and living there um south carolina had granted him a plantation house with 2 500 acres this house was in good condition basically it was a tory's house that had left left and um because he needed money fast for this debt he sold that property
 36:53.733 --> 37:03.223
 Georgia had granted him another 2,500 acre plantation in Savannah in which he moved his family to.
 37:05.616 --> 37:14.642
 When they got down there, of course, he had to, he felt like his back was against a wall and he purchased slaves.
 37:15.543 --> 37:21.948
 And for him as a Quaker, this was just a huge, huge deal.
 37:22.268 --> 37:25.950
 And I would assume it really disturbed him.
 37:27.311 --> 37:31.835
 We see in his letters that he treated his slaves well, but still he had this burden now.
 37:32.987 --> 37:34.529
 The spring looked hopeful.
 37:34.549 --> 37:37.472
 He had rice in that looked like it was going to do well.
 37:37.612 --> 37:40.896
 And he was relieved because he could pay some of the debt down.
 37:41.497 --> 37:44.881
 But then a storm came in and wiped out his rice crop.
 37:45.582 --> 37:46.663
 So now, you know.
 37:47.276 --> 37:53.819
 So there's one day in June, he takes his wife, Katie, and they go into Savannah proper.
 37:53.999 --> 38:02.442
 His notation was outside Savannah to meet with his attorney who had been one of his aides and one of the merchants who was demanding payment.
 38:03.443 --> 38:15.928
 And after this meeting, he and Katie head back home and on the way back home, he wanted to stop at a neighboring plantation to talk to that plantation owner and get tips on what to do.
 38:17.702 --> 38:22.008
 And he toured this plantation, he toured the fields and it was in June and it was hot.
 38:22.609 --> 38:28.957
 And by the time he and Katie got back in the carriage to return home, he was complaining of not feeling well.
 38:29.738 --> 38:34.245
 By the time he got home, he had a headache, he didn't feel well.
 38:34.805 --> 38:42.748
 General Anthony Wayne, who had been with him in the Southern Campaign, had a neighboring plantation, would always come over to the Green's house for supper.
 38:42.768 --> 38:48.710
 And he came over that night and noted that the general just wasn't responding properly.
 38:49.330 --> 38:52.011
 General Green ended up going into bed.
 38:52.991 --> 38:57.673
 Doctors came and did what the doctors did in that day, blistering and bleeding and whatnot.
 38:58.735 --> 39:06.357
 And within four days time, I think it was maybe five, he died.
 39:07.717 --> 39:12.658
 Now, doctors said it was sunstroke from being out looking at the fields.
 39:12.818 --> 39:20.880
 Anthony Wayne rejected that because he had seen him throughout the Southern campaign in these harsh conditions.
 39:22.360 --> 39:36.263
 Anthony Wayne felt it was a cerebral vascular accident, a stroke brought on by the hardships of the war and the enormous stress he was under.
 39:36.843 --> 39:42.104
 Now, I want to emphasize Nathaniel Green was 44 years old.
 39:42.584 --> 39:42.924
 39:42.984 --> 39:51.646
 So a very young man who had sacrificed so much during the course
 40:00.402 --> 40:17.117
 and i mean even at this point when he was in savannah they were trying to entice him to become the secretary of war which he kept saying no no and henry knox ended up taking on that position he was more weary he was under enormous enormous strength
 40:19.144 --> 40:19.924
 Well, thank you.
 40:19.964 --> 40:24.866
 We've been talking with Janet Euler, author of Freedom's Cause, The Story of General Nathaniel Green.
 40:24.966 --> 40:28.428
 Anything else we should talk about, Janet, before we let you go?
 40:28.608 --> 40:32.229
 It would take a while before Katie Green was released from that debt.
 40:32.829 --> 40:39.632
 And it was four or five days of meetings in Congress before she was released.
 40:40.279 --> 40:53.062
 And part of the reason it took so long is because a couple of the congressmen resented Nathaniel Green, including Thomas Sumter and James Gunn, Captain James Gunn in the South.
 40:53.582 --> 41:01.424
 Well, that's an interesting story about politics and intrigue and the way historians misrepresent things.
 41:02.804 --> 41:05.305
 If we have, do we have one more minute on something?
 41:05.325 --> 41:06.105
 Of course, yes.
 41:07.580 --> 41:26.866
 John Marshall in his biography of George Washington makes a claim that Robert Morris, the financer of the war in Congress, was purposely holding back funds from Nathaniel Greene.
 41:27.666 --> 41:34.868
 That he had an agent in the South that was watching things and when things got bad enough, he would release funding.
 41:35.780 --> 41:41.746
 And according to this, that sometimes Greene did not even know where the funding came from.
 41:42.567 --> 41:52.698
 It was a two-volume biography written about Nathaniel Greene in 1820 by William Johnson, who was also on the Supreme Court.
 41:53.465 --> 41:58.786
 And he references John Marshall's comment about that in his biography.
 41:59.326 --> 42:04.907
 And this has just recently come back into print along with some other older biographies.
 42:06.687 --> 42:08.148
 Why do you think Green was forgotten?
 42:09.608 --> 42:11.708
 I think he died young.
 42:11.868 --> 42:14.629
 He didn't take part in the political field at all.
 42:15.649 --> 42:19.490
 If you look at a list of founding fathers, they're going to be 95% politicians.
 42:22.934 --> 42:27.396
 The men that were in the field obtaining this liberty were ignored.
 42:28.256 --> 42:36.339
 The politicians, those in political power, were the ones that got the attention as being the founders of this country.
 42:36.679 --> 42:43.702
 But when you look at the casualties of the Continental Congress compared to the casualties of the Continental Army,
 42:47.023 --> 42:51.605
 None to tens of thousands, basically, but yet they get all the attention.
 42:52.325 --> 43:06.170
 And I think because he made some enemies in Congress, not only Thomas Jefferson, but John Adams as well, and seemingly Robert Morris, I think he was just kind of written out of it all.
 43:06.630 --> 43:16.353
 Up until 2015, Valley Forge National Historical Park did not even have green mentioned on their websites.
 43:17.373 --> 43:38.865
 was not even mentioned in 2015 a statue was dedicated at the washington's memorial chapel of green a full-size bronze statue now he gets a little mention on the website but not the enormity of what he should the credit he should be giving for what he accomplished there
 43:40.021 --> 43:45.643
 Well, thank you for bringing him back to life with Freedom's Cost, the story of General Nathaniel Green.
 43:45.683 --> 43:47.884
 We've been talking with Janet Mueller.
 43:47.904 --> 43:49.104
 Thank you so much for joining us.
 43:49.224 --> 43:50.865
 Thank you very much.
 43:51.265 --> 43:54.906
 Thank Jonathan Lane, our producer, and our listeners all around.
 43:55.127 --> 44:00.328
 We have folks on every continent who have tuned in, and every week I thank folks.
 44:00.368 --> 44:07.491
 And if you are in one of these places, send Jonathan Lane an email, jlane at, and we'll send you some of our questions.
 44:07.884 --> 44:09.585
 Revolution 250 year.
 44:10.305 --> 44:26.230
 So I want to thank our friends in Boston and in Milton, Massachusetts, Long Beach, California, Madison Heights, Michigan, Great Falls, Virginia, Old Town, Maine, Franconia, New Hampshire, Queen Creek, Arizona, and Davenport, Florida.
 44:26.270 --> 44:30.452
 Thank you to all of you and to everyone in places beyond and between.
 44:31.192 --> 44:33.973
 And now we will be piped out on the road to Boston.
 44:35.464 --> 44:40.200
 Edward Kennedy Institute for letting me talk to you from the delegate Senate chamber.