The Fighting Quaker

nathanael greeneRhode Island native Nathanael Greene had to overcome some significant physical and philosophical obstacles in becoming a Major General in the Continental Army.

In August 1774, Greene helped organize a local militia which was chartered as the Kentish Guards. His participation in the group was challenged because he had a pronounced limp. At this time he began to acquire many expensive volumes on military tactics and began to teach himself the art of war. It has been speculated that his zeal in attending to military duty led to his expulsion from the Quakers in 1773.

Once General Washington put him in command of the southern forces, Greene was basically the second-in-command of the Continental Army. He’s a big deal, and a measure of his significance can be gauged by the countless number of statues and place names dotted up and down the eastern seaboard in his honor. This statue guards the south-facing steps of our own state house. You can also visit the state room on the second floor of the state house to see his portrait (unfortunately the accompanying plaque misspells his first name). Facing him across the room is a massive Gilbert Stuart portrait of his mentor General George Washington. (Pix after jump.)

state room

Greene portrait

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