August 7

Nathanael Greene

August 7, 1742 - Savannah

A Revolutionary War hero, born on this day, played a critical role in helping Georgia defeat the British.

Nathanael Greene, George Washington’s top lieutenant, was an unlikely warrior. Born in Rhode Island, he was raised a pacifist Quaker. But when the war began, he helped form a militia unit. Greene fought in many of the key battles – Boston, Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown. By 1780, the British, under General Cornwallis, held control of much of the South.

Congress sent Greene to command a battered and undermanned army. Under Greens’s leadership, the tide was turned and the Patriots regained control of the state. In gratitude, the state of Georgia gave Greene a plantation outside Savannah, where he died suddenly of heatstroke in 1786. After his death, his widow hired a tutor for their children. His name was Eli Whitney who later would invent the cotton gin.

Greene is buried in Savannah’s Johnson Square, far from where this Rhode Island Quaker was born on August 7, 1742, Today in Georgia History.