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Major-General Nathanael Greene
For Whom Greene County is Named

Major General Nathanael Greene

Greene county was named after General Nathaniel* {sic} Greene, who ranks, in the light of best history, as one of the truly great heroes of the Revolutionary War period. A careful reading of the story of his deeds of valor that stamp him not only as a man of courage, but also as a military genius, will easily demonstrate two facts, that he was a man in whom George Washington reposed unlimited confidence as a sagacious dependable leader, and that his keen sighted, accurate judgment, coupled with the ability to do things, were great factors in the successful outcome of the revolutionary struggle that led up to the Declaration of Independence and hence to the America of today. One instance—because this is history—will in dicate how an army was saved. from rout by the means always adopted by this man of deeds rather than words.

It was at the battle of the Brandywine**, fought Sept. 11, 1777 {near Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania}. On the British side, Cornwallis was in command, and he had 18,000 men while Washington’s forces numbered but 11,000. The purpose of the British commander was to get in between the two wings of the American army and having cut it in two, easily rout both divisions. Cornwallis so nearly succeeded that it became evident that if a reserve was not quickly brought to the aid of Sullivan, who was being driven back, the British would be victorious. Greene was quick to see the situation, and hurriedly getting the reserve that he commanded into line, he marched them to Dilworth, where Sullivan was on the point of being driven back, a distance of five miles in forty-five minutes, and arrived just in time to avert the iinpending destruction of the army. General Wayne had time to withdraw the centre and Armstrong the right wing, in good form; and so the whole army was united at Chester in excellent order.

There is something in a name, and the people of this good county have a special right to be proud of the prowess and bravery of the man, who, while he died at the age of forty-four, had won a vote of thanks and a gold medal from Congress, won the honoring insignia of a major-general and stood high in the esteem of the Father of his Country. Possibly it might be well to have the story of this great man in clearer, better form in the minds of the boys and girls of the county than it is in the people of older heads and larger growth.

*It is interesting that, although they named the county after him, they misspelled his name.
**More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours.

For more information on Nathanael Greene, refer to wikipedia.org or history.com.

Photograph in public domain.
Source: E. B. Stillman's Past and Present of Greene County Iowa

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