Greene, Nathanael

Greene, Nathanael (1742-1786) General: Greene was born into a Quaker family and was apprenticed to an anchorsmith and merchant. Although he did not receive a formal education, he reader voraciously and became an able writer. For reasons unclear to historians, Greene was appointed commander of the Rhode Island Army of Observation in 1775, making the 32-year old man the youngest general in the Continental Army, despite the fact that he had no military or civic experience. Nevertheless, he became the only one of Washington's generals to serve throughout the war. Known as a brave, level-headed, and resourceful leader, he won the respect of colleagues and subordinates alike. Greene served as Quartermaster General, improving the supply system despite the depreciation of the currency. Although he never won any clear-cut military victories, his repeated attacks on the British eroded their military strength and the some of the popular support they had enjoyed. That Greene was able to accomplish this feat with a small number of poorly-equipped and unfed troops is a tribute to his ability to inspire others and earn their respect and loyalty.