Greene, Nathanael (1742–1786), a United States Revolutionary War general. A skilled strategist, he was considered second in ability only to George Washington. His major contribution to the American victory was his campaign in South Carolina and Georgia. As commander of the Continental Army in the South, 1780–82, he conducted a series of hit-and-run, harassing operations that exhausted the British. Although his troops lost battles at Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk's Hill, and Eutaw Springs, they inflicted high casualties and caused the British to withdraw to Virginia, which prepared the way for the crucial British defeat at Yorktown, 1781.
Greene was born at Potowomut (now Warwick), Rhode Island. He helped to manage his father's iron foundry and also served in the Rhode Island assembly. In 1775 Greene raised a militia regiment to aid in the American siege of British-occupied Boston. He was made a brigadier general in the Continental Army and was promoted to major general in 1776. He commanded troops at the battles of Long Island, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. While, quartermaster general of the army, 1778–80, Greene arranged an efficient supply system. After the war, he lived on a plantation near Savannah, which was presented to him by the people of Georgia.