Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gen. Nathanael Greene in the South

The Continental Congress had been unfortunate in its selection of commanders in the South. It had chosen Robert Howe, who lost Savannah. It had chosen Benjamin Lincoln, who lost Charleston. In August 1780, near Camden, South Carolina, the British attacked Horatio Gates' army, which broke and ran in wild confusion. The way was cleared for Lord Cornwallis to pursue his goals of gathering southern Loyalists and taking the war into Virginia. His southern ports could be mobilized to move men and materiel into the Carolinas.
Congress entrusted General Washington with the choice of Gates' successor. On October 5 it resolved "that the Commander-in-Chief be and is hereby directed to appoint an officer to command the southern army, in the room of Major General Gates." George Washington acted without delay. The day after he received his copy of the resolution, he wrote to Nathanael Greene at West Point, "It is my wish to appoint You." Congress approved the appointment, and gave Greene command over all troops from Delaware to Georgia with extraordinarily full powers, "subject to the control of the Commander-in-Chief." Greene took command at Charlotte, North Carolina on December 2, 1780. Brigadier General Isaac Huger of the South Carolina Continentals was appointed his second in command.

(Source: Wikipedia)