General Nathaniel Greene, from life, by Charles Willson Peale, 1783.
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Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Raised in a strict Quaker family, Greene had no formal military training. He studied the subject, however, with great curiosity, and after enlisting as a private in his local Rhode Island militia quickly rose through the ranks to become one of Washington’s most trusted and capable generals. During the Battle of Brandywine, Greene defended Chad’s Ford all morning, then following Washington's orders marched his division two miles in less than forty-five minutes to establish a defensive semi-circle on the Continental right flank where it halted the British attack and perhaps saved the Continental Army from surrender. Greene would later gain national prestige for his performance in the southern campaign. After the war, he twice turned down the position of Secretary of War before dying, when only forty-four, from heatstroke.

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