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that time Vermont was looked upon as an integral part of the Union, and during the remainder of his life Allen was highly regarded by his fellow Vermonters. He died February 13, 1789.
He was a man of fantastic ideas, one of them being a belief in the transmigration of souls. He asserted that he had once lived on the earth in the form of a white horse. He wrote a work entitled “Reason the only Oracle of Man,” the first work ever issued in America formally attacking Christianity. A fire destroyed most of the edition and the volume is now very rare.
NATHANIEL GREENE, THE RESCUER OF
SECOND only to Washington as a soldier of the Revolution was General Nathaniel Greene, who served in Washington's army through nearly the whole war, and was so esteemed by him that he selected Greene to take his place in case anything should happen to himself. All readers of American history are familiar with General Greene's brilliant work in the South, but during the whole war he proved himself a soldier of exceptional ability.
Nathaniel Greene was born in Warwick, Rhode Island, on May 27, 1742, the son of a Quaker of that place, who owned a farm and an iron forge, in which latter Nathaniel worked for years. The boy was ambitious and studious, being so eager for learning that he worked long over-hours to earn money to buy books, and sat up very late at night to study them.
His industry, learning, and native good sense won him the good opinion of every one who knew him, and in 1770 his fellow townsmen elected him to the legislature of Rhode Island. A warm and earnest patriot, he saw that the colonies might at any time take up arms against British oppression and hostilities begin. In such a case his side was fixed and he began to study the art of war, joining the Kentish Guards of Coventry. For this warlike spirit he was expelled from the Society of Friends into which he had been born, but he went on drilling and studying, and when the news of the fight at Lexington reached Rhode
Island he was quick to start with the Guards for Boston. The Tory governor of the colony ordered them back, but Greene and three others refused to obey. Mounting the fastest horses they could find, they rode briskly away to the seat of war.
Soon after this the Assembly of Rhode Island, whose members were more patriotic than their governor, called out a force of sixteen hundred men, and, recognizing Green's knowledge of the military art, appointed him a brigadier general. In July, when Washington reached Boston and took command of the army, he found that Greene had drilled his raw troops so thoroughly, that he commended them as “the best disciplined men in the whole army."
Washington knew good men when he saw them, and was quick to perceive that there was the making of a fine soldier in the young Rhode Islander. The two became fast friends from the start, and after the capture of Boston and the march to New York, Greene was put in command of the army sent to defend Long Island. It was a responsible task, but a violent attack of fever disabled him, and he was doomed to the severe trial of lying within sound of the firing while too sick to lift his head from the pillow. The battle might have ended differently had he remained in command, for he had made himself thoroughly familiar with the ground and knew the best points of attack and defence. He cried with vexation when he heard of the defeat and of the great loss to his favorite regiment.
As soon as he could mount a horse again active duty was found for him in watching the British on Staten Island and commanding the troops in New Jersey. He took part in the retreat to Pennsylvania, and later that year, when Washington made his famous march upon Trenton, Greene, now a major-general, commanded the division with which Washington marched, and aided materially in the victory there and at Princeton.
During the winter that followed the army was encamped at Morristown, N. J., and Washington sent Greene to Congress as his envoy, to set before the legislature the condition of the troops, the great need of recruits, the lack of supplies, and the impending dangers. Some aid was gained, but a very insufficient amount, and the army began the next year's campaign very poorly equipped for the work before it.
In the two battles of that year, Brandywine and Germantown, General Greene took a prominent part, and the result might have been different if his advice had been taken. He selected strong defensive positions for the army on the Brandywine, but other generals, who were eager to fight in the open field, overruled his suggestions, and defeat followed. The disaster would have been worse but for Greene's coolness and skill in the retreat. Selecting a spot in a narrow pass through a thicket, he held back the pursuing British until nightfall, thus giving the broken troops an opportunity to reform their ranks and saving the army from destruction. At the subsequent battle of Germantown he was in command of the left wing and skilfully covered the retreat.
There followed the terrible winter at Valley Forge, at the end of which, in March, 1778, Greene was appointed quartermaster-general of the army, a post which he filled with great ability until August, 1780. When in the following June the British left Philadelphia in great haste and marched across New Jersey, Greene was one of the most ardent of the pursuers, and was in command of the right wing when the foe was brought to bay at Monmouth.
Here he performed the ablest service. General Lee's retreat threatened the security of the whole army, the British following in force, and but for Greene's promptness a serious disaster might have resulted. Lee's movement prevented him from carrying out the orders given him, but with quick decision and without waiting for further orders he threw his troops into the gap, drew a large part of the attack upon himself, and sustained it with unflinching resolution. His men, inspired with his spirit, held their ground steadily and poured volley after volley into the ranks of the British until they recoiled in dismay. The disaster threatened by Lee's cowardice did not take place, but the Americans were robbed of the victory which had been fairly in their grasp.
In the subsequent manœuvres in front of New York Greene was occupied with his duties as quartermastergeneral, but took an active part in the movement of General Sullivan upon Newport, made in connection with the French fleet under D'Estaing. A disagreement had arisen between Sullivan and D'Estaing, with the result that the French failed to support the Americans, leaving them in serious danger, from which Greene rescued them. He held his ground against the British till they were forced to retire and drew off his men before they were ready to make another attack.
This affair made Sullivan furious against the French, whom he blamed for what came near being a disaster. He wrote Congress a sharp letter against D'Estaing, but when it reached Philadelphia Greene was there, having been sent by Washington to try and make peace between the two angry men. D'Estaing and