During any war, one decision can change the outcome of a war as well as changing the course of history. During the American Revolution, there were decisions made that could have altered the revolution to the side of the British; thus quashing any hopes of America gaining its’ independence. Shortly after the victory by America at Boston, Massachusetts, General George Washington on December 29th, 1776 commands Brigadier General Nathanael Greene to take control of Long Island as well as preparing defensive positions in case the British battle in New York City.
Greene had his troops set up to protect themselves from an attack from the front in Brooklyn Heights across from Manhattan. The British conquered the vast majority of Long Island on August 26th, 1776 with ease; the island’s citizens were mostly Loyalists. The soldiers at Brooklyn Heights imploded under an unexpected assault from their left flan on August 27th. The British allowed Americans who survived. The British allowed Americans who survived the opportunity to retreat from Manhattan in an attempt to seek goodwill for an agreed peace. Otherwise, it would have been easy to quash the War for Independence that had been started three months prior.
Greene was born in Rhode Island in August of 1742 and was elected at the age of 28 to the Rhode Island legislature in 1770. Although being a Quaker, he was able to overcome his scruples against warfare and violence where he enlisted in the local militia during the outbreak in 1774 of the American Revolution; he would be later be promoted by Congress in 1775 to the rank of brigadier general of the Continental Army.
Greene was ordered to the brigade of General Washington during the siege of Boston in March of 1776; the two men began a friendship that would last a lifetime. Shortly after several losses by America around and inside of New York during the summer and fall of 1776, Greene received a promotion under Washington to major general of the Continental Army.
Greene started to enjoy success after commanding troops into several victorious conflicts which include in December of 1776 the Battle of Trenton in October of 1777 the Battle of Germantown; Greene had earned and now was given the title in October of 1778 of commander in chief of the Southern Army. Throughout the remainder of the American Revolution, he would command his soldiers on the battlefield.
Before Greene would eventually retire in 1785 from the military, he would be offered two times to become the secretary of war; he turned down each offer. Although hoping to enjoy a long life in retirement, this would not be the case as in June of 1786, Greene passed away while at his home in Georgia; this occurred less than a single year of his retirement.