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TAe Descendants of General Nathanael
Greene for His Remains and to Con-
gress for a Mo7iument Over These
at Gtiilford Battle Ground, North
JOSEPH M. MOREHEAD,
ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE GUILFORD BATTLE GROUND
GREENSBORO, N. C, APRIL, I9O2.
To the Descendants of General Na-
thanael Greene for His Remains
and to Congress for a Monu-
ment Over These at Guil-
ford Battle Ground,
By JOSEPH M. MOREHEAD,
ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE GUILFORD BATTLE GROUND
GREENSBORO, N. C, APRIL, I9O2.
Hon H. C. Lodge
To the Descendants of
Gen. Nathanael Greene :
Since the recently exhumed remains of General Greene
now rest, properly encased in copper, within the vault of
a city bank, and since the location of their final reinter-
ment now devolves upon the decision of his descendants,
I wish respectfully and under the circumstances, urgently
to submit to their consideration the following thoughts
[Charlotte [N. C] Observer, March 16, 1903.]
" Seven ancient cities claimed the Homer dead
In which the living Homer begged his bread."
While this parallel does not in all respects apply to
Gen. Nathanael Greene, who was honored in his life as
well as alter his death, nevertheless Rhode Island and
Georgia are quarrelling for the honor of his final resting
place. A solution of the difficulty is presented by Col.
Jos. M. Morehead, of Greensboro, in today's paper. He
forcibly points out that the remains of the great soldier
should lie in Guilford Battle Ground's soil, the scene of
the decisive battle which turned Cornwallis back to the
South, which made Yorktown possible and which was
the greatest battle Greene ever fought. It is the eternal
fitness of things that he should be buried at Guilford.
GENERAL GREENE'S REMAINS.
Rhode Island-Georgia Quarrel.
Mr. Morehead, the Vice President of the Gitilford Battle
Ground Association, Pours Oil on the Troubled Waters,
— He Prays for a Deliverance from a Squabble Over
the Final Resting Place of the Dust of the Revolution-
ary Hero, and Suggests a Compromise — A Practical
Solution of the Trouble — Some History Reviczved — The
Remains Should Finally Rest at Guilford.
To the Editor of The Observer:
From your issue of last Sunday it appears that bad
feeling has to an extent arisen over the final resting
place of General Greene's body, between our sister States
of Rhode Island and Georgia.
This, with me, has excited not only profound regret but
it is clothed with a melancholly acute as profound. For
the sake of " Auld Lang Syne," for humanity's sake and
for the "Lord's sake" don't let anything appertaining to
Nathanael Greene breed a "quarrel" between Rhode
Island and any other State of the Union — especially any
State of the Revolutionary Southern department. In
the Revolutionary war Rhode Island gave the country,
and especially its Southern department, a general second
in devotion to the cause to none and second in ability to
Washington only. The Southern department furnished
Rhode Island's general troops that secured to him a fame
second only to that of the Father of his Country.
I believe that Greene's campaign of 1780-81 ought to
rank, but that it does not rank, certainly among the
finest military achievements of all the ages.
It is true that in point of numbers troops do not here
appear as elsewhere, but danger, difficulty, heroism and
genius, in both the ranks and leadership, do appear.
Early in 1780 Great Britain determined to transfer the
seat of hostilities from the New York or Northern de-
partment to the Southern, embracing little Delaware
southward to Georgia. Clinton's Narrative and Corn-
wallis's Answer thereto let us completely behind the
scenes and show that the plan was to subjugate the Car-
olinas and Virginia and to hold these as the future might
dictate. In pursuance of this plan Clinton, commander-
in-chief of the British forces in America, captured
Charleston, with all North Carolina's regulars, in May,
1780. Earl Cornwallis, lieutenant general, then left in
command of this department and supplied with all of
everything he deemed necessary and desired, gained the
decisive, and to the American cause, the dir>astrous bat-
tle of Camden in August.
This, in the sixth year of a trying and exhaustive war
in which this State had lost as prisoners or buried all its
regulars from the Hudson to Savannah, left between the
country and subjugation nothing but the fortitude and
courage of North Carolina's militia.
King's Mountain was fought in October, 1780, before
Greene's arrival and taking command in December fol-
lowing. Of the battle of King's Mountain Gen. Henry
V. Boynton recently declared in a public address, " There
is nothing iiner in the romance of war." He had just
said: "North Carolina had only her militia with which
to resist invasion. All along her southern horizon the
sky was as black as midnight in a tropical storm. Did
North Carolina quail.? Let King's Mountain answer; let
Cowpens testify! Let Guilford battlefield respond!
"There is no more honorable chapter in Revolutionary
history than that which covers the time from Cornwallis's
appearance on the southern boder of North Carolina
until the fires of patriotism flamed high on King's Moun-
In the above, Mr. Editor, your appreciative reader
will discover strong language and pronouced eulogy.
But all who have read the recent productions of General
Boynton's pen will, in my opinion, accord to him a stand-
ing among our modern historians, at least of the highest
respectability and trustworthiness. What he said is
In the "Diplomatic Correspondence of the American
Revolution," issued under authority of Congress in 1890,
as I remember, we read, volume 4, page 363, John
Adams to Benjamin Franklin (Paris):
"Leyden, Holland, April 16, 1781. — I think the South-
ern States will have the honor, after all, of putting this
continent in the right way of finishing the business of
the war. There has been more sheer fighting there in
proportion than anywhere."
Page 419, Adams to Franklin (Amsterdam):
"May 16, 1781. — I'he news from the Southern States
of America of continual fighting, in which our country-
men have done themselves great honor, has raised the
spirit of Holland from that unmanly gloom and despon-
dency into which they had been thrown by defeats by
Page 802, Robert Livingstone, Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, to Dana, in Europe:
"Philadelphia, October 22, 1781. — I have the pleasure
of communicating to you the important account of the
signal victories lately obtained over the enemy in these
quarters: One by General Greene, which has been fol-
lowed by the re-establishment of the governments of
South Carolina and of Georgia. The other at Yorktown.
You will not iail to make the best use of this intelligence,
which must fix our independence not only beyond all
doubt, but even beyond all controversy."
Page 817, Robert Morris to General Greene:
"Office of Finance, November 2, 1781. — Your favor of
the 17th of September last has been delivered to me. I
hope it is unnecessary to make assurances of my dispo-
sition to render your situation both easy and respectable."
"I have neither forgotton nor neglected your department.
I have done the utmost to provide clothing, arms, ac-
coutrements, medicines, hospital stores, etc., and I flatter
myself that you will receive through the different depart-
ments both benefit and relief from my exertions. * *
* * * You have done so much with so little that my
wishes to increase your activity have every possible
Beyond doubt Guilford was the most important battle
embraced within all this fighting. King's Mountain and
Cowpens by no means drove Cornwallis from his original
plan and purpose of capturing North Carolina and Vir-
ginia. But they conduced tremendously to the triumph
here achieved; just as the release of South Carolina and
Georgia flowed from it. Upon receipt of the news of
the "victory" in Parliament Charles James Fox who
loved people and who hated war, pronounced the best
commentary that has been or can be upon this battle.
Mr. Fox said that the results to Cornwallis of the "vic-
tory" were indentical with those that would have been
caused by defeat.
In Tarleton's Campaigns, page 320, we read the fol-
lowing extracts from a letter of General Greene's to
Washington— the battle having been fought March 15th.
"Greene's Headquarters, Ramsey's, Deep River,
"March 30, 1781.
"I wrote to you the 23d instant from Buffalo Creek
(South Guilford), since which we have been in pursuit of
the enemy with the determination to bring them to ac-
tion again. On the 27th we arrived at Rigden's ford, 12
miles above this, and found the enemy then lay at Ram-
sey's. Our army was put in motion without loss of time,
but we found the enemy had crossed some hours before
our arrival and with such precipitation that they had left
their dead unhurried upon the ground."
Tarleton says, pages 279 and 280: "The British ob-
tained information that General Greene's army had
reached Buffalo Creek, southward of Guilford Court
House. The day before the King's troops arrived at
Ramsey's the Americans insulted the Yagers in their
encampment. The Royalists remained a few days at
Ramsey's for the benefit of the wounded and to complete
a bridge over Deep River, when the light troops of the
Americans again disturbed the pickets," etc., etc.
"The British crossed the river and the same day Gen.
Greene reached Ramsey's with the intention to attack
them. The halt of the King's troops at that place nearly
occasioned an action, which would not probably
have been advantageous to the royal forces on account
of the position and the disheartening circumstance of
their being encumbered with so many wounded officers
and men since the action at Guilford."
Stedman, perhaps the most reliable historian of the
period — British or American — vouches for the general
accuracy of Tarleton's Campaigns. The most unique
commentary, account or criticism upon or of any battle
whatever, that I ever saw, is that of Stedman himself
upon the battle of Guilford. It is a literary curiosity as
well as a curiosity historical. He says: "Thus we find
that the battle of Guilford drew after it some, and it will
afterwards appear that it was followed by all the conse-
quences of something nearly allied to a defeat." So will
the conscientious squirm when too hard pressed.
Guilford was the field of Greene's fame.
With respectful and I trust due regard for the natural
feelings and wishes of all concerned, Gen. Greene's con-
nections, Georgians and Rhode Islanders — I nevertheless
submit that the silent dead have rights that the living are
bound to respect. Gen. Greene's remains ought to re-
pose at Guilford — "The Field of His Fame" — and pa-
triots from Maine to Texas ought here to erect a suitable
monument to his memory.
The Guilford Battle Ground Company or Association
owes not one dollar. The beautiful park itself contains
about one hundred acres of piedmont hill and vale, fairly-
improved and adorned as to its groves and meadows and
abundant water with canopied founts, dams, grass plots,
buildings, museum and sixteen monuments, some with
elegant bronze tablets and statuary. The title to these
grounds has been examined, approved, paid for and the
deeds recorded. It lies in the direct line of travel from
New York to New Orleans and is traversed by the great
Southern Railway. It is imbedded in the hearts of North
Carolinians, many, many of whose progenitors fought
here. It is fostered by the State's Legislature, by indi-
viduals and by the several railroads centering here to
the full extent allowed by law. The thrifty and rapidly
growing city of Greensboro, in whose suburbs it lies, an-
nually affords the State a grand outing upon the grounds,
where the living and dead speakers of the land address
the people and where all are made happier men and bet-
ter because wiser citizens of the republic.
We tender a noble site for a tomb to Greene, in the
midst of this Revolutionary battle-field, where his efforts
conduced so largely to the amelioration of the condition
JOSEPH M. MOREHEAD,
Vice-President Guilford Battle Ground Association.
Appeal to Congress.
[Greensboro [N. C] Telegram, March 14, 1903.
All success to Major Morehead in his efforts to have
General Greene's campaign duly commemorated at Guil-
ford Court House by the General Government. As he
points out in his article today, consistency demands that
national recognition of the claims of Guilford's famous
battle ground be given.
MONUMENT TO ROCHAMBEAU.
Editor of the Telegram:
We find in the Congressional Record, in its issue of
March I2th, instant, the proceedings following, for which
Congress deserves and will receive the thanks of the
"Mr. Cullum reported a joint resolution authorizing
and requesting the President to extend to the govern-
ment ?.nd people of France and the family of General de
Rochambeau an invitation to join the government and
people of the United States in the dedication ceremonies
of the monument to General de Rochambeau," * * ^«-
This joint resolution was read the second time. It des-
ignates the 24th of May as the day of unveiling and ap-
propriates $20,000 for the entertainment of visitors, etc.
Mr. Hoar made an amendment so as to make the
resolution read: "The families of Admiral Rochambeau
and of Lafayette," to which there was no objection. Sen-
ator Hoar said "Lafayette stands in a relation to our
war of Independence which no other person occupies and
he has always had the gratitude and affection of the
American people. * * * The continental Congress
after the peace of 1783 voted a monument to Lafayette,
which vote was never carried out until within recent
years;" "The joint resolution was ordered to be angrossed
for a third reading, read the third time and passed."
Final action on the resolution by Congress, it appears,
will be made within a very few days and will, of course,
be favorable. It is submitted that if the fortunate reapers
— Washington, LaFayette and now Rochambeau and
the harvest field itself — Yorktown — be, as they have been,
properly commemorated, right and justice and consis-
tency require that Greene and his campaign of 1781 who
sowed the seed should also be commemorated at Guilford
Court House. Thos. H. Benton said long ago that the
less was father to the greater event. In other words, that
the battle of Guilford Court House caused Cornwallis's
surrender at Yorktown, to which it is assumed every one
informed in the history of the period assents. We appeal
to Congress, especially to the Senators and Representa-
tives of Rhode Island and North Carolina, and more
especially still to the Representatives oi this Congres-
sional district, to see that a proper appropriation for this
purpose is made, if possible, and made now.
JOSEPH M. MOREHEAD,
Vice-President of the (N. C.) Guilford Battle Ground Co.
If the remains of General Greene are now re- interred
at Guilford that fact will materially and most favorably
affect his fame throughout the ages to come. The pres-
ent is therefore an important and decisive mom^ent in the
history of efforts to preserve and properly do justice to
I believe that if this famous old battlefield is now al-
lowed to become the one manifestly most fitting tomb
upon earth of the old Hero, the general government will
here speedily erect a suitable monument to its great
I believe that then the general government will here
soon make of this one hundred acres a National Revolu-
A few years ago, as published, the Senate voted $25,000
to these grounds — $5,OOOfor their improvement and $20,-
000 for a memorial to General Greene. The bill was lost,
as I was informed and believe, because when, late in the
session, it was reached and called in the House, its friends
being absent no one present championed the cause.
In the long ago, we all know, Thos. H. Benton point-
ed out that the philosophy of the battle of Guilford was
not understood; that the battle of Guilford caused the
surrender at Yorktown. To-day that philosophy is un-
derstood. The Congressional Record of the 12th of
March instant shows that the fortunate and brave actors
at Yorktown and that Yorktown itself have been proper-
ly commemorated, though tardily and but quite recently.
Senator Pritchard is to-day putting forth his best efforts
to do like justice to Greene at Guilford. I am personally as-
sured by an authority high in the councils and confidence
of the government at Washington that with the proper
effort and proper presentation of the facts the free ten-
der already made of this park will be accepted by the
government. Can anyone doubt that the presence of
Greene's honored dust upon these grounds, as his final
resting place, will conduce wonderfully to effect this
consummation devoutly to be wished.'' It is a wrong
done General Greene himself and his descendants for-
ever to bury him elsewhere. If the decision of this
question be referred to the female descendants of General
Greene their unbiased woman's sense of abstract right
and justice will settle it instanter. General Greene's tomb
would provefan adornment to Savannah, to Providence
or to any other great city. It would constitute a part of
the city, a part conducing to the glory of the city. At
Guilford Battle Ground Park of one hundred acres, even
the tombs of the two signers of the Declaration of Inde-
pendence, July 4th, 1776, here now present over their
honored dust, will be a part of General Greene: because
he here reduced to reality their glorious dreamings; be-
cause everything, all things, here must point to the cen-
tral figure and presiding genius of this ^pot.
The Hon. C. B. Aycock, Governor of North Carolina,
and the Hon. James E. Boyd, Judge of the U. S. Court
for the Western District of North Carolina, kindly fur-
nish the letters hereto attached and which are heartily
commended to the reader's perusal :
State of North Carolina,
Raleigh, N. C, April 2, 1902.
My Dear Sir: I concur with you entirely in your ef-
fort to secure the reinterment of the remains of General
Greene at the Guilford Battle Ground. I hope that this
may be done and that Congress will provide for a suita-
ble monument to be errected there to his memory. The
world has come to recognize that the battle of Guilford
Court House was the turning point in the War of Inde-
pendence and rendered Yorktown possible. There can
be no more fitting place for the remains of General
Greene than the ground on which that battle was fought.
There can be no reason why Congress should not there
erect a monument to his memory for it was there that he
did the greatest service to the cause of liberty.
I am, with great respect,
Very truly yours,
C. B. AYCOCK.
To Maj. Joseph M. Morehead,
Greensboro, N. C.
Greensboro, N. C, April 3, 1902.
Jos. M. More/lead, Esq.,
Vice President Guilford Battle Ground Co.,
Greensboro, N. C.:
My Dear Sir: I have read with great interest your
communication in a recent issue of the Charlotte Observer
relative to the re-interment of the remains of Gen. Na-
thanael Greene on the battle field of ' Guilford Court
House. I most heartily concur in all you say about this
matter, and hope that your suggestion will be adopted
by the relatives and friends of this distinguished patriot,
who gave such effective service to the cause of liberty,
and that it will meet the approval of all others who are
interested in selecting a final resting place for his sacred
The culmination of Gen. Greene's notable campaign as
commander of the Colonial forces in the South was at
the battle of Guilford Court House, and here it was that
he delivered to the British army a blow from which it
never recovered, and which so crippled Cornwallis that
within a short while thereafter he became an easy prey
to Washington at Yorktown. I agree, therefore, that
the most appropriate place for the remains of this illus-
trious revolutionary soldier is upon the spot where the
battle of Guilford Court House was fought- — upon the
ground where Greene's prowess as a military leader was
so eminently displayed.
Another thing: not only ought Greene to be buried at
Guilford Court House, but the government of the United
States ought, at once, to set about to erect a suitable
monumenttohim. I see from your article in the 7>/^^r«;?z
that there is a proposition in Congress to appropriate
twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) to pay the expenses of
the families of Rochambeau and LaFayette, v/ho are in-
vited guests from France, to witness the unveiling of a
monument to the former on the 24th of May next. This
is as it should be, and no true American will offer the least
objection to this appropriation; but, while we are gener-
ously providing the means to do honor to foreigners who
aided us in our struggle for independence, we should not
forget what we owe to our own countrymen, by whose
sacrifice and patriotism our great country was rescued
from the British yoke, and the establishment of the best
government on earth made possible.
Guilford Court House was one of the principal battles
of the Revolution, and yet, but for the efforts of individ-
uals, who have bought and reclaimed the ground upon
which it was fought, this celebrated battlefield would to-
day be nothing more than a wilderness.
There should be an awakening in this country upon
the subject of identifying, reclaiming and properly mark-
ing the fields upon which the battles of the American
Revolution were fought. This duty, which should be
regarded by all lovers of our country as imperative, has
been too long neglected.
The government should not leave the battlefield of
Guilford Court House to be taken care of by a few indi-
viduals, but the Congress should make an appropriation
not only for the erection of a suitable monument to Gen.
Nathanael Greene, but should also give enough money
either to purchase the battlefield, put it in the condition
it should be and maintain it as a public park, or at least
appropriate a reasonable sum to aid the Company which
owns and cares for it in their patriotic work.
JAS. E. BOYD.
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