Skip to main content

Full text of "An appeal to the descendants of General Nathanael Greene for his remains and to Congress for a monument over these at Guilford battle ground, North Carolina"

See other formats

"^«-0^ f^V: ' -OV^ /^^'' ""-^-O^ 

qV ^ o « c , ''q 



-3 ^.^ 

5^ '^^>^ 

°^> ^'^^ ./ ... V ^..0-^ 





4 o 




. -^ 

^^' ^o^'Tff^^/ ^./^!^\/ %^^^Vo^ \ 





? . o V 

^-^ V-te?%o-.. %:*•'/ v**/ \- 

vP b 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 with funding from 
The Library of Congress 





f Y<Wy^ i r-j^^W^^WF^^^^^^^^^^^^' 




An Appeal 


TAe Descendants of General Nathanael 
Greene for His Remains and to Con- 
gress for a Mo7iument Over These 
at Gtiilford Battle Ground, North 










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, 
North Caroli7ta. 





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 
and convictions: 

[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. 


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 
the English." 

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 
of mankind. 

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. 


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. 
Yours truly, 

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 
his memory. 

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- 
tionary Park. 


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, 
Executive Department. 

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, 

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. 
Yours truly, 






^ .V.^;^/.*^ -^ 


>^ " 


^^ r':z 




I V'^ 







'^ ' ° » » " , ^ 



0' .LVl'. V 

"^. .9^^ 

^<. "'^ .^' 



=* ^^ 

V ^^.N'^'^ 

" '<*'^ 



' -^^0^ 


> V 


■a? ^*> 


^^ ^^ \ 

4 o >