Turn­ing ‘The Big 2-7-5’

Homestead cel­e­brates Nathanael Greene’s mile­stone birth­day with pomp and pageantry

Woonsocket Call - - Front Page - By JONATHAN BISSONNETTE jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­times.com See 275, page A3

COVEN­TRY — For the past 275 years, it hasn't been that easy be­ing Greene.

Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton was the first Pres­i­dent of the United States and has his face plas­tered on a quar­ter of the real es­tate of Mount Rush­more. Alexan­der Hamil­ton is on the 10 dol­lar bill and is the fo­cus of a Tony award-win­ning Broad­way mu­si­cal. Yet Gen. Nathanael Greene, one of Rhode Is­land's great­est mil­i­tary he­roes, has all but been over­looked in the an­nals of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion.

But on a raw and driz­zly Sat­ur­day, a ded­i­cated and loyal group of Greene ad­vo­cates united to­gether to en­sure that the gen­eral's name and legacy are not for­got­ten to time. Vis­i­tors and some of Greene's de­scen­dants de­scended upon the 2½story homestead on the hill­sides of the Paw­tuxet River to cel­e­brate the gen­eral's 275th birth­day.

Con­grat­u­la­tory and cel­e­bra­tory fire­works were es­chewed for the more tra­di­tional blasts from a can­non, salut­ing the gen­eral who rose through the ranks to be­come Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton's most trusted of­fi­cer.

Re­tired Brig. Gen. Richard Va­lente, a Rhode Is­land na­tive and re­tired com­man­der of the 103rd Field Ar­tillery, of­fered the key­note ad­dress on Sat­ur­day. In his speech, he linked two promi- nent New Eng­lan­ders whose valor and courage were vi­tal to Revo­lu­tion­ary War bat­tles in the re­gion – Greene, who was sig­nif­i­cant in the south and Capt. Simeon Hix, who fought in many a bat­tle in north­ern New Eng­land.

Va­lente said that he re­cently vis­ited Greene's burial place in Sa­van­nah, Ga., and he made note of two Rhode Is­land gen- er­als be­ing in the same place at the same time.

“He was a tremen­dous leader,” Va­lente said of Greene. “A lot of us re­al­ize the ex­tent of his con­tri­bu­tions, peo­ple cer­tainly rec­og­nize Gen. Greene. He saved the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. He was a sim­ple sol­dier who did his duty and made it all worth it.”

David Pro­cac­cini, pres­i­dent of the Nathanael Greene Homestead and a cousin of Greene's, said that while ev­ery­one in at­ten­dance at Sat­ur­day's fete was aware of Greene's sig­nif­i­cance, he be­lieved the Rhode Is­land mil­i­tary hero may have been for­got­ten na­tion­ally. That said, events such as Sat­ur­day's would fur­ther help

the ex­po­sure of a gen­eral who called Rhode Is­land home.

Of­fer­ing a greet­ing from the Rhode Is­land So­ci­ety Sons of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion was Pres­i­dent John T. Duch­es­neau, a trus­tee at the Greene Homestead. He said it was “great to see Gen. Greene be­ing hon­ored” by the many who turned out on Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon, de­spite the in­clement con­di­tions.

De­scrib­ing Greene as “the best man for the job,” Duch­es­neau said that his­tory has proven to look upon Greene fa­vor­ably, given his suc­cesses in fac­ing tremen­dous chal­lenges dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion.

“Gen. Greene was a man of tremen­dous char­ac­ter and abil­ity and that's why we should honor him,” Duch­es­neau said.

Tech­ni­cally, Greene was born on July 27, 1742, in the Old Style cal­en­dar, but with the cur­rent cal­en­dar, his birth­day is rec­og­nized as Aug. 7.

Alec­ture on the Homestead's lawn was held on Sun­day, in cel­e­bra­tion of his birth­day on the New Style cal­en­dar. The event also fea­tured a dis­cus­sion hosted by for­mer Prov­i­dence Jour­nal re­porter and Greene bi­og­ra­pher Ger­ald Car­bone.

Pho­tos by Ernest A. Brown/The Call

Top photo, mem­bers of the Ar­tillery Com­pany of New­port 1741 salute the birth­day of Ma­jor Gen­eral Nathanael Greene with can­non fire dur­ing cer­e­monies at the Nathanael Greene Homestead in Coven­try Sat­ur­day. Above, the Var­num Con­ti­nen­tals, un­der the com­mand of Col. Joanne Bres­lin, left, in blue uni­forms, and the Ken­tish Guards, on right, take part in the pro­ces­sion of flags and post­ing of col­ors Sat­ur­day.

Ernest A. Brown/The Call

Cap­tain Robert Allen Greene II, of East Green­wich, a mem­ber of the Ken­tish Guards and a de­scen­dant of Ma­jor Gen­eral Nathanael Greene, pauses by the en­trance to the Ma­jor Gen­eral Nathanael Greene Homestead be­fore tak­ing part in cer­e­monies mark­ing the 275th birth­day of Nathanael Greene in Coven­try on Sat­ur­day.

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