Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Greensboro Got Its Name

General Nathanael Greene

A little more than three-quarters of a mile from my house is a National Park commemorating the Battle of Guilford Court House and the General who led the Revolutionary forces, General Greene, after whom Greensboro is named.

About the statue of Nathanael Greene:

As early as 1848 there was an effort made by citizens of Greensboro to erect a monument to Greene on the battlefield. An organization was formed and funds raised in 1857-59, but this effort was dropped during the Civil War. In 1888 the first of a series of bills to erect such a monument was introduced into the United States Congress and in 1911 a bill to appropriate $30,000 ($660,639.39 in 2010 dollars) for the purpose was passed. Work was begun in 1914 and the monument was unveiled with appropriate ceremonies on July 3, 1915.

Francis Herman Packer was the sculptor.

From Wikipedia about the Battle of Guilford Court House:

The  battle  was fought on March 15, 1781 in  Guilford County, North Carolina, during the American Revolutionary War. A force of 1,900 British troops under the command of General Lord Cornwallis defeated an American force of 4,000 under Rhode Island native General Nathanael Greene.

Despite the relatively small numbers of troops involved, the battle is considered decisive. Before the battle, the British appeared to have successfully reconquered Georgia and South Carolina with the aid of strong Loyalist factions, and thought that North Carolina might be within their grasp. In the wake of the battle, Greene moved into South Carolina, while Cornwallis chose to invade Virginia. These decisions allowed Greene to unravel British control of the South, while leading Cornwallis to Yorktown and surrender.

The final battle at the end of the 2000 historical epic The Patriot drew its inspiration from two specific battles from the American Revolution: Cowpens in South Carolina and Guilford Courthouse. The Americans used the same basic tactics in both battles. The name of the battle, as well as the winning side, were taken from the Cowpens battle. However, the size of the armies, as well as the presence of Generals Greene and Cornwallis, come from the Guilford Courthouse battle. The scene where Cornwallis orders his artillery to “concentrate on the center,” killing both continentals and his own troops, actually took place at Guilford Courthouse.


Carolina said...

What a wonderful statue. So many details. Imagine being able to make sculptures like that.

Interesting history.

Karen said...

This is something the US government did. I can't think of anything comparable done by the state government here in Greensboro. Most small towns around here have statues to Confederate soldiers in their downtowns, but not Greensboro (or if there ever was, I'm not aware of it).

More pictures and stories about my hometown to come.