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Colonel Christopher GREENE

Colonel Christopher GREENE

Male 1737 - 1781  (44 years)

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  • Name Christopher GREENE 
    Prefix Colonel 
    Born 12 May 1737  Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupasuetuxet Farm 
    Gender Male 
    _AMTID 110112930904:1030:113090087 
    _UID E71D69428FF649CF837B32D27712FAD5A638 
    Died 14 May 1781  Westchester, New York Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: Killed 
    Croton River 
    Person ID I11611  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 6 Apr 2014 

    Father Judge Philip GREENE,   b. 15 Mar 1705, Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Apr 1791, Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth WICKES,   b. 5 Feb 1707, Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Dec 1776  (Age 69 years) 
    Married 12 Aug 1731 
    Family ID F5370  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anne LIPPITT,   b. 12 Nov 1735, Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jun 1816  (Age 80 years) 
    Married 6 May 1757 
    +1. Welthian GREENE,   b. 19 Nov 1757, Centerville, Kent, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Aug 1844, North Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
    +2. Colonel Job GREENE,   b. 19 Nov 1759,   d. 23 Aug 1808  (Age 48 years)
     3. Phebe GREENE,   b. 16 Jan 1762,   d. 22 Sep 1786  (Age 24 years)
    +4. Ann Frances GREENE,   b. 2 Jun 1764,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. Elizabeth GREENE,   b. 15 Dec 1766,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +6. Jeremiah GREENE,   b. 17 Oct 1769,   d. 9 Jul 1861  (Age 91 years)
     7. Daniel Westrane GREENE,   b. 2 Mar 1772,   d. 6 Apr 1773  (Age 1 years)
    +8. Christopher GREENE,   b. 27 Aug 1774,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +9. Mary GREENE,   b. 2 Sep 1777,   d. 1865  (Age 87 years)
    Last Modified 26 May 2021 
    Family ID F5807  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Address:
    Occupasuetuxet Farm - 12 May 1737 - Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island
    Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: Killed,Address:
    Croton River - 14 May 1781 - Westchester, New York
    Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Christopher Greene.jpg
    Christopher Greene.jpg

    An Historic Rhode Island Home
    An Historic Rhode Island Home

  • Notes 
    • Christopher Greene's story is told in 'Shall We Gather at the River?' The following document was provided by Frank Hall, and is presented here in the interest of telling the full story of Christopher's life and service to America during the Revolutionary War.

      A great-great-grandson of Roger Williams by his first born, Mary, was Colonel Christopher Greene. Born on May 12, 1737, a son of Judge Philip Greene of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Christopher was fated to become a Continental Army patriot, soldier, and martyr.

      His third cousin, General Nathanael Greene, who was not a Roger Williams descendant, was an intimate friend, and close neighbor of Christopher as the latter grew up at his birthplace, Occupaseutuxet, Warwick, Rhode Island. Here he lived in his father's ancestral home, the center of the social and political activities of the town.

      Christopher had all the advantages of a broad educational experience, under the guidance of Judge Philip, a man distinguished for his intellectual powers. The young man's training provided the kind of knowledge that would benefit the military profession... a profession that he would unexpectedly pursue.

      Christopher married, May 6, 1757, this third cousin, Anna Lippitt. With her, he would father nine children.

      From his father, Christopher received, in 1761, the family's mill estate, and he ran the business until he became a Revolutionary Army officer.

      At an early age he was elected to represent Warwick in the Rhode Island General Assembly, where he continued to serve until the Revolution. In this legislative body, he was a steadfast supporter of the American cause, contesting the governing policies of the king and parliament.

      During his term of office, the legislature founded a military corps, the :Kentish Guards," to prepare the area's most promising young men for military service. The Kentish Guard organization survives to this day with an armory in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and a roster of members who march, in colonial uniforms, in area parades and appear at patriotic observances.

      Young Greene was appointed Lieutenant by the legislature. In May of 1775, he was promoted to Major in an "Army of Observation," a brigade of 1600 troops under the command of General Nathanael Greene.

      Next, Christopher became a commander of an infantry company assigned to participate in the siege of Boston. Before the defeat and withdrawal of the British Army on March 17, 1776, he had been named by General Washington to other service requiring courage and bravery.

      At Cambridge 1050 men, led by Colonel Benedict Arnold, were sent on an expedition against the British forces in Canada. Lieutenant Colonel Greene commanded a battalion which included a large contingent of Rhode Islanders.

      The attack on Quebec by the Americans began on December 31, 1775, during the night and in the midst of a fierce snowstorm. They succeeded in getting control of the city itself, but the defending forces retired to the interior fortress and regrouped. The siege was maintained until May 6, when English reinforcements arrived to gain the surrender of the occupiers. Christopher was taken prisoner and held until he was set free in the prisoner exchange of 1777.

      Returning at once to the army as Colonel, Christopher, with 400 Rhode Island soldiers, was sent to hold Fort Mercer at Red Bank, south of Philadelphia, on the Delaware River.

      British troops, led by Lord Howe, occupied the city. Forts Mercer and Miflin prevented the British fleet, just arrived in Chesapeake Bay, from reinforcing the Philadelphia Red Coats. 2500 Hessians under Colonel Donop demanded the surrender of 400 Rhode Islanders under Colonel Greene. Christopher's answer: "Say to him (Col. Donop) that we ask no quarter, nor will we give any.  We shall defend the fort, or make it our tomb."

      During the ensuing battle, Colonel Donop was killed along with 400 Hessians. The rest retreated. The Yankees lost 8 dead and counted 24 wounded.

      Across the river, Fort Miflin successfully resisted attack two days later. Overcome by a more concentrated attack by the British, Rhode Island's Major Thayer was forced to abandon Fort Miflin, but not before spiking his remaining guns, blowing up the magazine, setting fire to the fort, then escaping with survivors in boats.

      Following this, Colonel Greene and his brave Rhode Island troops were withdrawn from Fort Mercer. The river opened. Later Colonel Greene was voted by Congress a sword for his heroic defense of Fort Mercer.

      His next service was in the campaign leading to the Battle of Rhode Island, on August 29, 1778. He recruited, organized, and drilled a regiment of Negroes, many of whom had been slaves. In the battle he found himself in command of a brigade in General Nathanael Greene's division, which held the right wing. Concentrated and massed against this wing, the Hessians advanced with drawn bayonets, and after a vigorous counter-attack by the Negro regiment, faltered, then fell back, defeated. Colonel Greene's Negro fighters won enduring renown for this hard-fought battle.

      After the British evacuated Newport, Rhode Island, Christopher's next assignment was to lead his battalion to duty near Croton Bridge, New York. Colonel Greene was killed during a surprise attack upon his camp on the night of May 13, 1781. Vigorously resisting in his quarters, he cut down several of his assailants with his sword. He fell, horribly wounded and mutilated. His left arm was severed. An enemy sword pierced his stomach. His left shoulder was slashed, his head beaten and mangled. He was dragged into the woods a mile away, and left to die there. He was only 44.

      The remains of Colonel Christopher Greene lie beneath a monument raised by the State of New York in a cemetery in Yorktown Heights, New York.