Freed-Hardeman University history professor Greg Massey has co-edited a book published this summer by University of South Carolina Press. The book, written by eleven historians, is “General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South.”
Massey and co-editor Jim Piecuch recruited authors, assigned topics, edited the essays’ content and style and compiled the index. In addition, they each wrote an essay for the book. The essays look at Greene’s generalship, his tactics and strategy, his relationships with his subordinates, his relations with civil government and his role in restoring civil authority and order to the South.
Greene, a self-trained soldier, rose in the ranks to become second only to George Washington. He was one of three generals who served the entire eight years of the Revolutionary War. At the war’s conclusion, he refused to become Secretary of War and settled on “Mulberry,” his estate near Savannah, Ga.
Massey’s essay, “Independence and Slavery: The Transformation of Nathaniel Greene, 1781-1786,” focuses on the latter portion of Greene’s life when he went from successful general to struggling planter. As a general in the South, Greene had urged planters to free and arm some of their slaves as reinforcements for his army. They refused to do that, but in gratitude to Greene after the successful conclusion of the war, southern state legislatures granted him plantations. Thus, the man who had urged slaves be freed found himself a struggling planter dependent on slave labor. This paradox is the crux of Massey’s essay.
Massey has been a member of the FHU faculty since 1993. He holds a Ph.D. from University of South Carolina. Among the classes he teaches are two in research and writing of history.