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This Day in Georgia History

June 19, 1786

Nathanael Greene Died

American Revolution general Nathanael Greene died at his Mulberry Grove plantation near Savannah. Eight months earlier, Greene and wife Catharine had taken residence at the plantation, which was a gift from the Georgia legislature in appreciation for his victorious campaign against British forces in the southern theater of war. Unfortunately, at age 44, General Greene died from overexposure to the Georgia sun. In a second tribute to the war hero, the Georgia legislature created Greene County in 1786. In one sense, Nathaniel Greene’s death would lead to the Civil War. In 1792, his widow, Catharine, hired a young New Englander named Eli Whitney to tutor her children at Mulberry Grove, where he invented the cotton gin, which made growing short-fiber cotton possible, which led to the growth of cotton plantations and farms throughout the South, which led to a growing need for slaves, which intensified sectionalism and ultimately split the nation.