Female Patriotism- Mrs. Steele & Gen. Green "Take it, you will need it, and I can do without the money."



Background Notes

Female Patriotism is an engraving by J. B. Hall that is based on a painting by Alonzo Chappel. It depicts General Greene sitting in Mrs. Steele's kitchen, looking pensive and sullen, while Mrs. Steele tries to cheer him with the offer of money. Revolutionary era women were very patriotic and supportive of the American cause. They did a variety of jobs to support the war effort, their husbands, and their families. Aside from domestic work, some women took in boarders or ran inns for extra income. A woman named Mrs. Steele ran an inn in South Carolina, and it is said that when General Nathanial Greene (1742-1786) stopped at her inn to rest in January of 1781, she over heard him say to another boarder that he was tired and had no money. Being patriotic, Mrs. Steele offered General Greene some of her savings, in hopes of cheering him up.[1] General Nathanial Greene was born in Rhode Island, and at an early age taught himself to read and began studying military history and strategy. He joined the Army in the early 1770's, and rose quickly through the ranks, impressing General George Washington with his knowledge. He became indispensable to General Washington, fighting battles from Rhode Island and New York, all the way down to South Carolina against General Cornwallis and his British troops. On the night he arrived at Mrs. Steele's inn, he was grieving the loss of one of his officers, who was fatally wounded during battle in South Carolina.[2]

1. Spencer, J.A., History of the United States, Vol. II, New York: Johnson, Fry and Company, 1858. pg. 120

2. Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, American National Biography, Vol. 9, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. pg. 528-530.

Curator Notes

Artist: Alonzo Chappel (1828-1882), Engraver: J.B. Hall
Martin, Johnson & Co.
15 x 17 cm.