“The Consoling Voice of a Friend”: A Snail-Mail Saturday Post Featuring Nathaniel Greene and Henry Knox

Have you ever made such a weighty mistake or faced such a heavy disappointment that you needed a friend to share the load?

Nathaniel Greene could relate. As I mentioned in last week’s post, the Patriots felt several defeats during the second half of 1776. One of their losses was Fort Washington. On November 17, 1776, Patriot leader Nathaniel Greene, who was somewhat to blame for the defeat, wrote to his fellow-Patriot Henry Knox,

“I feel mad, vexed, sick, and sorry. Never did I need the consoling voice of a friend more than now. Happy should I be to see you. This is a most terrible event…”[1] 

Sometimes it sure helps to have a friend nearby, doesn’t it? Even just their kind words can make such a difference.

Of course, it’s true that sometimes our friends can’t be right with us when we think we need them or we can’t be right there for them. Since it’s a Snail-Mail Saturday, why not take a few minutes to be the kind of there-when-it-counts friend we’d all like to have and jot a note to a friend who could use some cheering up? In this age of texts, messages, and tweets a snail-mail letter could truly be a sweet surprise! And maybe you could include a reminder of Who is the true Always-There Friend and “God of all comfort” (Psalm 139:7-12, Matthew 28:20, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

1 David McCullough, 1776: The Illustrated Edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), pg. 192.  You can see and hold a facsimile (like the one in the featured photo) of Nathaniel Greene’s letter in this book.

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