George Sears Greene,
Brevet Major-General, United States Volunteers
Published by authority of the State of New York, Under the Supervision of the
New York Monuments Commission
J.B. Lyon Company, State Printers
Dedication of Monument
Erected by the State of New York
in Commemoration of the
Brevet Major-General George Sears Greene
and the New York Troops under his command
on the Battlefield of Gettysburg
July 2, 1863
September 27, 1907
Table of Contents Page
Introductory — Report of Monuments Commission - - - - 11
Dedication of Monument, September 27, 1907:
Military Parade — Program of Exercises on Culp's Hill - 21
Invocation by Reverend W. T. Pray ------ 25
Address by Major-General D. E. Sickles, U. S. A., Chairman - 27
Address by Colonel Lewis R. Stegman ------ 38
Address by Governor Charles E. Hughes ----- 49
Remarks by Brevet Major-General Alex. S. Webb, U. S. V. - - 52
Remarks by Major-General Frederick D. Grant, U. S. A. - - 53
Address by Governor Hughes to College Students, September 28, 1907 - 56
Life of General Greene:
Ancestry ---------- 61
Enters West Point 62
Resigns from the Army -------- 63
Re-enters the Military Service -------65
Services at the Battle of Cedar Mountain ----- 69
Maryland Campaign --------72
Chancellorsville -------- 78
Final Campaign of Sherman's Army ----- 99
Mustered Out 100
In Civil Life 100
Placed on Retired List 101
General Greene's Family:
George Sears Greene, Jr. - - - - - - - -101
Samuel Dana Greene -------- 102
Major Charles Thruston Greene - - - - - - -103
Anna Mary Greene -------- 104
Major-General Francis Vinton Greene, U. S. V. - - - - 104
Lieutenant-Colonel William F. Fox, In Memoriam - - - - 108
Illustrations Portrait of Brevet Major-General George S. Greene - Bronze Tablet, south side ------- The Greene Monument -------
Bronze Tablet, north side ----.
Line of Greene's Brigade, Culp's Hill - - - - -
Portion of Greene's Brigade Line, Culp's Hill –
Battlefield of Gettysburg "88
George Sears Greene
I n t r o d u c t o r y
BY Chapter 568 of the Laws of 1903, which became a law on May thirteenth of that year, this Commission was "authorized and directed to procure and erect on a site to be selected by them on the battlefield of Gettysburg, in the State of Pennsylvania, a bronze statue to Brevet Major-General George Sears Greene, deceased, at an expense not to exceed the sum of eight thousand dollars."
The monument erected by the State of New York, under the supervision of this Board of Commissioners by the provisions of the above-mentioned act, commemorates the services of General Greene and of the New York troops under his command, comprising the Sixtieth, Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second, One hundred and thirty-seventh and One hundred and forty-ninth regiments of infantry, forming the Third Brigade, Geary's division of Slocum's corps, and the Forty-fifth, Eighty-fourth, One hundred and forty-seventh and One hundred and fifty-seventh regiments sent to his support during the night of July 2, 1863.
By referring to sketches of the volunteer organizations of the State, given in "New York in the War of the Rebellion," it will be observed that the nine New York regiments commemorated were composed of companies principally recruited in twenty-six of the sixty-one counties of the State.
MAJOR GENERAL DANIEL E. SICKLES, U. S. A.
This page contains a photo.
Address General Daniel E. Sickles U.S.V. Chairman New Work Monuments Commission
Governor Hughes, Comrades and Guests:
THE Legislature of the State of New York, at its last session, authorized the New York Board of Monuments Commissioners to provide transportation to Gettysburg for fifty surviving veterans of each of the nine New York regiments that took part, under the command of General Greene, in the battle on Culp's Hill on the night of July 2, 1863, so that they could be present at the dedication of this monument, erected by the State to commemorate their services and the services of their commander.
I am glad to welcome these veterans — more than four hundred of them — who are here to-day. Forty-four years after the battle they meet again on their field of honor. May God bless them and spare them yet longer. They represent the Sixtieth, Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second, One hundred and thirty-seventh and One hundred and forty-ninth regiments of New York infantry, forming the brigade of General Greene; also the Forty-fifth and One hundred and fifty-seventh regiments of New York infantry sent to his support by Major-General Howard, commanding the Eleventh Army Corps, and the Eighty-fourth and One hundred and forty-seventh regiments of New York infantry sent by General Wads worth from his division of the First Corps.
The Commissioners were also authorized to invite the Governor of New York and such guests as he might ask to accompany him to attend this dedication. His Excellency Governor Charles E. Hughes is here with us on the platform. Among his guests are the Hon. James W. Wadsworth, Jr., Speaker of the Assembly, the grandson of Brevet Major-General James S. Wadsworth, who commanded a division in the battle of Gettysburg, and who was mortally wounded in the battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864; Captain John Raines, (p. 28) a veteran of the war for the Union, temporary President of the Senate; and Major-General Frederick D. Grant, of the United States Army, commanding the Department of the East, the eldest son of the late illustrious Ulysses S. Grant, General-in-Chief of the Army of the United States, and afterward President of the United States.
The Commissioners were likewise authorized to invite representatives of both branches of the Legislature to take part in the ceremonies of dedication, and we are also honored to-day by the attendance of Hon. William W. Armstrong, chairman, and the members of the Finance Committee of the Senate, and the members of the Ways and Means Committee of the Assembly.
We were, besides, authorized to extend invitations to the family of General Greene to witness the dedication of this statue of their distinguished kinsman. Of the descendants of the General there are twenty present, including his son, Major-General Francis V. Greene, late of the United States Army, and another son, Major Charles T. Greene, of the United States Army, who was an aide-de-camp on the staff of his father in the battle of Gettysburg, and who lost a leg in the battle of Ringgold, Ga., November 27, 1863.
The battle fought here by General Greene on the night of July 2, 1863, to hold possession of Culp's Hill, has a conspicuous place in history. It is memorable, not so much for the number of the combatants engaged as it is for the skill of the General, the heroic conduct of his troops, and in view of the consequences that would have followed the defeat of the Union forces. Greene was left here with a small brigade of 1,350 men to take the place of two divisions in defending the right flank of a great army. Eleven divisions of infantry had already been concentrated on the left flank. It is difficult to understand why the two divisions of the Twelfth Corps were ordered away from Culp's Hill to further reinforce the left flank; excepting a part of Lockwood's brigade, they did not fire a shot. The Sixth Corps was already there, but was held in reserve, and had not been engaged. Two divisions of the First Corps were sent from the right center to the left flank, but they were not put in action. The removal of the (p. 29) Twelfth Corps from the right flank was a grave error. The best efforts of Slocum, with eleven thousand men in a battle with seven brigades of the enemy, that began at dawn on the following morning and continued until eleven o'clock, were required to regain all the ground vacated by the corps the night before.
General Slocum, commanding the right wing of the army, made a wise selection in choosing Greene's Brigade to hold this important position. Its commander was an accomplished engineer, a skilful tactician and a resolute chief. His men were entrenched. He made all his dispositions with prudence and foresight. When the enemy advanced to the assault, with three times the force that Greene had, the Union commander was ready for the combat. He was ably supported by all his regimental leaders, one of whom—the gallant Colonel Lewis R. Stegman, of the One hundred and second New York — is with us to-day, I am glad to say. He will describe the battle. The rank and file, with supreme confidence in Greene, held their lines without flinching, pouring a sustained fire upon their assailants with destructive power. Again and again the assaults were renewed, only to be repelled with fearful loss. The battle raged for nearly three hours, when both sides rested on their arms until daybreak.
It is remarkable that General Ewell, who commanded the enemy's forces on their left flank, should have sent only one division to capture this very strong position on Culp's Hill, the right flank of our army, unless he was aware that the position had been seriously weakened by the withdrawal of the greater part of its defenders before the attack began. An hour before Johnson's Division advanced to make the assault, three divisions would have been easily repulsed by our Twelfth Army Corps, which then occupied Culp's Hill. Ewell was ordered by Lee to move against our right to aid Longstreet's attack on our left flank, which began at three o'clock in the afternoon, but Johnson's Division did not advance against Culp's Hill until near sunset — hours after Ewell was expected by Lee to attack. Johnson's advance was at once followed by an (p. 31) assault on Cemetery Hill. This assault was made by Early's Division, supported by the divisions of Rodes and Pender. Cemetery Hill was held by Howard's Eleventh Corps. How did it happen that Culp's Hill was attacked by only one division, while three divisions were assigned to the assault of Cemetery Hill, unless Ewell knew that Culp's Hill was defended by a small force, and that Cemetery Hill was defended by an army corps?
How Ewell could have been informed that all but one brigade of the Twelfth Corps had left their entrenchments and marched to the left of our line, two miles away, may never be known; at all events, no hint of it has ever transpired.
General Meade, in his testimony before the "Committee on the Conduct of the War," after referring to the troops of the Twelfth Corps from the right flank to the left, leaving only Greene's Brigade to hold Culp's Hill, says, "The enemy, perceiving this, made a vigorous attack upon General Greene." General Longstreet says in his "Manassas to Appomattox,"—" General Rodes discovered that the enemy, in front of his division, was drawing off his artillery and infantry to my battle on the right, and suggested to General Early that the moment had come for the division to attack." This citation shows that the enemy was aware of the withdrawal of troops on the right.
If the enemy could have secured this position, which dominated Cemetery Hill, the Confederate divisions of Early, Rodes and Pender were ready to seize that commanding height, on which their artillery would have made our line of battle on Cemetery Ridge untenable. Steuart's Confederate brigade had already occupied the vacated entrenchments on Culp's Hill, and were within a short march of our reserve artillery and the trains of the army, in the rear of Cemetery Ridge. The stubborn resistance of Greene alone saved us from disaster.
Strangely enough, the heroic defense of Culp's Hill was not mentioned in the official report of the commanding general of the Union Army. In this respect Greene was not more unfortunate than (p. 31) Gregg and his noble division of cavalry, whose successful battle with Stuart's Confederate cavalry on our extreme right, on the afternoon of July third, was likewise ignored. Greene's battle was afterwards brought to the notice of General Meade by General Slocum, when tardy recognition was accorded to Greene and his troops. Nor did Greene receive the promotion he had so well earned. He had already commanded a division at Antietam with distinction. He afterwards commanded a division in Sherman's army at the battle of Kinston, N. C. He was seriously wounded in the night battle of Wauhatchie, in Tennessee, under General Hooker. He was born in 1801, and was the oldest officer in the Army of the Potomac at the battle of Gettysburg; and he was the oldest officer in the army when he died, in 1899, in his ninety-ninth year. The famous General Nathanael Greene, so distinguished in our War for Independence, was his ancestor.
It was a source of great satisfaction to General Greene that he lived to see his four sons attain honorable distinction. George Sears Greene, Jr., his oldest son, attained prominence as a civil engineer in the aqueduct department of the city of New York and in railroad construction. In 1875 he was appointed engineer-in-chief of the department of docks in New York, and since 1898 has been a consulting engineer of that city.
Samuel Dana Greene, the second son, was graduated at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., in 1859. He became second in command of the ironclad Monitor. In the historic battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac, Lieutenant Greene had charge of the guns in the turret, every shot from which he personally fired until, when near the close of the fight, Lieutenant Worden being wounded, Lieutenant Greene took command of the vessel and pursued the Merrimac, driving her into the harbor of Norfolk. He was promoted lieutenant-commander in 1866, and in 1872 he was commissioned to the full rank of commander. He died in 1884.
Major Charles Thruston Greene began his military career as a member of the Twenty-second Regiment of the National Guard of (p. 32) New York in 1862. Soon afterwards he was promoted to a lieutenancy in the Sixtieth New York Volunteers, a regiment in which his father was for some time colonel. Afterwards he became an aide-de-camp on the staff of his father, then in command of the Second Division of the Twelfth Army Corps. He was present with his father at Gettysburg on July 2,1863, in the battle on Culp's Hill. While leading the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps, into action at the battle of Ringgold, in Georgia, November 27, 1863, he was wounded by a cannon-ball which killed his horse and severed his right leg. For gallant services he received the brevet commission of major, and was afterwards commissioned a captain in the Forty-second United States Infantry, commanded by General D. E. Sickles, being then only twenty-four years old, one of the youngest officers of his rank in the regular army. He was placed on the retired list December 15, 1870.
Major-General Francis Vinton Greene, the youngest of the sons, was graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, June 15, 1870, at the head of his class. He served for sixteen years in the regular army — in the artillery and in the corps of engineers. Resigning from the regular army in 1886, he was commissioned colonel of the Seventy-first Regiment of the National Guard of New York in 1892, a command he retained until his promotion during the war with Spain as Brigadier-General of Volunteers. He was given command of the second expedition to the Philippine Islands, arriving in Manila Bay July 17, 1898. After his services in the capture of Manila, he was made a Major-General of Volunteers to date from August 13, 1898. In September he was ordered to return to the United States and assigned to duty in Cuba as commander of a division in the Seventh Army Corps. He resigned from the army February 28, 1899.
Anna Mary Greene, the only daughter of General George Sears Greene, married Lieutenant Murray Simpson Day, United States Navy, a son of Brigadier-General Hannibal Day, of the United States Army, a classmate of General Greene in 1823. During the (p. 33) latter days of his long life General Greene made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Day, at Morristown, New Jersey.
New York may always remember with satisfaction the distinguished part borne by her soldiers on this memorable field. In the battle of July first our six divisions of infantry were all led by New York commanders — Doubleday, Wadsworth and Robinson, of the First Corps, and Schurz, Von Steinwehr and Barlow (wounded), of the Eleventh Corps. Brigades of infantry were commanded by Von Gilsa, Coster, Von Amsberg and Krzyzanowsky, all of New York. Wainwright and Osborn, of New York, were chiefs of artillery, and Devin, of New York, commanded one of the cavalry brigades of Buford's division. Doubleday took command of the First Corps when Reynolds fell.
In the battle of July second, the right and left flanks of our army were held by the Twelfth and Third Army Corps, commanded, respectively, by Slocum and Sickles, of New York. The brigades of Ward, De Trobriand, Graham, Carr and Brewster, of the Third Corps, the brigades of Zook, Willard and Kelly, of the Second Corps, Ayres' division and the brigades of Weed and of Rice (who succeeded Vincent), of the Fifth Corps, all New York commanders, sustained the many fierce combats that ended in the final repulse of the enemy on our left flank. Of these leaders, Zook, Weed and Willard were killed, and Sickles and Graham wounded.
The heroic Greene of the Twelfth Corps, with a brigade of five New York regiments, supported by four others sent him by Howard and Wadsworth, firmly held our principal entrenchments on Gulp's Hill against the persistent assaults of a division of the enemy, under Johnson.
Among the commands prominent in the events of the third day, when Lee made his desperate attempt to retrieve the fortunes of a lost battle, were the brigades of General Alexander S. Webb, of the Second Corps, and of Shaler, of the Sixth Corps, both of New York; the latter included three New York regiments, and helped Slocum recover our line on Culp's Hill. And when Webb's brigade met the (p. 34) shock of Armistead's Virginians on Cemetery Ridge the enemy had fired his last shot. And Kilpatrick, commanding a division of cavalry, of whose movement on the third Longstreet says: "Had the ride been followed by prompt advance of the enemy's infantry in line beyond our right and pushed with vigor, they could have reached our line of retreat."
The commanders of the Second and Fourth Volunteer Brigades of Artillery Reserve—Captains Taft and Fitzhugh—were also New Yorkers; and Russell, Bartlett and Nevin, in command of brigades of the Sixth Corps, in reserve.
Besides the Chief of Staff, General Butterfield (wounded), and the Chief of Engineers, General Warren, three army corps, eight divisions and twenty-five brigades, led by New York commanders, were all engaged in the battle of Gettysburg.
More than forty thousand men fell on this field. On our side we had 85,000 in the battle; of these, New York contributed 27,692. The loss in the Union Army was 23,049, of which 6,773 was borne by New York troops. The State of New York provided 482,313 men for the Union Army; of this vast number 53,000 died in service. Of the three hundred renowned battalions whose losses in killed and wounded were the largest, as shown by Fox, the historian, fifty-nine regiments were New York troops. From 1861 to 1865 the State of New York expended $125,000,000 in raising and equipping its forces. New York regiments and batteries fought in more than a thousand battles, engagements and skirmishes. Apart from those on this battlefield, hundreds of naval and military monuments are already placed in as many towns and cities in our State.
In all ages of the world's history, and in all countries, the admiration of the people for their military and naval heroes has sought expression in costly monuments built in honor of great commanders. In this country the disposition is to exalt the virtues and services of our citizen soldiers, upon whom the brunt and burden of our Civil War mainly fell. Eighty-six regimental and battery monuments, (p. 35) erected on this field by the State of New York, will have a touching interest for all time to our citizens, and, above all, to the descendants of the men who served in our New York commands.
Gettysburg was a decisive victory, won at a moment when defeat might have been ruinous to our cause. It marked the beginning of the decline and fall of the Southern Confederacy. Our success here was gained over the most formidable army ever encountered by the Union forces. The advance of General Lee to the Susquehanna marked the extreme limit ever reached by the invading forces of the South.
By common consent this famous battlefield has been chosen to signalize the patriotism, fortitude and valor of the defenders of the Union in the great Civil War. Eighteen states have erected memorials on this field to honor the services of their citizens. Four hundred and fifty monuments have already been placed here, and the list is not yet completed.
It cannot be said that our people have been unmindful of the merits of our conspicuous military and naval leaders, but I sometimes fear that the public regard has waned somewhat toward the rank and file of the armies and fleets that saved the Union. Let all of us who are here to-day, in the presence of so many heroes who defended this height from the assaults of aggressive and gallant foes, remember, as Lincoln said, that "There is one debt the American people can never pay, and that is the debt they owe to the soldiers on the field of battle who saved our Union."
These occasions remind those who fill the executive chambers and legislative halls of our State of the perils, sacrifices and sufferings of the brave men who carried the muskets and who stood behind the guns on this battlefield. What would have happened if they had failed? Imagine the havoc, the ruin and desolation that would have followed the march of a victorious enemy through Pennsylvania to the Delaware, and the recognition of the Southern Confederacy by the European powers and their intervention to stop the war.
These brave men who are now present, and their comrades, remind this generation of the debt it owes to the soldiers who (p. 36) won the victory for the Union, not only for themselves, but for the millions who enjoy the fruits of the triumph gained at the cost of so many thousands of lives.
Let us hope that when these survivors of the nine New York regiments who saved Culp's Hill return to their homes, fresh from a new consecration at Gettysburg, they may find in their fellow citizens in the towns and villages and cities where they live a renewal of the respect, esteem and admiration they received in the old days of 1865, when a restored Union and an enduring peace were the priceless gifts they bore to their families and friends and neighbors at home.
On this occasion I am disposed to close my address — the last I shall make on this battlefield — by adopting as my own the words of the Right Reverend Henry C. Potter, then bishop of New York, taken from the oration delivered by him at Gettysburg on New York Day, July 2, 1893. The bishop said, in commending to the people of our State and to their representatives the obligation and duty of caring for our surviving veterans of the Civil War:
"They wore our uniform. By cap, or sleeve, or weapon, somewhere, there was the token of that Empire State whence they came— whence we have come—and that makes them and us, in the bond of that dear and noble commonwealth, forever brothers. And that is enough for us. We need to know no more. From the banks of the Hudson and the St. Lawrence, from the wilds of the Catskills and the Adirondacks, from the salt shores of Long Island and from the fresh lakes of Geneva and Onondaga, from the forge and the farm, the shop and the factory, from college halls and crowded tenements, all alike, they came here and fought, and shall never, never be forgotten, our great unknown defenders!
"Do you tell me that they were unknown, that they commanded no battalions, determined no policies, sat in no military councils, rode at the head of no regiments? Be it so! All the more are they the fitting representatives of you and me, the people. Never in all history, I venture to affirm, was there a war whose aims, whose (p.37)
policy, whose sacrifices were so absolutely determined by the people, that great body of the unknown, in which, after all, lay the strength and power of the Republic.
"And is not this, brothers of New York, the story of the world's best manhood and of its best achievements? The work of the great unknown for the great unknown — the work that by fidelity in the ranks, courage in the trenches, obedience to the voice of command, patience at the picket line, vigilance at the outposts, is done by that great host that bear no splendid insignia of rank and figure in no commanders' despatches — this work with its largest and incalculable and unforeseen consequences for a whole people, is not this the work which we are here to-day to commemorate?
"Ah! my countrymen, it was not this man nor that man who saved our Republic in its hour of supreme peril. Let us not, indeed, forget her great leaders, great generals and great statesmen; and, greatest among them all, her great martyr and President — Lincoln. But there was no one of these who would not have told us that which we may all see plainly now, that it was not they who saved the country, but the host of her Great Unknown. These, with their steadfast loyalty, these with their cheerful sacrifices, and these, most of all, with their simple faith in God and the triumph of His right —These were they who saved us! Let us never cease to honor them and care for them."
Address by Colonel Lewis R. Stegman
102d New York Vols.
Boys of the Old Brigade, and All the Boys Who Wore the Blue:
THIS is a memorable occasion for the survivors of Greene's Brigade, and for all the boys who fought on Gulp's Hill, in the fact that we are permitted to be present at the unveiling of a statue to our heroic commander, General George Sears Greene, honored, respected and beloved by every man who carried a musket or sword under his orders. In our camps he was a father in his care for the boys. On the battle lines his form was ever at the front. His presence was an inspiration. He was a perfect soldier, believing in the American volunteer, and the volunteer believed in him. And glad are we that the State of New York has honored his memory by this magnificent statue of bronze.
The battle of Gettysburg was a series of episodes, as all battles are, and right here, on Culp's Hill, occurred one of the great episodes which go to make up the history of this tremendous and significant conflict. On this spot, on the night of July 2, 1863, under the direct command and supervision of General Greene, his troops fought in defense of this hill with such obstinacy and determination that the enemy were repulsed in four terrific attacks, leaving Greene the victor.
Let us revert for a moment to the day of the battle here and survey the situation:
Immediately to the southwest, within twenty minutes on the double-quick to an alert soldier, lay the headquarters of the commander-in-chief on the Taneytown road, and the center of the Union Army, under Hancock, while directly to the rear of this brigade, across the Baltimore Pike, lay the reserve ammunition trains and reserve artillery of the Army of the Potomac, possibly five hundred (p. 39) This page contains an image. yards away. To protect this front, the right of the Union line, the Twelfth Corps, Slocum's, was assigned. It was temporarily under the command of General Alpheus S. Williams, "Old Pop Williams" as he was familiarly termed, for Slocum had been placed in charge of a grand division composed of the Fifth and Twelfth Corps. Just to the left of the Twelfth Corps, on this ridge of Culp's Hill extending northwesterly, lay Wadsworth's division of the First Corps, while, in extension, part of the Eleventh Corps had established a line leading over Cemetery Hill. Greene's Brigade of New York regiments, the Sixtieth, Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second, One hundred and thirty-seventh and One hundred and forty-ninth, numbering 1,350 muskets and seventy-four swords, occupied this front, extending from the apex of Culp's Hill, southerly, to a gentle swale on the right of the line where Kane's Pennsylvania brigade covered the ground, joining the First Division, which continued the extension to Wolf's Hill, past Spangler's Spring, forming the extreme right of the whole Union Army infantry line. Candy's First Brigade was in reserve. Several miles beyond were Union cavalry as outposts. Greene's Brigade was the left of the Twelfth Corps.
Directly to the northeast of this position, a half mile or more distant, is Benner's Hill, running parallel to Culp's Hill but less high and prominent. On Benner's Hill lay Johnson's Division of Ewell's corps of Confederates, a corps that only two months before had been commanded by the redoubtable "Stonewall" Jackson. This division was composed of the original troops that had made Jackson famous, and particularly his old brigade, whose bravery had gained for him the sobriquet of "Stonewall." More gallant soldiers than these old veterans did not exist in the Southern service. They believed themselves invincible. Johnson's Division included four brigades: Jones' Virginians, Twenty-first, Twenty-fifth, Forty-second, Forty-fourth, Forty-eighth and Fiftieth regiments; Nicholls' Louisianians, First, Second, Tenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth regiments; Steuart's North Carolinians, First and Third regiments; Virginians, Tenth, Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh regiments, and a battalion (p.40) of Marylanders, the First battalion; and Walker's, the old Stonewall Brigade, of Virginians, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh and Thirty-third regiments. Four batteries — Brown's, Dement's, Carpenter's and Raine's — comprised the artillery force. There were twenty-two regiments in the division. They had occupied Benner's Hill from the afternoon of July first, when they took possession of it, after the first day's fight, in which they had not participated, and consequently were fresh and ready for any duty they might be called upon to perform.
To more thoroughly appreciate the position occupied by the Confederate troops, it may be here stated that, by order of General Meade, the commander-in-chief, General Slocum, with General Warren, chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac, had made a preliminary survey on the morning of the second of July of the enemy's position in contemplation of an attack by the Fifth and Twelfth Corps, to be supported by the Sixth Corps; but both officers reported against such a movement, based upon the strength of the enemy's position and the difficulties of such a movement. The numbers and position of the Confederate forces were fully explained to the commander-in-chief and the proposed attack was abandoned. It will be well to recall this report, for when, later in the day, Greene's Brigade defended and held this position, not a single Confederate soldier who had been on Benner's Hill in the morning, when Slocum and Warren reported against such an attack, had been withdrawn. They were all there. About four o'clock on the afternoon of July second, right here where we stand, occurred a sharp artillery duel. Knap's battery of Geary's division, commanded by Lieutenant Geary, the General's son, and Battery K, Fifth United States Artillery, Lieutenant Van Reed, made a magnificent defense. When the artillerists on the guns were shot dead or wounded the lads of the Sixtieth and Seventy-eighth New York, then lying around here supporting the guns, took the places of the artillerists and worked them so skilfully and bravely that they were complimented by the artillery officers. (p. 41) The Confederate batteries were silenced, driven back, and one of their best beloved officers, young Latimer, known as the "Boy Major," was killed. It was the only Confederate artillery directed upon this point, Culp's Hill, during the battle.
While this duel was going on, there came ominous sounds from the southwest, the left wing of the army. The crash of artillery and the frightful roar of musketry made it certain that deadly work was going on there. The volume of sound kept increasing, and it was evident that a murderous battle was on. It was Longstreet's desperate attack on the position of the gallant little Third Corps, commanded by the magnificent Sickles, and extending from the Peach Orchard to the Devil's Den, and later following the angle of the Emmitsburg road. The Fifth Corps was moved over to the relief of the small band who were endeavoring to hold the lines, followed by Caldwell's division of the Second Corps; and, finally, General Meade became so anxious in regard to the defense of the left wing that he ordered the whole of the Twelfth Corps to vacate its position here on the right and to hurry to the rescue of the left. General Williams, commanding the corps, ordered his old division under General Ruger to move, leading them in person, and soon thereafter Geary was ordered to follow with his division, by order of General Slocum, retaining one brigade to defend the whole corps line. That brigade was Greene's, the left of the division; Kane and Candy, with the First and Second Brigades, going with General Geary southeasterly toward Rock Creek, on the Baltimore Pike, where they halted.
And here one word of encomium for the prescient eye and brain of our noble Slocum. When he was ordered to take the whole of the Twelfth Corps to the left he protested to General Meade that his advices from General Williams and General Geary were to the effect that the enemy were in strong numbers in their front, ready for an attack. He requested General Meade to be permitted to keep General Geary's division to cover the works of the corps, not to leave them deserted. Then General Slocum says, "I was permitted to retain one brigade, and I retained Greene's." Thus it happened (p. 42) that by the sagacity of Slocum, Greene's Brigade was selected to defend this hill, this position.
When Greene's Brigade arrived at this point on the morning of July second, having been relieved from duty on the extreme left of the army, under the Round Tops, where it had been assigned on the evening of the first day of the battle, it joined its comrades of the division and the corps. Immediately on its arrival, by order of General Greene, who personally superintended the work, the men commenced to construct earthworks, if they may be so called, composed of logs, cordwood, stones and earth, about breast high, a good protection against ordinary musketry. The works were finished by noon. The whole corps line, also Wadsworth's division, followed with works, and the right wing was ready for the attack. This brigade, for the first time in its battle history, had constructed earthworks at Chancellorsville. By reason of a flank attack, made by this same Stonewall Jackson's corps, which lay out in the front here, the brigade had been driven back, regiment by regiment, fighting on regimental fronts. This first attempt to use earthworks having proven so futile and without benefit, the men of the brigade were not anxious about the works here. But they obeyed orders, particularly as General Greene walked along the lines with care, giving personal direction as to the measurements and the angles. Many a man who sits before me to-day grumbled that morning and afternoon at the persistency of "Pop Greene," their term of endearment, and prophesied that they would have their labors for their pains. Before many hours they rendered thanks and blessings for the skilful plans and judgment of their beloved commander. It seldom happened in their future career that earthworks were necessary, but the men of this brigade were never loath, after Gettysburg, to throw up all the works that might be necessary to defend any position occupied.
It was nearly six o'clock on the evening of July second that the order for Geary's division to move was received — that is two brigades, Candy's and Kane's — leaving Greene to stretch out his thin line over all the space formerly occupied by the corps to (p. 42) make as good a showing as possible. As soon as Geary had led his men away, General Greene commenced to make dispositions to cover the space rendered vacant. The regiments of the brigade then lay along the line as follows: On this hill, joining Wadsworth's division, was the Seventy-eighth, then the Sixtieth, part of its front down the hill; the One hundred and second, at the foot of the hill, forming the center; the One hundred and forty-ninth next, while the right of the brigade was occupied by the One hundred and thirty-seventh. This was the position of the brigade when the firing of the skirmish line in front, over beyond Rock Creek, some two or three hundred yards down the hill in this front, became more acute than it had been during the earlier part of the day. Firing had taken place between the two skirmish lines at different hours during the day, and the Union boys had driven the Confederates close to their main line of battle. But at seven o'clock the order of attack was reversed; the Confederates had strengthened their skirmishers and they came booming. Greene's Brigade skirmishers held them nobly. Lieutenant-Colonel Redington, of the Sixtieth, who had command of the line and had given his orders by bugle, blew for assistance, and the Seventy-eighth was taken from this immediate front and rushed down the hill and through the ranks of the One hundred and second to his relief. Redington had fallen back slowly, contesting every inch of ground so sturdily that the Confederates, in their official reports, speak of driving lines of battle. The skirmishers were already at Rock Creek when the Seventy-eighth reached them. The regiment received and delivered several volleys, when it became evident to Colonel Hammerstein that he was facing a superior force. He ordered the regiment to fall back into the works, joining the One hundred and second as a right wing. All the skirmishers who were not killed or wounded came rapidly to the rear.
While this skirmish firing was going on, and after the Seventy-eighth had gone to their assistance, the balance of the brigade commenced to move to the right, except the Sixtieth, which had (p. 44) to cover the interval left by the Seventy-eighth on this front and to cover its original line down the hillside. The One hundred and second moved into the One hundred and forty-ninth works, while the One hundred and forty-ninth moved into the works of the One hundred and thirty-seventh, the latter moving into Kane's brigade works, part of Geary's division line. In the movement the men had taken position fully a foot apart. There were not men enough to cover the ground they had been ordered to hold, and what should have been a strong line of battle was practically only a strong skirmish line. The extension had not been completed, and it was already dark in the dense and murky woods, when the Seventy-eighth and the regular skirmishers came over the works hotly pursued by the enemy.
Let us revert here for a moment to the Confederate line to fully comprehend the import and strength of the attack on this position. Early in the day, according to General Lee's plan, there was to have been a simultaneous attack made upon the right and left wings of the Union Army. Sickles and Slocum were both to be forced from their strongholds, and by their destruction the whole Union Army put to rout. Longstreet was to force Sickles, while Ewell was to master this point. The opening of the engagement on the left was to be the signal for Ewell's advance here. Whatever the reason, Ewell did not advance at the time specified. If he had done so he would have found the whole Twelfth Corps in the line of defense. He postponed his attack until only Greene's Brigade was left on the Twelfth Corps line.
It is a matter of interest here to note an important point. When the First and a part of the Second Division of the Twelfth Corps were ordered to abandon their positions on the line, according to the official records, the strong force of skirmishers which had covered their fronts were also withdrawn, the men rejoining their respective regiments, and proceeding with the main bodies to the relief of the left wing. It should be recalled that this skirmish line had been observing the enemy all day long, and at the same time had (p. 44) been observed by the enemy. When it was suddenly called back, it must have attracted the attention of the enemy at once, and efforts to discover the cause have been made. This would reveal that the main force had been withdrawn, and that only a part of the troops originally stationed on the line were in occupation of this hill. Alert officers on the Confederate skirmish line could and probably did convey this important information to the commanders on Benner's Hill, only a short distance to the northeast. That this knowledge of the situation was in possession of General Johnson, the Confederate division commander, seems almost certain from the method and manner of his attack on Culp's Hill. His whole force in the attacks was concentrated directly upon this point. He made no attempt to spread his lines to cover the corps position. Had the whole corps been there his position would have been hazardous, for his left flank would have been in immediate danger of being overwhelmed. As it was, Johnson's left was free, and from the first moment to the last engaged in the severe encounters on this front. Johnson's four brigades, in ordinary battle line, could have covered the whole front of the Twelfth Corps, a small corps on this field. As it was, three brigades came directly at this hill, determined to crush the depleted right wing. That they failed was due to the splendid skill of Greene and the desperate resistance offered by the troops under his command.
When Johnson's Division started from Benner's Hill, Jones' Virginians led the column, being the first to advance. As they developed, Nicholls' Louisianians formed on their left and immediately thereafter Steuart's North Carolinians and Virginians, with the Maryland battalion, formed further to the left, a magnificent battle array of seventeen regiments, veterans of proved merit. They were three lines deep. These were the troops that the Union skirmishers had met, before whose massive numbers they had fallen back. As they advanced and took position, firing by volley or at will, they aligned before these works in the same order in which they advanced — Jones directly under the hill, the Sixtieth line, (p. 46) charging the front, Nicholls in the center, fronting the Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second and One hundred and forty-ninth, while Steuart, further to the left, covered the One hundred and thirty-seventh, all advancing in the fury of heated combat. All parts of the line were engaged.
As previously stated, the lines of Greene's little brigade of five regiments had not been formed; the men were still moving to take more ground to the right when the storm struck them. Further extension was abandoned. The endeavor to hold the unoccupied works was given up in the necessity of fighting for their lives and the position they held. The men in march halted and faced the foe.
Twilight and the murky darkness of the woods rendered the scene one of extreme impressiveness. The rebel yells, the "hi-yi" so familiar in many a battle, came ringing from the density below, and with it volleys of musketry. The blaze of fire which lighted up the darkness in the valley, the desperate charging yell and halloa of the Confederate troops, convinced the boys of Greene's Brigade that an immediate engagement was on. They faced the emergency as became good soldiers, their volleys ringing in fierce reply to the Confederate offense. They battled with the determination that makes success. There were no heroics on the line except in the stern duty well done. For hours, the crash of musketry was unceasing; three hours of conflict with rifle-balls at close quarters. And at the end the enemy had fallen back. Four times, with desperate yells, with the determination to carry these works at all hazards, had the Confederates charged; four times they went back discomfited. They had charged clear to the works, so close that they made attempts to grasp the regimental flags, and died as their hands clutched for the colors. They built breastworks of their own dead on this brigade front, so merciless was the Union fire; and the men who so used their comrades' bodies were killed behind them.
General Jones, of the Confederates, was early wounded in this immediate front, and Lieutenant-Colonel Dungan assumed command of the brigade. The official reports show a heavy loss. Nicholls (p.47) suffered severely; and on the right, in front of Steuart, the dead lay thick. To account for this defeat, the Confederates, in their reports, speak of forts which they attacked, and of the overwhelming numbers against whom they fought. The numbers they fought were the little regiments of Greene's Brigade, and the splendid though decimated regiments which came to their assistance in the stress of the battle.
General Greene early in the engagement perceived the necessity of reinforcements and called for succor from the forces nearest at hand. To his aid were sent the Fourteenth Brooklyn (Eighty-fourth New York) and the One hundred and forty-seventh New York from Wadsworth's division, which hurried to the right of the line in time to help the One hundred and thirty-seventh in repelling a savage attack by Steuart's Brigade, then enveloping the right flank. They did magnificent service that night, which was continued until the next day by the Fourteenth Brooklyn. On other parts of the line came the Sixth Wisconsin from Wadsworth, men of the First Corps, while the Eleventh Corps sent its gallant Forty-fifth New York, the One hundred and fifty-seventh New York, the Eighty-second Illinois and the Sixty-first Ohio to aid their comrades of Greene's Brigade in the defense of the position. How well they did their work is attested by the enemy's dead who lay where our rifles carried destruction. To our men all honor. Where all our regiments did such noble duty as was done here, no distinctions of merit can be drawn. They performed their full duty as soldiers.
Just here, at the apex of this hill, men of the Sixtieth rushed over the works and captured two Confederate battle-flags and took prisoners. Over on the right, Lilly, the color-bearer of the One hundred and forty-ninth, twice spliced the flag of the regiment when the staff was shattered in the hail of Confederate bullets, and the flag that he bore carried eighty wounds in its folds to show where the merciless shot had rent it.
By ten o'clock the main fight here had ceased. The terrific musketry had died down. The four shocks of the enemy against this line had failed. He fell back across the creek, leaving only a (p. 48) small force to protect his front. Greene had held this line: not one foot of the original works had been crossed by a Confederate, except as a prisoner. The flags of the Union line were intact; the Union line had captured Confederate colors. The right was secure for the night.
One moment of review of the forces engaged. On the Union side there were Greene's Brigade of 1,424 officers and men; from the First Corps about 355 men, and from the Eleventh Corps about 400 men, for it must be recalled that the regiments of these two corps had been in the first day's fight and had been depleted to a fearful extent. Thus, on the defensive line there had been about 2,000 men comprised in twelve small regiments. On the Confederate side there were seventeen organizations. Their strength is not given. One regiment defines its strength as 270 and its loss at nearly three-quarters; another as 350, with heavy losses. So it may be safe to average the regiments engaged at 300 each, giving a force of over 5,000 Confederates in attack.
Deeds of heroic valor were performed upon every part of this field during its three days of merciless fighting. The dauntless defense of Seminary Ridge on the first day by the First and Eleventh Corps; the magnificent courage of the Third Corps from the Devil's Den to the Peach Orchard and on the Emmitsburg road on the second day; the saving of the Round Tops by the Fifth Corps, and the surpassing battle of Webb's brigade at the "Bloody Angle" on the third day, are all themes of song and story, splendid episodes of American daring. But nowhere upon this field was more dauntless heroism displayed than in the defense of Culp's Hill by the men of Greene's Brigade and those who assisted them on the night of July 2, 1863.
Slocum says of the night fight: "The failure of the enemy to gain entire possession of our works was due entirely to the skill of General Greene and the heroic valor of his troops." What higher encomium can be asked for than that of our peerless corps commander?
Address by Governor Charles E. Hughes
General Sickles, Fellow Countrymen:
WE have come to this field of eloquent memorials to pay a deserved tribute to one who, in supreme test, vindicated his manhood and his leadership. We are here as New Yorkers to commemorate the fidelity and valor of a son of New York. We have met as citizens on this consecrated soil, where, in severest conflict, the heroism of two armies glorified the American name, and in the victory of one was found the sure promise of a restored Union and of the happiness of these later years.
You survivors of battle, in diminished ranks, mourning your comrades, and yet rejoicing in the memory of those heroic days, have gathered here to-day in honor of the brave leader under whose command the desperate engagement on this hill was fought.
Veterans: To you these stones are quick with life. You live again in the comradeship of war; and those who fell here, and those who lived to fall elsewhere, are once more by your side. Each bit of ground has its story of daring, of resolute defense, of suffering, of death. Here in patriotic devotion you offered your lives, and the memory of your steadfastness at Gettysburg and on Culp's Hill in that dark hour is one of the choicest of our national treasures.
The Civil War was not more notable for its political consequences than it was for its revelation of the quality of our citizenship. Priceless as is the national unity which was gained through that struggle, the value of that unity rests upon that sterling character and the capacity for heroic effort, which, in both North and South, found abundant illustration. The virtues displayed on either side of that fierce contest are the common heritage of a united people. And alike in heroism upon the battlefield, in fortitude, in the untold sacrifices of those that remained at home, in the skill, in the discernment, in the energy of leaders, in the discipline, readiness (p. 50) and valor of the troops they led, stood revealed the splendid pertinacity, the inflexible determination and the moral forcefulness of American manhood.
General Sickles: New York is more proud of the manner in which it met that test than it is of its wealth or its broad domain. As you have said, New York sent 400,000 of its sons to the Northern Army— one-fifth of its male population. In every part of this field are the records of New York troops — records of fidelity and honorable achievement. As we have just learned in the eloquent words of Colonel Stegman, at a critical moment the boys of Greene's Brigade held firm under an attack, made the more terrible by the darkness which covered the earth, from an invisible, superior force. They held firm and by heroic defense protected the safety of the army; and, to their alert, sagacious General, we, the sons of the Empire State, erect this monument, expressive of our love, expressive of our pride, expressive of our lasting obligation. (Applause.)
The generation which fought here has almost passed away. The distinguished leaders still with us, and in whose presence we rejoice to-day, recall to us the more vividly those who have already gone from us. Their sacrifices were not in vain. Those who died here did not die in vain. The same national character which accounted for the fierceness of that strife, in whose devouring flames were displayed the indestructible riches of moral strength, is ours to-day. The same patriotic ardor fills the breasts of American youth as when they rushed from field and factory and college at their country's summons. The wives and mothers of America are as loving, as devoted, as ready to sacrifice and to suffer as were those of forty odd years ago. (Applause.) The men of the United States are as quick to respond to the call of duty, as keen, as resourceful, as valiant as were those of our heroic past. They are blessed with the memory of your labors; they are enriched with the lessons of your zeal; forever will they be inspired by the example of your patriotism.
We are engrossed to-day in the pursuits of peace. Mind and nerve are strained to the utmost in the varied activities which promise (p. 51) opportunity for individual achievement. But the American heart thrills at the sight of the flag; the American conscience points unwaveringly to the path of honor; the American sense of justice was never more supreme in its sway; and, united by a common appreciation of the ideals of a free government, by a common recognition of the riches of our inheritance, by a common perception of our national destiny, the American people should, and we believe will, go steadily forward, a resolute, a happy, resourceful and triumphant people, enjoying in ever greater degree the blessings of liberty and union. (Applause.)
Life and Military Services
Brevet Major-General George Sears Greene
By William F. Fox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S.V.
THE manly, heroic virtues which have given the American soldier an honored place in military annals were inherited largely from the men who formed the early emigration to the American colonies. The emigrants in those days were, of necessity, resolute, fearless and self-reliant. They were men who, rather than submit to oppression, would bid good-bye to home and native land, brave the dangers of the sea and make their abiding place in a new and untried country. The women who shared their fortunes possessed the same sterling traits of character, and were well fitted to become the mothers of a race of soldiers.
It has been said of the pioneers, who, from 1620 to 1660, left England for the new world, that "they were stanch supporters of the rights of the people, and with them departed the very heart of England's manhood." Grapes are not of thistles, nor figs of thorns. Like begets like, and these men, possessing all the traits of character that go to make the ideal soldier, were the progenitors of a fighting race that was to stand undaunted at Lexington and Gettysburg. In this study of heredity a conspicuous example is found in the great soldier whose life forms the subject of these pages.
In 1635 John Greene, a gentleman of good family in Salisbury, England, bade farewell to the land of his birth, and, crossing the stormy Atlantic, joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A few years later he allied himself with Roger Williams in establishing a colony in Rhode Island, and settled at Warwick in that province where his son John became, in time, the Lieutenant-Governor. Among his descendants in successive generations were men holding (p. 62) prominent offices in the colony — Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, United States Senator and Judge of the Supreme Court. Two of them — Major-General Nathanael Greene and Colonel Christopher Greene — achieved great distinction in the army during the War of the Revolution.
In the seventh generation there was born, in the village of Apponaug, Rhode Island, on May 6, 1801, George Sears Greene the distinguished soldier whose biography follows here. He was the son of Caleb and Sarah Weeks Greene and a grandson of Caleb Greene. His father was a ship-owner who resided in the village of Apponaug, in the town of Warwick, where he owned several hundred acres, a part of the large tract which his ancestor, the first John Greene, had purchased from the Indian Chief Miantonomoh in 1640. Caleb Greene had nine children, of whom four died in infancy, and the other five lived to be more than eighty — George Sears Greene attaining the age of ninety-eight.
Young Greene, having completed his preliminary education in the grammar school at old Warwick, went to the Latin school in Providence with the intention of entering Brown University; but owing to financial reverses in the family, it became necessary for him to earn the money with which to complete his education, and so he secured employment in the office of a dry-goods merchant in New York City. While employed there he received an appointment as a cadet at West Point. It is noted in the family records that he made the journey from New York City to the military academy on the Hudson in a small sailing vessel — the best available means of transportation in 1819.
Entering West Point at the age of eighteen, he was graduated in 1823 with high honors, standing second in his class, a class which numbered seventy-nine members at its entrance. Among the cadets who were in the academy during his four-year term, and who became distinguished were Mansfield, Hunter, McCall, Mordecai,
BRONZE TABLET. Placed on northerly side of granite pedestal.
This page contains an image.
(p. 63) Lorenzo Thomas, Day, Mahan, Bache, Anderson, C. F. Smith, Bartlett, Albert Sidney Johnston, Heintzelman and Casey. On graduating, he joined the army as a brevet second lieutenant in the First Artillery, from which he was soon transferred to the Third. At the expiration of the usual graduating furlough he was assigned to duty at West Point as an assistant professor of mathematics, a position which he held for nearly four years, after which he was stationed at various artillery posts. A promotion to a first lieutenancy was received May 31, 1829.
In the summer of 1828 he was married at Providence to Elizabeth Vinton, whose brother, David H. Vinton, had been in the class before him at West Point, and was one of his most intimate friends. She bore him three children, two sons and one daughter; but all of them, together with their mother, died within a period of seven months at Fort Sullivan, in 1832 and 1833. From such an overwhelming calamity the only possible relief from the monotony of garrison life at a small and remote station was found in intense study; and during the next three years he read exhaustive courses in law and medicine, qualifying himself to pass examinations admitting him to practice in either of these professions. He also continued the studies in engineering which he had pursued at all times since his graduation at West Point. In the autumn of 1835, being still, after more than twelve years' service, a first lieutenant of artillery, he determined to resign from the army and engage in the practice of the profession of civil engineering. He obtained leave of absence until June 30, 1836, at which time his resignation was to take effect, and began work as an assistant engineer on the railroad from Andover to Wilmington, in Massachusetts, the small beginning of what is now the great Boston & Maine Railroad system.
"While thus employed he was frequently in Boston and Charlestown; but it was while she was on a visit to Maine, in company with her father, that he met his second wife, Martha Barrett Dana, daughter of Hon. Samuel Dana, who had served for several terms (p. 64) in the Assembly, the State Senate, and in Congress. He was of the well-known Dana family of Massachusetts, descendants of Richard Dana who came from England to Cambridge in 1646. They were married in Charlestown, Mass., on February 21, 1837, a happy union that lasted until her death forty-six years later."* Of the six children by this marriage, one died in infancy, five grew to maturity and four survived their parents. Three of the four sons served in the military or naval service of their country in time of war. The children were:
George Sears Greene, Jr., born November 26, 1837.
Lieutenant Samuel Dana Greene, United States Navy, born February 11, 1840; died December 11, 1884.
Major Charles Thruston Greene, United States Army, born March 5, 1842.
Anna Mary Greene, born February 19, 1845.
James John Greene, born September 4, 1847; died October, 1848.
Major-General Francis Vinton Greene, United States Volunteers, born June 27, 1850.
General Greene soon achieved a distinction in his profession as a civil engineer that created a constant demand for his services. Much of his time was devoted to railway construction, during which he built railroads in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland and Virginia. In 1856 he was connected with the Department of Water Supply in the City of New York, and during his service in that position he designed and constructed the large reservoir in Central Park. The enlargement of High Bridge was also his design, and the work was done under his supervision.
In 1861, when it became evident that the Civil War was to be something more than a militia affair, Greene tendered his services to the Governor of New York. There was some delay on the part of the State authorities in providing for him an appointment suitable
*From Memoir of George Sears Greene. By his son, Francis Vinton Greene. New York, 1903. 64
(p. 64) to his military experience and ability. But on January 18, 1862, he was commissioned Colonel of the Sixtieth New York Volunteers, and he re-entered the military service of his country at the age of sixty-one, or within three years of what is now the age for compulsory retirement. Still, his health and constitution were such that he was physically the equal of much younger men, and he was well fitted to start again on his military career, one which was destined to give him a prominent place among the successful generals of a great war.
The Sixtieth New York at that time was stationed near Baltimore, Md., where it had been ordered on duty as a railroad guard. Though composed of exceptionally good material, the regiment was lacking in discipline, its morale having been impaired by dissatisfaction arising from various causes. The former colonel had just resigned in response to a written request signed by all the line officers, thus creating the vacancy to which Greene had been appointed. His arrival in camp was a surprise to all, and a disappointment to some of the officers, who would have received a promotion in case the vacancy had been filled from within the regiment.
The new colonel called a meeting of the officers at his tent, where, in a brief address, kindly but firm in tone, he told them what he expected of them. Under his instruction the regiment made a speedy improvement in drill and discipline, and soon attained a degree of efficiency that in time made it a first-class fighting machine.
But Colonel Greene's service as a regimental commander was of short duration. After a stay of three months with the Sixtieth New York he received his promotion as a brigadier-general, his commission bearing date of April 28, 1862. He left the regiment with the good will and best wishes of officers and men. He was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel William B. Goodrich, a gallant soldier and courteous gentleman, who. was killed a few months later at the battle of Antietam while serving in Greene's division. (p. 66)
Greene received his commission as brigadier-general on May eighteenth, and his active service then began; it continued unbroken, except while disabled by wound, until the surrender of Johnston's army, nearly three years later. With his commission came an order to report to General Banks, then commanding the Fifth Army Corps, fighting up and down the Shenandoah Valley against Jackson. On May twentieth Greene said good-bye to his regiment at Relay House and arrived at Winchester that evening, reporting to Banks at Strasburg the next morning. It was a week before arrangements could be made to assign him to command; and in the meantime, on May twenty-fifth, Jackson attacked Banks with a greatly superior force at Front Royal and Winchester, and forced him to retreat to the Potomac at Williamsport. During these engagements and the retreat Greene remained with Banks' staff, and Banks, in his report, says that he "rendered me most valuable assistance."
Two days after reaching Williamsport, Greene was assigned to the command of the Third Brigade of the First Division, which had hitherto been commanded by his friend, George H. Gordon, Colonel of the Second Massachusetts Regiment; and Gordon left for Washington on leave of absence, Greene riding with him as far as Hagerstown.
The circumstances under which Greene took command of his brigade are briefly described in the volume, "Slocum and His Men; a History of the Twelfth and Twentieth Corps:"*
"After its retreat from Strasburg, Banks' corps remained on the north side of the Potomac, in the vicinity of Williamsport, until June tenth, a delay due in part to the heavy rains and swollen condition of the river. The men enjoyed a much-needed rest, and an opportunity was afforded to refit the column preparatory to resuming the campaign. While at Williamsport, a nice-looking, elderly gentleman in the uniform of a brigadier came to camp and presented
*"Slocum and His Men; a History of the Twelfth and Twentieth Array Corps." By Lieutenant-Colonel William F. Fox, U. S. V. (p. 67)
instructions from the War Department, placing him — General George S. Greene — in command of Gordon's brigade. He retained this command for a short time only, as Gordon was soon promoted brigadier for meritorious service in the preceding campaign, and on June twenty-fifth was restored to his position. But we shall hear a good deal more about this same General Greene before we are through with the records of the Twelfth Corps.
"The river having subsided, the corps recrossed, the regimental bands playing the then popular tune of 'Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny,' and moved southward by easy marches up the valley.
"The return to Winchester revived the bitter hatred with which the soldiers regarded the citizens on account of the treatment received from the people during the recent retreat through the streets of that town. The soldiers asserted that some of their comrades had been killed by shots fired from houses along the line of march. But they resented most the scandalous action of the Winchester dames, who from the upper windows hurled upon them objectionable articles of bedroom crockery. In two regiments of Greene's Brigade the men were outspoken in their threats to burn certain houses which they specially remembered.
"The wise old brigadier heard, but said nothing. Just before entering the town he issued orders that the troops should march through the streets in columns of fours, and that no officer or man should leave the ranks for any reason whatever. As they entered the place the two disaffected regiments found themselves flanked by other troops closely on each side, and they were marched through Winchester without a halt out into the fields beyond, feeling and looking more like a lot of captured prisoners than the gay, fighting fellows that they were. They cursed 'Old Greene' in muttered tones, but soon forgot it, guessed he was all right, and in time cheered the General as noisily as any other regiments in the brigade."
While Gordon was in Washington he was himself promoted to the rank of brigadier-general on June ninth, and, being very desirous (p. 68) to resume command of his old brigade, he procured a specific order from the War Department to that effect. In the meantime Jackson had retreated up the valley and Banks had followed him as far as Winchester, where the two armies were confronting each other, when Gordon arrived with his order on June twenty-fifth. The following day Greene turned over the command of his brigade to Gordon and started for Washington, stopping a few hours at Harper's Ferry to see his son Charles, a lad of twenty years, then serving as a private in the Twenty-second New York Regiment.
On June 26, 1862, the Army of Virginia was organized and General John Pope assigned to its command. It consisted of the troops on the Rappahannock under McDowell, those in the West Virginia mountains under Fremont, and those in the Shenandoah under Banks. The designation of the latter was changed from the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, to the Second Corps, Army of Virginia. General C. C. Augur commanded its Second Division, and Greene was assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, then composed of the Sixtieth New York (his old regiment), Seventy-eighth New York, Third Delaware, Purnell (Maryland) Legion, and First District of Columbia, the last consisting of a small battalion only. Greene received his orders in Washington, July ninth, and took command of his brigade at Warrenton, Virginia, on July twelfth.
During the previous month Lee had brought Jackson from the valley to join him at Richmond in time to take a decisive part on June twenty-seventh at Gaines' Mill and in the succeeding "Seven Days' Battles." But no sooner had McClellan moved to the James than Lee began to plan his advance toward Maryland, and, as usual, the most important part in it was assigned to Jackson. On July thirteenth Lee ordered Jackson from Richmond to Gordonsville to meet Pope and hold him in check. Advancing north from Gordonsville, on August eighth, with his own and Ewell's and A. P. Hill's divisions, Jackson met Banks' corps, which formed the advance of Pope's army, on the following day, and (p. 69) an important battle was fought at Cedar Mountain on August ninth. Jackson outnumbered Banks two to one, but Banks did not hesitate to attack, and it was a sharply contested battle from about five o'clock in the afternoon until after dark. At one time Jackson's left flank was turned, and he narrowly escaped total defeat. If he had not been Jackson he probably would have been defeated. His own report, as Swinton says, uses "the words in which a general is apt to describe a serious defeat." But Jackson rallied his men by his own personal influence, and at dusk forced Banks back to the position from which he had moved to the attack. It was, in short, a drawn battle, followed by the retirement of Jackson to Gordonsville, and Banks to Culpeper. Jackson had lost 229 killed and 1,047 wounded, and Banks 302 killed and 1,320 wounded. As Banks had eighteen regiments* and about seven thousand men, and Jackson had forty-nine regiments* and about fifteen thousand men, the losses will indicate how gallant was the attack and the defense of Banks' Second Corps. Although not a decisive victory for either side, it brought Jackson to a standstill until Lee could rejoin him with his entire army a week later.**
In this battle Greene's Brigade held the extreme left, as later it held the extreme right at Gettysburg. The greater part of his brigade had been sent away a week before on detached service — the Sixtieth New York and Purnell Legion to Warrenton, the Third Delaware to Front Royal — leaving only the Seventy-eighth New York, the District of Columbia battalion and McGilvery's battery, Sixth Maine, a total force engaged of only 457 men. This handful of men was stationed on the extreme left, in front of Cedar Run, and extending to the woods at the base of Cedar Mountain. McGilvery's battery was in front of them and supported by them. The most persistent fighting was further to the right by the four
*Official Records, Vol. XII, Part 2, pp. 138 and 179. Rickett's division of McDowell's corps arrived on the field shortly after seven o'clock in the evening with sixteen regiments; but the battle was then practically over, although this division lost 13 killed and 2-24 wounded.
**Considerable space is given to a general account of this battle because its size and importance have not usually been understood.
(p. 70) other brigades of the corps — Crawford's, Gordon's, Geary's and Prince's. But a determined effort was made by Ewell to crush the left flank. This movement was entrusted to Trimble's brigade, consisting of the Twelfth Georgia, Twenty-first North Carolina and Fifteenth Alabama, with Latimer's battery, numbering in all probably 1,200 men. Ewell's and Trimble's reports and the maps prepared by Trimble and Hotchkiss, all of which are published in the Official Records, tell the same story. Trimble was to make his way through the woods along the western side of Cedar Mountain, silence McGilvery's battery and drive in the Federal left flank, viz., Greene's Brigade. Trimble says that his battery was in position at three o'clock and continued firing until five o'clock, when his infantry advanced with the Alabama regiment as skirmishers to turn the enemy's flank, the other two regiments attacking in front. He further states that at dark, after seven o'clock, he "had possession of the ground occupied by the Federal left." In other words, during two hours, the hours of the heavier fighting to the west, he made no progress. Greene's Brigade and McGilvery's battery held their ground. The withdrawal across Cedar Run at dark was part of the general withdrawal of the entire corps by Banks' order. The losses in the two brigades were about the same, although Trimble had nearly three times as many men as Greene.
This was the first time that Greene had exercised command in battle. His part was by no means the most important on that day; he was simply to hold fast to a certain position and not be driven out, the holding of this position being essential to the progress of the fight. He performed this part completely, satisfactorily. He was to have the same duty, each time with more at stake, at Antietam, and again at Gettysburg; and each time he rose to the occasion. The essential feature of his career is the unflinching tenacity with which he held fast to a vital position, always in compliance with orders, and against enormously superior numbers. His services at Cedar Mountain received the hearty commendation of his superiors, Pope, Banks and Augur. General Augur, division commander, speaks (p. 71) of "Greene, who, with his little command, so persistently held the enemy in check on our left."
Augur and Geary were wounded during the afternoon, and Prince was captured in the darkness at the close of the engagement. The command of the division thus fell on Greene, and was retained until some time after Antietam. One week after the battle, August sixteenth, Lee joined Jackson with his whole army, and immediately began his advance northward. In this campaign Banks' corps took practically no part. Pope, in his report written at New York in January of the following year, takes occasion to criticise Banks, who, he says (at Cedar Mountain), "contrary to his suggestions and to my wishes, had left a strong position which he had taken up and had advanced at least a mile to assault the enemy." He further says that "Banks' corps, reduced to about 5,000 men,* was so cut up and worn down with fatigue that I did not consider it capable of rendering any efficient service for several days." The accuracy of this judgment may well be questioned, but Pope acted upon it, and, during the two weeks of incessant fighting and marching, in which Pope was driven back from Culpeper to Washington, no more important duty was assigned to Banks' corps than to guard the immense trains and endure the fatigue of endless marching and countermarching. On the fatal day of August twenty-ninth, during the fierce fighting at Manassas and Groveton, about which there has been so much controversy, Banks' corps was at Bristoe Station, barely seven miles from Groveton by a fairly good road which would have brought it squarely against Jackson's right flank.** It had been there for more than twenty-four hours. It could have reached Groveton in three hours at the most. Who would say that if Pope, instead of leaving Banks at Bristoe to guard the stores which on the following day he ordered him to burn up, had brought him up with 8,000 fresh troops to strike
*Banks' monthly return for August gives the number "present for duty" 8,851. Official Records, Vol. XII, Part 3, page 780.
**Greene's pocket dairy contains this entry on August 29: "Firing north of us. Heavy cannonading." 71
(p. 72)Jackson's right flank during the afternoon of August twenty-ninth, the result would not have been different?
Greene's part in this discouraging retreat was simply to carry out his orders, guard the trains and care for the men in his division, three brigades and fourteen regiments, saving them as far as possible from unnecessary fatigue in their harassing duties and keeping them efficient for any emergency.
With the rest of the corps Greene arrived at Fort Albany, near the Long Bridge, at Washington, on September third. On the previous day the army of Virginia was merged into the Army of the Potomac under McClellan. Pope was relieved of his command and Banks was ordered to assume command of the defenses of Washington. His corps now became the Twelfth Corps of the Army of the Potomac — the third change of designation within five months. Major-General J. K. F. Mansfield was assigned to the command of the corps, and Williams and Greene commanded the two divisions.
At the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, Greene's division was not only actively engaged, but made a record for hard fighting, good generalship and effective service that has received favorable mention from every historian of that famous field. General Greene has become so well known by reason of his brilliant achievement at Gettysburg that there is a tendency to overlook or forget the good work accomplished by him and his division at Antietam. In order to explain the part which Greene's division took in the battle of Antietam, it is necessary to refer in the briefest possible manner to the general features of the battle.
Pope had fallen back from Manassas into Washington, but Lee deemed it imprudent to attack its splendid fortifications, and therefore marched his army westward along the south side of the Potomac, crossed the river and occupied Frederick, Md., and then moved in the direction of Hagerstown, intending to advance along the Cumberland Valley into Pennsylvania, as he did in the Gettysburg campaign of the following summer. He was carrying (p. 73) the war from desolated Virginia into the rich districts of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and if he gained a decisive victory the way to Baltimore or Philadelphia was open to him.
McClellan, with Pope's army and his own, moved along the north side of the Potomac, cautiously, at first, until Lee's plans should develop. He reached Frederick on September thirteenth, and by good fortune there fell into his hands a copy of Lee's general order, written on September ninth, at the same place, in which he directed the movements of his army and disclosed his plan of campaign. McClellan then promptly moved forward toward Lee, forced a passage of the Blue Ridge at Crampton's Pass and Turner's Gap on September fourteenth, brought Lee's army to bay in the angle between Antietam Creek and the Potomac on the sixteenth, fought a bloody battle on the seventeenth — as a result of which Lee retreated into Virginia on the night of the eighteenth.
The Twelfth Corps was under command of Williams until the morning of September fifteenth, when Mansfield (a fellow cadet with Greene at West Point), arrived to take command. Forty-eight hours afterward, at the opening of the battle, while Mansfield was directing the fire of his troops, he received a mortal wound, from which he died the following day. Williams was in command of the corps throughout the campaign, except during these forty-eight hours. The First Division was commanded by Crawford; the Second Division by Greene. The latter contained eleven regiments, but they were much reduced by the marches of the last thirty days, and on the morning of the battle they numbered 2,504 officers and men; by afternoon they had lost 114 killed, 507 wounded and 30 missing, a total of 651.
The division had crossed Antietam Creek late in the night of the sixteenth, and had gone into bivouac on the J. Poffenberger farm. Hooker's corps, forming the extreme right of the army, was in front of it, and had been skirmishing with the enemy just before dark. During the night "the lines of pickets of the two armies were so near each other as to be able to hear each other talk, but (p.74) the night being dark and drizzly, they were not visible to each other."* Sumner's corps was behind them. The other corps were still on the east side of Antietam Creek. The troops opposed to them were Jackson's Corps, forming the extreme left of Lee's army.
At daylight the battle began, Hooker's corps being in contact with the enemy; Mansfield's corps came into action on his left, both divisions marching forward with each regiment in column of companies, closed in mass. Each regiment in succession turned to the right and deployed by the left flank. While the deployment was in progress, General Gibbon, commanding the Fourth Brigade of Doubleday's division of Hooker's corps, reported to Williams that his division was hard pressed, and appealed for reinforcements. At his solicitation Williams detached the Third Brigade of Greene's division and sent them to Doubleday's aid, where they were hotly engaged throughout the battle. This left Greene with only 1,727 men in the other two brigades. As soon as the deployment was completed a fierce attack was made on the enemy in their front, which was the same Jackson's Corps that they had fought in the Shenandoah Valley and at Cedar Mountain; and opposed to Greene's division was Ewells Division, and particularly that same Trimble's Brigade. It was a desperate fight. Jackson, whose reports are always moderate in language, says: "Our troops became exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister and musketry * * * the carnage on both sides was terrific."** But Jackson was driven back, Greene's division advancing nearly a mile from their first position, out of one piece of woods, across open cornfields and into another piece of woods across the Hagerstown turnpike and near the Dunker Church. It was all at close range, often at seventy yards or less, sometimes hand to hand with bayonets or clubbed muskets. Two Confederate colors were taken — those of the Fifteenth Alabama, in Trimble's Brigade, and of a North Carolina regiment. In the woods around the Dunker
*Hooker's report. Rebellion Records XIX, part 1, page 218.
**Official Records XIX, part 1, page 956. 74
(p. 75) Church, Greene held on for four hours of desperate fighting. Sumner's corps came up on his left, drove the Confederates across the turnpike and was in turn driven out and forced back. Hooker's corps, on the right, was similarly successful at first, and then had to retire. The First Division under Crawford was finally pushed back. Greene's little division was still there. It was reinforced by two regiments from Gordon's brigade — the Thirteenth New Jersey and the Second Massachusetts — and the Purnell Legion, which had returned from helping Gibbon. But Jackson also brought up fresh troops, and an overwhelming force was concentrated on the front and both flanks of the division. In the face of this, and with the ammunition of some of the regiments completely exhausted after firing one hundred and twenty rounds, at one-thirty in the afternoon the division was forced to retire across the turnpike and to the first line of woods, historically known as the "East Woods," whence they had driven Jackson's troops early in the morning. Later in the afternoon they took position behind Franklin's (Sixth) corps, on their left, of which only one brigade had been seriously engaged. Jackson did not renew the attack, and the battle practically terminated on this part of the line with the withdrawal of Greene's division from the Dunker Church at one-thirty p. m. The fighting around the Dunker Church was intensely fierce. Jackson's men fell where they stood with their faces to the foe, and so accurate was the alignment of their dead bodies and so uniform the intervals between them that they were mistaken by pickets during the dusk after the battle for a line of living skirmishers.* Lee retreated into Virginia on the night of the eighteenth, and on the next morning the Twelfth Corps was put in motion for Harper's Ferry, arriving there and taking possession of that place on the twentieth. Geary's division occupied Loudoun and Bolivar Heights, on the Virginia side of the Potomac, where they remained three months. Greene was taken ill early in October and obtained three
*Hooker, who was himself seriously wounded, says in his report: "' It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battlefield." Official Records XIX, part 1, page 218.
(p.76) weeks' sick leave, which he spent in New York. But he quickly recovered in spite of his sixty-one years and rejoined his command at the end of the month. Geary, meantime, had recovered from his wound received at Cedar Mountain, and on his return, being senior, was assigned to the command of the division, which he retained until the end of the war. Greene resumed command of his old (Third) brigade, consisting now of the Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second, One hundred and thirty-seventh and One hundred and forty-ninth New York regiments, and the One hundred and ninth and One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania. General Slocum was assigned to the command of the corps (Twelfth). It remained at or near Harper's Ferry until December and then marched to Fairfax Station, about seventeen miles from Alexandria. In January it was moved to the banks of the Potomac at Aquia Creek, about twelve miles from Fredericksburg, and remained there until the Chancellorsville campaign.
While encamped at Aquia Creek orders were issued for a rigid inspection of every regiment in the Army of the Potomac. Each regimental camp, without any preliminary notice, was visited by an inspecting officer of high rank detailed for that special purpose. The regiment was ordered into line, arms inspected, tents and company streets examined, all without any opportunity for preparation. It was a severe test, but a proper one. Of the 324 infantry commands in the Army of the Potomac, eleven regiments received honorable mention in General Orders No. 18, March 30, 1863, as having "earned high commendation from inspecting officers," for which they were granted additional privileges, furloughs and leaves of absence. Of the eleven regiments receiving this high honor, one, the One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania, belonged to Greene's Brigade, and it fairly represented the high state of efficiency to which Greene had brought his command. There was some little dissatisfaction on the part of other regiments in the brigade, who claimed that they had passed an equally good inspection; but they finally contented themselves with the distinction (p. 77) that the brigade had attained in furnishing one of the eleven regiments which were thus selected out of the 324 in the Army of the Potomac.
In April, 1863, while the brigade was encamped at Aquia Creek, the two Pennsylvania regiments were transferred to the Second Brigade, and Greene received in their place the Sixtieth New York, the regiment in which he held his first colonel's commission. The brigade as now constituted was composed entirely of regiments from the Empire State, and was known as Greene's New York Brigade. Its organization was the same as that which later on made its famous defense of Culp's Hill at Gettysburg. The five regiments were the Sixtieth, Seventy-eighth, One hundred and second, One hundred and thirty-seventh and One hundred and forty-ninth New York. No brigade in all the Union armies did more to enhance the military glory and renown of the Empire State.
General Greene's personal appearance at this time is well described in Captain Collins' History of the One hundred and forty-ninth New York, in which he says: "General George S. Greene, the brigade commander, conducted the brigade drills. He was a West Point graduate, about sixty-two years old, thick set, five feet ten inches high, of dark complexion, iron gray hair, full gray beard and mustache, gruff in manner and stern in appearance; but withal an excellent officer, and, under a rough exterior, possessing a kind heart. In the end the men learned to love and respect him as much as in the beginning they feared him, and this was saying a good deal on the subject. He knew how to drill, how to command, and in the hour of peril how to care for his command, and the men respected him accordingly."
In March, 1863, General Hooker issued the order assigning a distinctive badge to each corps, that of the Twelfth to be a five-pointed star, red for the First Division and white for the Second Division. So Greene's men pinned their white flannel stars upon their caps, a badge which they were destined to wear with honor in many of the great battles for the Union. P. 78
The White Stars broke camp on the morning of April 27, 1863, and started on their march for Chancellorsville, arriving there on the afternoon of the thirtieth. The next day, May first, the corps joined in the tentative movement toward Fredericksburg; but Hooker, after meeting the enemy and encountering some opposition, ordered his army back to Chancellorsville.
General Geary, in his official report describing the movements of his troops during this reconnaissance under fire, says: "The conduct of Greene's Brigade was admirable at this juncture. Although it was exposed for quite a length of time to the fire of the enemy in a position where they could neither shelter nor defend themselves, nor return the assault, they bore themselves with the calmness and discipline of veterans, emulating the example so ably given them by their brigade commander."
Returning to their former position in the woods near the Chancellor House, the brigade worked all that evening and well into the night in constructing an abatis, and, behind it, a breastworks of logs and tree trunks, covered with earth dug from a trench in the rear, making a good defensive work. All along the front, by Greene's orders, for a space of 200 feet wide or more, the trees were felled, with their branches projecting outward to the front. Owing to a scarcity of entrenching tools, part of the earth from the trench was loosened by bayonets and placed on the breastworks by tin plates taken from the men's haversacks. While Greene believed as strongly as any one in the merits of fair, square, stand-up fighting, he was also a strong believer in the value of good breastworks.
The place now occupied by Geary's division was in the center of the Union lines. Early Sunday morning, May third, the brigade was fiercely attacked, but it held its position firmly until, with the general falling back of Hooker's army, it was ordered to withdraw from its works. Some of the fighting, as at Antietam, was close and desperate, during which the One hundred and second New York captured a battle-flag and several prisoners from the Twelfth Georgia. Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, commanding the One hundred (p.78) and forty-ninth New York, was wounded and captured by a Mississippi regiment, but the One hundred and forty-ninth rallied and rescued him, taking at the same time twenty of his captors prisoners.
Much of the time on Sunday morning while Greene's Brigade was fighting in the trenches, it was subjected to a raking fire from a portion of the Confederate artillery which had established itself near the right of the Union line, from where it was sending shells and other artillery missiles down the whole length of Greene's works. Colonel Ireland, of the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York, says in his official report that in these trying conditions "officers and men obeyed all orders promptly and manifested much coolness and bravery. One man caught a shell that was on fire and threw it over the breastworks, and there it exploded." Surely Greene had reason to feel proud of the men under his command. The casualties in Greene's Brigade at Chancellorsville amounted to 528 killed, wounded and missing, of the 2,032 taken into action. The battle having ended, Hooker's army withdrew to the north side of the Rappahannock, and Greene's regiments re-established themselves in their former quarters at Aquia Creek.
On June thirteenth the Twelfth Corps broke camp and started on the long march and arduous campaign that culminated in the battle of Gettysburg. The movement from Dumfries to Fairfax on the fifteenth was a memorable one on account of the intense heat, several of the men falling in the road from exhaustion or smitten with sunstroke. On the eighteenth a heavy rain with a hail-storm in the evening added to the fatigue and discomfort of the day. Arriving at Leesburg on the eighteenth, the corps remained there eight days, during which large details were made for the construction of fortifications and repairs of old breastworks already on the ground. Greene's Brigade was encamped a short distance southeast of the village, the place where General Slocum made his headquarters. Near the camp was an earthwork called Fort Evans which had been constructed by the Confederates and occupied by (p. 80) them at the time of the Ball's Bluff disaster, the scene of which lay about one mile to the east. A large detail from Greene's Brigade was immediately set to work on this fortification to put it in order for use. On June twenty-seventh the brigade crossed the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry on pontoons, and on the twenty-eighth marched through Frederick, the bands and field music playing their liveliest tunes. Greene ordered his troops to take the cadenced step, and as his well-drilled regiments swung along through the streets of the city the White Stars were greeted with cheers and cries of admiration from the throngs that lined the sidewalks.
On June twenty-eighth Hooker was relieved, and General George G. Meade, commanding the Fifth Army Corps, was assigned to the command of the Army of the Potomac. The army was in the vicinity of Frederick, Md. Lee's army was to the north, in Pennsylvania, from the Cumberland Valley at Chambersburg to the Susquehanna River, near York. Meade promptly pushed his columns northward, and Lee ordered his to concentrate at Gettysburg. The two armies met at that little town, and the most important battle ever fought in the western world occurred there on July 1, 2 and 3, 1863.
On the first of July the First and Eleventh Corps fought Hill on the northwest and Ewell on the north of Gettysburg, and were driven back through the town to Cemetery Hill. The Twelfth Corps had bivouacked at Littlestown, on the Baltimore Turnpike, and early in the morning had resumed its march to Two Taverns, about five miles from Gettysburg, where it was ordered to halt and await instructions, and under certain contingencies to fall back to the line of Pipe Creek, about fifteen miles to the rear. While halted there, at one o'clock, a citizen came down the road from the direction of Gettysburg and told Slocum that a battle was being fought there. Soon afterward came a despatch from General Howard, explaining the situation, and asking him to come to his assistance. Slocum exercised the discretion of a corps commander, and, disregarding (p. 81) Meade's instructions, immediately put his corps in motion and marched with all speed to the battlefield, arriving there between five and six p. m. The Second Division was sent by General Hancock's orders to the extreme left, near Little Round Top. The First Division, on reaching Rock Creek, turned to the right toward Wolf Hill. General Ewell, of Lee's army, sent Johnson's Division to occupy that position. But Ewell's troops were so exhausted by twelve hours' marching and fighting that he could not attack that night; and on communicating later with Lee he was directed to defer his attack until the following day and until he heard the sound of Longstreet's guns on the right.
It should be remembered, in order to appreciate the importance of the events on all three days in the vicinity of Culp's Hill, that Meade was covering Baltimore, that he had decided, and had so informed his corps commanders in writing, to fight a defensive battle on the line of Pipe Creek, about fifteen miles back toward Baltimore, and that the greater part of his trains had already been assembled or were ordered to assemble on the Baltimore road. If the enemy gained possession of this road, Meade's right flank was turned, his trains in danger of capture, and the road to Baltimore open.
On July second Meade reached the battlefield before daybreak, and established his headquarters on the Taney town road, about a quarter of a mile south of Cemetery Hill and half a mile southwest from Culp's Hill. His first plan was to attack with his right, but on Slocum's advice this idea was abandoned, and he turned his attention to posting his troops on other portions of the field. Geary's division of the Twelfth Corps was relieved by the Third Corps on the morning of the second and brought from Round Top across to Culp's Hill. It took position on the right of Wadsworth's division of the First Corps, Greene's Brigade on the left of the division, connecting with Wadsworth; Kane's brigade on his right, and Candy's brigade in rear of these two as a support. About eight a. m. the First Division was withdrawn to the west of Rock Creek and (p. 82) occupied a line in continuation of that of the Second Division, its right resting on Rock Creek and supported by artillery on Powers' and McAllister's Hills, the whole line covering and protecting the Baltimore road.
It is stated by Captain Collins, in his History of the One hundred and forty-ninth New York Volunteers, that when this line was established "General Geary called a conference of his brigade commanders, and, it was understood, submitted to them the question of building rifle-pits; and expressed himself as adverse to the practice on the ground that it unfitted men for fighting without them. General Greene was credited with replying that the saving of life was of far more consequence to him than any theories as to breastworks, and that, so far as his men were concerned, they would have them if they had time to build them." Whether this story is accurate or not, there is no doubt that Greene ordered trenches to be built as soon as his troops were in position, and, willingly or unwillingly, the men worked vigorously at them and they were finished by noon. Many a life was saved by them, and their great value during the next twenty-four hours was fully recognized in the reports of Slocum and Williams.
The line thus occupied by the Twelfth Corps was about four thousand feet long. The point of Culp's Hill, where Greene's left joined Wadsworth's right, is about one hundred and seventy feet above the level of Rock Creek and seventeen hundred feet from it. This steep slope, about one foot in ten, was heavily wooded with oak and chestnut trees, the ground was much broken, and it was covered with granite boulders of all sizes up to a ton or more in weight. The hill sloped southerly as well as to Rock Creek on the east, and at a distance of about twenty-five hundred feet from the top of the hill there was an open, marshy meadow, or swale, through which the water of Spangler's Spring, just behind the line, found its way to Rock Creek. The rest of the line, south of the swale, was over a slight eminence, also heavily wooded, rough and stony, ending in Rock Creek.
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(p. 83) In Greene's Brigade his five New York regiments were disposed from left to right as follows: Sixtieth, Colonel Abel Godard; Seventy-eighth, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert von Hammerstein; One hundred and second, Colonel James C. Lane (and after he was wounded, Captain Lewis R. Stegman); One hundred and forty-ninth, Colonel Henry A. Barnum and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles B. Randall, and One hundred and thirty-seventh, Colonel David Ireland. These regiments occupied about fifteen hundred feet of the line — something more than half the distance to Spangler's Swale.
Next came Kane's brigade, its trenches running forward at an angle of about forty-five degrees, following the sinuosities of the ground on to a slight knoll. The First Brigade (McDougall's) of the First Division was on Kane's right; and then came the Third Brigade (Ruger's) on both sides of the swale, its right extending to Rock Creek. Candy's brigade, of the Second Division, and Lockwood's, of the First Division, were slightly in rear and in support of the other two brigades of their respective divisions. A line of skirmishers was thrown out in front of each division beyond Rock Creek.
After the trenches were finished, about noon, the troops remained in these positions without firing on either side until after six o'clock. Meanwhile, Ewell had brought the whole of Johnson's Division into position on the east side of Rock Creek at the base of Benner's Hill. The division consisted of Jones' Brigade on the right, Nicholls' in the center and G. H. Steuart's on the left. Walker's brigade (the original Stonewall Jackson Brigade) during the night was brought to the assistance of Steuart on the left. There were in all twenty-two regiments, as fine as any in the Southern Army, trained by Stonewall Jackson and serving under him during the eighteen months preceding his death at Chancellorsville.
Ewell, in his report, states that he was informed by Lee that he intended to make the principal attack on his right (Meade's left) with Longstreet's corps, and that he, Ewell, was "to make a (p. 84) diversion in their favor, to be converted into a real attack if an opportunity offered."* He three times repeats the statement that his movement was to begin when he "heard General Longstreet's guns open on the right."
Johnson's artillery was posted on Benner's Hill — twenty guns in all — under command of Major J. W. Latimer, "the boy major," a gallant youngster less than twenty-one years old, greatly esteemed by Ewell and Johnson and by all his comrades, destined to receive a mortal wound in the artillery duel about to open. Johnson says that at four p. m. he ordered Latimer to open fire. Ewell says that "about five p. m., when General Longstreet's guns opened,** General Johnson commenced a heavy cannonade." Both say that it continued until nearly dusk. It was answered by guns on Cemetery Hill, and on Culp's Hill where a section of Knap's battery and a section of Battery K, Fifth United States Artillery, were dragged up to the point on Greene's left and brought a cross-fire on Latimer's guns on Benner's Hill. The latter were silenced and withdrawn by hand after a great loss in men and horses. Both Ewell and Johnson say that as soon as the guns were withdrawn, about dusk, orders were given for the infantry to advance. But the Federal reports (Williams' and Geary's) say that the Confederate guns on Benner's Hill opened fire at four p. m., were silenced in thirty minutes, and that there was a lull, with only desultory picket firing, until about six-thirty. Greene says that the attack on the entire front began "a few minutes before seven p. m."
Meanwhile, Longstreet's infantry had begun their attack about three-thirty p. m., and a furious battle ensued with the Third Corps, continuing until sunset, about seven-thirty p. m. Longstreet was assisted on his left by part of Hill's corps, and their combined troops outnumbered Sickles' corps by more than two
*Official Records XXVII, 2, 446.
**In point of fact, Longstreet's guns opened fire at three p. m., and by four p. m. all his batteries were in action. The wind being from the southeast, and their guns being southwest of Benner's Hill and more than three miles distant, it is probable that Ewell and Johnson had difficulty in hearing them.
(p. 85) to one. Sickles himself was desperately wounded late in the afternoon, and was carried from the field.
While the battle was in progress on Meade's left, the Fifth and Sixth Corps were ordered to the support of Sickles, and similar orders were given to two divisions (Robinson's and Doubleday's) of the First Corps, and one division (Caldwell's) of the Second Corps. Meade had thus sent nine divisions, numbering more than thirty-five thousand men, according to the official returns, to reinforce his left. Not content with this, in his alarm, Meade ordered Slocum to send the entire Twelfth Corps also to the left. This last was a most injudicious order. Had it been literally obeyed, the result could hardly have been other than the total defeat of Meade's army, the capture of Meade and his headquarters and the advance of Lee's army on Baltimore, only fifty miles distant. But Slocum saw how unwise the order was, and, at his urgent solicitation, Meade so far modified it as to allow Slocum to leave one brigade to man the lines on the right flank.
The orders therefore came, between five and six p. m., for Greene's Brigade to remain, and the rest of the corps to move across to the left. The First Division started in the lead, reached its destination "near the position occupied originally by the Second Corps," and recaptured some artillery which had been lost during the afternoon. Geary, with the two brigades of the Second Division, was to follow the First Division, but by some mistake he took the road to Baltimore, marched along it until he had crossed Rock Creek, then halted, and, about nine p. m., started to return to his original position. Williams was ordered back about the same time.
When the rest of the corps vacated its entrenchments, Greene, with his 1,350 men, was ordered to occupy the line of the entire corps. The order was given in each regiment, "By the right flank, take intervals." Whether this movement was observed by the Confederates, who had pickets on both Benner's and Wolf Hills, does not appear from any of their reports, but certain it is that (p. 86) before the deployment was completed or one-half of the trenches occupied, Ewell sent his men forward — no mere "diversion," as suggested by Lee, but the fiercest kind of an assault by every man available in Jones', Nicholls' and Steuart's Brigades. Greene's pickets were driven back to their trenches, and all the regiments stopped their half-completed deployment, faced to the left and opened a deadly fire. It was just before sunset. Jones was wounded in a few moments and carried off, the command of his brigade devolving on Lieutenant-Colonel Dungan, the senior colonel being also wounded at the same time. Night fell, but the fight continued. It was a most gallant assault, and as gallantly met.
Between seven and ten o'clock, four successive and equally desperate efforts were made by the Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina regiments to climb that rocky slope in the face of that deadly fire and gain those trenches, and equally desperate was the determination on the part of the New York regiments that this should not succeed.* Against the works which were occupied no impression could be made, but the trenches of the First Division were empty. Ireland's regiment (the One hundred and thirty-seventh) was occupying the lines of Kane's brigade, and these ended, as previously stated, on a slight knoll in the woods to the north of Spangler's Swale. Steuart's Brigade overlapped Ireland's right flank, entered the empty trenches formerly occupied by Ruger's brigade of the First Division, then wheeled to the right and took Ireland in flank. But Ireland was equal to the emergency, changed front with one of his companies and faced it to the south, and held his ground until one of Greene's aides brought up a regiment from the First Corps to his assistance.
Greene, realizing the fierceness of the assault and how greatly he was outnumbered, sent to Howard and Wadsworth, on his left, for assistance, and they promptly responded, Wadsworth sending
*During one of the assaults the men of the Sixtieth New York leaped forward from their trenches, surrounded about fifty of the enemy, including two officers, took them all prisoners, and with them two battle flags, one the colors of the famous Stonewall Brigade and the other a regimental color.
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(p. 67) him the Sixth Wisconsin, Lieutenant-Colonel Dawes; Fourteenth Brooklyn (Eighty-fourth New York Volunteers), Colonel Fowler; One hundred and forty-seventh New York, Major Harney; in all about 355 men from the First Corps; and Howard sending him four regiments — the Eighty-second Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Salomon; Forty-fifth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Dobke; Sixty-first Ohio, Colonel McGroarty; One hundred and fifty-seventh New York, Colonel Philip P. Brown, Jr.; in all about 400 men from the Eleventh Corps. All of these regiments had lost heavily in the severe fighting north of the town on July first, and they had been subjected to artillery fire earlier in the day in their position on Cemetery Hill; but they all marched promptly and speedily, led by staff officers for a mile or more through the woods in the darkness, reaching Greene's trenches about nine p. m. They took position in the works, Greene's regiments falling back a few yards to clean their guns and obtain fresh ammunition. When this had been accomplished, Greene's men resumed their places in the rifle-pits, the other regiments falling back. After the attack ceased, these regiments returned to their own corps.
Walker's Stonewall Brigade did not arrive in time to participate in the assault that night, but later joined the rest of the division near the deserted trenches of the First Division. It was about ten p. m. that Kane's brigade arrived on its return. Greene sent a staff officer to advise him that the enemy were in his entrenchments, and bring him around by the rear. Although fired upon by the enemy, Kane made his way successfully and took position on Ireland's right, thus securing that flank.
The night wore on, the rest of the corps returning at intervals. The First Brigade (Candy's) arrived about one-thirty a. m. and took position in support of Ireland and Kane. Williams had also brought back the First Division under Ruger, but being called to a conference of corps commanders at Meade's headquarters, Williams did not learn the exact state of affairs until nearly midnight, when he reported them to Slocum and received his orders to drive the (p.88) enemy from the captured trenches at daylight. Ruger accordingly threw out his skirmishers and found that his works on the north of the swale were occupied by the enemy, but that those on the south were unoccupied. He occupied the latter and disposed his troops so as to attack the former, and then waited for daylight. During this interval the corps artillery under Lieutenant Muhlenberg was placed in position as follows: Two batteries west of and parallel to the Baltimore Pike, opposite the center of the line and a little north of Spangler's Spring, and two batteries on Powers' and McAllister's Hills. These twenty-two guns opened fire as soon as they could see — about four a. m.
Lee ordered Ewell to renew his attack at daylight, and Ewell and Johnson determined to use their utmost efforts to gain the lines which they had failed to carry during the night. Three additional brigades were brought to Johnson's assistance — Smith's of Early's Division, and Daniel's and O'Neal's of Rodes' Division — thirteen regiments in all, added to the twenty-two of Johnson's Division. They were just getting into position, reinforcing various parts of Johnson's line, at daylight, when the attack began by Kane's brigade in the center and Ruger's division on the right, with Muhlenberg's batteries firing over their heads and bringing a destructive cross-fire on Steuart's and Walker's brigades. Johnson not only responded to these, but renewed the assault against Greene on the left. It was a hot fight from about four a. m., continuously, until about ten-thirty a. m. — the longest sustained action on any part of the field. On the right there was a murderous charge across the open swale by the Second Massachusetts and the Twenty-seventh Indiana, in which they were unsuccessful, and in a few minutes lost 246 men out of a total of 659. On the left Johnson hurled regiment after regiment up the rocky, wooded slope, but Greene, now reinforced by Lockwood's brigade (First Maryland, Colonel Maulsby; First Eastern Shore of Maryland, Colonel Wallace, and One hundred and fiftieth New York, Colonel Ketcham), and four regiments from Candy's brigade,
(p. 89) always drove them back. Major Leigh, Johnson's Chief of Staff, was killed within a few yards of Greene's trenches. Geary's report says his body was "pierced by a dozen balls." In the center Kane's recapture of the abandoned trenches was accompanied with equally desperate fighting.
About ten-thirty a. m. the Confederates ceased their attacks, and a final effort was made by Geary and Ruger which resulted in regaining every part of the line. Ewell withdrew behind Rock Creek and toward the Hanover road, and when night fell he received orders from Lee to march to the range of hills west of the town which he had occupied on July first.
Thus ended one of the most memorable episodes at Gettysburg — the defense of the right flank, absolutely vital to the success of the battle. Greene's Brigade, with its five New York regiments, numbered 74 officers and 1,350 men, and lost 303. Four New York regiments from other corps came to his aid; they numbered less than 450 men. Just what their losses were at Culp's Hill cannot be stated, as all of them were engaged in the severe fighting of the first day and the losses are not reported separately. But their losses in the three days' fighting were 111 killed, 450 wounded and 483 missing, a total of 1,044. Three regiments from other states and other corps were also sent to his support; their losses were 41 killed, 174 wounded and 119 missing, a total of 334. For the same reason it is impossible to say what portion of these losses were on Culp's Hill. These regiments all rendered valuable and effective service, but their heaviest fighting was in other parts of the field on the first day, and their monuments are placed there. They were with Greene but a short time. The brunt of the attack fell on the five regiments of the brigade proper. Against them came three brigades — Jones', Nicholls' and Steuart's — with seventeen regiments. Their numbers are not separately given in the Confederate reports, but they probably were about 5,100; their losses were 1,493. There is little reason to doubt that the losses among Greene's assailants were greater than his own forces. More than 1,700 Confederate muskets (p. 90) were picked up in front of his lines, and the trees, riddled and scarred with bullets, attested the severity of the fight.
From his comrades and immediate superiors Greene received the warmest encomiums on his wonderful achievement. Kane, in his report (July G), says, "the noble veteran Greene, by his resistance against overwhelming odds, it should be remembered, saved the army." Geary, in his report (July 29), said: " Greene's Brigade now behaved with the most unflinching gallantry, sustaining their desperate position during an incessant attack of two and a half hours from vastly superior numbers. * * * The heaps of rebel dead and wounded in front of their lines afterward attested their desperate determination." Williams, in his report (August 22), says: "General Greene seized with skill and judgment the advantages of this position and held it with his small brigade against overwhelming numbers with signal gallantry and determination. * * * This gallant officer merits special mention for the faithful and able manner in which he conducted this defense." Slocum, in his report (August 23), says: "General Greene handled his command with great skill, and his men fought with gallantry never surpassed by any troops under my command"; and in a supplementary report (December 30) "the failure of the enemy to gain entire possession of our works was due entirely to the skill of General Greene and the heroic valor of his troops." These flattering comments were confirmed and strengthened as the years passed on. In an address in 1894 General Howard speaks of "Greene's marvelous night battle," and again "Slocum's resolute insistence (that Greene's Brigade remain to hold the trenches) prevented Meade's losing the battle of Gettysburg."
In a speech at Gettysburg, in 1893, General Longstreet "conceded to Greene's Brigade the credit of having successfully prevented the Confederates from turning General Meade's right flank."* Finally Mr. Leslie J. Perry, for many years in charge of the official records in the War Department, and thoroughly familiar
*"New York at Gettysburg." Vol. I, p. 449.
(p. 91)with them, soon after Greene's death, in 1899, wrote a remarkably succinct and clear account of Greene's services. In this he says: "One of the danger spots on the field of Gettysburg was the right flank of the Union position. * * * At one critical stage of Union affairs it looked as if this vital point was lost. To the coolness, alert courage and signal ability of one of the finest officers whose names ever graced our army rolls, General Meade owed the safety of his right rear on the night of July 2, 1863. That officer was General George S. Greene. * * * The Greene exploit grew and grew, until now it stands out as a salient feature of one of the country's greatest battles, one of the turning points of the struggle."
It remained for Meade, with the official reports of July and August, above quoted, in his possession, to make his own report (October first), in which he completely ignored Greene, not even mentioning his name, and referred to the entire battle on the right in twelve lines containing as many errors as could well be crowded into so small a space. But as soon as Slocum and Williams saw this, they wrote to Meade an indignant, but respectful, protest. Meade replied (February 26, 1864), "I am not prepared to admit this as an error"; and on the very same day wrote to General Halleck, asking that this report of October first be corrected in various particulars. In regard to Greene he asked that certain paragraphs be stricken out and the following substituted: "The enemy * * attacked General Greene with great vigor, who, making a gallant defense, and being soon reinforced by portions of the First and Eleventh Corps, contiguous to him, succeeded in repulsing all the efforts of the enemy to dislodge him." The excuse which Meade made for his glaring errors was that he was unable to read the reports of his subordinate commanders.
But even this grudging acknowledgment and correction came too late. The harm was done. Rightly or wrongly, as Slocum wrote to Meade, "Your report is the official history of that important battle." Even in its amended form it failed to do justice; and (p. 92) doubtless, in consequence of this, Greene failed to receive the promotion to which he was entitled and for which he was constantly recommended by his immediate superiors. But the State of New York has done ample justice to his great services, and in this noble monument at Gettysburg, erected to "commemorate the services of General Greene and the New York troops under his command," the State has finally and for all time vindicated his fame.
After the battle of Gettysburg the New York Brigade, still under command of General Greene, participated in the pursuit of General Lee's army and movement to Williamsport, where it was expected another general engagement would take place. But Lee, having recrossed the Potomac in safety, there was no more fighting and the Gettysburg campaign ended then and there.
Accompanying the Army of the Potomac on its return to Virginia, and crossing Virginia between the Shenandoah and the Potomac for the fifth and last time, Greene's Brigade arrived at Ellis' Ford, on the Rappahannock River, July 31, 1863. Occupying the ford and its approaches, Greene's pickets extended from a point about five-eighths of a mile below on the river, thence around the camp to a point about the same distance above.
In September the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were ordered from Virginia and the Army of the Potomac to reinforce the Army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga. Greene's Brigade accompanied this movement, and on the afternoon of the twenty-eighth of September entrained at Bealton Station, Va., preparatory to the long journey. Accommodations were far from satisfactory, the men having to ride in freight cars fitted with rough board seats, but with no other conveniences for sleeping. Moving by way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad through Harper's Ferry, Martinsburg, Cumberland and Grafton, the troops crossed the Ohio River at Bellaire on a temporary bridge built of pontoons and barges. Thence their route led through Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville to Murfreesborough, Tenn., arriving there October sixth.
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(p. 98) After considerable active duty and expeditions to and fro along the line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Geary's division arrived on October twenty-fifth at Bridgeport, Tenn., a station which was then practically the terminus of the railroad.
On the morning of October twenty-seventh Geary's division, preceded by the Eleventh Corps, left Bridgeport, and, crossing the Tennessee River on pontoons, commenced the movement to Chattanooga with a view to opening up communication with Thomas' army at that place. Geary was unable to concentrate his entire command at Bridgeport in time for this advance, and so marched away without Candy's brigade and the One hundred and second New York, of Greene's Brigade. Moving by way of Running Waters and Whiteside's, the column arrived on the twenty-eighth at Wauhatchie, six miles from Chattanooga, where it encamped at five p. m. On passing Whiteside's the Sixtieth New York, of Greene's Brigade, was detached, with orders to hold the pass leading from that place to Trenton. When General Hooker halted, Geary's command at Wauhatchie, he ordered the Eleventh Corps on to Brown's Ferry, three miles further, leaving Geary in the valley, where his unsupported and isolated position naturally invited attack.
On October twenty-eighth, the day Geary arrived at Wauhatchie, the Confederate Generals Bragg and Longstreet, from their position on Lookout Mountain, noted Geary's encampment in the valley and its remoteness from the main body of the Union troops. Longstreet states in his official report that "This was the force which I hoped to be able to cut off, surprise and capture," and he ordered a night attack to be made by the forces of Generals Jenkins and Law.
As soon as the night was far enough advanced to conceal the movement, the Confederate leader placed Law's and Robertson's Brigades on the hill commanding the road with the intention of intercepting any reinforcements from Brown's Ferry, and then sent Bratton's South Carolina brigade on its mission to "cut off, surprise and capture" Geary's command. Benning's Brigade was placed on (p. 94) Law's left, where it was in position to reinforce Bratton. These four brigades, constituting Hood's Division, "should have mustered" 5,000 men, according to Longstreet's statement. Geary had with him at this time two brigades — Greene's and Cobham's — of which there were only six regiments present altogether, with one battery of four guns. The regiments were small. Geary says that his infantry carried 93 officers and 1,499 enlisted men into action at Wauhatchie.
Shortly after midnight Bratton's advance encountered the pickets of the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania, whose vigilance and steady resistance gave Geary notice of the impending attack in time to get his troops in line. In the engagement which followed the fighting was desperate and brilliant. The South Carolinians attacked in front and flank, but the White Stars changed front to rear or refused their right and left regiments whenever it became necessary in conforming to the movements of the enemy. There was a moon that night, but it was overclouded much of the time, and in the darkness the soldiers could aim only at the flashes of the rifles or in the direction indicated by the cries and cheers of their opponents. The Confederates directed an effective fire against the battery (Knap's), the flames from the cannon affording a temporary mark. So many of the gunners were disabled that two of the pieces were silenced and an infantry detail became necessary in working the other guns. The shouts of the Confederates to pick off the artillerists could be plainly heard. Lieutenant Geary, of the. battery, son of the General, was killed. He had sighted a gun, and as he gave the command to fire fell dead, with a bullet through his forehead. Captain Atwell fell mortally wounded soon after, but the heroic gunners stuck to their work
The fiercest attack was made against Ireland's regiment, the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York, of Greene's Brigade, and the steadiness of this veteran regiment contributed materially to the defeat of the enemy. Toward the close of the action there was a scarcity of ammunition in Greene's regiments, and many of the soldiers were obliged to get cartridges from the boxes of their (p. 95) fallen comrades. The four guns of the battery fired, in all, 224 rounds. At three a. m., after two hours or more of continuous fighting, the Confederates abandoned the attack and departed in the darkness, leaving many of their dead and wounded on the field. The largest number of casualties in any regiment of Geary's division fell to the lot of the One hundred and thirty- seventh New York. General Greene was badly wounded during the heat of the action by a bullet, caliber sixty-two, which passed through his upper jaw, tearing out most of the teeth and a part of his cheek-bone. Although disabled and unable to talk, he remained on the field until he could indicate to his aide that Colonel Ireland, of the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York, was to take command of the brigade.
It was a grievous wound, but it appeared to heal quickly, and, owing to good health and a strong constitution, the General was able to walk out in two weeks, and at the end of a month was ordered on light duty as a member of a court-martial. Still, the wound had caused a functional disorder in the salivary ducts, and six months later, while in New York City, he was obliged to undergo a severe and altogether novel surgical operation by the foremost surgeon of his day, Dr. Van Buren, of New York, in order to restore the injured parts to their proper condition. This operation was performed in May, 1864, and was ultimately successful, but it was many months before his face was sufficiently healed to enable him to perform any duty more active than that of serving as member of a court-martial.
In General Geary's official report of the battle of Wauhatchie he says: "Brigadier-General Greene was wounded early in the engagement, but with his proverbial bravery he was in the front, near the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York, prepared to contribute his valuable efforts to our success. During our movement he was ever zealous in seconding every measure productive of benefit to the service which he so warmly espouses."
The object of Hooker's movement through the Wauhatchie Valley was to establish communication between Chattanooga and (p. 96) Nashville. Thomas, who had lately been approaching starvation in Chattanooga, highly appreciated the result, and on November seventh issued an order, remarkably enthusiastic for a man of his temperament, in which he said that these operations "were of so brilliant a character as to deserve special notice," and that "the repulse, by General Geary's command, of greatly superior numbers who attempted to surprise him, well ranks among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war." The "cracker line" from Bridgeport to Chattanooga was firmly established, in plain view of Bragg's men on Lookout Mountain, and Thomas' half starved soldiers in Chattanooga had a reasonable supply of food from this time on.
On November twenty-third Hooker was directed to make a demonstration early the following morning on the point of Lookout Mountain with the troops in Lookout Valley under his command. As then composed, his command consisted of Osterhaus' division of the Fifteenth Corps; Cruft's, of the Fourth; Geary's, of the Twelfth (Candy's, Cobham's and Ireland's, formerly Greene's, brigades); Battery K, of the First Ohio, and Battery I, First New York, of the Eleventh Corps, a part of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, and Company K, of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, making an aggregate force of 9,681. "We were all strangers, no one division ever having seen either of the others." (See Hooker's report, p. 315, Serial No. 55 of the Official Records.)
Geary's division started at eight a. m., crossed Lookout Creek at Light's Dam, about half a mile southeast from Wauhatchie station, and, moving by the flank, enveloped in fog and mist until its right rested under the palisades, marched northerly by brigades in echelon; Cobham's brigade the right, Ireland's the center and Candy's the left. Whitaker's brigade of the Fourth Corps was in support. Grose's brigade, from the same corps, drove the enemy from the bridge, near the railroad crossing of Lookout Creek, and put it in repair. Columns of Confederates moved from their camps and occupied protected positions on the western slope of the mountain. 96
This page contains a map of Lookout Mountain Nov. 24 1863.
From these vantage points and the summit they swept with a fire of musketry the ground over which the Union troops advanced. The Union artillery, from ridges west of Lookout Creek and at Moccasin Point, fired effectively upon the enemy on the mountain side. Geary's line smartly engaged the Confederate advance about ten o'clock, and after his column had cleared the approaches to the railroad bridge, Woods' brigade, of the Fifteenth Corps, and Grose's brigade, of the Fourth Corps, crossed and extended the Union left to the road over the point of the mountain, pushing forward with Geary's division, whose right and center shortly thereafter attacked Walthall's Brigade behind breastworks. Though resisting stubbornly, the enemy was outflanked and speedily pushed back at all points until the head of the Union column reached Craven's House about noon, the Confederates retiring southerly to a line four hundred yards beyond, which they occupied until their final withdrawal at two a. m. on the twenty-fifth. At seven p. m. Carlin's brigade, from Johnson's division of the Fourteenth Corps, reached Craven's House from Chattanooga, relieving Geary's right, and held this position throughout the night.
In the storming of Lookout Mountain, Ireland's brigade of New York regiments formed the center of the front line of battle, and was the first to reach Craven's House. It retained its formation in the battle until three p. m., when it was relieved.
The troops under Hooker at Lookout Mountain started on the morning of the twenty-fifth for Rossville Gap, but were delayed until two p. m. at Chattanooga Creek, awaiting repairs to the bridge destroyed the previous night. Reaching Rossville, Hooker's line advanced northerly to the flank attack on Missionary Ridge in three columns, one moving along the east side, another on the center, and Geary's division along the westerly base. The Confederate left, except a portion of Bate's division, was entirely routed. Many prisoners were taken.
Hooker's column continued the pursuit from Missionary Ridge after a reconnaissance to locate the enemy, and on November (p. 98) twenty-seventh, about eight a. m., the advance reached Ringgold, Ga. Here Cleburne's Division of Breckinridge's Corps, which constituted the rear guard, made a stand in order to cover the retreat of the rest of Bragg's army. He was ordered by Bragg to "attempt to check pursuit of the army," and told that the enemy "must be punished until our trains and the rear of our troops got well advanced." Cleburne put up a stiff fight, for which he received the thanks of the Confederate Congress. He had four brigades, with seventeen regiments (formed by the merger of twenty-seven former regiments) and four batteries. They were posted on both sides of a narrow defile in Taylor's Ridge, through which a small stream and railroad pass. Hooker had the same three divisions — Geary's, Osterhaus' and Cruft's, as on November twenty-fourth. Hooker began his attack at nine a. m. on November twenty-seventh, but it was one p. m. before he could dislodge Cleburne, and the latter claims that even then he only retreated because he received a dispatch from Hardee, telling him that the trains were sufficiently advanced, so that he might safely withdraw. There is no doubt that it was a skilfully conducted rear-guard defense. It is equally true that it was a well planned and gallantly executed attack. Hooker's losses were naturally the largest, being 606 to Cleburne's 221.
In this engagement, as in all the previous ones, the New York Brigade bore a conspicuous part and lost heavily. Among the wounded was Greene's son, Charles T. Greene, whom his father had visited as a private in the Twenty-second New York at Harper's Ferry in the spring of 1862, and who had been on continuous active service ever since, having now the rank of Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General of the New York Brigade. His field career came to an end that morning. A three-inch shell pierced his horse and tore off his right leg, which had again to be amputated on reaching the hospital. He recovered, however, and is still living, after forty-five years' use of an artificial leg. Colonel Ireland, in his report, speaks of Captain Greene's "undaunted bravery, combined with prompt obedience to all orders," and expresses (p. 99) regret that "in one short month we have lost the services of both father and son," who were so "much respected by the officers and men of this brigade."
On May 11, 1864, by Special Orders No. 174, War Department at Washington, General Greene was relieved from duty on general court-martial and was ordered to repair to New York and report to Major-General Dix, commanding the Department of the East, for duty. The object of the order was in reality to allow Greene to have the operation on his face, previously referred to, performed in New York by Dr. Van Buren. It was eight months later before Greene had sufficiently recovered from his wound to be able to return to active service at the front, and on his request for an assignment to duty in the field he was ordered, in January, 1865, to report to General Thomas at Nashville. On his arrival there he found orders awaiting him, assigning him to duty with General Slocum, who, at that time, commanded the left wing of Sherman's army, which was then marching northward through the Carolinas on its way to effect a junction with Grant. Returning to New York, Greene proceeded by government transport to New Berne, N. C, where General Schofield, with the Twenty-third Corps, was making preparations for an advance to Goldsborough in order to join Sherman's army. On March sixth he joined the staff of General Jacob D. Cox, then in command of the First Division of the Twenty-third Army Corps, and was present with that command at the battle of Kinston on the tenth, where, while acting as a volunteer aide, his horse was shot under him during that engagement.
A few days later General Greene was placed in command of a provisional division composed of convalescents and recruits on their way to join their commands in the armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee. When Schofield's column effected a junction with Sherman's army, March twenty-first, this provisional division was discontinued, and General Greene was assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, Third Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.
(Page 100) This brigade was composed of the Seventy-fourth Indiana, Eighteenth Kentucky, Fourteenth Ohio and Thirty-eighth Ohio — all veteran troops that had served with honorable distinction in previous campaigns.
At the head of this brigade, Greene participated in the final campaign of Sherman's army which ended in the capture of Raleigh and the surrender of the forces under the Confederate leader, General Joseph E. Johnston. He then accompanied the Fourteenth Corps on its northward march through Virginia to Washington, where, with his brigade, he participated in the final grand review which marked the close of the war. As the Fourteenth Corps was composed almost entirely of western regiments, it left Washington in June, 1865, and went West for the final muster-out, Greene remaining in Washington where he served for another year on court-martial and other duty until April 30, 1866, when he, too, was mustered out. In the meantime, he received a commission as Brevet Major-General of Volunteers, dated March 13, 1865, for gallant and meritorious service during the war.
Taking up again his profession as civil engineer, he was appointed in 1867 Chief Engineer and Commissioner of the Croton Aqueduct Department of New York City, an office which he filled until 1871, when he was made Chief Engineer of Public Works in Washington, D. C. He resigned the latter place in 1872, but continued the active practice of his profession for nearly twenty years longer. When eighty-six years of age he was one of a commission (his associates being Generals Newton and Gillmore) to examine the new Croton Aqueduct then approaching completion; and he performed the extraordinary feat, for a man of his age, of walking through the aqueduct for its entire length, a distance of more than thirty miles.
He was elected president of the American Society of Civil Engineers from 1875 to 1877, a society which, in company with eleven other engineers, he had organized in 1852. For several (p.101) years he was also president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
In 1883 he moved his residence to Morristown, N. J., where he passed the remainder of his life.
In 1894, being then more than ninety-three years of age, his old comrades and subordinates sought to have him placed on the retired list of the Regular Army as a brigadier-general. The Committee on Military Affairs in the House of Representatives reported that there was no precedent for placing an officer on the retired list in any grade higher than that which he had held in the Regular Army. A special act of Congress was thereupon introduced by Major-General Sickles, then a Member of the House of Representatives, and subsequently passed, authorizing the President to appoint him a first lieutenant of artillery (this being the rank which he held at the time of his resignation in 1836) and to place him upon the retired list, which was done.
He was a member of the Century Club, New York City, and also of the Loyal Legion, where he was always an honored and welcomed guest, and where, in the company of the veteran survivors of the Civil War, he passed some of the pleasantest hours of his declining years. Until the last year of his life he retained his health and strength, and in 1893 he attended the dedication of the New York State Monument at Gettysburg; and, although then ninety-two years of age, served acceptably as honorary marshal of the parade on New York Day, July second, discharging his duties without any fatigue.
It was a source of great satisfaction to General Greene and to his friends that he lived until he was permitted to see his children attain honorable distinction in public life and in the service of the country.
George Sears Greene, Jr., his oldest son, a Harvard man, attained prominence in his profession as a civil engineer. He was connected with the Aqueduct Department of New York City, was occupied in railroad construction in Cuba and in copper mining in (p. 102) the Lake Superior region; he conducted extensive and accurate topographical surveys in Westchester county and on Long Island, introducing several valuable improvements in instruments, some of which were adopted by the United States Coast Survey and have come into general use. He is a member and has been a director of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and in 1885 was elected vice-president of that body. In 1875 he was appointed engineer-in-chief of the Department of Docks, City of New York, and since 1898 has been consulting engineer in that city. He is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.
Samuel Dana Greene, the second son, was graduated at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., in 1859; was promoted to lieutenant in 1861. He served as a midshipman in the East India Squadron on the Hartford until the return of that vessel to the United States in 1861, when he volunteered for service under Lieutenant Worden on the ironclad Monitor, of which he became second in command. His services on that noted vessel continued from the date the Monitor was commissioned until she foundered on the night of December 29, 1862, off Cape Hatteras. In the historic battle waged between the Monitor and the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, Lieutenant Worden, the commanding officer, directed the movements of the vessel from the pilot house, while Lieutenant Greene had charge of the guns in the turret, every shot from which he personally fired until, when near the close of the fight, Lieutenant Worden, being wounded and disabled, Lieutenant Greene took command of the vessel and pursued the Merrimac during the retreat of that vessel to Norfolk. He continued as second in command of the Monitor while she remained in the waters of Chesapeake Bay, and was engaged in the hard-fought actions at Fort Darling and other points on the James River. After the sinking of the Monitor off Cape Hatteras he was on blockade duty as executive officer of the Florida, and in 1864-65 as executive officer of the Iroquois in the search for the Alabama. He was promoted lieutenant-commander in 1866, and
FAMILY OF GENERAL GREENE. Present at the dedication ceremonies.
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(p. 103) in 1872 he was commissioned to the full rank of commander. Among other vessels commanded by him at different times were the Juniata, the Monongahela and the Despatch. From 1865 to 1868 he served at the Naval Academy at Annapolis as assistant professor in mathematics, and from 1871 to 1873 as assistant professor in astronomy, and from 1878 to 1882 as assistant to the superintendent of the academy. The Legislature of the State of Rhode Island passed a vote of thanks for his gallant services in the action between the Monitor and the Merrimac. When United States Senator Bayard, of Delaware, delivered his oration at the unveiling of Admiral Du Pont's statue at Washington, D. C, he made the following complimentary allusion to Commander Greene: "The Monitor, whose name is inseparable from that of Ericsson, whose genius devised it; of Worden, whose heroism tested it; of Greene, who caught up the torch of glory as it dropped from the hand of Worden when he fell blinded and bleeding in the contest." Lieutenant Greene died at the Navy Yard, Kittery, Me., near Portsmouth, N. H., December 11, 1884, whence his body was taken for burial to Bristol, R. I.
Major Charles Thruston Greene commenced his military career as a member of the Twenty-second Regiment, National Guard, State of New York, when it went to the front during the Civil War in 1862. Within a few months he received a commission from the Governor of the State as a second lieutenant in the Sixtieth New York Volunteers, a regiment in which his father had held a colonelcy at one time. Having reported for duty, the lieutenant was assigned as an aide-de-camp on the staff of the Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps, then under command of his father, General George Sears Greene. The following year he was present with his father at Gettysburg during the famous contest for the position of Culp's Hill, and for his good conduct in that action he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. In September, 1863, he became assistant adjutant-general of Greene's New York Brigade—the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twelfth Army I (p. 104) Corps. While leading the brigade into action at the battle of Ringgold, Ga., November 27, 1863, he was desperately wounded by a cannon-ball which killed his horse and severed his right leg. For gallant services in this battle he received a brevet commission as major, the title which he now bears. Major Greene left the volunteer service at the close of the war in 1865, and in July, 1866, he was commissioned as a captain in the Forty-second United States Infantry, being at that time only twenty-four years of age, and one of the youngest officers of his rank in the Regular Army. He was placed on the retired list December 15, 1870, and since then has lived in New York City or its vicinity. In 1901 he was appointed Professor of Military Science and Tactics at St. John's College, Fordham, New York City.
Anna Mary Greene, the only daughter of General George Sears Greene, observed the military traditions of the family and was married to Lieutenant Murray Simpson Day, United States Navy, a son of Brigadier-General Hannibal Day, of the United States Army. The latter was a classmate of General Greene at West Point in 1823, and since their graduation they had not met until their children were married, nearly fifty years later. During the latter years of his life General Greene made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Day, at Morristown, N. J., where he occupied much of his time in genealogical researches and in the preparation of a large volume containing the records of the Greene's of Rhode Island.
Major-General Francis Vinton Greene, United States Volunteers, the youngest of the family, was graduated from the military academy at West Point, June 15, 1870, at the head of his class. He served for sixteen years in the army as a lieutenant of artillery in the Southern states, as a lieutenant of engineers on the survey of the northern -boundary of the United States, as engineer of public works at Washington, and as a captain of engineers and instructor of military engineering at West Point. In 1876 and 1877 he was on duty in the office of the Secretary of War in Washington. At (p. 105) the outbreak of the war between Russia and Turkey he was sent abroad to observe and report the military operations of the contending armies, and for this purpose was assigned as military attache to the United States Legation at St. Petersburg, and while in the field was attached to the staff of the Emperor of Russia. He was present at all of the principal battles in Turkey and the marches from the Danube to Constantinople, and received various decorations from the Emperor of Russia and the King of Roumania. Resigning from the army in 1886, he engaged in industrial pursuits, and introduced smooth pavements in New York in place of the cobblestones which had hitherto prevailed. In 1889 he was a member of the commission appointed by the Mayor of New York City to study the subject of street cleaning, and he wrote the elaborate report which led to a revision of the law, the appointment of Colonel Waring as street cleaning commissioner, and the adoption of modern methods for cleaning that great city.
Joining the National Guard of New York in 1889, he was appointed major and engineer of the First Brigade, and in 1892 he was commissioned colonel of the Seventy-first Regiment, a command which he retained until his promotion during the war with Spain. The Seventy-first New York was the first New York regiment mustered into the volunteer service in that war, and the first volunteer regiment to arrive in Florida. A few days after its arrival Greene was appointed a Brigadier-General of Volunteers and ordered by telegraph to proceed immediately to San Francisco, where he received command of the second expedition to the Philippines, arriving in Manila Bay July 17, 1898. His command, consisting of two regular and three volunteer regiments and two batteries of artillery, was immediately landed under the walls of Manila, and was almost constantly engaged in actions and skirmishes with the Spaniards until August thirteenth, when, in conjunction with the Navy, the land forces assaulted and captured the city of Manila. In this assault General Greene's brigade led (p. 106) the advance. After his services at Manila he was made a Major- General of Volunteers to date from August 13, 1898. In September he was ordered to return to the United States. On his arrival here he was assigned to the command of a division in the Seventh Army Corps, then stationed in Georgia, and during the absence of General Fitzhugh Lee he was temporarily assigned to the command of that corps. In November he was ordered to Havana to make arrangements for the encampment of the Seventh Army Corps, and with a view to his being Governor of Havana, that position having been offered to him by the President; but when the treaty of peace was definitely signed in December, and the war was actually ended, General Greene preferred to return to the pursuits of civil life. His appointment as Governor of Havana was declined, and he offered his resignation, which was accepted, to take effect February 28, 1899.
In 1899 he was chairman of the commission appointed by Governor Roosevelt to study the canal question, and wrote the report which resulted in the adoption of the Barge Canal project from Niagara to the Hudson, which is now in process of construction. In 1900 he was chairman of the Republican county committee in New York and a delegate to the National Convention at Philadelphia. In 1903 he was Police Commissioner in New York. In 1904 he moved to Buffalo to take charge of the construction and operation of one of the largest power companies at Niagara, using a portion of the surplus waters of the great falls to generate electricity, which is distributed over a distance of 160 miles. He has contributed numerous articles to magazines on military, scientific and historical subjects, and is the author of the following books:
The Russian Army and Its Campaigns in Turkey, 1879.
Army Life in Russia, 1881.
The Mississippi (Campaigns of the Civil War), 1882.
The Life of Major-General Nathanael Greene, 1893.
Lincoln, as Commander-in-Chief, 1909. 106
(Page 107) Having attained the age of ninety-eight years, General George Sears Greene died on the 28th of January, 1899. He was buried at Warwick, R. I., where six generations of his ancestors had been laid away; and over his grave rests a rock from Culp's Hill at Gettysburg, with a bronze tablet bearing a suitable inscription. He was gathered unto his fathers, "having testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope; in favor with God, and in perfect charity with the world."
At Albany, June 16, 1909, William F. Fox, Lieutenant-Colonel, One hundred and seventh New York Volunteers. In his decease the State of New York has lost a gallant soldier and a valued public officer whose services have adorned its annals and will be cherished as a part of its history. The intimate relations which have existed for many years between Colonel Fox and this Board of Commissioners have ripened into an affectionate regard for his sterling character, as well as esteem for his eminent ability and attainments as a historian.