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    [Civil War]. William N. Green, Jr. Archive consisting of six letters and one bone charm spanning the years 1852 through 1862. William Green, Jr. was a young man of eighteen when he enlisted in the Federal army five months after the beginning of the Civil War. Before that, he was a young farm boy in Massachusetts. Writing on the verso of a letter his father, William, Sr. had written to his father, William E. Green, in Wisconsin, nine year old William Jr. penned a short, well written letter to his grandfather. After giving him some news of the farm, he remarks on the recent presidential election: "The guns are firing for our new president & vice president [Franklin] Pierce & [William] King."

    Green enlisted in the 25th Massachusetts Infantry on September 16, 1861. He was promoted to second lieutenant on March 7, 1862, and transferred to the 102nd New York Infantry. His regiment was stationed at Fort Greble on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. on April 27, 1862, when he wrote to his grandfather asking him and his grandmother to "...step for a few moments into 'Adams Photographic Gallery' and get a photograph of each of you separate for me..," offering to "...pay the expense of it, for $2 or $3." He was still near Washington the following month, but wrote that he anticipates a "...march soon for Aequia Creek [Virginia]."

    Lt. Green moved with his regiment south into Dixie sometime in May. On August 9, 1862, his regiment met Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain and Green was captured. May Pike, wrote to Green's father (May was his cousin) on August 20, 1862, regarding the capture of her brother and William's son: "When I wrote my last letter to you so long ago we little thought that the next one would be written as such a time as this. The miseries of our country have become vital & personal to us, & I fear also to you, for I think Lieut. W. N. Green whose name is among the prisoners taken at Cedar Mountain must be your son. My dear brother who was aid to Gen. Prince...mentioned having found a new cousin in the 102 N.Y...We have heard nothing from my brother since that gallant but dreadful battle [Cedar Mountain] & the information that we have received leads us to believe he was with Gen. Prince at the time he was taken prisoner...Of the agonies we have endured I say nothing, for if I am correct in my surmise, your family has endured the same." Of the battle, she incorrectly observes that "It was a great deed accomplished to foil the wily [Gen. Stonewall] Jackson & turn him back..." Cedar Mountain was a Confederate victory.

    Green spent the next forty-six days in Libby Prison outside of the Confederate capital of Richmond. As a memento one year later, he received a heart charm, measuring approximately 1" x .75", carved of bone bearing an inscription reading: "Lt. Col. Wm. N. Green/Aug. Sep/62/Jun. Libbie Prison 1862." Floral decoration is found down each side. Held on string through a small hole near the top.

    By November 3, he was in Annapolis, Maryland, waiting to be exchanged. He wrote quickly to his grandfather: "I go every day to the Library at the State House and read, am reading the 'History of the French Revolution'...it is very interesting." "I don't have one word covering my exchange but hope soon to get back to my Regt." Green was exchanged and returned to active duty. He received a promotion and transfer on June 13, 1863. Now a lieutenant colonel, he was placed on the field staff of the 173rd New York Infantry serving duty in Louisiana. On April 9, 1864, he was wounded at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, and had his left arm amputated. He received brevet promotions to colonel and brigadier general dating from his wounding. He lived another five weeks before dying of his wounds in New Orleans at the age of twenty-one.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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