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    Berdan's Sharpshooters: Private William B. Greene Archive. This lot includes the Civil War correspondence and related documents of Private William B. Greene of Raymond, New Hampshire. Enlisted on September 26, 1861 and mustered into the 2nd Regiment, U. S. Sharpshooters (Berdan's Brigade) on December 12, 1861. Mustered out on May 29, 1865. These letters represent nearly four years of war-time experience involving every conceivable plot to extract money and provisions from home, avoid armed conflict and, above all, obtain an early discharge. Despite lies (beginning with his age), conspiracies, cowardice and a year's desertion to the West, he was forced to serve the full term of his enlistment. He was at the defense of Washington, D.C., Fredericksburg, Falmouth, Portsmouth Grove, Brandy Station, Spotsylvania and Petersburg. However, in his own words there was no chance of his being hurt "unless a stray bullet comes a great way to the rear."

    Willie criticized the Union generals he served under, every facet of army life and the political administration. In historical retrospect, he was on the wrong side of everything. Although probably typical of the runaway enlistee, one is left with the impression that he served the Confederacy well. Fortunately, Willie saw fit to document events as he viewed them and, particularly, provide us with information concerning the experiences of his fellow soldiers.

    It is difficult to determine if the correspondence is complete. There is only one letter from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin during the period of desertion. Presumably, few were written and perhaps most of them were destroyed out of fear that they could be traced. The final letter came from Kansas in 1878 where Willie expressed hope of "making a fortune". He died nine months later on March 18, 1879. As a summary of the holding, we count thirty-two war date letters (two written on U.S.S.S. stationery) written by Greene to his mother, brother Marlon and friends, seven transmittal envelopes, five documents, as well as ten post-war family letters and documents.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 459

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