<BGSOUND SRC="http://gmierka.tripod.com/music/The_Clear_Air.wma">
U. S. Major General George Sears Greene
George Sears Greene

Photo: Major General George Sears Greene
New York MOLLUS Commandery I.D.# 05520

"Rhode Island's Own"   Part Two

A Biography By: G. A. Mierka

Welcome to "Rhode Island's Own, Part Two", the Biography of Major General George Sears Greene, USV, Page of the R.I. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (RI MOLLUS) and R.I. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War ELISHA DYER CAMP No.7.   You can also click to the RI MOLLUS War Papers (Personal Narratives) of R.I. Civil War Officers.   Here you can link to Camp No.7. and you can aslo click to the Rhode Island State Commandery of the MILITARY ORDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION OF THE UNITED STATES (RI MOLLUS).


The High Watermark

Major General George Meade Major General Joeseph Hooker
Images Left to Right:
Major General George Gordon Meade, Commander Union Army of the Potomac
Major General Fighting Joe Hooker.

      After Chancellorsville, Hooker re-concentrated his army north of the Rappahannock River in central Virginia.   Although Lee had lost Stonewall Jackson, his finest field commander at Chancellorsville, he was determined to take the initiative and deliver a blow to the North that would bring the terrible war to an end.   Lee reinforced his army and decided to move it north to invade Pennsylvania.   All Hooker could do was shadow Lee's movements.   Finally Lincoln and the War Department had enough of Hooker and replaced him with Major General George Gordon Meade, a well known cantankerous fighter.   Greene now had four New York Regiments in his 3rd Brigade.   The 3rd Brigade was part of the Second Division in the 12th Corps and it was known as the New York Brigade.   The Second Division was under the command of Brigadier General John W. Geary, who like Greene, was a good field commander.   The regiments under Greene were the 78th, the 102nd, the 137th and the 149th New York Volunteers.   When Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863, he well understood the gravity of the situation he faced.   He wasted no time in ordering a pursuit of Lee who had gotten his army of about 72,000 men north of the Potomac River and threatened much of southeastern Pennsylvania.   Meade took about 87,000 men in seven Union Army Corps in to Pennsylvania after Lee.   The two armies would collide at a place called Gettysburg.

      The final days of June 1863 were hot, steamy, and rainy.   The march to Pennsylvania was very taxing on men in both armies.   Greene kept his men provisioned about as good as possible and saw to most of the needs of the men in his brigade during the grueling march to Pennsylvania.   When 12th Corps arrived on the Gettysburg Battle Field, the bloody struggle was already underway.   Meade positioned the 12th Corp on Culp's Hill, which was the highest and most commanding position on the field; a place which the Rebels had failed to occupy on the first day of the battle.   On the second day of the battle, the Union line stretched north from Little Round top to Culp's Hill and took on the shape of a large fishhook.   Throughout most of the second day Lee pounded the Union southern left flank.

      Lee's field commander responsible for attacking the Union northern right flank was General Richard "Ole Baldy" Ewell.   Ewell replaced Stonewall Jackson after he was mortally wounded at Chancellosville.   But Ewell was no Jackson.   He failed to get his men in place in time to coordinate attacks on the Union right with Longstreet's attacks on the Union left.   The second day at Gettysburg was a day of costly blunders on both sides.   One of Meade's commanders, General Dan Sickles had disobeyed orders to hold the high ground and decided to attack the Rebels.   He collided with Longstreet's Rebels in the Peach Orchard and the Wheat Field and almost ended up costing the battle.   In response to the danger Meade began shifting his strength to bolster his center and left flank.   That meant leaving General George Sears Greene in command of his little brigade and what was left of the Iron Brigade (decimated on the first day) to guard Culp's Hill; the most important position on the field.   Behind Culp's Hill was the Baltimore Pike, a key route for a Union retreat if that became necessary.   Plus behind Culp's Hill was most of the Union Army supplies and all its Heavy Artillery Reserve.   General Henry Slocum, 12th Corps Commander was very uneasy about being redeployed away from Culp's Hill, so he left behind his most experienced fighter and Army Engineer to guard the spot, which was certain to be attacked again in force.

Major General John W. Geary Major General Henry Slocum
Images Left to Right:
Major General John W. Geary, Commander 2nd Division, MOLLUS ID#: 00198
Major General Henry Slocum, Commander 12th Army Corps, MOLLUS ID#: 00949.

"Ole Pop"
A Rhode Island Hero
Who Saved The Country At Gettysburg

General Greene Bottom of Culp's Hill
Images Left to Right:
General George Sears Greene after the war;
Battle view View of Culp's Hill from the Bottom (Confederate Lines)

      General Greene had supervised all the defenses of Culp's Hill when the 12th Corps arrived on the Gettysburg Battlefield.   Now he needed to dig in such a way that would make his little brigade seem like a full Union Army Corps.   Ewell, much to the objections and absolute frustrations of his subordinate Rebel Officers continued to delay his mission to storm Culp's Hill, giving Greene more time to strengthen his defenses.   Greene turned the summit of the hill into an impregnable fortress of earthworks making several locations along his line deadly kill zones of enfilade fire.   Unfortunately, today visitors to the battlefield get a smaller sense of the masterful defenses Greene created and what the battle for the hill was really like, but the National Park Services responsible for the battlefield have begun a remarkable restoration effort in Gettysburg.   The slopes and base of Culp's Hill today are blanketed with far more trees then existed during the actual battle.

      Ewell's Confederates would be called upon to do the impossible by attacking Greene up the steep rocky terrain, that in itself would make command and control for Ewell's field officers maneuvering their men up the hill a nightmare.   Plus Greene had every inch of the slope covered by the musket and cannon fire of his men.   After the war, the actions of Union General Gouverner Warren, Col. Strong Vincent and Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain on Little Round Top overshadowed the significance of the heroic deeds of Greene and his small Union band of defenders of Culp's Hill.   Today historians are finally taking a second look at the Battle of Gettysburg and the importance of Culp's Hill.

Eastern Campaign Map Greene Gettysburg Monument Map of the Battle of Gettysburg
Images Left to Right:
Map of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania,
The G. S. Greene Monument at Gettysburg
Map of the Gettysburg Battlefield

Greene Stands Alone:
The Fight For Culp's Hill

      On July 1st, 1863 as fighting raged north of Gettysburg, the 12th Corps Division of General John Geary including the Brigades of Candy, Kane and Greene, moving north on the Tannytown Road rested in the fields behind Little Round Top.   When the Union lines collapsed on McPherson's Ridge, the first day of battle ended with the Union forces rallying on Cemetery Hill south of Gettysburg.   By nightfall Greene's Brigade was redeployed on Culp's Hill on the extreme northern end of the Union line of defense.   On the second day of the battle since Rebel General Ewell failed to press the attack, Greene also supervising the defense of the entire hill had plenty of time to thoroughly dig in along the summit of Culp's Hill.   Oddly, the weakest spot was where Greene's New York Brigade was placed to guard the very end of the Union Line, including the area of Spangler's Spring.   At 3:30 p.m. the Rebel cannons of Latimer's Batteries opened up on Culp's Hill to try to reduce the Union defenses designed by Greene.   Greene had placed all his artillery very well and had the entire field covered.   When the Union Guns responded they completely drove back all of Latimer's Artillery and Latimer himself was mortally wounded in the 2-hour action.

      As the battle raged with shot and shells flying around him, Greene coolly directing his troops stood in the open atop the bolder that today marks his grave at the family cemetery in Apponaug Rhode Island.   At 6:00 p.m. General Slocum was ordered to move the 12th Corps to reinforces the gap in the Union Line created by Sickles when he moved in to the Peach Orchard and Wheat Field to engage Longstreet's Confederates farther south along the Emmitsburg Road.   General George Sears Greene and his small 3rd New York Brigade was the only 12th Corps unit left behind to guard Spangler's Spring and Culp's Hill on the far end of the Union right flank.   At 7:30 p.m. July 2nd, 1863, Rebel General Ewell finally ordered an all-out attack by his forces under Bushrod Johnson.   Greene and what was left of Wadsworth's Iron Brigade were suddenly faced with an attacking enemy about four times their strength.   Greene made a stubborn fight for Spangler's Spring, but was eventually overwhelmed by the attackers.   At one point in the heat and humidity, the fighting was reduced to a contest for a drink of water from the spring.   When the Rebels finally prevailed, they looked up the rocky slopes of Culp's Hill and the horrible job of having to attack the position through Greene's kill zones.

      The butternut and gray Brigades of Jones, Nicholls and Stuart, under Johnson hammered the hill with everything they had as darkness fell but to no avail.   Greene's musket fire was so heavy it mowed down many of the trees in his path.   Later the Union 12th Corp commander, General Slocum, would say that Greene's engineering design for the defenses of Culp's Hill were the work of a true genius; and that alone saved the Union Army from total disaster on the second day.   Losses around Culp's Hill on July 2nd, especially for the Confederates, were very heavy.

      As darkness fell on July 2nd, both sides waited in silence for the 3rd day of battle while listening to a morbid chorus of the pitiful moans and cries from hundreds of dying men on the slopes of Culp's Hill.   Nothing could be done to relieve them because sharpshooters on both sides plied their skills throughout most of the night.   The 3rd day of the battle, July 3rd, 1863, was a day of decision for Rebel Commanding General Robert E. Lee.   Planned for 1:00 p.m., Lee was determine to order a massive Rebel artillery bombardment of 140 guns under Porter Alexander to open up on the Union Center at Cemetery Ridge, to be followed at about 3:15 p.m. by General Pickett's massive rebel Charge; a grand assault of almost 15,000 fresh Confederate soldiers.   As it would turn out, in about an hour it would all be over.   Lee's dream of a victory on the third day of battle on Union soil to end the war would be over as well.

      However, to divert Union attention from his main assault planned for that afternoon, Lee again ordered Ewell to take Culp's Hill on the evening of the second day.   Lee now realized that Culp's Hill was the anchor he needed to push the Union Army off the field, cut it in two and give his grand assault on the Union Center a better chance of success.   But Yankee Commanding General George Meade realized the importance of Culp's Hill too and started returning most of the 12th Corps back to their former positions first during the night.   Since the hill was so well defended, Ewell planned to make a July 3rd predawn attack in the last hours of darkness to give his men a better chance of survival and hopefully surprise Greene.

      In the darkness at 4:00 a.m. Johnson hurled three reinforced brigades at Culp's Hill.   The Confederates moved up the hill under cover of darkness without the usual pre-attack artillery bombardment hoping to catch Greene's men knapping.   Again, it was a hopeless slaughter that only served to weaken Johnson's hold on all the ground he had gained on the second day.   Greene's Division Commander General Geary realized the advantage and took the initiative by counter-attacking Johnson at 5:00 a.m. By 7:00 a.m. July 3rd the Union had retaken Spangler's Spring and driven Johnson's men out of range, effectively ending the Rebel threat to Culp's Hill.

      Since Ewell had failed to take Culp's Hill, Longstreet, Lee's most trusted commander tried one last time to reason against the Grand Assault planned for Pickett at 3:15pm, but to no avail.   Lee's mind was made up.   Even without the necessary support he needed by occupying Culp's Hill, Pickett's men would go forward.   Pickett's Charge failed with losses that staggered the South.   Had Greene "The Old Rhode Islander" and his little New York Army not saved Culp's Hill on the second day, Confederate guns, not Union guns would have controlled the field and Pickett's Charge might have succeeded.   Union General Meade might have lost all his heavy artillery reserve, most of his supplies and more then 1/4 of his entire army would have been trapped on Cemetery Hill in a rebel pincer between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Ridge.

      About 5,000 of Baldy Ewell's Confederates lost their lives trying to take Culp's Hill; the cream of Lee's Army, formerly under Stonewall Jackson, leaving Union commanders to say, thank God for General Greene.   "Ole Pop" held Culp's Hill.   General Meade had survived the second day of battle at Gettysburg against General Lee.   Greene's actions on Culp's Hill would undoubtedly allow him to survive the third.

The General Concern’s For His Sons

Sam is Criticized for Following Orders
Poor Charlie is Badly Wounded

Captain Samuel Dana Greene
- U. S. Navy;
Photo taken after the Battle of Hampton Roads

General G. S. Greene was a proud father to all his sons.   Samuel Dana Greene, his second son and 8th generation Greene, born February 11, 1840, struck out in to the world on his own to create a good career for himself in the United States Navy.   Always admiring the sea stories of his grandfather Caleb Jr., instead of attending West Point as was a tradition in the Greenes by the mid 19th Century, Sam decided to attend Annapolis and graduated there in 1859.   By comparison to West Point, the Naval Academy was still relatively a young school; many of its Midshipman graduates had not yet been tested in a major war.   Sam proved himself to be an outstanding officer like his father serving the army.   The Civil War would become a great opportunity to display Sam's qualities

Samuel Greene married his first wife Miss Mary Willis of Bristol Rhode Island during the Civil War in 1863 and had four children of whom only one, a son named Carlton servived in to adulthood.   Mary became ill and died in 1881 while Sam was at sea.   Her death affected him in the manner of a depression which he never fully recovered.   He remarried a year later to Miss Hannah Gorham also of Bristol in 1882, but together they had no children.   Throughout Sam's naval career he would have to spend many months at sea, especially during the war, but he would still call Bristol his home.   Sam returned from his first sea duty after graduation to port in New York aboard the USS Hartford with the East Indian Squadron in 1861 as the Civil War began.   He visited his father in New York frequently and was concerned that George Sr. might be a bit on in his years to get involved in the riggers of army campaigns and battles in the coming war.   Also at this time, Sam transfered from the Hartford to become part of a gunboat crew, and the navy's newest secret weapon.

On January 30th, 1862, the USS Monitor, the first of the Ericsson designed revolving turret ironclad gunboats was launched in New York Harbor.   The vessel had been hurried in to service due to the threat of the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) being made ready for service in Norfolk, Virginia.   The Confederacy pinned all its hopes on the CSS Virginia to open the Union Blockade at the mouth of the James River.   Captain Warden, the skipper of the Monitor chose Sam Greene, who volunteered for duty on the Monitor, as his executive officer on his revolutionary new boat.   After the launch, Warden and Greene worked out as many of the problems of the Monitor as they could while it made its way to Virginia to counter the threat of the Merrimac.   The USS Monitor sailed for Hampton Roads and its fateful encounter with the Merrimac on March 6, 1862 and made its destination on March 9th after almost sinking twice in ruff water along the way.   By the time it arrived in Hampton Roads, the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) had ravaged three of the Union's top of the line capitol ships in a battle that marked the end of the era of tall masted wooden sailing ships used for war.   The Monitor arrived in the nick of time to take on the CSS Virginia in a 4 hour see-saw battle that would forever revolutionize Naval Warfare.

Since the Monitor had a shallower draft, it was able to outmaneuver the Merrimack throughout the entire engagement eventhough the Merrimac was a faster ship.   Shot after shot from the Monitor's two large turret guns badly weakened the armored shell and keel of the Merrimac.   It was forced to break off the engagement with the Monitor and head for safe port as the tide of the James River ran out.   However during the hight of the battle, after several passes of the two ships while blasting away at each other, the Merrimac got off a lucky shot from its forward pivot gun that struck the Captain's pilothouse of the Monitor and blinded Captain Warden.   At that time Sam was in command of the ships guns and supervised every shot that came from the Monitor.   After the captain was badly wounded, Sam Greene was compelled to take command of the Monitor and finish the battle.   During the tranfer of command the Monitor and the Merrimac became separated.   When Sam took the helm the Merrimac was already under way home and retiring. Sam could not hope to catch the Merrimac so he followed as best he could and ordered his ship to keep firing at her until she was out of range.   Since the Monitor's orders were to guard the mouth of the James and protect the blockade, at that point Greene concluded he had done the job the Monitor was sent to do and did not pursue the Merrimac once out of range as she continued to retire up the Elizabeth River off Hampton Roads to Norfolk.

After the battle, Greene was severely criticized for not going after the Merrimac (or CSS Virginia) to destroy the famous Confederate Ironclad once and for all.   This would haunt Sam, the General's son, for the rest of his life.   Criticism of Sam grew even worse when on December 31, 1862, the USS Monitor commanded by Captain Samuel Dana Greene was lost in a violent storm while under tow by the USS Rhode Island off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.   Fortunate to escape the sinking, Sam remained in the Navy after the war as exec aboard the USS Iroquois and participated in the hunt for the CSS Commerce Raider the Alabama.

In 1865 he served as Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Annapolis.   He went on to serve as captain aboard the USS Funiata 1876 and the USS Monongahela in 1882.   Historians can only speculate that the loss of America and the world's first Dreadnaught was too much for Sam to live with.   He never got over the loss of the Monitor, giving reason for his tragic suicide death in his ship captain's quarters aboard the Monongahela while anchored in the Kittery, Maine, U. S. Navy Yard after the Civil War on December 11, 1884.

General George Sears Greene never got over the Navy's treatment and untimely death of Sam.   On December 20th the same year U. S. Senator Bayard, of Deleware, gave the oration at the dedication of the Admiral Dupont statue in Wasgington D. C.   In his speech he made the folowing remarks: "The Monitor whose name is inseparable from that of Ericsson, whose genius devised her; of Worden, whose heroism tested her; 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".   Sam was buried in Bristol Rhode Island on December 16, 1884.

Battle of the Monitor & Merrimack
Sam takes over during the battle of the Monitor & Merrimack
at Hampton Roads, Virginia, 1862.

Captain Charles Thurston Greene
- of His Father's Staff
The Last Battle of Ole Pop’s gallant son Charlie

Captain Charles Thurston Greene, MOLLUS ID# 12003, served on the Brigade headquarters staff of his father, General George Sears Greene, as Assistant Adjutant, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, originally part of the Army of the Potomac—detached—1863.   He was the third son of George and Martha, born in Cumberland, Maryland on March 5, 1842.   He married Abby Ann Hull in New York City on May 9, 1867.   The official military service record of Charles Thurston Greene is the following: He enlisted as a private National Guard NY State Militia May 28, 1862, discharged August 8, 1862; re-mustered as 2nd Lieutenant 60th NY Volunteer Infantry August 10, 1862, discharged as 1st Lieutenant August 10, 1863, re-commissioned Captain Assistant Adjutant-General 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Corps, September 4, 1863; severely wounded at Ringgold; Brevetted Major of Volunteers, Invalid Corps; after the war commissioned Captain of U.S. Regulars 44th Infantry, U.S. Army, and retired from the Army on December 10, 1870.   He was appointed Professor of Military Sciences and Tactics at St. John’s College, Fordham, NY and retired October 1, 1901.   Charles and Abby Greene had 12 children.   His cousin gave an account of his last battle.

Bragg’s entire Rebel Army routed and defeated by Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Hooker and Sheridan; Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25—27, 1863.   Burnside holds Knoxville.   The Rebels give up all of Tennessee and retreat to northern Georgia to defend Atlanta.

Lieut. A.R. Greene, Staff, 3rd Brigade (Greene’s Brigade), 2nd Division, 12th U.S. Army Corps.

The rebel center is broken; the firing gradually dies away, last on the left in Sherman's front.   The battle of Chattanooga is over; the great victory is an accomplished fact.   That night we slept in the rebel huts, finding their fires still burning and much of their camp equipage and utensils left behind.   Before daylight the next morning we got our horses, coats, blankets and food, and joined in the pursuit.   The head of the column was continually fighting the rebel rear guard.   We bivouacked at Pea Vine Creek, sleeping on the ground, and at daylight pushed on again.   This was the last day of the pursuit.

Osterhaus was ahead and our division next.   Some time in the forenoon it became evident that the rebels had made a stand, and we hurried on.   Emerging from the woods we came upon a pretty town of a hundred houses or so, two churches, a hotel, a large store-house or two, and a long, low stone building by the railroad, used for a freight depot.   Beyond the town was a high hill, and the women from the windows of the houses tauntingly bade us "look there".   We looked, and there was the rebel rear guard on the crest, Osterhaus' whole division in line about half way up, where he could neither go on nor come back, our first brigade vainly struggling with great slaughter to get up the left flank, and our second brigade en echelon on the right of Osterhaus.

We [the 3rd Brigade] moved up under the cover of the stone depot.   Grant and Sherman both just stood there talking together quietly, apparently unconscious of the sharp fight on the other side of the stone building.   Our brigade was presently ordered to seize some buildings across an open field to the right and rear of our second brigade.   It was in full sight and good range of the rebels on the hill, but we went across and took the position, losing fifty men while passing over about 400 yards.

The first brigade was all cut to pieces, losing 400 men and many of its best officers, all to no purpose, for a couple of batteries soon came up and shelled the rebels out.   Captain Charles T. Greene [Albert’s Cousin], assistant adjutant-general of our brigade [Ole Pop Greene’s former 3rd Brigade], had his right leg taken off by a shell while we were crossing the field.

Notes By Lieutenant Albert Rowland Greene, who first enlisted as a Private, Company K, 11th Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Regiment, then transferred and was commissioned Lieut. 78th NY Volunteer Infantry, then assigned as Aid de Camp—on staff, G.S. Greene, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Corps.

Civil War Narrative, written by A.R. Greene—extracted from: RI MOLLUS War Paper, RI Soldiers & Sailors Historical Society, titled: "From Bridgeport to Ringgold, By Way of Lookout Mountain".

Charles survived the war but fought his last battle in the Civil War at Ringgold, northern Georgia, after surviving many campaigns and battles at the side of his Father, General G.S. Greene.   Lieut. Albert R. Greene was the son of Albert Daniel Greene who was the brother of George Sears Greene—or George Sears Greene was the Uncle of Albert R. Greene ("Greenes of Rhode Island", 8th Greene Generation, Ref.# 1591, Pg 477).

Of the four boys parented by George and Martha, their eldest son, George Sears Greene, Jr., was forbidden to join the service to fight in the war by his Father, General George S. Greene, Sr.   The General felt George Jr. was needed to carry on his name and Greene Family Line.   George Jr. actually tried to enlist, but his Father had the enlistment cancelled.   Their second son, Sam, an officer in the Navy saw action at Hampton Roads, and came through the war unharmed.   Their forth son Francis Vinton Greene was too young to fight in the war but went to West Point, graduated 1st in his class and served as a Major General during the Spanish-American War, in Cuba.

At age 19, young Charlie Greene served on his Father’s staff, an arrangement preferable to the General so he could control his military assignments and, as much as possible, try to keep Charles out of harm’s way.   Charlie was an eager young officer and one for taking risks.   Of all his sons, his father worried about Charlie’s safety perhaps the most.   After the General was severely wounded in the face, by a stray Rebel mini ball through his upper jaw, at the battle of Wauhatchie, during the first phase of Grant’s campaign to relieve General Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland bottled up in Chattanooga, Charlie served as any other staff officer.   He rode the battle lines helping to coordinate troop movements and conveying orders from headquarters to the regimental commanders of the 3rd Brigade.   The incident at Ringgold, where Charlie lost his right leg, was due to a Rebel cannon explosion next to him that also killed his horse.   The severity of his wound took him permanently out of the war.   He was eventually assigned to the Invalid Corps at the rank of Brevet Major of Volunteers.   Within two months both Charlie and his great Father, General George Sears Greene, Sr., were both severely wounded and sent home to convalesce at their home in New York City.

Still, the family continued to gather at the Caleb Greene Homestead in Apponaug.   Charles Thurston Greene spent much of his time there.   Martha and her daughter Anna cared for George Sr. and Charles.   Both men were also comforted by an occasional visit of Clara Barton to the home in Apponaug and New York.   Both were nursed back to reasonably good health.   In the final stages of the war in North Carolina the General George Greene asked General Sherman to give him back the command of his 3rd Brigade.   Although Sherman knew that George hadn’t fully recovered he granted George’s wish and George finished the war to the surrender of Joe Johnston’s Rebels in North Carolina.   Young Charlie was too badly wounded to accompany his Father to see the end of the Great War of the Rebellion.

Today, one of the Greene descendants still has one of the wooden prosthetic legs that Charlie used to maintain some sense of mobility.   Charlie suffered due to the after effects of his wound for the remainder of his life, but rarely let others know of his constant discomfort.   However, he was able to attend the Gettysburg ceremony on Culp’s Hill in 1907, with his wife, when his Father’s monument was unveiled.

Battle of Ringgold
Charlie is severely wounded at the Battle of Ringgold, GA.
General Greene's 19 year old son loses his leg.

West To Relieve

Lieut. General Ulysses S. Grant General Braxton Bragg Major General William T. Sherman
Images Left to Right:
Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, MOLLUS ID#: 02006.
General Braxton Bragg, CSA, No match for Grant & Sherman.
Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, Commander Army of the Tennessee, MOLLUS ID#: 04567.

Major General William S. Rosecrans Major General George H. Thomas Major General Philip H. Sheridan
Images Left to Right:
Major General William S. Rosecrans, former Commander Army of the Cumberland, MOLLUS ID#: 01804
Major General George H. Thomas, Commander Army of the Cumberland, MOLLUS ID#: Died Before Assignment
Major General Philip H. Sheridan Army of the Cumberland, MOLLUS ID#: 00750.

      After Gettysburg in the summer of 1863, more trouble brewed for the Union in east Tennessee.   By mid summer of 1863, the Army of the Cumberland under Major General William S. Rosecrans had maneuvered the Rebels under Braxton Bragg completely out of the mountainous regions of Central and East Tennessee as well as the strategic city of Chattanooga.   With the Union victories at Gettysburg, Knoxville and Vicksburg it looked as though the Confederacy was about to collapse.   Lee had sent about 30,000 of his Gettysburg Veterans under his best commander General James Longstreet to join with Rebel General Braxton Bragg to deal a death blow to the Union Army of the Cumberland under command of William S. Rosecrans.   Bragg and Longstreet crushed Rosecrans invasion of northern Georgia at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 19th and 20th, 1863.   During the Battle of Chickamauga Union General George Thomas (The Rock of Chickamauga) avoided a complete Union disaster by making his valiant stand on Snodgrass Hill that saved what was left of Rosecrans Army of the Cumberland.   Thomas under siege at Chattanooga, a place surrounded by a wall of mountains.   If the starving Army of the Cumberland and Chattanooga fell in to the hands of the Confederacy it would also make Major General A.E. Burnside’s position at Knoxville to the north and east of Chattanooga untenable.   However, Bragg and Longstreet, equal in rank, strongly disliked each other, a prescription for disaster for the Confederacy.

      After Chickamauga Bragg and Longstreet slowly pursued Thomas north, back into Tennesse and began to lay seige at Chattanooga where the Union forces retreated after the Chickamauga debacle.   Much to the dismay of almost all of his officers, once Rebel Victory was in hand, Bragg began to see Longstreet as a threat to his position.   In October 1863, Bragg split his out-numbered force, sending Longstreet with most of his Virginia troops north and west of the Smokey Mountains to engage Rhode Island Major General Ambrose E. Burnside's Army of the Ohio in an unsuccessful attack on Knoxville.   The unwise depletion of Bragg's army would cause his demise at the Battle of Chattanooga and give Ulysses Grant his most masterful victory of the war.

      To counter Lee's strategy to move Longstreet west to Tennessee to bolster Bragg, Lincoln and the War Department ordered the 11th and 12th Corps of the Army of the Potomac west by train under the command of General Joseph Hooker to assist Grant in relieving Chattanooga.   Burnside was to hold Knoxville while Hooker and Sherman converged on Chattanooga to save Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland from total destruction by being starved out.   Grant would assume overall command and drive the Rebels away from all their positions and force a complete rout of Bragg's Army back to Georgia at the Battle of Chattanooga on October 23-25, 1863.

      The first step in Grant's operation was to open the "Cracker Line" to supply Thomas who, with his back to the Tennessee River and surrounded by tall mountains occupied by Bragg's Rebel Army, had his Union Army of the Cumberland barricaded around the town.   Hooker's Union Army arrived in the area and crossed the Tennessee River west of Chattanooga down stream to attack Bragg's left flank on Lookout Mountain located along the river's southern shore.

Battle of Wauhatchie
The Battle of Wauhatchie Creek.

      Shortly after mid-night, while moving east towards Chattanooga, General Greene and his 3rd Brigade was attacked in a terrific fight at Wauhatchie Creek, by the rebels under General Micah Jenkins, formerly of Longstreet's Corps Chickamauga.   The 3rd New York Brigade found themselves in a desperate night battle to keep the Confederates from rolling up the Union flank.   Greene and his Gettysburg Veterans held their ground until the rest of the Union forces under Geary could get in to position.   The brawl was one of the most confusing battles of the Civil War in which men fired at each other’s shadow by the light of the moon and flashes of gunfire.

      At Wauhatchie once again General George Sears Greene saved the Union Army from disaster in a night action that closely resembled his fight on Culp’s Hill at the Battle of Gettysburg earlier that summer.   However at the Battle of Wauhatchie General Greene’s luck ran out.   The cool old commander sitting atop his horse directing his men was severely wounded by a stray mini ball fired from a Rebel musket that struck the upper jaw of his face.   The impact knocked the old gent from his horse.   As the fighting intensified, Greene's staff turned in the saddle to see the Old General in a bad way.   Captain Charles Greene and Lieutenant Albert Greene couldn’t believe what they saw.   Ole Pop was fine one minute, then on the ground the next.   At first they though the Old Man was dead.   His face was a mass of blood, but they soon realized, as he grudgingly propped himself to all fours, he was actually struggling to get to his to his feet.   Everyone on the General’s staff immediately rushed to his aid to plainly see his wound was very severe.   The mini ball had crashed through his cheekbone and taken out most of his teeth, leaving him in an extremely painful daze, making it impractical for him to stay in the fight.   But Ole Pop was tuff.   He somehow regained enough composure to tell his men he would not leave the field until the battle was decided.   Removing him to safety was a useless argument.   General Greene, while in unbelievable pain and spitting blood and teeth, led his outnumbered brigade and held the line against a fierce rebel attack.   This action allowed Geary and the rest of Hookers army time they needed to get in position.

      Finally his old West Point friend Major General Oliver O. Howard rode up, saw Greene’s condition and ordered his comrade to the rear.   Thanks to Greene the Rebels were beaten back and the battle ended allowing Hooker and the 11th and 12th Corps to move on to take Lookout Mountain, at the Battle Above The Clouds.   It paved the way to effectively open the supply routes to Chattanooga to relieve Thomas and his Army of the Cumberland.   But when the Battle of Wauhatchie Creek ended the old man took stock of his troops, then passed out.   He was taken to the rear for medical treatment.

      The price of victory was as usual very high.   General Geary, commander of the Division suffered a terrible loss as well.   His son, a Lieutenant of Knapp's Pennsylvania Light Artillery Battery I, was also killed and died in Geary’s arms.   The loss of his son Edward had a dark and vengeful effect on General Geary.   In the months that followed from 1864 to the end of the war, he took particular pleasure in the destruction of Atlanta, the ravaging of Georgia during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the destruction of the Carolinas and showed little mercy to the enemy.   After the war Geary returned to Pennsylvania and became a presidential contender, but declined to run against Grant.

      In the end, the wound suffered by General Greene at Wauhatchie somewhat disfigured his face.   It was severe enough to hamper his speech and keep him out of action for the rest of 1863 and all of 1864.   Greene would miss out on Grant's brilliant victory at Chattanooga, Sherman's successful Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's March through Georgia to the Sea to Sanannah, where his famous Rhode Island cousin General Nathanael Greene lived his final years after the Revolution. In the last stage of the war General Greene sent several letters to General Sherman requesting to be reinstated as commander of his beloved 3rd Brigade and allowed to share the dangers with them to the conclusion of the war. Sherman, who held great respect for Greene, and knowing Ole Pop hadn't fully recovered, reluctantly agreed. Greene arrived to the cheers of his men, "Ole Pop is Back!" He was with them for the surrender of Joe Johnston's Confederate Army in North Carolina. He also led them in Washington during the Grand Review of all the Union Armies down Pennsylvania Avenue after the war.

Rhode Island's Own BY RI MOLLUS

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