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William B. Green (b. 1825) Papers
1803, 1809-1864, 1873-1943

Five hundred twenty-one manuscripts, 1803, 1809-1864, 1873-1943 and undated, relate to William B. Green (b. 1825) of Taylors in Greenville County. The early material dating to 1851 is chiefly receipts, bills of sale, and promissory notes of John Green, especially regarding the settlement of the estate of George Green, of Fauquier County, Va. Of interest among these are several purchases of slaves, including a woman and her young children on 17 February 1830, and the sale of cotton to Reedy River Factory on 18 October 1841. John Green was a founding member of the Southern Rights Association of Greenville District (ca. November 1850). He died in 1852 and his wife, Mary, in 1855. An inventory of the estate was made on 6 December 1856 in preparation for an auction. William Green appears as one of the administrators of John Green's estate. William was a farmer, raising cotton, corn, and wheat. On 15 January 1859, William bought a slave woman and her two children, aged three years and eight months.

William Green served in different regiments during the war: as first lieutenant in the 16th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, and as captain in the 3rd Regiment, 1st Corps, South Carolina Reserves, and the 22nd Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers. Writing from Camp Hampton, Richland District, on 12 December 1861, Green told his wife—"Stering news in camp to night we were mustered in to Service to day for 12 months and to night received orders to cook three days provision...it is telligraphed that Charleston is on fire...I have ben trying to night to make a will it is the Hardest thing that I ever undertook to do in my life But I thought it would be better for you and the children." Green spent most of his service in the lowcountry at Pocotaligo and Sullivan's Island. A muster roll for his reserve troops dated 2 September 1862 lists the men's names and ages. After serving two years, Green hired a substitute for twelve months service (February 1863). When he returned to service, his regiment moved north in April 1864 to Wilmington and Kinston, N.C., and then to Petersburg, Va.

Green was camped near Petersburg at least through November 1864 and spent most of his time in the trenches. Writing to his wife on 23 May, Green described the initial conflict—"I never heard the like the Balls fell thick as hail all around me...I won undertake to discribe to you the awful Specticle that I witnessed some men shot through the head ther Brains droping out Some men in the face some with thare tongs shot off." Many of his letters described life in the trenches—the constant shelling and shooting, the inability to sleep, eat, or wash, and the steady removal of bodies. Wounded and suffering from bowel troubles, Green wrote home—"our Regtment is nearly all Destroyed and taken prisoners the yankes Blowed up ther companys and part of the fourth company of the Regment my company was all Blowed up and all Buried under the dirt...most of the men lived about the factory and in the Holly Spring settlement." He goes on to list the men's surnames (3 July). With winter on the way and having only a thin blanket for cover, Green and his regiment were building "Little Houses in the ground and covering them with dirt" (5 November). Green was wounded at least twice, spending time in Woods Hospital and by December in Jackson Hospital in Richmond. There is no further war correspondence after 6 December 1864. An United Daughters of the Confederacy membership application for Green's great-granddaughter, Minnie Greene Wilkinson, shows Green was discharged on 9 April 1865 (20 June 1928). An undated sixth plate ambrotype pictures Green in uniform.

Receipts and promissory notes beginning in 1873 indicate that, after returning to civilian life, Green continued to farm. He sold cotton to Camperdown Mills on 23 January 1878. Bills of sale throughout the collection indicate that he traded with a variety of Greenville merchants. On 4 July 1892 at age sixty-seven Green registered to vote, and in October of that year he was commissioned a poll watcher by James E. Hagood. Green maintained his membership with Brushy Creek Baptist Church, even during the war. A list of deceased members dated 15 March 1863 indicates it was a racially mixed congregation.

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