Category Archives: 1st Confederate Battalion (Forney’s)

1863-65: Sam Green to his Cousins

Unidentified Confederate (LOC)

The following letters were written by Samuel Green who served as a private in Co. E, 1st Confederate Battalion (Forney’s). The seven companies that made up this regiment were drawn from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Their service started at Port Hudson but their first engagement was at Corinth. They were then assigned to Loring’s Division and fought at Grand Gulf and Vicksburg. They were then assigned to the Army of Mobile and fought at Port Hudson, Champions Hill, Jackson, and Fort Pillow. In June 1863, they were assigned to Gen. Johnston’s Army of Relief, Department of the West. They were ordered to Virginia in March 1864 where they joined Heth’s Division of Hill’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, and participated in the fighting at Petersburg and Appomattox.

According to his muster records, Samuel enlisted at Fort Morgan, Alabama, in January 1862. He appears to have been with the regiment most of the time until he became ill in the fall of 1864 and was a Richmond hospital for several weeks until 1 November 1864.

He wrote the letter to his cousins in Jackson, Mississippi—the children of Rt. Reverend William Mercer Green (1798-1887), the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Mississippi.

Letter 1

Camp near Canton [Mississippi]
November 15th 1863

My dear cousins,

I have just returned from town where I heard a most excellent sermon from the Rev. Mr. —– that married a Miss Johnston near Madison—the little cottage church was full to overflowing, numbers had to stand during service. The ladies found it rather difficult procuring seats. General [William W.] Loring and his men monopolized the greater part and seemed to be very much pleased with the services though the greater portion had never attended the Episcopal Church before. Yours and Lilly’s presents were handed to me by cousin James a few days ago and I can assure my dear cousins, that they were most acceptable. And could I have had my wish, would have selected those things. They came in the very nick of time as the weather was [ ing]. How can I repay you for all your kindness extended to me since we became acquainted.

We are camped within two miles of town and from all appearances will remain the winter unless the Yankees come in a larger force than we would be able to cope with. At one time we thought Brandon would be the Headquarters of this portion of the army, but the Yankees attempting their raids again upon this section of country, it was necessary that the troops should be moved in a more central position so as to command the whole of the railroad now in operation. We have gone into winter quarters though we have no tents. We have very comfortable log huts built by ourselves and covered with boards, then thatched with straw or hay. You have no idea how much more comfortable it is than tents. In some they have fireplaces which add still more to their comfort.

The troops at this time are better situated than they have been for two years. You rarely hear of any hardship in camp; all appear to be satisfied and in fine spirits. They drill us just hard enough to give us an appetite for our beef and cornbread.

I have just completed my tour of ten days cooking for my mess which was accomplished with as much dexterity as an experienced cook who had been at it his life time. Some days I gave them boiled, yet another stewed and when the beef had any fat upon it, would bake. Corn bread plain was a standing dish. Now we are receiving sweet potatoes which adds to our bill of fare. The cook is now calling for Mess No. 2 and if not there in time, will have a slim showing for my full ration.


You will perceive have laid this aside for several days owing to our battalion having to go out on picket—duty which comes about once a week. On Wednesday next there will be a drill between the 15th Mississippi Regiment of our brigade and the 3rd Kentucky of Buford’s for a handsome regimental color. The competitors are drilling daily and no doubt it will be an exciting time between the two brigades. The latter regiment has already taken two prizes in Bragg’s Army for their superior drilling.

Cousin Sarah [Green] Cotten passed through this place several days ago on her way to Big Black to see Lew. I did not see her myself but my friend Dudley Cowan did. She was very much disappointed at not seeing me as she wished me to go down with her. I am looking for her return every day. No doubt it is her intention to visit cousin Rob and perhaps you all before she returns. I hope she will not pass through without my seeing her for I love her much and more than that, you find few such women.

If tomorrow is a good day, I am going down to Madison to spend the day with cousin James. I started last Saturday but when I was within 200 yards of the depot, the train left so cousin Sam had to return his steps back to camp a distance of two miles. So to make sure this time, I will sleep in town tonight and be ready in the morning.

No news from home yet. Till Lilly, I wrote her a long letter in October while at Brandon directed to the care of Major Mhoon, Libbie Station. She blotted the name so much that it was guess work with me. However, I made it out as Mhoon. Col. [George H.] Forney is still [ ] looking for him daily. He has been away from us for nearly three months and we all look for his return with much pleasure.

Give my love to Uncle and say to him I was sorry he did not extend his trip up here for we would have been pleased to have heard him preach. Tell Lilly I will write to her soon. Give my love to all. Direct care of Mr. E. D. Cowan, Canton. Remember me to the boys when you write. Just before closing we have news of the Colonel being at Brandon and will be here tonight or in the morning. Goodbye dear cousin. Write soon and accept a full share of love from one who loves you dearly, — Sam

Letter 2

Camp near Petersburg
March 29th 1865

My darling cousin,

Though but a few days has elapsed since my last letter to you. I could not let a good opportunity slip by without letting you know how and where I am, and also, that I think of you frequently. Having no communication with Wilmington or Fayetteville, I am afraid you will be troubled a good deal with letters of nonsense from your cousin Sam, whenever an opportunity offers. No news from any of my relatives since the occupation of either of the above named places. One of our officers left a few days ago for Mobile. By him I sent my letter, he promising to mail at Montgomery. I had been carrying it in my hat for a week or more waiting for someone going in that section of country.

On Saturday 26th our division had quite a sharp little fight resulting in no advantage to either side. Yankee officers captured say that Grant was under the impression that General Lee had massed his troops in front of Petersburg, leaving only a small force in the works on the right and there would be no difficulty in taking our works and proceed to Petersburg, attacking our troops in the rear, while they would do the same in front, capturing most of Lee’s army. But Corporal Robert E.—as most of the troops call him—was on the alert. Therefore, Grant was foiled in his undertaking. Our loss in the Division, killed, wounded, and captured, did not exceed 150. Our Battalion had one officer and five men captured, and two killed. Everything is perfectly quiet just now. It is no telling how long it will remain so.

“Gen. Lee has been riding up and down the works for some days, and yesterday had all the troops placed in their proper position for the coming campaign.”

—Samuel Green, Co. E, 1st Confederate Brigade, 29 March 1865

Gen. Lee has been riding up and down the works for some days, and yesterday had all the troops placed in their proper position for the coming campaign. By this move, our brigade have been thrown out of their comfortable quarters into the cold open air to protect ourselves the best we can. It will go pretty hard for awhile. But as the saying is, we will soon get use to it.

Col. [Reuben O.] Reynolds 1 of the 11th Mississippi in our brigade was wounded in his arm on the 26th. Since then, has had it amputated and doing very well. After it was taken off, he remarked he would be ready for the Yankees again soon. The colonel formerly lived in Aberdeen [Mississippi] practicing law. Since then I believe his family have moved to Columbus {Mississippi].

I have given up all idea of seeing you soon and perhaps never for as soon as the consolidation of regiments and battalions take place, my position will be with a gun in ranks, taking the chances of war, endeavoring to do my duty to my country.

Give my love to the family. Write soon and every opportunity that offers. Uncle’s family are the only relatives that I know of who are out of the enemy’s line. Do remember me to Miss Laura. At what point on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad is she living? I am very well acquainted along the route from Mobile to Okalona. Have you become acquainted with Miss Lowry who lives at Columbus or Crawfordsville? She was a sweetheart of our cousin Willie Lord 2 who was killed upon that road in 1862. I am not acquainted; still I have seen her often. This will be mailed by a gentleman from Mississippi who is out here getting up a Record of State troops. Our mails are not going through yet and it is only by hand a letter is safe.

Goodbye dear cousin, — Sam Greene

1 Reuben Oscar Reynolds began his service as a Captain of Co. I in the 11th Mississippi Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Gaines’s Mill (27 June 1862). He was promoted to Major on 3 October 1862. At Gettysburg, Major Reynolds was wounded a second time in Picket’s Charge while commanding the regiment. When Col. Green was mortally wounded on 12 May 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, Reynolds was promoted to Colonel. In the skirmish at Hawk’s Farm, Reynolds was wounded a third time, losing his right arm. He was a graduate of the University of Georgia and University of Virginia (law school). After law school he set up his practice in Aberdeen, Mississippi. He married Mary (Mollie) Branch English on February 20, 1855.

2 William Ancrum Lord (1837-1862) was killed on 19 March 1862 at or near Okolona in a train wreck on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. He was the son of William Campbell Lord (1793-1847) and Eliza Jane Hill (1794-1875) of North Carolina. In the 1860 US Census, he was enumerated as a “conductor” living in Mobile.