18 April 2010

The Savior Of Culp's Hill

Brigadier General George Sears Greene was the Union commander of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division of the 12th Corps on Culp's Hill during the fight there on July 2 and 3. His brigade was made up of 5 New York Regiments. Greene was the oldest commander on the field at 62.

George Sears Greene was born in Rhode Island 6May1801. He came from an old military family, being a descendant of General Nathaniel Greens. George graduated second in his class at West Point in 1823. After serving in the military doing artillery duty and teaching math at West Point, Greene left the service in 1835. He would become a Civil Engineer, including building a reservoir for the New York City Dept of Water Supply which was used until the 1990's.

With the coming of the Civil War Greene returned to the Army and was given command 28Apr1862 of the 60th New York. He led this Regiment at the Battle of Antietam.

On the July 1 the General Greene and the 3rd Brigade marched to the Little Round Top area and spent the night.

On July 2 at day break Brigadier General John W Geary's 2nd Division of which the 3rd Brigade was part were ordered to the Union right on Culp's Hill. Although Geary didn't see the need, Greene ordered his men to build breastworks. With the left of the Union line being pummeled, the 12th Corps were ordered by General Meade to move to the left, leaving only Greene's men to defend the hill. At 7pm Greene's men would be attacked by Confederates. The men would recive reinforcement from Brigader General Thomas L Kane brigade. Around 10pm that night the fight would end. The rest of the Twelfth Corps would return to the hill abouth mid-night.

When Greene died 28Jan1899, as was his request, a rock from on top of Culp's Hill was moved to Rhode Island to used as his cemetery stone.

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