Crafford S Beeman Green
10/1/1844 – 1/17/1920
SB Green was my Great Great Grandfather. He was a
fiery redheaded “Irishman” who often consumed more than
his fair share of whiskey, according to my Grandmother,
Mamie O’Telia “Frances” (Greene) Barnes Courtney.
Grandma’s father was John Ervin “Johnny” Greene a sweet
quiet man who delighted in serving his friends and family
his prized creek-cooled watermelons. Johnny and Mary
Frances Eliza Rebecca (Southall) Greene were devout Baptists
and raised their family by strict rules, rules that Johnny’s
father obviously chose to ignore.
Crafford served Henry County
and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Before researching
this article this is what I knew about Crafford’s service:
“He was a private in Company A, 44th Regiment Georgia Volunteer
Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, CSA, Henry Co, GA,
Weems’ Guards. He enlisted March 4, 1862 and was captured
June of 1864. He was paroled at Fort Delaware October
30, 1864 and received at Venus Point, Savannah River, GA
for exchange November 15. 1864.” Those words seem
so neat and tidy. I have discovered that Crafford’s
service was anything but neat and tidy.
At enlistment, Crafford was
just 17 years old. The 44th Regiment was formed from
the men and boys of Henry, Jasper, Clarke, Clayton, Spalding,
Putnam, Fayette, Pike, Morgan, and Greene Counties.
They were initially assigned to Walker’s Brigade, Department
of North Carolina under Brigadier General John G. Walker,
in the division of Major General Theophilus H. Holmes.
After their first action, a skirmish near Seven Pines (June
15, 1862), General Roswell Ripley succeeded Walker and they
were assigned to D. H. Hill's Division, Army of Northern
Virginia, Ripley’s Brigade.
By the end of the day September
14, 1862 Ripley’s Brigade and Henry County’s boys had seen
4 major battles with total casualties of 16,200. Crafford
Green was two weeks away from his 18th birthday.
At sun-up on September 17,
1862 began the single bloodiest day in American military
history, the Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg. Ripley’s
Brigade was part of the Confederate force led by General
Robert E Lee, outnumbered two-to-one by McClellan’s Union
Army. Despite having intercepted Lee’s battle plans
and by committing one of the War’s greatest strategic errors
(utilizing less than three-quarters of his troops), McClellan
enabled Lee to fight the Union forces to a draw. At
nightfall both sides consolidated their troops and Lee began
to move his wounded south of the river. Despite staggering
loses on both sides, skirmishing continued on the 18th.
On the morning of the 19th McClellan did not renew his attacks
and Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac
and moved into the Shenandoah Valley. Instead of McClellan
pressing his advantage and ending the war at Sharpsburg,
the bloodshed would continue for 2 ½ more years.
This fall (9/2004) I visited
Antietam battlefield almost 142 years to the day after the
battle. It was a warm, sunny, beautiful fall day.
A wedding was about to take place in the little Dunker Church,
the sight of the first assaults that swept across farmer
Miller’s cornfield and claimed the lives of thousands of
men and boys in the first half hour of battle. A narrow
country road wanders past farmhouses and fields to a spot
called The Sunken Lane where the Confederate center was
breached and the advantage not taken by the Union forces.
Across a state highway is another
part of this vast battlefield, the stone bridge that crosses
the tranquil Antietam Creek, held for most of that fateful
day by Georgia riflemen who finally fell to Burnsides’ men.
There are hundreds of markers noting which troops served
where, but sadly I didn’t know about Ripley’s Brigade or
my Great Great Grandfather Crafford’s contributions to that
day. Estimated casualties for the day on both sides
of this horrific battle - 23,100.
After the Battle of Antietam,
the 44th was placed under the command of Colonel George
Pierce Doles of the 4th of Georgia and became Doles Brigade,
Doles having been promoted to Brigadier General November
And on the brave men of Henry County
fought through a litany of the Civil War’s most infamous
Fredericksburg / Marye’s Heights
(December 11-15, 1862 / casualties 17,929)
Chancellorsville (April 30 – May
6, 1863 / casualties 24,000)
Gettysburg (July 1 – 3, 1863 / casualties
Bristoe Campaign (October – November
1863 / casualties 4,910)
Mine Run Campaign (November
27 – December 2, 1863 / casualties 1,952)
The Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864 / casualties
Spotsylvania Court House (May 8 –
21, 1864 / casualties 30,000)
North Anna (May 23 – 26, 1864 / casualties
Finally came Cold Harbor (May 31
– June 12, 1864) where the fighting ended for Brigadier
General Doles and Private Crafford Green. Doles was
killed and Crafford was taken prisoner. Casualties
in the Confederate victory were 15,500.
Crafford Green had come through some
of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, where 218,391
others lost their fight. He was yet to survive being
a prisoner of war, transport to the Savannah River and his
trip home. At the time of his release, Crafford had
just turned 20 years old. I find it hard to begrudge
him one drop of the whiskey of which he was so fond.
Phillip Cook was promoted to
Brigadier General and led the 44th through the balance of
the war. They endured 7 more battles between June
1864 and the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9,
1865. Only 52 of the original 1,115 soldiers of the
44th remained to surrender. Captain John Harris remembered
years later, "The impartial historian, when he collects
up the facts and figures, will show that the 44th Georgia
Regiment suffered a greater casualty in killed and wounded,
in proportion to the number carried into action, than any
other regiment on the Southern side."
Crafford married Louisa Margaret "Maggie"
Brown, daughter of Ervin and Mary "Polly" (Akin)
Brown, November 23, 1869 in Jasper Co, GA. Maggie
was born 2/9/1847 in Georgia. They had 8 children
all born in Henry Co except for the youngest, Jesse Belle
who says that she was born in Jasper Co, GA 5/21/1889.
In addition to farming, Crafford served as a mail carrier
in Henry County.
By 1900, Crafford and Maggie,
all of their living children and their families, and widowed
mother-in-law Polly Akin Brown had moved to Dallas Co, AR
joining Crafford's brother Bailor. Many of the family
remain in Dallas Co to this day.
Crafford Green, Private CSA
and farmer, died January 17, 1920. Maggie died 7/28/1922.
Both are buried in Old Bucksnort Cemetery in Fordyce, Dallas
December 17, 2004
Submitted & Written by Marcia
Henry County Family Biographies Index
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by Linda Blum-Barton