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Crafford S Beeman Green

Crafford S Beeman Green

10/1/1844 – 1/17/1920

 Crafford 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 1, 1862. 

And on the brave men of Henry County fought through a litany of the Civil War’s most infamous battles: 

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 51,000)

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 29,800),

Spotsylvania Court House (May 8 – 21, 1864 / casualties 30,000)

North Anna (May 23 – 26, 1864 / casualties 4,000)

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 Co, AR.

 December 17, 2004

Submitted & Written by Marcia McClure  [email protected] 

Henry County Family Biographies Index

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This page was last updated on -02/04/2016

Compilation Copyright 2004-Present

 by Linda Blum-Barton