Green’s diary includes a table of contents, written on the inside of the front cover, and hand-numbered pages. Topics include clothing and other items drawn from government supplies and prices paid; dates and amounts of pay received; several pages of places visited while on campaign and fighting encountered along the way; deaths and diseases in the regiment; deserters; and weather. Scattered references in the diary indicate that Green served during the Yorktown campaign (1862), the Rapidan Offensive (1863), and the Battle of the Wilderness (summer, 1864). He also mentions meeting President Abraham Lincoln while the president and his wife toured a hospital in Virginia April 8, 1865. In May 1865 Green marched in the General Review of the Army in Washington, D.C.; he later records the welcoming receptions given his regiment in various cities as they traveled back to Michigan, and notes his own discharge from duty in June 1865. He later notes moving to Kansas in 1872, where he purchased a claim in Sumner County and settled there.
Because of its fragile condition, the diary may not be photocopied. Ask for staff assistance in obtaining reproductions.
Permission to publish from the William Wilkinson Green Diary must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
William Wilkinson Green was born in England January 28, 1839, and moved to the United States with his parents, who settled in Michigan. During the Civil War (1861-1865) he enlisted in the Union Army (5th Michigan Infantry Regiment) and served for three years until the end of the war. He married Cyntha Venette Horton [sic] February 19, 1867 and moved to Kansas, settling there on a farm near Oxford in Sumner County. They had seven children, three sons and four daughters. The date of Green’s death is uncertain, but he is believed to have died in 1902.
Diary written during the U.S. Civil War while Green served in the Union Army (chiefly in Virginia) with the 5th Michigan Infantry Regiment, Army of the Potomac; entries include records of clothing, pay, letters received, and places visited by his regiment while on campaign.
The William Wilkinson Green Diary was donated by Green’s granddaughter, Mrs. W. E. Barrett, in September 1966.
See also other Civil War era collections in the Woodson Research Center.