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Major Greenlief Thurlow Stevens, U.S.V.
Brevet Major Greenlief Thurlow Stevens, U.S.V.
Brevet Major Greenlief Thurlow Stevens was born in Belgrade, Kennebec
County, Maine, on August 20, 1831, being the youngest son of Daniel
Stevens and Mahala Smith, his wife, daughter of Captain Samuel Smith. His
grandfather, William Stevens, came from Lebanon, in York County, Maine,
and settled in Kennebec about the year 1796, and on the farm, then a
wilderness, where the subject of this sketch was born.
Major Stevens was educated in the public schools of his native town and at
Titcomb Belgrade Academy, and at Litchfield Liberal Institute. For several
years he followed teaching, which he made a success. He read law with Hon.
Samuel Titcomb, of Augusta, and was admitted to the bar in 1860,
subsequently entering the Senior class, Law Department, Harvard
University, where he graduated in July, 1861, receiving the degree of
Bachelor of Laws. While at Harvard he was the pupil of the eminent jurists
Washburn, Parker, and Parsons.
After graduation he returned to Maine, and on December 14, 1861, was
commissioned first lieutenant in the Fifth Battery, Mounted Artillery,
Maine Volunteers, and mustered into the United States service as such for
a period of three years.
The winter and a portion of the spring of 1862 were devoted exclusively to
drill and the study of military tactics. In May he took the field and
served successively under Generals McDowell, Pope, McClellan, Burnside,
Hooker, Meade, Grant, and Sheridan.
At the battle of Fredericksburg he was in the immediate command of the
battery, his superior acting as chief of artillery, Second Division, First
Army Corps. At the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, Lieutenant
Stevens was wounded by the fragment of a shell.
||On June 21, he was promoted
captain of that battery, and at the battle of Gettysburg, on the
afternoon of July 2, received another wound, a musket-ball passing
through both legs, below the knees.
In the autumn of 1863 he participated in the general operations of
the Army of the Potomac at Rappahannock Station and Mine Run, and in
1864 was with the same army and under General Grant from the
crossing of the Rapidan to the assault upon Petersburg. On July 10,
1864, he was detached with his battery from the Army of the Potomac
with the Sixth Army Corps, under General Wright, and proceeded to
Washington for its defence, the national capital being threatened by
the rebel army under Early. Subsequently with his battery he joined
the Army of the Shenandoah under Sheridan, and was engaged in the
three great battles which resulted in the complete destruction of
the rebel army under Early.
On February 14, 1865, he was appointed " major by brevet, for gallant
and meritorious conduct at the battle of Cold Harbor, June 3; battle of
Winchester (Opequan), September 19; and battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia,
October 19, to take rank from October 19, 1864."
At the close of the war Major Stevens was mustered out of the service with
his battery, having served three years and five months. This battery, the
Fifth Maine, lost more men in killed and wounded in the three great
battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Cedar Creek, than any other
battery in a like number of battles in the war of the Rebellion, either
volunteer or regular (see Regimental Losses in the American Civil War," by
William H. Fox, pp. 463, 464). He turned to his profession at the close of
the war, in which he was eminently successful, being engaged in nearly
every case in his vicinity.
In 1875 he was a member of the Maine House of Representatives, and in 1877
and 1878 a member of the Senate, the latter year serving as chairman of
the Committee on the judiciary.
In 1888 he was elected sheriff of Kennebec County for two years, and in
1890 re-elected to the same position.
In 1892 he was chosen judge of the Probate Court of Kennebec County, a
He is also a member of the Maine Gettysburg Commission, taking an active
part in procuring and locating the Maine monuments on that historic field.
For a wife he married Mary A. Yeaton, a school-mate of his youth, and
daughter of Richard Yeaton (2d), an enterprising farmer of his native
Four children, Jessie, Don Carlos, Ala, and Rupert, - only one of whom is
now living, Don Carlos, a Unitarian divine, located at Fairhaven,
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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