Albert Robinson Greene papers, 1901-1917 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Reminiscences of Greene as recorded in a group of 21 letters, dated 1901 and between 1916-1917 to an old friend, Judge Leander Stillwell of Erie, Kansas; accompanied by two manuscripts by Greene and his calling card as a political candidate in Portland, Oregon.
The recipient of the material, Judge Stillwell (1843-1934), was also a veteran of the Civil War, fighting in an Illinois regiment and recording his experiences in his memoir, The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Erie, Kansas, 1920). Stillwell moved to Kansas following the war and had an active legal practice there until retirement.
Several of the letters recount detailed specifics from his Civil War service, including details of battles at Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh) in Tennessee,and of battles at Prairie Grove, Little Rock, and at DuVall's Bluff in Arkansas, including details from notes that he kept during the war. One letter recounts his witnessing of the execution of a deserter from the 22nd Ohio at DuVall’s Bluff; he describes crossing a newly built pontoon bridge south of town, and of skirmishing all day on September 8, 1864; capturing rebel prisoners, and being fired upon from the canebrakes as his company floated down river. At Prairie Grove, he reports that the Union forces under Blunt lit hundreds of campfires in the evening to make the Rebels think many reinforcements had arrived, but then withdrew from the hills just as the Confederates under Hinman were muffling their wagon wheels with blankets while withdrawing the other way.
Green returned to Pittsburg Landing in later years and spoke with a descendant of the family in whose house General Grant was quartered during the battle. She was a young girl at the time and recounted how calmly Grant ate his breakfast to the sound of cannon fire before riding off to join his troops. In another letter, Green asks for information on the killing of Confederate recruiting officers by a band of Osage Indians south of Cherryvale, Kansas.
The correspondence is full of literary discussions mentioning Greene's attempts to get his stories and historical essays published, his testimony in land fraud cases, a story he was writing regarding the opening of Kiowa-Comanche lands to settlement in 1901, and reports on lumber production in the Western states spurred by the requirements of the Allies in World War I. He also describes the mustering of some 60,000 troops under the command of Maj. General Henry Augustus Greene in 1917 and comments on how much better fed and provisioned the troops were then than during his Civil War days, remembering the test for beef in the summer of 1864: "throw it against the side of an army wagon; if it stuck it was for us; if it rolled off on the ground, it was for the officers!"
The two manuscripts offer samples of Greene's skills: one is a short history of the rise and fall of Lecompton, the territorial capital of Kansas in the pre-Civil War era and a victim of the conflicts between free-staters and pro-slavery advocates in "Bleeding Kansas"; the other is a memoir of a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who worked on his father's farm in Illinois. [See Dornbusch Kansas 34 ("Campaigning in the Army of the Frontier"), 35 ("On the battle of Wilson Creek"), and 36 ("What I saw of the Quantrill raid") for three published works on the Civil War written by Greene].