Greenleaf T. Stevens
November 30, 1864
Greenleaf Stevens apparently disliked writing reports. Sometimes he had an excuse. (See "5th Maine Battery at Gettysburg-August 2, 1863.") Perhaps, as he suggests in response to Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon, his reports were lost in transit.
Whatever the reason, Stevens’s 1864 Annual Report on the activities of the 5th Maine Battery was late. Hodsdon wants to include it in the Adjutant General’s Report, and asks Stevens about it.
Stevens is glad to answer. The report, actually written by one of Stevens’ Lieutenants, Edward N. Whittier, of Gorham, is on its way to Augusta. Although still late, the report, "was sent through the mail Nov. 16th 1864," Stevens says
Stevens’ communications to Adjutant General Hodsdon were seldom very informative. This would lead to a conflict with another of his Lieutenants, Adelbert Twitchell, of Bethel. (See "Adelbert Twitchell, 5th Maine Battery, August 3rd, 1863.")
At the outset of the War, the Stevens, 30, had been studying law with an Augusta attorney, been admitted to the Maine Bar, and had just received a law degree from Harvard.
He was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in the 5th Maine Battery in January, 1861. Upon the death of Captain George Leppien at Chancellorsville, (See "Leppien, 5th Maine Battery, October 25, 1861") Stevens assumed command of the Battery. He would be wounded several times in the course of his service, notably at the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
"Stevens Knoll," at Gettysburg, is named for him because of his quick actions in entrenching his guns near Culp’s Hill on the night of July 1, 1863.
As a skilled artilleryman, he led the 5th Maine Battery with distinction throughout the War. On February 15, 1865, he was promoted to the rank of Brevet Major for "gallant and meritorious conduct" at the Cold Harbor June 3, 1864, and for two battles in the Shenandoah Valley under General Philip Sheridan: at Winchester September 19, 1864, and at Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864.
After the War, Stevens returned to Augusta where he resumed the practice of law and served in the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate. He later became a Judge of Probate and served as Sheriff of Kennebec County.
Stevens was also a member of the Maine Gettysburg Commission, charged to select and erect the Maine monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield, and to compile the report Maine at Gettysburg, published in 1898.
Greenleaf Stevens died on December 24th, 1918.
- In Steven’s time, it was not uncommon for a person to "read law", that is, study law, with a practicing attorney and then be admitted to the Bar without ever having attended law school. Is it still possible to do this?