A Report on the Charges against Colonel Green

MARCH 13, 1862
VOL. 1, NO. 24, Page 2, COL. 4, 5

From Another Correspondent,


Mr. Editor:

You may be interested to know about the position of affairs in the 76th. Some weeks ago, charges were made against Col. Green, and signed by thirty commissioned officers. They were not in the form strictly of charges, but rather in the form of complaints, closing with a prayer for his removal from command.

On these complaints he was summoned before a military examining court, and an examination was had in regard to the truth of the complaint. The Court decided that Col. Green should be immediately mustered out of service. Gen. Casey approved the decision. The case then went before Gen. McClellan, and was approved. It is now in the hands of the Secretary of War. In the meantime Col. Green was placed under arrest by the request of the officers to await the final action.

He has been under arrest now seven or eight days, and expectation is high in the Regiment in regard to the latter.

We understand that in case he be cleared on the ground of informality in the procedures, that charges are already filed to which he will be immediately summoned to answer before a court martial.

The above which you are at liberty to publish is the truth in brief. What the charges are I am not just now at liberty to publish, but will do so as soon as the affair is concluded.

I thought that certainly by this time I could write the full particulars. But I have learned that large bodies move slow.

Publish the above anonymous and oblige,


(Hiram S. Richardson, Chaplain)


You and your readers will be interested to know and learn the precise nature of the charges preferred by the officers of 76th Regt. against Col. Nelson W. Green. I will not trouble you with the document, but will turn in an abstract which will embrace every particular. It is as follows:

His (Green) utter failure to command the respect of the men, who laughed at him, mimicked him in his manners, giving him ludicrous titles and obeying his commands carelessly, thus rendering him and us by word among the men.

His extreme obstinacy and willfulness, altering the tactics and regulations to suit his whim and humor.

His utter failure and his incompetency to instruct his officers.

His habitual insolent, abusive and ungentlemanly treatment of his officers, arresting them for the most frivolous and imaginary causes, confining them in the guard-house with other prisoners, ordering them on disagreeable and improper duties, and commanding them to perform menial service for the sole purpose of discouraging and mortifying them.

The habitual habit he has of speaking disrespectfully to his superior officers, calling them traitors, secessionists and d----d fools, and the like.

The threatening language used toward his officers coupled with the fact of his having shot one of them, obliging them to carry arms for their personal safety.

His openly stipulating with the sutler to retain one-half of the sutler's business in his own hands, evidently for his own personal profit, and finally in the words of the document, "so peculiar and unusual in his conduct and personal appearance, that after three months acquaintance with him, we are thoroughly convinced of the unsoundness of his mind; so much so, we dare not trust ourselves under his command believing that the result would be if called into action, disaster and defeat."

The charges of which the above is an abstract, were signed by thirty officers. And subsequently the events have convinced them that their views of Col. Green are correct. It is not for me, an outsider, to give any opinion of the matter.

But I have thought that justice to certain parties demands that some one should inform the citizens of Cortland in reference to the whole matter. In reference to the above charges it is enough to say that they were sustained. The court of inquiry was not a court martial and it is necessary that a court martial at the proper time should take place. Both at Albany and at Washington the decision was against him, and that he be mustered out of service was the decision of Washington. He is just the same as dead.

There are many things that might be said, but the thing itself is enough.


Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from microfilm in the files of the Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY.

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