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  • 24th Massachusetts Veteran’s Ribbon and Group of CDVs of Brigadier General Thomas Greely Stevenson, Killed in Action at Spotsylvania

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    24th Massachusetts Veteran’s Ribbon and Group of CDVs of Brigadier General Thomas Greely Stevenson, Killed in Action at Spotsylvania - Inventory Number:  IDE 212

    Grouping of items relating to Brigadier General Thomas Greely Stevenson. His initial Civil War service was as colonel of the 24th Massachusetts Infantry, a command in which he distinguished himself as a highly capable officer. He was promoted to brigadier general in December 1862. He was commanding a division of Ambrose Burnside’s 9th Corps when he was killed in action on May 10, 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House. Stevenson’s aide de camp Lieutenant Edwin Rufus Lewis related the moment the general was killed. 

    "We had breakfasted and had had coffee and the general was enjoying his pipe reclining on the ground and resting on his right elbow, his head and upper body up, when report came that some of our men being killed in action had been left uncared for. Stevenson began to give us an order for having proper care taken of the bodies. He removed his pipe and began speaking. I stood near listening to him. Stray bullets were coming over and whistling around, burying themselves in the ground. It was a part of our routine experience. One was heard coming that seemed to be VERY near. The general stopped in the middle of a sentence. I heard the bullet strike with a peculiar dull thud as if striking in a pumpkin. I stood waiting the completion of the order. But the general was silent. He had not moved. He was holding his pipe up in hand and looking me in the face. No movement of hand or eye betrayed him, but soon his hand began to drop and his head to droop. Lieut Jones, an aide standing near by, exclaimed "Good God! the general is struck." I sprang forward and put my hand under his head to support it and felt a gruesome damp liquid oozing out. The ball had entered back of the left ear. On searching we saw it pushing out below the right temple. It had passed through the brain but had stopped short of emerging. The general never knew what hit him. He was unconscious, of course, and soon a comative sleep developed. In an hour or so he died."

    The lot consists of two carte de visite images Stevenson, both with backmarks of J. W. Black of Boston. The third is a CDV sized steel engraving of Stevenson as colonel, printed by J. H. Buford of Boston. Also included is a 24th Massachusetts Infantry veteran’s reunion ribbon with the photograph of Stevenson printed on a tin-backed celluloid disk. A great little grouping in commemoration of a highly regarded Massachusetts officer. 

    THOMAS GREELY STEVENSON

    Stevenson, Thomas G., brigadier-general, was the son of Hon. J. Thomas Stevenson of Boston, Mass., born in 1836, and early manifested a predilection for military life, having risen from the ranks to major of the 4th battalion of Mass. infantry, which position he held at the commencement of the war. He had an unsurpassed reputation as a drillmaster and his command, which was brought to a high degree of discipline, became the school of many young officers afterward distinguished in the Federal service. In the fall of 1861, he recruited the 24th Mass. infantry, which originally formed part of Foster's brigade in Burnside's expedition to North Carolina, and as its colonel participated in the capture of Roanoke Island and New Berne, Feb. and March 1862, and in various minor operations immediately succeeding those events. After holding for some months, the outpost defenses of New Berne, he conducted several expeditions within the Confederate lines and on Sept. 6 successfully defended Washington, N. C. against an attack by a superior force. He had charge of a brigade in the movements on Goldsboro and Kinston and in Dec., 1862, was appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers and when Gen. Foster organized the expedition for operations against Charleston, in Feb., 1863, received command of a brigade in Gen. Naglee's division. His appointment as brigadier-general was confirmed in March, 1863, and during the succeeding summer he saw much active service in the neighborhood of Charleston, assisting in the reduction of Morris Island and the assault on Fort Wagner, where he commanded the reserves. He returned to the north in the fall to recruit his health and subsequently was appointed by his old commander, Gen. Burnside, who had a high appreciation of his capacity, to command the 1st division of the 9th corps. Gen. Stevenson was killed near Spotsylvania, Va., on May 10, 1864.

    Thomas Greely Stevenson - Residence Boston MA; 25 years old. Enlisted on 8/31/1861 at Boston, MA as a Colonel. On 12/3/1861 he was commissioned into Field & Staff MA 24th Infantry. He was discharged for promotion on 12/26/1862. On 12/26/1862 he was commissioned into US Volunteers General Staff. He was Killed on 5/10/1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA. Promotions: Brig-General 12/26/1862. Other Information: Born 2/3/1836 in Boston, MA. Buried: Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Arlington, MA.  (Son of J. Thomas Stevenson of Boston, MA)

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     Inventory Number:  IDE 212