Captain Charles W. Greene,

Commander of Company E., US 25th Colored Infantry

Captain Charles W. Greene

Charles enlisted 13 Aug 1862 at age 21 as a Private in Company B, 13thInfantry Regiment;  Discharged for promotion to Captain  at age 23 on 22 Jan 1864 with Co. E, 25 Infantry – US Colored Troops, mustered in 1 Feb 1864 in Pennsylvania,  Discharged discharged August 28, 1865, and breveted Major for gallant services from Fort Pickens, FL.    He was a Mason and a member of Rising Star  Lodge of Newmarket.

(Photo: Captain Charles W. Greene)

The younger brother of Doctor Samuel H. Greene,  Charles was born here in 1841 to parents Simon P and Sarah (Smith) Greene.  The family moved to Boston in 1844.  Upon his father’s death in Aug 1849 (at age 49) his mother moved back to town until her death in 1862 (age 52) both parents are buried in the old Town cemetery.  Charles died way too young (age 26) in Northwood on 21 Nov 1867.

At the call to arms, he enlisted August 13, 1862, at the age of 21. He was mustered in as a private September 18th, and discharged to accept promotion elsewhere on January 22, 1864. 


Company E., 25th US Regiment 

Organized at Philadelphia, Pa., January 3 to February 12, 1864. Sailed for New Orleans, La., on Steamer “Suwahnee” March 15, 1864 (Right Wing). Vessel sprung a leak off Hatteras and put into harbor at Beaufort, N. C.   Duty there in the defenses, under Gen..Wessells, until April, when  Capt  Greene’s Company E was assigned to the  District of Pensacola, Fla, Dept. of the Gulf.   The command was garrisoned at Forts Pickens and Barrancas to the conclusion of its service, December 6th, I865. 

Colored Troop Grand Parade, PA

(Photo: Illustration of  25th Regiment, Colored Troops on Parade, PA)


Under Captain Greene’s command, 25th Regiment  U. S. Colored Troop,   Company E  total manpower was 127.

  1    Captain,   Charles W. Greene;  2 1s tLieutenants;  2  2nd Lieutenants; 1   First Sergeant;  5   Sergeants;  8   Corporals;  3  Musicians;  and 105  Privates.

Of that amount:  18 died, mostly at Fort Pickens, FL which sat on the seaside point of Santa Rosa.  Nine deserted, and seven received a medial discharge due to illness

Fort Picjkens
Fort Pickens, FL

Following the Mexican-American War, Fort Pickens remained unoccupied, until the time of The Civil War. When Florida seceded from the Union in January 1861, state officials quickly ordered Florida troops to seize key federal forts and arsenals throughout the state. Despite its dilapidated condition, Union Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, in charge of United States forces, determined that Pickens was more defensible than any of the other posts in the area.  Slemmer quickly moved his Union of about eighty soldiers to Fort Pickens.

 Florida troops, supported by soldiers from Alabama, demanded the surrender of Fort Pickens.  Ironically, these troops were commanded by Col. William Chase, the same man who oversaw the fort’s construction.  It is recorded that his voice shook and his eyes filled with tears when he attempted to read his formal demand for the surrender.  Federal Lieutenant Slemmer refused to give up the fort, leading to a months-long stand-off and eventually to a fierce battle.  Fort Pickens became a “town” under siege, as Lt. Slemmer and his men were trapped within, surrounded by Confederate forces.  Any means to obtain reinforcements would be considered grounds for attack.  On November 22, 1861, a two day bombardment took place.  5,000 Union and 1,000 Confederate projectiles were fired from the big guns.  So enormous were the reverberations from the firepower that thousands of dead fish floated to the surface of Pensacola Bay, and windows shattered seven miles away in the town of Pensacola . When the bombardment ended late on November 23, little had been gained or lost by either side.

Fort Pickens remained in Union Hands throughout the Civil War, it was taken over by the 25thColored Infantry during the last part of the war.  From October 1886 to May 1887 the famous Apache Indian chief Geronimo was imprisoned in Fort Pickens.  His presence made the Fort an unintentional tourist attraction.   Fort Pickens remained a strong military outpost along Pensacola Bay until 1947, when it was decommissioned and became a state park.