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Brevet Major Greenlief Thurlow Stevens, U.S.V.

Brevet Major Greenlief Thurlow Stevens was born in Belgrade, Kennebec County, Maine, on August 20, 1831, being the youngest son of Daniel Stevens and Mahala Smith, his wife, daughter of Captain Samuel Smith. His grandfather, William Stevens, came from Lebanon, in York County, Maine, and settled in Kennebec about the year 1796, and on the farm, then a wilderness, where the subject of this sketch was born.

Major Stevens was educated in the public schools of his native town and at Titcomb Belgrade Academy, and at Litchfield Liberal Institute. For several years he followed teaching, which he made a success. He read law with Hon. Samuel Titcomb, of Augusta, and was admitted to the bar in 1860, subsequently entering the Senior class, Law Department, Harvard University, where he graduated in July, 1861, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Laws. While at Harvard he was the pupil of the eminent jurists Washburn, Parker, and Parsons.

After graduation he returned to Maine, and on December 14, 1861, was commissioned first lieutenant in the Fifth Battery, Mounted Artillery, Maine Volunteers, and mustered into the United States service as such for a period of three years.

The winter and a portion of the spring of 1862 were devoted exclusively to drill and the study of military tactics. In May he took the field and served successively under Generals McDowell, Pope, McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, Meade, Grant, and Sheridan.

At the battle of Fredericksburg he was in the immediate command of the battery, his superior acting as chief of artillery, Second Division, First Army Corps. At the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, Lieutenant Stevens was wounded by the fragment of a shell.

On June 21, he was promoted captain of that battery, and at the battle of Gettysburg, on the afternoon of July 2, received another wound, a musket-ball passing through both legs, below the knees.

In the autumn of 1863 he participated in the general operations of the Army of the Potomac at Rappahannock Station and Mine Run, and in 1864 was with the same army and under General Grant from the crossing of the Rapidan to the assault upon Petersburg. On July 10, 1864, he was detached with his battery from the Army of the Potomac with the Sixth Army Corps, under General Wright, and proceeded to Washington for its defence, the national capital being threatened by the rebel army under Early. Subsequently with his battery he joined the Army of the Shenandoah under Sheridan, and was engaged in the three great battles which resulted in the complete destruction of the rebel army under Early.

On February 14, 1865, he was appointed " major by brevet, for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Cold Harbor, June 3; battle of Winchester (Opequan), September 19; and battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, October 19, to take rank from October 19, 1864."

At the close of the war Major Stevens was mustered out of the service with his battery, having served three years and five months. This battery, the Fifth Maine, lost more men in killed and wounded in the three great battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Cedar Creek, than any other battery in a like number of battles in the war of the Rebellion, either volunteer or regular (see Regimental Losses in the American Civil War," by William H. Fox, pp. 463, 464). He turned to his profession at the close of the war, in which he was eminently successful, being engaged in nearly every case in his vicinity.

In 1875 he was a member of the Maine House of Representatives, and in 1877 and 1878 a member of the Senate, the latter year serving as chairman of the Committee on the judiciary.

In 1888 he was elected sheriff of Kennebec County for two years, and in 1890 re-elected to the same position.

In 1892 he was chosen judge of the Probate Court of Kennebec County, a highly-responsible position.

He is also a member of the Maine Gettysburg Commission, taking an active part in procuring and locating the Maine monuments on that historic field.

For a wife he married Mary A. Yeaton, a school-mate of his youth, and daughter of Richard Yeaton (2d), an enterprising farmer of his native town.

Four children, Jessie, Don Carlos, Ala, and Rupert, - only one of whom is now living, Don Carlos, a Unitarian divine, located at Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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