First Sergeant B. Fayette Green and his pards in the 126th New York Infantry got off to a rocky start in the summer of 1862. The newly formed regiment mustered into federal service on August 22, and three weeks later surrendered to Rebel forces at Harper’s Ferry.
The 126th spent much of the rest of the year as paroled prisoners of war awaiting formal exchange at Chicago’s Camp Douglas. Freedom of a kind came before the end of the year, and with it a more comfortable assignment in the defenses of Washington, D.C. Green, pictured here in a private’s frock coat, posed for his portrait in an Alexandria, Va., studio at some point after settling into the maze of forts and entrenchments protecting the capital city.
The respite in Washington ended in 1863 when the 126th reported to the Army of the Potomac and fought at Gettysburg, where it is credited with capturing five stands of colors—payback, of sorts, to the Confederates for Harpers Ferry.
Green escaped injury at Gettysburg and went on to fight in 10 engagements connected with the Mine Run and Overland Campaigns. The tenth fight, Cold Harbor in June 1864, proved his last, after he suffered a wound that ended his war service.
Green eventually recovered and moved to Washington, this time in civilian clothes. He died in 1889.
This portrait is part of the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) Book Project. Established by Jim Quinlan, owner of The Excelsior Brigade, its mission is to identify approximately 15,000 Civil War veterans interred on the hallowed grounds of the cemetery, and to provide a biographical sketch and photograph of each individual. If you have an image to share, or would like more information about the ANC project, please contact Jim at 703-307-0344.