I received the following email on 5 August 2015, from Mississippi researcher Sammy Pace:
“I am researching Halsey B. Green of company I, 31st Regiment Massachussetts Infantry. I was wondering if you might have any additional information on him. It appears that Halsey was discharged from the 31st Massachussetts Regiment in late 1863 in order to accept a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in company E of the 20th Regiment Infantry Corps d’Afrique. This regiment was later redesignated the 91st Regiment United States Colored Troops in about April 1864. I believe it was then combined with another unit and redesignated the 74th USCT. Lieutenant Green was in company B of this command. Shortly after the war, it appears he was a member of the board of registration in Marion County, Mississippi. This happens to be the county where my dad’s families lived at that time. I have pasted an excerpt refering to him in this postwar capacity. It was taken from a publication called “Condition of Affairs in Mississippi, Evidence Taken by the Committee on Reconstruction, 1869.” This is available online if you desire to look for additional information. This board of registration was established in many counties, if not all, in the former Confederate States to ensure that fair elections were held and freedmen were not denied or cheated their right to fairly vote according to their conscience. Following is the excerpt. Some fellow local history researchers and I are wanting to find out more about what was going on in Marion County, MS shortly after the war. At this point it is somewhat of a blank page in history. I want to know what roles these individuals mentioned herein had in the postwar Reconstruction Era of this county.”
These are the excerpts he refers to:
“Columbia, Marion County, Mississippi,
June 16, 1868
Sir: I have respectfully to make the following report of my inspection of election matters in Marion County:
The members of the board of registration, Messrs. Lane, Green, and Moore, I found to be familiar with the orders upon the subject of the election and good men for their positions. Owing to the distance between the precincts – 20 to 25 miles in all but one instance – and the difficult character of the country, it will be impossible to hold the election on consecutive days. It will be held at Northern box, Whiddon box and Deerman box, on the 22d; at Todd’s Mill, Waterhole box, and Burn’s box, on the 24th, and at Columbia on the 26th instant.
This county is without a sheriff, and it is therefore impossible to have deputy sheriffs appointed as required by General Order No. 19, for the purpose of preserving order at the polls, and, in fact, performing the duties of deputy sheriffs. I have empowered the president of the board, Mr. Lane, to appoint constables to be paid at the same rates and in the same manner as deputy sheriffs. I trust my action in this respect will meet with the approval of the commanding general.
I have conversed with some of the leading citizens of the county in regard to the subject of the appointment of a sheriff for the county, and believing it to be the desire of the commanding general that the office should be filled, I have instituted measures to procure the name of some good man to be appointed; very little of the State and no portion of the convention tax has been collected, and in fact the interests of the county are suffering for want of the services of an efficient sheriff. Many of the most prominent men earnestly desire the vacancy filled, and are willing to render material aid in the matter.
Mail facilities are so poor in this county that I have found it impracticable to have mail forwarded to me from Brookhaven, as I had expected to have done. If orders have been sent me from headquarters they have not and will not reach me until my return to Brookhaven, about the 20th instant.
I go, tomorrow, back to Williamsburg, Covington County, where I expect to remain until the close of the election.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. M. Atwood,
First Lieut. 19th Inf., Inspector of Election
Vicksburg, Mississippi, July 3, 1868
Sir: The enclosed depositions of Marion Barnes and Robert Smith, colored, were taken by me in the case of one Doro Willoughby, a white citizen of Columbia, Marion County, Mississippi. It appears that he obtained a republican ticket with a flag on the back, and after crossing out all names on the ticket, writing against instead of for, and the name of the democratic candidate for the legislature, gave it to the said Marion Barnes, telling him it was a republican ticket.
There were several other tickets marked in a similar manner but this was the only case which came under my notice where anything like fraud was attempted.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
James W. Moore, Registrar.
Brevet Major John Tyler.
Marion Barnes, colored, being duly sworn, deposes and says: That one Doro Willoughby, a white citizen of Columbia, Marion County, Mississippi, did approach him while he was going to the polls and offer him a choice of tickets, and that on his expressing a wish to vote the republican ticket said Doro Willoughby did give him a republican ticket, which was afterwards ascertained had been crossed out and marked in such a way which he did not wish.
Marion x Barnes
Witnesses: Halsey B. Greene, H. J. Manning.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27th day of June, 1868.
James W. Moore,
Registrar, Marion County, Mississippi.
Robert Smith, colored, being duly sworn, deposes and says: That he was present when Doro Willoughby, a white citizen of Columbia, offered one Marion Barnes, colored, a ticket, telling him that it was a republican ticket, said ticket, as afterwards ascertained, having been marked in such a manner as to cause the said Marion Barnes to vote contrary to his wishes.
Robert x Smith
Witnesses: Halsey B. Green, M. J. Manning.
Sworn to and subscribed before me at Columbia, on this 27th day of June, 1868.
James W. Moore,
Registrar, Marion County, Mississippi.”
Halsey Baker Green (1840-1914) was born and died in Berlin, Rensselaer Co., NY. It appears that after serving in the 31st Mass., and as a white officer in the Corps d’Afrique and the U.S.C.T., Halsey Green was called upon to supervise elections in Marion County, Mississippi and to protect the newly-enfranchised black voters from fraud. This document outlines one example of the kind of trickery that was used to confound these new voters.
I’m sure Mr. Pace would appreciate any information that would further his research into Reconstruction-era Mississippi, especially Marion county, or about this man, Halsey B. Green. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org