Man on a Black Horse – May 1998 Civil War Times Feature

Arkansas State TourismMan on a Black Horse

SUBMITTED BY ROBERT D. WALKER, CUMBERLAND, RHODE ISLAND


NAME: Nimrod Milton Green
DATES: 1827 to February 21, 1882
ALLEGIANCE: Confederate
HIGHEST RANK: Private
UNIT: 4th Virginia Cavalry, Company H–the “Black Horse Cavalry”
SERVICE RECORD: Enlisted in the 4th Virginia Cavalry on April 25, 1861. Captured in Warrenton, Virginia, in November 1862 and exchanged for a Union prisoner. Captured at Petersburg on April 2, 1865, and imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland. Released on June 13.

Born in Paris, Virginia, in 1827, Nimrod Milton Green developed a passion for riding horses early in his life. By the time he reached his twenties, he had become something of a traveling man, riding to Georgia in 1852, to Tennessee and Texas in 1853, and back to Georgia again in 1854. By 1858, Green had settled in Warrenton, Virginia, and become a constable. Tax records show that he owned one slave, three horses, and twenty-nine head of cattle.

In 1859, Green became one of the original members of the “Black Horse Troop,” all of whom rode black horses and wore black plumes in their hats. As part of the Virginia Militia, the troop was called upon to guard the prison in Harpers Ferry that held John Brown after his failed attempt to take over the arsenal there. While in the town, in those days before the birth of the Confederacy, Green had his picture taken in full Black Horse uniform (left). Brown is said to have admired the gentlemanly conduct of these young men from Fauquier County.

When the Civil War started in April 1861, the troop became part of the Confederate army and was assigned to the 4th Virginia Cavalry as Company H, commanded by Captain Robert Randolph. Green himself enlisted on April 25 at Warrenton. Less than three months later, Company H was held in reserve during the First Battle of Manassas, almost crazy with fear they would never see action. Their first combat came the next day, when they took part in a cavalry charge at Stone Bridge and pursued the fleeing Federals.

Though never wounded, Green was captured twice during the war, first near Warrenton in November 1862. Then, on April 2, 1865, Green and many other Black Horse soldiers were captured at Petersburg and taken to Point Lookout, Maryland. He was released in June after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Years later, a fellow cavalryman wrote to Green’s daughter: “They would join me in testimonial that your father Nim Green, as we loved to call him, was one of the best soldiers in the command.” When the war ended, Green married Amanda Wheatley and moved to Augusta County, where he became overseer of the roads for Riverhead District. He died of dropsy on February 21, 1882, at the age of 54.

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