I have added more information in the two letters about his capture. This information is in regards to the location in which Levi Davis Green, referred to in both the letters and official prisoner of war records, as L.D. Green. Levi Green would not be exchanged due to actions taking place in Georgia.
Levi would be unlucky when the exchange of prisoners between Union and Confederate forces was suspended, not ended, by General Ulysses S. Grant in July 1863. The suspension was a response to the Confederate government’s decision to consider captured African American soldiers as “slaves” rather than prisoners of war, which the Union deemed inhumane.
The official order suspending the exchange of prisoners between Union and Confederate forces was General Order No. 111, issued by General Ulysses S. Grant on July 30, 1863.
The order read as follows:
“The exchange of prisoners heretofore carried on by agreement between the two armies, is hereby suspended until further orders. All prisoners of war, taken hereafter, will be retained, and not delivered on parole or otherwise. Commanding officers of departments, and of armies in the field, will take immediate steps to give effect to this order.”
The exchange of prisoners resumed briefly in early 1864 but was officially discontinued after Union Major General William Sherman refused to continue the practice following the Battle of Atlanta in July 1864. Sherman declined to continue the exchange of prisoners after Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee started to target black Union soldiers in its raids. According to historical accounts, Sherman believed that continuing the exchange would effectively legitimize the Confederate policy of treating black soldiers as slaves rather than soldiers.
Researcher’s Note: Levi was captured at the Battle of Staunton River Bridge in June 1864 during the American Civil War. The bridge, which ran over the Staunton River and along the Richmond and Danville Railroad, was a vital part of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s supply system. The Union forces attacked the bridge, which was defended by Confederate forces under the command of Captain Benjamin L. Farinholt. Despite the arrival of 642 reinforcements, the Union forces were repulsed and suffered heavy casualties. The Confederate defense of the bridge ensured the survival of the Richmond & Danville rail supply line, which was crucial for supplying the Confederate army. The battle ended with a Confederate victory, and the area where the battle took place is now preserved as part of Staunton River Battlefield State Park.