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Soldier’s Wooden Box

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

This wooden box was made by James W. Green during his service in the Union Army during the Civil War.

James was 22 years old and living in Morristown, New York when he volunteered to join Company B of the 106th New York Infantry Regiment in August 1862. The 106th Regiment saw limited action in 1863 while part of the Army of the Potomac’s III Corps. However, in 1864, the 106th was transferred to the VI Corps and it was in almost continuous fighting until the end of the war. The Regiment’s hardest day of fighting was at Cold Harbor, Virginia in June 1864, where it lost 33 men killed, 80 wounded, and 21 missing. During the war, the Regiment lost 136 men killed in action and a further 167 men died of disease, accident, or other causes (approximately 20% of the Regiment).

James survived the war and returned to Morristown, working as a farmer and woodworker while raising six children. He died in November 1893 (approximately 53 years old) in Geneseo, New York. One of James’ daughters, Annette Green, eventually moved to Southampton, living on Elm Street and working as a school teacher, when she gifted this box to the Southampton History Museum.

James’ woodworking skills are clearly evident in this box, which features carved and inlay details. The top of the box is decorated with stars, the U.S. shield and flag. In the center of the top is a blue cross on an inlayed wooden diamond, representing the insignia of the Union Army III Corps and VI Corps, respectively. Just above the Corps badges, James carved “J.W. Green 106 N.Y.”. On the box’s sides are carved details of military life, including a cannon and a marching soldier. The keyhole, surrounded by a wooden heart, is inlayed with bone in the shape of a diamond. The 11” long, 6.25” wide and 3.25” deep box was probably used to store letters, writing paper, pencils and stamps.

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