Biographical Sketch from
History of the Town of Marlborough, Cheshire County N.H.

William H. Greenwood, youngest son of Asa and Lucy Mason (Evans) Greenwood, was born in Dublin, March 27, 1832. He removed to Marlborough with his parents, working on various public works in which his father was engaged till 1850, when he entered Norwich University, Norwich, Vt., graduating in 1852. The same fall he went west to Illinois, and began as civil engineer on the line of the Central Military Tract (tract of Land) Railroad (afterwards the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad,) on the 23d of November, 1852. He remained with said company until the road was completed, and ran on the train for sometime. He then went to work for the American Central Railroad as assistant engineer, and was with that interest until the beginning of the war. He was married, May 19, 1857, to Evaline D. Knight of Dummerston, Vt.

He enlisted in the Fifty-First Regiment of Illinois infantry in 1861, and was commissioned first lieutenant of Company H. He remained with the regiment but a short time, though he retained his commission, being detailed as a topographical engineer at department head-quarters.

At various times, as topographical engineer, he reported to Gens. Grant, Rosecrans, Thomas, McPherson, Stanley, and other general officers. He was aide-de-camp to Gen. D. S. Stanley for some time, and was appointed assistant inspector-general of the Fourth Army Corps, a part of the army of the Cumberland, in July, 1864, which position he held to the close of the war. He was mustered out in Texas, and was retained by Gen. Sheridan to rebuild the railroad, destroyed by the rebel Gen. McGruder, from Port Lavaca to Victoria in Texas. In April, 1866, he returned to Vermont, remaining there only a month, when he again went West, and was employed on the engineer corps of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, afterwards known as the Kansas Pacific. He was appointed chief engineer of this road in 1867, which position he held up to 1870.

In the winter of 1867-68, he took charge of a survey for this company through to San Francisco on the thirty-second and thirty-fifty parallels, and advised the adopting of the Cimaron, thirty-fifty parallel, and Tahatchpe Pass route. While chief engineer of this road, he constructed one hundred and fifty miles of railroad in one hundred working days, and the last day they laid ten and one quarter miles of track in less than ten hours, which was the largest amount ever laid up to that time, and has never been exceeded up to the date of 1876.

During his surveys across the Plains, he had several encounters with the Indians during their raids in 1867, 1868, and 1869, and endured hardships from cold and hunger which few men have ever experienced. While with this road, he was also consulting engineer of the Denver Pacific Railroad.

In 1870, he made the first general report made in this country in favor of a narrow gauge (three feet) railroad, and was appointed general manager of construction of the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad of Colorado. On the completion of the first division of said road, he was appointed general superintendent of the same, and remained with the road until the rack was laid to Cañon City, one hundred and sixty-five miles. In 1872, in company with Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, Gen. W. J. Palmer, and others, he went to Mexico to construct a national railroad in that county. While on the Mexican national road, he visited England and the Continent, to inform himself as to the best base of supplies for that interest. Failing to get the proper concessions from the Mexican government, he returned to the United States, and established himself as a civil engineer in New York.

In May, 1878 he took charge of the construction of the Pueblo and Arkansas Valley Railroad for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company, through the Grand Cañon and up the valley of the Arkansas River. In March, 1879, he took charge of the Marion and McPherson Railroad, which was the last public work with which he was connected, up to the writing of this history.

Charles A. Bernis, History of the Town of Marlborough, Cheshire County N.H., Boston: Press of G. H. Ellis, 1881, pp. 262-264.

General William Jackson Palmer (born in 1836 in Delaware) was colonel of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry, brigadier-general by brevet. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.