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Hawley, Joseph Roswell (1826-1905)
First Connecticut Infantry, Rifle Company A  Captain
Seventh Connecticut Infantry   Brevet Major General
1 Volume

Bound typescript of letters from Joseph and Harriet Foote Hawley mainly to Charles Dudley Warner compiled and edited by Everett C. Willson in 1929. Also includes brief biographies of Hawley and Warner. Original letters at that time were the property of Arthur L. Shipman; their current location or ownership status is unknown. See previous entry for Hawley’s record of service.

Location: MS 82194

*Restricted Collection – In-Library Use Only*

[Compiled, edited and transcribed by K. Nolin, M.L.I.S.]

[ca. September-October] 1861, Willard’s Hotel: “Charley I don’t expect to come out of a very hot fight unhurt -- Both sides like to shoot officers.” p.98

December 1861 from Port Royal: “Col. Thomas J. Whipple of the 4th New Hampshire has a habit of getting tight.” Hawley also had negative things to say about the 47th New York Infantry, the 9th Maine Infantry and the 76th Pennsylvania Infantry. Hawley writes that he is very fond of his “contraband” named Siab, who told Surgeon Francis Bacon that he was born in South Carolina but did not want to leave his bones there. Siab was working for Quartermaster Terry, p.109.

21 October 1862, Hilton Head, SC: “Our Adjutant Lieut. E. Lewis Bull of West Meriden, laboring under great depression of spirits, shot himself in the breast, with a pistol about 8 P.M. Oct. 20th while lying in his tent. Friends rushed in immediately and medical assistance was there promptly, but he died in a few minutes without speaking. He left no writing to indicate his motives. His appointment as Adjutant came five weeks ago, dating back to July 1. He was some ten months in the office of the Assistant Adjutant General of this Department and was familiar with all his duties, which he discharged very acceptably.

            (Private. The trouble was that he had been yielding more than I knew to an old habit of drinking and it always used to make him flighty. For a week he had been drinking more or less.)”  (p. 123)

Letter from Harriet Hawley, 7 December 1862, from Beaufort, SC, regarding the talk among pickets: “ . . .7th Conn. Damn ‘em - they’re everywhere.” p. 62

12 January 1863, Hilton Head, SC: “Fact is, Charley, I love to lead a regiment, it’s a beautiful power . . . At Pocotaligo the regiment was so beautifully obedient and brave that it fairly brings the tears into my eyes to think of it.” p.129

Hawley is obviously very unhappy with his Lt. Colonel George F. Gardner. See letter of 15 March 1863: “Our Lt. Col. Geo. F. Gardiner . . . has developed himself as a troublesome, seditious, insubordinate, half treasonable, quite disloyal intriguer . . . much afraid of public opinion, sensual and enormously selfish.” pp.135-136.

3 April 1863: “Besides I’m happy. I say to this man do this thing and he doeth it, or gets into limbo mighty quick. Here I am temporarily a little despot . . .” p.145.

8 April 1863, Hilton Head, SC: “There is something exhilarating in all this - and yet a great strange sad feeling comes over me at times right in the midst of the busiest work. I have to rub my eyes and ask who I am and what I am doing.” p.147.

18 April 1863: “ . . . and then sometimes the sublimity of the time and the struggle swells the heart and this still summer air seems full of trumpets and the grand thunder of great cannon.” pp.150-151.

14 June 1863, regarding Lt. Col. Gardiner who had finally resigned: “A black girl of 14 or 15 who worked in his kitchen at Fernandina while Mrs. Gardiner was sick in the house, is pregnant and charges it to Gardiner. He notoriously sought negro huts at night at several of our stopping places.” And, regarding the regimental Chaplain: “Our long, rawboned Chaplain . . .. God bless his homely body and beautiful soul.” p.156.

30 August 1863, from Harriet Hawley, who describes thunderstorms in Florida: “as I was lying down and reading, I was brought to my feet, by, as I supposed, the simultaneous discharge of every gun at the Fort . . . the last storm of that kind we had, I really thought I would quite as leif have the Regiment come into my room to practice firing by platoon -” p.167

On 4 July 1863, Kate Foote raised the flag and Harriet Hawley fired the cannon.

3 October 1863, Morris Island: “The fact is the most ignominious utter failure of the whole war is Admiral Dahlgren.”

16 March 1864: “At times . . . I feel like taking a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other and running amuck among the scoundrels that play checkers and chess with soldiers’ lives . . ..”

18 June 1864, from Harriet Hawley: “Won’t it do Joe’s heart good to get a chance at Fort Sumpter though! I envy him - I ain’t sure but that I wish I was his brother instead of his wife - or him instead of myself.”

2 July 1864, Hawley writes disparagingly of General Benjamin Butler, “Believe little or nothing dated at ‘Butler’s Headquarters in the Field.’ He keeps correspondents as kings used to keep fools . . .. Butler is the only general that makes correspondents puff himself and depreciate others.” Hawley quotes a disgruntled Butler thus: “So, God damn your soul, orderly, you’ve got back have you! You’re no more fit to be an orderly than hell is to be a powder house.” And comments about his regiment: “The hammered and smashed old 7th stands by like a rock.” Hawley also writes, “Can you realize what it is to have 50,000 killed and wounded? The most ghastly wounds and deaths do not get described in papers. (Two or three weeks ago I stood in a group of three good 7th Conn. men. By one cannon shot a few moments before, the bowels of one - an only and beloved son - were mashed out and he died in a few minutes; the brains of the second lay on the ground {his skull was empty} or spattered over the breast, face and beard of the third, who was suffering great agony from the bruises in his back and kidneys [)]. I wish that and some similar groups could be spread daily upon a broad table in the centre of the House of Representatives.” Finally, “But it looks like the old, old story  - use up one army entirely and then after 6 months get up another . . .. With my four regiments I can turn out only about 600 to fight, our total (absent, sick, wounded, prisoners, etc.) is about 3,200.”

8 August 1864, Bermuda Hundred: ‘They say that Col. Griffin A. Stedman is killed. If so, Connecticut has suffered a great loss. Such young men, who use their education and social position and influence in behalf of their country are worth acres of those precious gentlemen who are too precious to be shot at and save their delicate carcasses by contributing to the Sanitary and Christian Commissions and buying a bounty jumping piratical loafer to take their places by the side of the brave New England boys who volunteered in the first two years of this war. All honor to the memory of Col. Stedman. He was a true soldier and a gentleman worthy of the title.”

2 September 1864: “Tomorrow at 2 1/2 P.M. in presence of the Brigade, Private John Rowley of Co. D., 7th Conn. will be hung for the murder of his comrade Private Jerome Dupoy, of the same, whom he deliberately shot through the head while the regiment was in the midst of the battle [Olustee]. His grudge arose from a little quarrel and fight they had a few weeks before.” Rowley was hung by sentence of General Court Martial on 3 September 1864 at Petersburg, VA.  Please also see also entries for Harriet Hawley and Doris Cook.

14 October 1864, regarding the engagement at Darbytown Road the previous day: “The killed were all excellent men. Cook and James were among our best sharpshooters. The former carried a ball in his throat which he received on James Island June 16th, ‘64.”

27 December 1864, regarding Lt. John Van Keuren, who had recently been mustered-out: “‘Van’ has been a good ‘boy,’ but the wife and three children are too much for him. He is a journeyman jeweler by trade, but belongs to the only aristocracy that I mean to recognize hereafter.” And regarding his Commissary, Capt. W. T. Seward of Guilford: “His ‘ladye love’ lives in Savannah and he hasn’t seen her since he ran away from the militia company he belonged to in Georgetown, S. C., in June 1861.”

The same letter continues:

“ . . . shot 5 Conn. deserters last week . . .. Got a lot more to shoot . . .. - all substitutes of course.” Hawley would like to see the substitute brokers shot: “I’d have as little sympathy as I did for those five bounty jumpers of the 1st Heavy, who all kneeled in a row with hands tied before them and eyes bandaged, and were fired at by 50 men. Two did not die at the first discharge. I looked at the turned up eyes of one and saw one of the guards come up within six feet and put a ball through his head. I really felt no more emotion than if it had been a dog . . . We shall shoot right straight along without mercy all the deserters we can catch.”

16 January 1865: “How sublimely, infinitely idiotic Greeley is sometimes . . .. I wish the President would let him go to Richmond once and then I wish the rebels would tie firecrackers to his coat tails, and put cowhage (‘cowitch’) in his bed and soda powders in his chamberpot.”

In June of 1865 Hawley becomes General Alfred Howe Terry’s Chief of Staff, Department of Virginia, with headquarters in Richmond.

11 July 1865, Hawley is living “with Gen. Terry in the Jeff Davis house in very good style . . .” Hawley notes all manner of interesting cases arising there; for example, “ . . . a saucy petition of Henry A. Wise for possession of his house and land, where John Brown’s daughter is teaching little niggers. But Wise is philosophical. He says ‘John Brown? John Brown was a great man, sir, a great man by God, sir!,’ slapping his knee.”

20 August 1865 notes that General Joseph E. Johnston had stopped in to get a pass to Baltimore.

12 October 1865: “Hattie went out to Five Forks on Saturday, the 7th, to find and to see the grave of Capt. U. Parmelee, 1st Conn. Cav., with her uncle Mr. N. Parmelee of Guilford.” En route, Harriet and company were involved in an accident and received severe bruises. Also notes, “I was appointed Brevet Maj. General of Volunteers Sept 28th -”