|Col. Joseph Roswell Hawley
(October 31, 1826 - March 17, 1905)
|Joseph Roswell Hawley
He was born October 31, 1826 in Stewartsville, Richmond County North Carolina. His father, Reverend
Francis Hawley was a Baptist pastor. His mother was Mary McLeod who was born in Fayettsville, N.
C. He had two sisters Mary Ann and Diadumena. (Mary Ann would survive him) Joseph attended
school in Cheraw, S. C.. During the nullification crisis Rev. Hawley was threatened with assault because
of his abolitionist views. At the age of eleven he moved to his father's native state of Connecticut in 1837.
For two years he worked on the family farm and attended Hartford Grammar School.
In 1842 the family moved to Cazenovia, N. Y. were Joseph prepared for college at the Oneida
Conference Seminary. While in New York his dad became a Congregational minister. In 1844 he entered
Hamilton College as a sophomore. He graduated from Hamilton College (with honors) in 1847 with an
A. B. Degree. He was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. He would much later receive LL. D.
Degree from Hamilton (1875) , Yale (1886) and Trinity Colleges.
Following graduation he taught for two years. He studied law with John Hooker and in May 1850
became a partner with him. He was admitted to the bar in 1850 and practiced law in Hartford,
Connecticut for six years.
In the spring of 1854 Harriet Ward Foot met Joseph Hawley in Hartford at the house of Mr John
Hooker. On December 25th, 1855 he married Harriet Ward Foot in Guilford at her home. She died on
March 3, 1886 from pneumonia. They adopted a niece in the spring of 1885 of the widow of her brother,
C Spencer Foote. She was the 4 year old Margaret Spencer Foot.
Hawley served as a delegate to the 1852 Free Soil Convention. On Feb 4, 1856 called the first meeting
in Connecticut to organize the Republican party with Gideon Welles. He was a political speaker for John
Fremont in 1856. Hawley also served as editor of the Hartford Evening Press, a staunchly Republican
and abolitionist newspaper.
Early Civil War
A Peace Meeting (Hartford Daily Courant, August 18, 1861)
A Peace meeting, another name for secession gatherings, was announced to take place at Saybrook
Friday afternoon, at three o'clock. Eaton, the faithful and unscrupulous disciple of Jeff. Davis was of
course to be present, and speak. A peace flag was also to be hoisted, and all the aid and comfort the
thieves and murderers of the South could gather from these doings, they were to be gratified with.
But the little nest of traitors out of which this swarm was to emerge and buzz in the loyal town of
Saybrook, did not suit the views of the people there. They knew that the meeting was to be attended by
certain fellows from other places, and the loyal people thought they would invite their friends to the gay
and festive scene. Those friends came, and Old Secesh found them there in great numbers when he and
his arrived. The Stars and Stripes were displayed everywhere. Men from the surrounding towns and from
New Haven came in and cheered the flag of our Union whenever they passed it.
Secesh had raised a flag-staff near the house of Gilbert Pratt, and upon this was going to raise his
disgraceful rag. But the loyal multitude carrying the American flag as they passed the pole concluded to
put that at the mast head, and as they attempted it, there was a scuffle between some of them and Secesh
ensued. The American flag was raised, although Secesh cut the rope and endeavored to prevent it, in
sundry ways. In this scuffle, a few blows, it is said were passed. Joseph R. Hawley, of the Press was
present, and was called upon to make a speech. He did so, and denounced the attempt to hatch up a
disgraceful peace at the expense of honor, nationality, etc. At its close the Union flag was lowered and the
secessionists given the opportunity to raise their flag. But both flag and speaker were kept carefully out of
sight, and, after an hour had elapsed, the Union flag was again raised, where it floated till dark. The
houses of Captain Morgan and John Doane were visited, and after giving hearty cheers to the occupants,
the citizens listened to short, patriotic speeches.
* * *
Hawley was of medium height and stocky the prominent quality of his eye was earnestness. As a captain
in the First Connecticut Infantry, Hawley was present at First Bull Run. Upon the receipt of Governor
Buckingham's proclamation to the people of Connecticut, Hawley and two others met in the office of his
paper, and drew up and signed an informal enlistment paper, as volunteers in the first regiment; and at a
public meeting held the same evening, presided over by the Lieutenant-Governor, the list was filled, and
the company was formed. Hawley was made first lieutenant in Rifle Company A, First Regiment
Connecticut Volunteers, which was mustered into service April 22d, 1861, for three months. By the
promotion of the colonel of the regiment soon after, Hawley became captain of his company, and
displayed much activity in the organization and equipment of his men, for whom he ordered arms on his
own personal credit, from the Sharpe Rifle Factory. The company disbanded on July 31, 1861.
After which he was appointed lieutenant colonel of a new, three-year regiment (organized August, 1861),
the Seventh Connecticut. Rising to the colonelcy of the Seventh, Hawley participated in the unit's battles
along the Atlantic seaboard, eventually rising to brigade command.
Department of the South
He was a lieut colonel in the 7th Connecticut Infantry. He participated in the Port Royal Expedition in
November, 1861 and participated in the siege of Fort Pulaski in April, 1862.
Might be Possible for Wife to Join Him
He wrote Harriet that it may be possible for her to join him. She answered: "If the generals do not want
women 'round, as I should think might be very likely, I can give it up entirely; I won't come merely to
please myself; it won't be half as hard to give it up as to let you go at first--nor half as hard as to feel that I
had coaxed you against your better judgment, and that I am a care to you there instead of a comfort."
She would join her husband in November, 1862.
Thanksgiving Day, 1861 (Regimental History)
At 2 P. M. the church call sounded, and all men not on duty gathered in front of Lieutenant Colonel
Hawley's tent. He said he would preach his sermon first, which was in substance as follows:
I am glad to see so many Connecticut men celebrate their home festival on South Carolina soil, an
unprecedented event. I have not the honor to be a member of any church, yet I consider that man less
than human who does not acknowledge God as the Supreme Director of the universe. Give me for a
soldier the man who believes in God and has a conviction that his cause is just. I expect professors of
religion to stand up for their leader, else you are not fit to be in God's army.
The colonel's voice trembled as he proceeded, and there were few dry eyes in the assembly.
A Letter to the Harford Times
December 29, 1861, from Tybee Island, which was probably printed in Hawley's Hartford Times:
"Poor Dolph! [Charles C. Dolph, Branford, CT. Enlisted 3 September 1861 and was mustered-in a
private soldier, Company D, 7th Connecticut Infantry, on 5 September 1861] Do you know the Dolphs
that live near you? Well, their son, who belongs to Co. D, got news that his wife, and two children and
sister had all died of diphtheria [sic]. How he cried. Poor fellow! We comforted him all we could. I spoke
pleasantly to him when we met and hoped he was getting along well. I believe he heard the other day that
his mother was sick, too. Somebody came to the supper table last night and called for the doctor to see a
crazy man and soon after a man said that Dolph wanted to see me. I went to his tent. There were half a
dozen of his comrades there. One dim candle, stuck in a bottle, showed me the rifles stacked around the
centre pole, the cartridge boxes, bayonets and knapsacks. The ground was covered with the splendid
long moss they had pulled from the live oaks. Dolph sat squat upon the ground, his face and hands very
dirty, his fingers constantly picking something, his body moving, his eyes dreadfully swelled with weeping.
"Hallo, Dolph, how are you?" And he peered up to my face. "Colonel Hawley." said somebody. "Yes,"
said he, "that is Col. Hawley," and he took my hand with a tight grip. "Col. Hawley, look at my baby, my
poor, sick baby." He had a little pile of moss, and on it lay his cartridge box, carefully covered all but one
edge, with his blanket. That was his baby! And he turned the blanket down as tenderly as if the cartridge
box were a delicate little baby.
He spoke brokenly and at intervals, and with a quick but mournful voice - "Poor baby - both babies sick
- sister sick - (and he pointed to where he supposed they lay,) - poor baby - very sick. Give baby some
water," And he leaned on one elbow and affectionately [sic] held a leaf to the cartridge box, as if baby
would drink. He seemed to consider himself in his own home and the family sick but living, but then he
would say: "Won't let me go home - no - no - no - (waiting a few seconds) - no - no - won't let me go
home;" his hands constantly fidgeting over something. Then he considered them all dead and he by their
graves. "Sister," and he laid his hand down on one side; "baby," hands down again to mark each grave;
"baby - wife - mother. Oh, yes, mother is dead - won't let me go home." I kept his hand ten minutes and
sat down by him, and put my hand on his shoulder, and tried to compel him to listen. I told him his babies
were happy and his mother was not dead, (is she?) and if he would be a good boy and sleep, and get
well, he should go home. "Mother's here and she says she didn't get that money. You didn't send it to her."
Oh, yes, I did, Dolph; here's the receipt of the express company. She's got it now. You told me to send it
to your wife right there at Col. F-'s, you know. She has got it before this time. Well - poor baby - and he
put trees over their graves, etc., etc. I had to work some time to get him to take some medicine - an
opiate - but it had little effect. "I've built six forts," said he, "and mounted six cannon. I'm going to take
down that fort tomorrow - that one over there - Pulaski, I mean." Four men were going to watch with him
- (the tears came into all our eyes, sometimes, I think.) and I told them to move out the rifles and
bayonets. He caught them at it, and shouted, "Let my rifle alone! Give me my rifle." And I let him take it,
seeing it was not loaded, and he went furiously to work cleaning it. Finally he passed it to me to "inspect,"
and I slipped it away.
I think it is the most affecting case of insanity I ever saw. I couldn't make him believe that we should send
him home, but we shall. I don't know whether to have you tell his folks or not. The men take as good care
of him as they can. He has slept but an hour out of the last twenty-four, and is as ceaselessly active as a
canary bird hopping about in his cage. He sent for me again to-day, but he could not confine his attention
to anything. "Poor baby," is his principal remark, and he still tends his cartridge box. "A soldier's life is
always gay," the song says. A sad story, isn't it? Call again on Dolph's mother. Tell her he will be well
treated. We hope his insanity is caused partly by fever, and if we can get him quietly sick with that,
perhaps he will come out all right. If not, I'll see that he goes straight to the Insane Retreat, at Hartford,
and with him money enough to keep him awhile.
It was his comrades and friends who contributed the thirty-five dollars he sent to his mother to pay the
funeral expenses of his whole family.
After Colonel Terry became brigade commander Hawley become a Colonel and commander of the 10th
Connecticut. He fought in James Island and Pocotaligo.
He commanded the posts of Fernandina and St. Augustine (See St. Augustine in the Civil War) While in
Fernandina he obtained breech-loading Spencer rifles for his men.
Later he participated in the expedition to capture Charleston and Morris Island during the siege of
He served on the Board of Survey for the sinking of the Maple Leaf: "We believe and so report that the
usual watch, (the men in the pilot-house and the officer of the deck) was kept on the deck of this vessel.
At the moment of the explosion only the pilot and the wheels man were actually looking forward. We
think that on all similar vessels in these waters a man should be kept on the extreme front of the vessel
sharply looking out every instant that the vessel is in motion at night. But it is our opinion that in this case
no care or skill would have avoided the disaster and that it was one of the inevitable incidents of war:
The Board adjourned same day
April 3, 1864
/signed/ Jos. R. Hawley Col. 7th Conn. Vols.
/signed/ James Lewis Lt. Col. 144th N.Y. Vols.
/signed/ John W. M. Appleton Major 54th Mass. Vols.
Headquarters District Florida, Department of the South:
April 3, 1864 "
Hawley's Brigade, particularly the Seventh New Hampshire, did not perform well at Olustee, and Hawley
himself was accused of giving an incorrect order that threw part of his troops into confusion
Petersburg and Fort Fisher
He was elected at as Union Delegate to Baltimore (from Hartford) for the June 7th , 1864 convention.
He named Calvin Day, Esq. As his substitute in the event of his inability to attend.
Hartford Daily Courant (10-8-1864)
He was able to go to Hartford to make a political speech in October of 1864:
Fellow-Citizens: I could not refuse such a generous call to say at least a few words in behalf of the old
flag. (Cheers.) I delight to see so many here to-night. I shall carry back with me to the soldiers in the field,
the assurance that the people of Connecticut are with us forever. (Applause) I am not going to tell the
soldiers that Connecticut will desert them; but I shall tell them that their good State will vote as they act to
sustain the government, and elect Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. (Cheers) He did not want to
forswear his allegiance to Connecticut, but he should want to forsake his sate if she did not do her whole
duty in this crisis. We have a right to expect, have we not that you who are living in peace, shall sustain us
who are engaged in war. We want you to back us up who go to defend you. (Cheers.)
I cannot bear the thought that the land of Charter Oak shall vote for the Chicago platform; for that is it.
McClellan is nothing. Whatever he may have been, or whatever he may possess, he is nothing. It is the
action of the Convention as contained in its declaration of principles with which you have to deal. It is the
Vallandighams, the Seymours, the Coxes. (A voice --- "The Eatons.") Yes, and the Eatons, who are
represented by McClellan, and they declare that we must have an immediate cessation of hostilities, while
we are marching to victory. I ask you to read the recent letter of Jefferson Davis, which exhibits to a
certain extent the waning fortunes of the Confederacy, and then say if you are prepared to haul down the
old flag. ("No never.") In the name of God wake up, freemen of Connecticut! All that is good and holy is
with you! Wake up Connecticut; stir her granite hills and give 20,000 majority for the candidates of the
Union and the Constitution. I appeal to you as men upon whom the world is looking, to do your duty!
Now let us give three cheers for the old flag and victory. (Great cheering.)
He remained in brigade command during the Petersburg and Fort Fisher campaigns, and eventually led a
division. He became chief of staff for the X Corps under General Terry. He was promoted to Brigadier
General on September 13, 1864.
He was sent to New York with a picked brigade in November to keep peace during the elections.
Hawley's headquarters were on the small steamer, Moses Taylor, anchored off the foot of Twenty-third
street, New York, and the exposure, fatigue and responsibility of that service, stowed away in close
quarters, on board the boats, etc., with half rations, were quite as severe to the troops engaged in it, as
most of their experience "at the front."
He was military governor of southeastern North Carolina from February to June, 1865.
Hawley was mustered out of service in 1866 as a brevet major-general.
His prominent post-war career included election to the Connecticut governorship (1866-67). He was on
the Union ticket with Oliver F. Winchester (the gunmaker) for Lieut. Governor.
His campaign speech on "The Crisis" (from New Hampshire Sentinel 3/8/1866)
Gen. Hawley on "The Crisis“ In his speech at the Union meeting at Hartford, Conn., on Friday evening
last, Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, the Republican candidate for Governor, in reference to affairs at
"They (the Democrats) tell us we are divided. I know we are. But we are strong enough to bear division
without losing sight of our principles. We have the manliness to discuss measures, and when the best is
chosen, the courage to carry it out. (Applause.) We have the wisdom to tolerate differences of opinion
within our ranks, and to argue to satisfactory decisions. We should care nothing for temporary division.
So long as we are satisfied with the integrity of our party we can bear patiently with all men who differ in
minor questions. I have seen, during the progress of a fierce battle, fellow soldiers passing to blows, yet
never ceasing their fire upon the common enemy."
Like today, the campaign was a dirty one. He was accused of getting promotion and good positions
through the influence of personal friends, and further that "few officers and none of the soldiers had so
good a time as he, or easier places all through the war."
They used the quote of General Keyes, a West Point soldier, to counter:
I have known Major General Hawley from the first day he entered the military service of his State and
country, both in the camp and in the field, and a truer, braver soldier cannot be found among the millions
who came forward to the rescue of the Union, nor one more worthy the consideration of his friends and
the confidence of his State. What a fit recompense for his faithful, gallant services would it be for good old
Connecticut to give him the highest honor she could confer, by electing him her Chief Magistrate. For the
honor and welfare of the State, knowing General Hawley, as I do, to be for the Union now and forever, I
hope she will do so. So far as the thousands of gallant men are concerned, who with General Hawley
upheld the honor of the State and assisted in crushing out the rebellion, you may rest assured they will
"rally round the flag," and vote for the brave soldier, who was their friend in the camp and their leader in
Major General Hunter:
"I was in need of a talented officer to command in the district of Florida. General Hawley was selected for
that purpose, and I never had reason a moment to regret my choice. He always performed the various
and most important duties of his trust with great gallantry and ability, and to my entire satisfaction. My
only regret, when think of General Hawley, was, that we had not many more like him."
Colonel C. G Halpine, assistant adjunct general on the staff of both Generals Hunter and Gillmore and
who was a Democrat said:
"Colonel Joseph R. Hawley's reputation for prudence, good discipline and courage was such that his
regiment was made prominent in all matters requiring the especial display of those qualities; and the only
easy position" I ever knew him to hold, was when he was sent to occupy Fernandina and command
Florida, as a check to certain dishonest transactions and wholesale pillages in which some civilian
appointees of the United States government, and some civil and religious followers of General Rufus
Saxton, the military governor of the black population in the department, were found to have been
engaged. This duty, a very important and perplexing one, Colonel Hawley faithfully discharged, his
reports leading to the recovery of much pillaged property already shipped for the North, and to the
discontinuance of such practices in the future at least so long as I remained assistant adjutant general and
chief of staff of that department."
Major General Turner, an officer of the regular army, who was General Gillmore's chief of staff:
"I have been more or less intimately associated with him (General H.) since June 1863; was side by side
with him during the memorable operations upon Morris Island, S. C. against Fort Sumter and Wagner,
and in the long and arduous campaign of 1864 in Virginia. No soldier has a brighter record or one more
to be proud of than General Joseph R. Hawley."
General Seymour: "I hardly need assure you that I was highly pleased to learn that General Hawley may
be Governor of Connecticut. For it would appear that the good time is at hand when
'Man obtains that which he merits,
Or any merits that which he obtains'"
"My first acquaintance with General Hawley (then Colonel), was in the department of the South, where I
found his reputation as an administrator and a commander second to none of his grade. My own
knowledge of his excellence not only confirmed this reputation, but induced me to urge that he might be
placed in command of a brigade during the expedition to Florida, the event and results of which greatly
increased the respect and esteem I had previously entertained for him. The conduct of Colonel Hawley at
Olustee, under the most trying and critical circumstances, was so satisfactory to me that I sent to him, and
this without outside suggestion or solicitation, a recommendation for promotion, that I believed him richly
to deserve, and that he has subsequently honored."
General Guy V. Henry of the regular army:
"I have known of General Hawley for three years and was with him in South Carolina, Florida and
Virginia. He bore then the reputation of being a good soldier. As to his having been in 'easy places' all
through the war, I can hardly agree with your informant, as I happened to be in some of them, and think
that 'softer places' might be found by a not very diligent search."
He was elected governor with between 900 to 1000 votes. He would serve one term.
He went back to his newspaper editing job where the Hartford Press and the Connecticut Courant
were consolidated. He was president of the Republican national convention in 1868 and secretary of the
committee on resolutions in 1872 and chairman of the committee on resolutions in 1876.
Not Dead Yet, The New Hampshire Patriot, May 29, 1872
The Philadelphia Age announces that a fatal accident occurred on Wednesday, in Connecticut. Gen.
Joseph R. Hawley was drowned in attempting to cross a ferry.
Member of a Church (The Sun, December 31, 1872)
General Joseph R. Hawley, member of Congress and ex-Governor of Connecticut, joined the Asylum
Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut, on Sunday. [The Pastor of the church was Rev. J.
H. Twichell who had been a chaplain during the war.]
He was elected to Congress on a vacancy (caused by the death of Julius L. Strong) and served from
1872-75. He lost two elections but was relected again from 1879-81 He served Claims, Military Affairs,
Banking and Currency and Appropriations.
In 1862, 1876, and 1888 he was nominated for the Republican nomination for President as a favorite son
candidate. In 1888 he was married Elizabeth Horner. They had two children and raised the niece of his
He was elected a U. S. Senator in 1881 and held it until his death in 1905 as a member of the Military
Affairs Committee, he sought to reorganize the army, provide the navy with more modern warships, and
upgrade the nation's coastal defenses. He was also the chairman of the Civil Service Committee.
The Star (3-19-1905)
Washington, March 17. Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, former United States Senator from Connecticut, died
tonight. The end came at 10 minutes of 2 o'clock. At the bedside were Mrs. Hawley and her three
daughters. Gen. Hawley has been in a comatose state for several days, with slight periods of
consciousness. He had not been active in the senate since 1902. Interment will be made in Hartford,
Conn., at a date yet to be fixed. Gen. Hawley was 78 years old and was born in Stewartsville, N. C.
Charlotte Observer (3-20-1905)
Hartford, Conn. March 19 The funeral of Gen. Joseph R. Hawley will be held in this city Tuesday. The
special car bringing the body is expected Monday. The body will be escorted to the State capitol by the
Grand Army accompanied by Governor Roberts and Mayor Henney, and will lie in state in the rotunda
until Tuesday afternoon. The General Assembly reconvenes Tuesday, and it is practically arranged that
the two houses will go into joint convention, when they will be addressed by Governor Roberts. From the
capitol the body will be escorted by the First Regiment, the Governor's Foot Guard, the Putnam Phalanx
and other organizations to the church. The burial, still under military escort, will be at Cedar Hill cemetery.
He died March 18, 1905 in Washington, D.C. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford,
Eulogies were given in the hall of the House of Representatives at Hartford and a tribute was given by his
senate colleague, Orville Platt (who died a few weeks later.) General Hawley's funeral was held at
Asylum Avenue Congregational Church in Hartford on March 21. Ex-Governor George P. McLean
delivered the address.
|Col. Joseph Roswell Hawley
|Col Joseph Hawley
|Col Joseph Hawley
|Harriet Foote Hawley