PRJ says thank you to all veterans for their service.
Questions? Comments? Reach me at: dr.jonlewis at gmail dot com
Happy Father’s Day to Pete, as well as John, John, Robert, Hugh, and John up the line. And to all the other dads in the family.
At the Wesleyan University Special Collections; their exhibit on “Wesleyan in the Civil War” is extraordinary, particularly the Samuel Proal Hatfield Photo Album. Robert’s portrait was on display, but tiny! I expected it to be a full-scale portrait, but it actually about the size of a business card. It’s still quite striking to see his image, as my father’s face is so similar to Robert’s. I don’t know if Ms. Suzy Taraba, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, included Robert’s image in the display because I contacted her, but it was a touching moment to be sure. The portrait is on page 17 of the album, during the Yorktown campaign. A Lt. J. Cummings is also seen on this page along with an image of a dock built by 1CHA for loading the siege train on the Robert Morris for travel up the York River. Caption: “Co’s L&M remained to care for guns and material.” Fourth image on page is of Ager, Burton, Doull (Maj 4th NY Arty) Sedgwick, S.H. Perkins, Hatfield, Broaker, and Gilbert at the mouth of the “Cornwallis Cave” at Yorktown, originally used by Gen. Cornwallis during the Revolutionary War and then used by Confederates as a magazine during the campaign.
Maj. Hatfield’s album is a treasure; not only did he compile a record of 1CHA’s activities, but he identified many of the officers and enlisted men in some of the famous images of the unit including Gibbons, Harmon, Broaker, Douglas, and Jackson in the Battery 4 image at Yorktown. On the famous ‘Dictator’ image, Hatfield identifies the officers as: Capt. Pratt (Robert’s C.O. in Co. L); Capt. Dow, Gen. Abbot, bearded and in front; Gen. Hunt, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, w/ field glasses; Lt. Col. Trumbull (2nd from right, slightly blurry); and then two unidentified members of Gen. Hunt’s staff.
Once the album gets to Fredricksburg, the division of the regiment is seen; my great-great-grand-uncle, Patrick McCloskey, Private in Co. M, was with Meade’s men for several battles including Fredricksburg. Co. M was on the Riverside Road and across the Rappahannock from the main fighting as part of Lt. Colonel Trumbull’s batteries above the town. Good place to be. I have not yet found anything else about Patrick, but will continue to look for him.
A drawing, perhaps from a photograph, shows Redoubt Dutton on the Bermuda Hundred Line with caption: “Occupied by Co. L Capt. Price. Assaulted June 9, 1864 by 22nd S.C. –Confed.—Regiment. Col. Dantzler, which was repulsed with great loss. The Colonel himself killed. The assault was made in thick fog.” I assume that Robert was part of this battle as 1st Lt. of Co. L, but I have not seen reports from this engagement. Further questions to explore—never a bad thing.
At Drewry’s Bluff, Mrs. Hatfield appears in two pictures. It was apparently not unheard of for wives and even full families to travel with the units and attempt to keep a kind of house near the campaigns.
On the whole, it is a wonderful album. The album has title cards, beautifully rendered with white text on dark fields. The entire album shows that Hatfield made every effort to present the history of the 1CHA as not just a history lesson but an aesthetically appealing experience.
Because they were in different companies, Robert is not in the album but for his portrait, but I am certainly indebted to Maj. Hatfield for the album. Pvt. McCloskey is not in the album that I can see, but it is a testament to the regiment’s total service. As Hatfield states at the beginning of the album, “that our children’s children may see with their eyes, as we saw with our eyes, the scenes and places of the great War for the Union lest we and they forget.” Once I have full permission to post from the album, I will post several pictures I took of the album. I am greatly indebted to to Ms. Taraba and her staff for accomodating me at Wesleyan’s Olin Library.