Sunday, May 15, 2011

Faces of the Civil War: John Hathaway

John Hathaway, a 43-year-old private in the 61st New York, died  June 22, 1864,
about  two months after he enlisted.  He is buried in a cemetery in Baltimore.
This
is a  close-up of a  tintype of Hathaway in my collection.
John Hathaway, his long goatee flecked with gray, wore a smart, new military uniform and a stern expression for a tintype photo probably taken shortly after he enlisted in the Union army on April 13, 1864.
According to this document from the National Archives,
Hathaway's effects were turned over to his sister after his death.

A 43-year-old hatter from Providence, R.I., Hathaway joined the war effort later than most. The 5-foot-5 blue-eyed bachelor with dark hair and dark complexion apparently didn't have any immediate family to support. Perhaps Hathaway was finally caught up in the patriotic fervor of the day. Or maybe he was pressured by the folks back in his hometown of Newport, R.I.

In any case, Hathaway, who served as a private in Co. K of the 61st New York, never saw his native Rhode Island again.


On May 12, 1864, Hathaway was wounded during the 61st New York's assault at Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in Virginia. Eventually transported to a Union hospital at Newton University in Baltimore, Hathaway died at 10 p.m. on June 22, 70 days after he enlisted. The cause of death was listed as diarrhea, probably a result of the unspecified wound he received in battle. He was buried at 2 p.m. the next day in Loudoun Park Cemetery, location 886, near the hospital. (1)

Although the marker reads
New  Hampshire, I believe Hathaway is
buried here in Baltimore.

Hathaway left behind one knapsack, one pair of shoes, one blouse, one woolen blanket, one shelter tent, one knife and $180. Six days later, his meager effects were turned over to his sister.

Six years ago, I located Hathaway's grave in Loudoun Park Cemetery, where nearly 3,000 Union and Confederate soldiers are buried. The pearl white tombstone, which probably replaced an older one many years ago, was inscribed New Hampshire, but I think that's a mistake. The final resting place of Pvt. John Hathaway of the 61st New York Infantry is 400 miles from home.

(1) John Hathaway pension file, National Archives and Records Service, Washington D.C.

Thirty-three soldiers in the 61st New York were wounded at Spotsylvania Courthouse 
on May 12, 1864,  including John Hathaway.

No comments:

Post a Comment