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General Grant Responds to an Inquiry from the Brother of a Confederate Soldier Slain During the Siege of Vicksburg
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After having learned of his Confederate brother’s death through press accounts, Connecticut State Librarian Charles Hoadly took the unusual step of writing directly to General Grant during the Siege of Vicksburg to discover more about Frederick W. Hoadley’s death and burial.

ULYSSES S. GRANT. Autograph Letter Signed to Charles J. Hoadly. Vicksburg, Miss., August 3, 1863. 1 p., 7¾ x 9¾ in. With transmittal envelope postmarked from Memphis on August 8. With related archive of 32 Frederick W. Hoadley Autograph Letters Signed from South Carolina, to his brother Charles in Hartford, 1851-1854, on various subjects. One early receipt for carpentry, including a cherry casket. And two almost-identical unsigned carte-de-visite bust photographs of Frederick, with W. G. Grotecloss of New York photographer’s imprint on verso.

Inventory #23520       Price: $9,000

In this letter, Grant informs Hoadly that his brother, Confederate Major Frederick W. Hoadley, has been killed during the Siege of Vicksburg. The accompanying archive consists of nine Civil War-dated letters (November 1862 through February 1864), in which Charles Hoadly tries to establish the location of his brother’s body, as well as gather details on his death.

Transcript

“Your brother, Maj. F. W. Hoadly, C.S.A. was killed some time during the latter part of the siege of Vicksburg. He now lays buried I think in the yard of a citizen of this place by the name of Williams [Victor Wilson]. At all events the grave is known to many citizens here with whom your brother was a great favorite.

Very Respectfully yours, U. S. Grant Maj. Gen. U.S.A.”

Charles J. Hoadly (1828-1900), the Connecticut State Librarian, was the only one of later generations to omit the “e” in his family name. His younger brother Frederick W. Hoadley (1831-1863) was raised in Hartford, Connecticut. Frederick moved to Columbia, South Carolina, to Little Rock, Arkansas, in the 1850s for a business opportunity. When the Civil War began, he enlisted with the Confederate Army in Co. “D,” Arkansas 4th Infantry Battalion, which was organized in Little Rock on October 16, 1861. Capt. Frederick W. Hoadley’s Pulaski County company, the “Magruder Guards,” saw action at the Battle of Island Number Ten at Kentucky Bend on the Mississippi River in the spring of 1862. The battle devastated the company, which was reorganized as Company H, 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery, organized May 10, 1862, at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, with 10 companies that had previously seen service as independent batteries, under the command of Col. Andrew Jackson III, grandson of the President. During May and June 1862, the 1st Tennessee was stationed at Vicksburg, Mississippi. While in Vicksburg, Hoadley became engaged to Miss Wilson (daughter of Victor Wilson). On May 10, 1862, Hoadley was promoted to the rank of regimental major, and William P. Parks was chosen as the captain of the new battery. The company was consolidated and placed in charge of the water batteries at Vicksburg, where Captain Hoadley, while serving his guns, according to Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History, Vol. 10, “was instantly killed by a shell from the Federal batteries.”

Remainder of the Archive includes:

Autograph Letter Signed “W.P. Parks” – Captain of Hoadley’s Battery – to Dr. C. Watkins, New York City, Lewisville, Arkansas, August 26-27, 1875. Ten pages, 8 x 10 in., front & verso: “It affords me pleasure to state all I may remember touching the career of our friend Major F.W. Hoadley, during the Great war ‘between the states’ – more especially, as it is requested by his brother, James H. Hoadley…” in a postscript penned on a half-page, Parks writes, in part, “I have examined my diary of the Vicksburg Siege, and found the following touching the death of Maj. Hoadley. ‘June 9th 1863. I am indeed sorry to pen the death of Maj. F.W. Hoadley who was killed on yesterday morning, by a piece of Shrapnell shell…’’

Autograph Letter Signed “Victor F. Wilson,” 2 pp. 7¾  x 9¾ in., Vicksburg, Miss., November 27, 1863. To Charles J. Hoadly, Hartford, Connecticut. U.S. 3¢ stamped, postmarked envelope included. Retained unsigned copy of Hoadly’s November 10th letter to Wilson is present in which he writes that he has “received authentic intelligence of the death of my brother Major Frederick W. Hoadly, C.S.A. toward the latter part of the siege, and that he is supposed to be buried on your premises, but not of the manner of in which he was killed or other information about him. In November 1862 he wrote my mother a few lines from Vicksburg … it was the last letter we had from him…”

Wilson writes, in part, “Your Brother Major FW Hoadley is buried in this city in my garden he was killed on the 21 Jun by the Exploding of a rifle shell which killed him instantly…” Wilson’s house was taken over by Federal troops. When he later returned to his house, he found that all of Major Hoadley’s clothing was gone. He had heard of where Frederick’s clothing might be: “his uniform I heard of on a negroe in the Federal army…”

Included is a half-page penciled Autograph Letter Signed “F.W. Hoadley / Major 1st Regt Heavy Artillery C.S.A.” beginning “Dear Mother,” informing her that he had been “serving on the Mississippi River for the last fifteen months at Columbus, Ky.”

Autograph Letter Signed “Victor F. Wilson,” 3 pp., 8 x 10 in., Vicksburg, January 8, 1864. To Charles J. Hoadly in Hartford with original U.S. 3¢ stamped postmarked envelope, Wilson writes about Maj. Hoadley, in part, “your brother believed himself right in fighting in defence of the principal of self government and on many occasions spoke of it he was no secessionist nor an enthusiast but took a plain comon sense view of things as they were and always said that the war was brot on by the abolitionists of the north and the disappointed or out of place Polliticians of the south these were his views during the six weeks he was an inmate of my house and member of my family…” Minor flaws. Very Good condition.

Retained copy of a letter from Charles Hoadly to Victor Wilson dated December 21, 1863, in which Charles acknowledges receipt of General Grant’s letter (above). Charles reports that he has received two accounts of his brother’s death: in one, his brother’s head was “taken off by a shell” and in the other “he was shot through the heart.” Charles’s request of Wilson is for any information regarding his brother, especially a photograph because the Hoadley family knew “so little about Frederic after the war began.”

A letter from an unknown person who had “made some inquiries about Maj. Hoadley” and been informed “by one of his old company [that] he was Maj. of the first Tennessee Heavy Artillery and was killed in passing from one fort to another and was shot through the heart and killed instantly.” This unsigned letter also specifies the location of Frederick’s grave.

Charles Hoadly’s retained copy of a letter to James A Henry of Little Rock, Ark., asking for any information “as for some months before the war broke out we had not heard from him.”

Charles Hoadly’s retained copies of two letters written to Col. Frederick A. Starring of Natchez, Mississippi, on November 2, 1863, and February 17, 1864. In the first, Charles asks for help in obtaining his brother’s “trunk &c at Vicksburg.” In the next retained letter, Charles thanks the colonel for shipping “the remains of my brother’s papers.” With a shipping receipt from Parker’s Express Company and the transmittal envelope from one of Col. Starring’s letters, postmarked Vicksburg on January 25.

Frederick A. Starring  Autograph Letter Signed, Natchez, Miss., January 22, 1864, returning from New Orleans to discover the package mentioned in the November 2, 1863, letter had not been sent and that he would send it immediately.

5 transmittal envelopes with cancelled stamps for some of the above correspondence.


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