Deposing the Tyrant of Bacon Creek

This particular story is of great interest to me personally as my closest Civil War ancestor, James P. Brown of Co. D, served in the 37th Indiana for four years and no doubt Grandpa Brown would have a thing or two to say about Colonel Hazzard’s conduct.

The 37th Indiana Volunteers formed from several counties in southeastern Indiana in September 1861. As was common in those early war days, Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton sought an experienced leader to command the 37th Indiana and chose a graduate of West Point: George W. Hazzard. Captain Hazzard was then in command of a battery of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery stationed at Fort McHenry in Baltimore and had a reputation as being a competent and zealous officer.

Colonel George Whitfield Hazzard, 37th Indiana Volunteers

George Whitfield Hazzard was born August 31, 1825 in Seaford, Delaware to a military family, his father a veteran of the War of 1812 while his grandfather was a captain in the Revolutionary War. George moved with his older brother Samuel to New Castle, Henry Co., Indiana in 1835 where he was living when he gained admission to West Point. He proved a superb cadet at West Point, graduating in 1847 and ranking 5th in his class of 38 which included future Civil War notables such as Ambrose Burnside, A.P. Hill, John Gibbon, Henry Heth, and Orlando B. Willcox. Upon graduation, Hazzard was assigned to the 4th U.S. Light Artillery and saw service in the Mexican War, the Third Seminole War, and at Fort Leavenworth during the Kansas disturbances. Governor Morton may also have been aware when he made the appointment that Captain Hazzard had escorted President-elect Lincoln from his home in Springfield to Washington, D.C. in early 1861. Hazzard’s record throughout his Army career had been exceptional. [i]

“I sincerely thank you for your efforts on my behalf,” Captain Hazzard wrote Governor Morton from Fort McHenry on September 7, 1861. Hazzard had one request though: that Morton make out a commission for the sergeant major of his battery to serve as his adjutant. “The relations between a colonel and his adjutant are to some extent unavoidably confidential and in the Regular Army colonels are allowed to select their own adjutant,” he wrote. However, Morton had already chosen that plum assignment for Livingston Howland, a selection that Hazzard found agreeable upon arriving in Indianapolis.

          Colonel Hazzard made a good initial impression with the men as remembered by regimental historian George Puntenney. “The colonel was a regular Army officer, a real soldier, a rigid disciplinarian, and just the man to teach officers and enlisted men how to conduct themselves,” he wrote. “No doubt the regiment owed much to this careful training for the brilliant record it afterwards made.” [ii] The regiment received marching orders in October directing them to move towards Louisville, Kentucky where they arrived October 22, 1861. After an overnight stay, the 37th Indiana moved downriver to West Point, Kentucky at the mouth of the Salt River where they worked on the fortifications of Muldraugh’s Hill later known as Fort Duffield.

While in Louisville, department commander William T. Sherman supplied six companies of the regiment with imported Belgian muskets, the other four companies having been supplied with Enfield rifles while still in Indiana. Colonel Hazzard figured that the spade and pick axe would be of more use to the regiment than good muskets. But Lieutenant Colonel Gazlay soon reported to the governor the poor condition of these weapons. Complaining that the Belgian muskets “were the poorest and meanest shooting irons I ever saw,” Gazlay reported that the men tried firing the guns “and it is a rare thing that the ball will go over 60 yards before they strike the ground. The men have no confidence in the guns. They are not to be compared to the altered U.S. muskets; I think the guns are pot metal.” Furthermore, Gazlay reported that the 36th Indiana had been issued these same guns and refused to accept them, but “Colonel Hazzard would not permit such disobedience.”
37th Indiana Reunion ribbons 

One area where Colonel Hazzard’s took up his cudgels in defense of his men came the first time the regiment received its pay in early November. The paymaster, claiming instructions from Washington, only paid the enlisted men from the time the regiment was sworn into U.S. service, not from the date of their enlistment and entry into camp. In some cases, this meant depriving the men of a month or more of pay and Hazzard, an expert in Army regulations, was having none of it. The paymaster was inconsistent in his application of this rule, giving some of the non-commissioned staff credit from their enlistment date and others credit from the muster-in date. Pay for the regimental band was also loused up: the band leaders were paid at the rate of sergeants ($21 a month) while six of the field musicians received $34 a month, “that is $13 per month more to the scholar than to the teacher. This decision is a breach of faith and it has not a shadow of the law to sustain it, but the government agents are attempting to obscure and complicate the subject by reference to ‘drum majors,” he complained in a letter to Governor Morton. [iii]

The enlisted men started to raise a stink about their worthless guns, but Colonel Hazzard clamped down on any mass protests. On November 8th, he published general Order No. 5 that stated that “the town meeting principle of manufacturing public sentiment is particularly obnoxious to military usage.” Colonel Hazzard ordered that “if any member of the regiment shall feel himself aggrieved by the colonel and will apply for redress, the colonel will either grant the application or forward it to higher authority.” What Colonel Hazzard didn’t share with the men was that he had numerous friends from the old Army at headquarters, and that whatever protest might be made by the men would be quickly squelched.  As reported in the Chicago Tribune, Hazzard was particularly close with Captain Oliver Davis Greene, Army of the Ohio commander Don Carlos Buell’s assistant adjutant general, and Hazzard prevailed upon his friendship with Greene to make sure that any protests than came from the ranks would go nowhere. [iv] [Greene, a graduate of the West Point class of 1854, had known Hazzard while both were serving in the artillery before the war. Greene butted heads repeatedly with Andrew Johnson in the summer of 1862 which led to his reassignment out of the theater that summer. Greene would later be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism at the Battle of Antietam.]

Colonel Hazzard’s brand of discipline soon exhibited itself in petty ways. “The colonel would not permit any of his men to eat anything but government rations,” wrote Puntenney. “It was a serious offense to buy cake, pie, fowl, or fish from a citizen. If the colonel found any man coming into camp with provision, he would make him throw it away.” The men soon started to toy with the colonel. “One day a man in Co. H, who could imitate to perfection the noise of any barnyard fowl, came past the colonel’s tent with his oil blanket full of leaves for his bed. As he passed the tent, a noise in the blanket sounded very much like a hen was confined there. The colonel rushed out and with much profanity, assured the man that he had caught him disobeying orders and ordered him to let that hen go. The man dropped the leaves, but no hen ran out, and colonel ‘caught on’ and sneaked back into his tent,” Puntenney reported. [v]
Veterans medal that belonged to
Private George N. LaRue of Co. G

Harsh discipline was expected in the army, but it was Colonel Hazzard’s maltreatment of the sick that destroyed the men’s confidence in his leadership. Measles struck the regiment first, eventually infecting more than 100 of the men, but soon typhoid fever was even more rampant. Theodore Gazlay reported that when the regiment left for Bacon Creek, some 30-40 sick men were left behind in tents, the hospital being full. “[Hazzard] ordered the tents taken from these men and told them with an oath that they might lie on the ground until the flesh rotted from their bones. A few days since, he told the regiment that many of the sick wanted to go home on furlough but that not one should go home until they went in their coffins,” he wrote. “[Hazzard] seems to delight in doing anything he can to annoy and distress the men. The regiment has been on the verge of mutiny two or three times which was only suppressed by the personal influence of the other field officers,” which would include his brother Lieutenant Colonel Gazlay who presumably provided his brother this information. [vi]

In December, a portion of the regiment did mutiny, but not because of how the colonel was treating the sick men. The issue goes back to the formation of the regiment in Indiana; for reasons unclear, the 37th Indiana mustered into service with a non-regulation eleventh company. Colonel Hazzard decided to consolidate the men of this company into the regulation ten companies of the regiment. “Rather than serve with strangers, the men of the eleventh company spent ten days under arrest,” wrote historian Gerald Prokopowicz. “They were eventually sent home by Governor Morton who this implicitly confirmed the soldiers’ belief that they were obligated only to serve in the company of their own choosing.” [vii]

The 37th Indiana was placed in the 8th Brigade of the Army of the Ohio commanded by the colorful and controversial Colonel John Basil Turchin of the 19th Illinois. The brigade consisted of Turchin’s regiment, the predominantly German 24th Illinois, the 37th Indiana, the 18th Ohio, and Battery E of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery. On December 9, 1861, the 37th Indiana moved forward from their camp at Elizabethtown, Kentucky to a new location at Bacon Creek. Confederate troops had burnt the important railroad trestle there before departing the area in November and now thousands of Union troops moved south from Louisville to set up Camp Jefferson. General Mitchel’s entire division camped on a hill a mile from the turnpike that overlooked the bridge. A soldier with Battery E of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery left a wonderful description of the little town of Bacon Creek. “It was formerly a very quiet place consisting of some ten to fifteen log houses of an inferior order of architecture and containing a population of perhaps fifty persons, black and white,” he wrote. “Now, however, the population is 15-20,000 and the disproportion between the sexes is as great, if not greater than any other portion of the world, there being at least a thousand males to one female. Its streets which once used to witness on very busy days a half dozen miles loaded with grain passing to the grist mill a short distance up the creek, now are lined from morning till night with the four horse conveyances of our beloved Uncle Sam.” Rain was a constant at this time of year, and the roads and camps became impassable quagmires. “A corduroy road has been built through the camp over which we manage to get our provisions, but woe to the unfortunate teamster who misses it,” he stated. [viii] Launcelot Scott of the 18th Ohio described the camp more succinctly, calling it “the ultimate of mud and misery” and “a regular graveyard.” [ix]
Private Robert Whittaker, Co. H

It was at this camp that Colonel Hazzard further burnished his growing reputation for brutality. “The men were greatly exposed during all the time since they left Lawrenceburg,” explained Puntenney. “They were not allowed to gather straw for beds and had to sleep on the ground in their tents through November and December, and many of them died at Bacon Creek during the months of December and January. Twelve men died in one night in the hospital tent and their bodies were laid out on a rail pile nearby. Both Colonel Hazzard and Dr. Anderson were to blame for some of the exposure of the men; consequently, both the colonel and the doctor were heartily disliked by most of the enlisted men.” [x]

Surgeon William Anderson came in for a fair share of flack from the enlisted men for his care of the sick, but Anderson had another problem: widespread suspicions existed about his loyalty. As early as September 26th, Captain Thomas W. Pate of Co. C wrote to Governor Morton that he had heard from credible sources that Anderson’s “loyalty is extremely doubtful.” Captain Pate soon made similar accusations against Colonel Hazzard, stating that Hazzard made disloyal statements and abused the men. Hazzard had Pate arrested, tried, and then cashiered.

By mid-December 1861, mortality in the regiment started to creep upwards as the men succumbed to a host of diseases. Incidents of widespread disease were hardly uncommon with new regiments, and the 37th Indiana was no exception. Colonel Hazzard was convinced that if a soldier ate just the government issued rations, he would be better off, and went so far as to blame the high rate of sickness on the men eating locally produced pies, “which are sure to cause dysentery.” [xi]

Surgeon William Anderson provided a report on the incidences of sickness and death in the regiment and it tells a grim tale. On December 1st, 18 men were in hospitals while another 113 were sick and confined to their quarters, for a total of 131 men. By December 10th, that number grew to 197 men and by the day after Christmas it hit 286 men. The problem only grew worse after the turn of the new Year and by after the first week of January, more than 350 men were regularly on the sick rolls. In the period of 40 days, 32 soldiers died of disease, most of them from typhoid fever, a bacterial infection spread by consuming food or water contaminated with feces from an infected person. The disease progressed from abdominal pain, fever, and a cough, to a high fever with intestinal bleeding or perforation, pneumonia, and delirium. [xii]
Assistant Surgeon John R. Goodwin

Near the end of December, Colonel Hazzard ordered Dr. John R. Goodwin, who was located at Elizabethtown overseeing the care of 13 sick men of the regiment, to rejoin the regiment at Bacon Creek, leaving the sick men basically on their own. The attending physician, Dent Geoghegan, had been assured that competent nurses would be left to attend these men. “But to my astonishment when I visited the hospital I found but one miserably insufficient nurse to attend 13 very sick men, and this nurse is so deaf that not one half of the patients can speak loud enough to make them hear him. If you do not provide these patients with better nurses, half of them will die,” he wrote Colonel Hazzard. “Humanity demands that something should be done immediately for these poor fellows. If I had known that they were to be left with such miserable nursing, I would never have taken charge of them,” he declared. [xiii]

“The colder it got, the more dissatisfied the men became, and the more vigorous was the colonel’s discipline,” wrote Puntenney. “Consequently, the men were more than delighted one day when Colonel [John B.] Turchin, commanding the brigade, gave a command which they did not understand, and Hazzard rushed furiously at him saying, ‘There is no such command in the book.’ Then Colonel Turchin coolly said, ‘Colonel Hazzard, you must not address your superior officer in that way; give me your sword, consider yourself under arrest and go to your quarters.’ He rode off and the men could scarcely keep from cheering.” [xiv]

The men did more than cheer, however: they wrote letters home condemning Hazzard’s treatment of them and before long Governor Morton began to receive petitions from groups of concerned citizens asking for him to investigate the matter. Among the first to arrive on his desk was a note from the citizens of Jennings County stating that “charges of his [Hazzard’s] brutality reach us from reliable sources and demand investigation.” [xv] A few weeks later, a number of prominent Ripley County residents sent a similar petition to the governor charging that Hazzard “has proven himself a tyrant, devoid of common humanity and that the chief surgeon, William Anderson, with the knowledge at least if not the consent of Colonel Hazzard, has wantonly neglected the sick until some 40 deaths have occurred.” [xvi]

Hazzard’s conduct grew so notorious that other regiments in the army took to calling the 37th Indiana “the afflicted regiment.” A drummer from the 18th Ohio explained in a letter to the Pomeroy Telegraph that the regiment was “composed of brave men from Indiana, men who are willing to do their whole duty on all occasions, but they have a man placed over them whose highest ambition is seemingly to degrade them below the brute, to crush their every spark of patriotism, and above all, to send as many of them to their graves as he possible can by inattention to their wants and by ill-treatment when sick.” [xvii] Another soldier from the 18th Ohio reported that the 37th Indiana “would vote almost unanimously to have them (Hazzard and Anderson) suspended from a tree.” [xviii]

The day of deliverance arrived on the cold Sunday afternoon of January 5, 1862. The regiment lay at Camp Jefferson along Bacon Creek near the present-day town of Bonnieville, Kentucky. “Paradoxical as it may appear, this has been the saddest, happiest day that we have seen since we have been in the service,” wrote Chaplain John Hogarth Lozier. “Sad on account of the fact that Sabbath dawned upon three dead comrades. This fearful calamity was followed by another more mysterious and alarming. At 8 o’clock, Washington Rusinger of Co. D, feeling slightly indisposed, went to the doctor for medicine. Returning to his quarters, he took a dose of it and in a few minutes fell over in a kind of fit and died before noon. This evening, H.P. Grinstead of Co. C was unwell, but still going about the camp. He took a dose of medicine from the surgeon’s prescription and dropped dead in a few minutes. Just at roll call this evening, another soldier fell asleep in death making six dead men in one day.”
Chaplain John Hogarth Lozier, 37th Indiana Volunteers

“The happiness of today consists in the fact that we are at least temporarily relieved from the tyrannical rule of Colonel George W. Hazzard. The circumstances of the affair are these. Yesterday, the brigade surgeon sent an order that our sick, who were crowded into four foul hospitals such as the camp affords, should be removed to Louisville where they might be properly cared for. This order the colonel and Dr. Anderson would not obey. This afternoon, Dr. Blackman, chief surgeon of this division, called to see why. Colonel Hazzard told him that Blackman had no authority to order his sick away and after some further conversation said he’d “be damned if Blackman should take them away,” and threatened to force him out of camp. Blackman left, remarking that “he would take care of the sick and the well, too in this regiment.”

“Going to an old log house about a mile from camp, he found 15 sick men crowded into one room which I heard Dr. Blackman tell Dr. Anderson was “worse than the Black Hole of Calcutta.” These men complained that they were not treated well. Dr. Blackman returned in company with Dr. Muscroft and other physicians to our camp and was telling Dr. Anderson what he thought of the treatment of these men,” Lozier wrote. [xix]

A correspondent from the Cincinnati Times provided additional details of the confrontation between Dr. Blackman and Dr. Anderson. “On inquiry, he (Blackman) learned of the men that they had not received a medical visit in 36 hours, nor had they been furnished with anything to eat except common rations and a small quantity of chicken soup made by their well comrades. Dr. Blackman, highly indignant, rode to the quarters of Dr. Anderson and asked him if the statement of the men was true. He acknowledged the want of medical attendance, but declared that the sick had been daily furnished with good soup. Dr. Blackman demanded to see the cook and the cook was called. ‘Have you furnished the sick in hospital with soup today?’ was asked. ‘No,’ was the answer. ‘Did you furnish them with any yesterday?’ Again, ‘no’ was the answer. Here, Dr. Anderson denied the right of Dr. Blackman to quiz his hospital cook and while words were passing between them, Colonel Hazzard interfered,” it was reported. [xx]

Chaplain Lozier continues: “When Colonel Hazzard came out of his tent and seeing myself and a dozen other men standing near, yelled at us, “Leave here, every damned one of you!” I leisurely sauntered around being anxious to hear things of interest to our crushed and dying men. Dr. Blackman turned to the colonel and said, “Colonel, have you visited that house where those sick men are?” Hazzard replied, “Doctor, I’ll put you out of this camp damn quick,” and turning, called for a file of the guard. The guard being slow in responding, he yelled again, “Send a file of the guard here” and turning, said to me, “Go to your quarters under arrest." After a few more words between Dr. Blackman and Anderson, Hazzard ordered the guard to take Dr. Blackman out of camp which was immediately done.” [xxi] The Times correspondent stated that as Blackman was being escorted out of camp, “the men called out to Dr. Blackman to stand by them.” [xxii]
Colonel John B. Turchin
"The Russian Thunderbolt"

Chaplain Lozier continues: “About 15 minutes after Dr. Blackman disappeared, I heard a tremendous shout in camp and looking out, saw Colonel [John B.] Turchin on horseback leaving Hazzard’s tent, taking away his sword and announcing that until Colonel Gazlay returned to camp, the command would devolve upon Major [James S.] Hull. How the boys yelled! It was the first thrill of joy many of them had felt for many long, weary months. An hour afterward, General Mitchel and Colonel Turchin came to camp. General Mitchel had some conversation in Hazzard’s tent. When they retired, Turchin left an order for my release from arrest.” [xxiii]

George Puntenney remembered Hazzard’s arrest occurring within sight and hearing of the regiment, a public spectacle. “Colonel Turchin and several of his staff rode into camp and calling Colonel Hazzard out of his tent, placed him under arrest in the presence and hearing of a large number of the officers and private soldiers. This was loudly cheered by many of the soldiers.” [xxiv] The hollering from the men of the 37th Indiana was heard all over Camp Jefferson, one soldier from the 18th Ohio reporting that they “made the welkin ring with shouts of joy” when they learned of Hazzard’s arrest. [xxv] Despite the fact that all but three commissioned officers of the regiment had signed a petition asking for Colonel Hazzard’s removal, Major Hull (apparently not one of them), grumped that the cheering “was done by a damned set of low-flung privates.” [xxvi]

Hazzard’s arrest at this juncture likely prevented outright mutiny. Colonel Hazzard’s rough treatment of Dr. Charles S. Muscroft has raised hackles in the neighboring 10th Ohio regiment so much so that a correspondent from the regiment claimed that “when the boys of the 10th Ohio heard of the indignity offered their surgeon, it was with great difficulty they were restrained from following up the tyrant. It was a very fortunate thing that the affair led to his arrest, for it would undoubtedly terminate in a meeting that night in which case the colonel would surely have lost his life as there is an intense feeling against him owing to his continued cruelty toward his men ever since he commanded them.” [xxvii]

With Hazzard now under arrest, the regiment still harbored suspicions of Surgeon Anderson given that men died just after taking medicine he had provided. At Lieutenant Colonel Gazlay’s request, a contingent of surgeons from the brigade visited the camp and performed autopsies of two of the six men who died on January 5, 1862. One of the men was found to have suffered from the effects of typhoid while the second died from “continual inflammation of the brain. There was no evidence of any unusual or contagious disease manifested in these cases,” Surgeon Roswell G. Bogue of the 19th Illinois reported. [xxviii] An inspection report dated January 17, 1862 noted several deficiencies that no doubt added to the physical miseries of the men and made them more susceptible to disease. Captain Wesley Markland stated that “the stockings, drawers, coats, and pants of the men are in very bad condition, many of them being so ragged as to be insufficient to cover their person.” Cooking and eating utensils were also noticeably absent, “but few of the men have the full amount some are entirely destitute of them.” In practical terms, this meant that many of the poorly clothed men ate by hand and one can see how quickly typhoid fever can spread in such a situation. [xxix]

Regimental colors of the 37th Indiana Volunteer Infantry

Colonel Hazzard, smarting under his arrest, laid the blame for his troubles on a set of ambitious officers who used the newspapers to “fan the pious public into a rage.” The colonel presented the following “facts” before Governor Morton: “Lieutenant Colonel Gazlay thinks he has learned enough from me to be able to get along without any further assistance; Captain William D. Ward would like to be major; Assistant Surgeon Goodwin wants Dr. Anderson out of the way, and the captain of Co. C [Thomas W. Pate] has just be cashiered for breach of arrest, the use of obscene language, etc.” [xxx] A day later Morton received a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Gazlay reporting that Hazzard was under arrest and that colonel “was referring charges against everybody from General Mitchel down to myself.” [xxxi] By January 18th, Gazlay learned of Hazzard’s charge that Gazlay was trying to supplant Hazzard and hotly replied to Governor Morton that “I will authorize you to propose to Hazzard that we shall both resign.” [xxxii]

Colonel Hazzard had his defenders both in the army and in the press. The editors of the Cincinnati Daily Press, who had known Hazzard in his youth, cast doubts on the veracity of Lozier’s letter. “We are inclined to think that the colonel is not as bad as has been represented,” citing their past experiences with the “very clever and jovial young man” that had attended West Point. “Being a graduate of a strict military school, his education is very different from our volunteer officers who are too often too loose in their discipline,” it stated. “We trust that our former companion in youthful sports will come out ‘all right’ and that his alleged tyranny is but the enforcement of that discipline required by the ‘rules and regulations’ of the army.” [xxxiii]

The drumbeat of calls for Hazzard’s removal picked up speed once Chaplain Lozier’s letter was published in the Cincinnati Commercial, then widely copied in newspapers from New York to Chicago. The Chicago Tribune opined that Lozier’s account “reads like a tale of some pirate captain” and that Colonel Hazzard “deserves to made an example of. He should be cashiered and disgraced” as “an open warning to brutal officers of all degrees.”  [xxxiv] The Evansville Daily Journal stated that Hazzard had shown himself to be a “six-by-nine Nero” and treated his men “worse than dogs” and Hazzard’s case provided additional evidence of “the total unfitness of many regular army officers to take charge of and control volunteers.” [xxxv] 

It wasn’t only the press that called for Hazzard’s removal; Governor Morton started to receive letters from prominent political supporters demanding that he do something. Judge Johnson Watts of Hart’s Mills, Indiana, a wounded veteran of the War of 1812 and prominent politician of Dearborn County, begged for Morton to “use your position and influence to have him [Hazzard] removed and a man placed over them that will treat them like human beings.” Watts was quick to point out that “the people in my Congressional District do not blame you for making the appointment of Hazzard because they are sure you did not know his real character.” [xxxvi] Another missive from B.F. Spencer and John Berkshire of Ripley County asked that Hazzard be removed because of fear that men would mutiny if Hazzard was placed over them again. “We assure you that hundreds of letters and several eyewitnesses from here all testify that Colonel Hazzard and Surgeon Anderson are inhuman tyrants and deserve the contempt of all patriots,” they wrote. [xxxvii]

A few weeks after Hazzard’s arrest, Chaplain Lozier was arrested for having his letter published, which upset the men of the regiment again, the men suspecting that Hazzard’s West Point friends at army headquarters were behind the arrest. “The glaring fact of this contest is that the 37th Indiana in about three months has been reduced from 930 and 298 effective men,” wrote one correspondent. “No partiality for any man or devotion to any caste ought to be allowed to suppress the cry of humanity and Christianity against such a fearful havoc of health and life, and especially when the cause of it (tyranny and maltreatment) are so palpably evident.” Despite this, “there will be a desperate effort to save Colonel Hazzard and Dr. Anderson, though at the expense of crushing every volunteer officer and private in the regiment. If this effort succeeds, you may set it down to the power of caste, the spirit of West Pointism. Already have prominent officers of that school called to express their sympathy and pledged themselves to Colonel Hazzard to ‘see him through.” [xxxviii]

In one extraordinary letter, Lieutenant Jesse B. Holman of Co. D begged Ripley County neighbor, Colonel Bernard F. Mullen of the 35th Indiana Volunteers, for help. “Our regiment is styled the afflicted regiment at this time,” Holman wrote. “Difficulties have befallen us that would break the spirits of the men in any regiment if not break it entirely up. Our colonel is a despot in every respect and has cowed the men and come very near playing the same game on the officers.” Holman now cut to the thrust of his letter. “Colonel, I’d want you to use your influence to get rid of that abominable tyrant Hazzard. I know it is wrong to write about superiors but nevertheless all is true. I ask you as a friend of the regiment, of myself, and a citizen of the Fourth Congressional District, to take it upon yourself to see the governor and, if possible, have him removed.  If Hazzard is removed, all will go well.  If not, I fear the result.  All of the company officers are united in ousting Hazzard and if he is reinstated, we will have a rich time.” [xxxix]

The “rich time” Holman alluded to may have led to the murder of their colonel. An anonymous correspondent to the Indianapolis American stated that if Hazzard was restored to command, the men of “the regiment will be demoralized and in their madness will kill him. Already the men have secretly raised their guns to shoot him in his tent, but were restrained by the awful thought of murder. Hazzard is an infamous tyrant, perfectly unprincipled, and devoid of all humanity in his treatment of his men and officers. They are perfectly broken down and dispirited. No regiment has been gathered from a better class of farmers, mechanics, and laboring men. They are not impetuous, unemployed persons who rushed out at the first call, but the cool, deliberate, self-sacrificing persons who when they knew they were needed. They went out not for a spree nor for pay, but out of the purest patriotism.” [xl]

Governor Oliver Perry Morton
Governor Morton had to take action: the newspapers were aflame with sensational stories about Hazzard’s conduct, his supporters (and being a political animal, Morton was well aware of the upcoming election) were clamoring for Hazzard’s removal, and the soldiers of the regiment were going to extraordinary lengths to beg for relief from their colonel. The entire Indiana congressional delegation publicly called for Hazzard’s removal. Morton pulled the trigger, and no doubt with the consent of President Abraham Lincoln, secured the relief. It came in the form of Special Orders No. 34 dated February 15, 1862 at the Adjutant General’s Office of the Headquarters of the Army. “By the direction of the Secretary of War, the leave of absence granted Captain G.W. Hazzard, 4th Artillery, in Special Orders No. 237 paragraph 3 to enable him to command a regiment of Indiana volunteers, is hereby recalled. Captain Hazzard will join his company.” Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas signed the order “by command of Major General McClellan.” [xli]

“After it became known that the order from the War Department had come, our men were delighted and said they knew Indiana had a governor that would take care of the men he had called into the field,” praised Colonel Gazlay in a letter to the governor. “The regiment is coming up in spirits and they will always remember Oliver Perry Morton.” [xlii] John Morton of Co. C later commented that Hazzard’s bravery or competence was never questioned, but “his unjust treatment of the sick and of those who did not approve of his tyrannical way of dealing with all he disliked” made him a detested figure by most of the men. [xliii]

Major James S. Hull, however, felt that Hazzard had been pushed out by a clique of ambitious officers. “Our difficulty is not yet at an end,” he warned Governor Morton on March 20, 1862. “The precedence of petitioning this one into place and the other out is still in operation which will disorganize any regiment in the service. Permit me to say that all that comes to you in the shape of memorials or petitions are but one side of the picture and party ends and selfish aspirations are the main incentives to action among them. Heretofore I have remained quiet hoping these things would have an end but finding that they are on the increase. It is my duty to say that it is possible that a great injustice has been done to some members of the regiment by others. That things have been much exaggerated is beyond question.” [xliv]

Colonel Gazlay and Colonel Turchin both pushed for the promotion of Captain William D. Ward to the rank of lieutenant colonel regardless of Major Hull’s seniority in rank. Gazlay explained that Hull was “unpopular with men and officers and he does not understand tactics. He is wholly incompetent to command the regiment which he proved during some six weeks that he had command of it.” Governor Morton did not intervene and Major Hull was subsequently promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. [xlv] Chaplain Lozier eventually was court-martialed and sentenced to be suspended from duty for six months for publishing his letter, his crime being (in the words of the Chicago Tribune), “that the chaplain told the truth and that his offense was simply the misconduct of arraigning a superior officer before and improper and incompetent tribunal.” [xlvi]

Another officer most affected by the change in commanders was Adjutant Livingston Howland who, as Colonel Hazzard’s closest military confidante, quickly found himself at odds with Colonel Gazlay. Gazlay promptly moved to remove Howland, complaining in a letter to Governor Morton that “I became fully satisfied that I could not control the regiment and do its business with my confidential staff officer against me. He made himself very busy abusing me and his conduct was such towards brigade headquarters that the A.A.G. requested me to get another adjutant. Mr. Howland’s character is a fit staff officer for a man of Colonel Hazzard’s stamp, but it does not suit me.” Gazlay wrote that both the line officers of the regiment and Colonel Turchin asked him to remove Howland, but the real reason he could not work with Howland was due to Howland’s “hatred of every person that did not worship Colonel Hazzard.” [xlvii]

Colonel now Captain Hazzard reported back to the 4th U.S. Light Artillery then girding up to take part in General McClellan’s Peninsula campaign. Hazzard assumed command of Batteries A and C and was assigned to General Israel B. Richardson’s First Division of General Edwin V. Sumner 2nd Corps. He subsequently took part in the siege of Yorktown, the battles of Fair Oaks and the battles of the Seven Days including White Oak Swamp where he was mortally wounded.

As strict a disciplinarian as he was, Hazzard proved remarkably brave and capable in battle. General Oliver O. Howard had the opportunity to see Captain Hazzard on multiple occasions during the Peninsula Campaign and commented that “it always appeared to me that Hazzard could bring guns into position and fire them faster than any artilleryman I ever saw.” [xlviii] Lieutenant Rufus King of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery assumed command after Hazzard was wounded at White Oak Swamp and wrote glowingly of his actions in his after-action report. “Captain Hazzard behaved in the most gallant manner, encouraging the men and cheering them when they appeared fatigued, also superintending the entire fire of the battery, frequently changing the position of the guns, and sighting them himself. At one piece where three of the horses of the limber had been shot and the harness entangled by their fall and two of the drivers shot through the legs and feet, unable to disentangle themselves, Captain Hazzard performed the deed himself, also carrying ammunition to one piece where the cannoneers were entirely tired out and taking turns with myself in performing the duties of section one. About half an hour after we had been in action, Captain Hazzard was standing by one of the limbers superintending the taking out of ammunition when a shell burst in the battery, a fragment striking Captain Hazzard in the leg, breaking the bone and wounding him severely. He was immediately carried off the field and sent to the rear.” [xlix]

Captain Hazzard was sent to Harrison’s Landing, and then back to a hospital in Maryland, returning to his wife Mary and children. He died of his wounds August 14, 1862 at his home in Baltimore, Maryland and is buried at New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore. His gravestone features a draped cannon but makes no mention of his service in the 37th Indiana.  Battery Hazzard at the Fort Schuyler military reservation in New York was later named in his honor.

[i] Hazzard, George. Hazzard’s History of Henry County, Indiana, 1822-1906, Volume I. New Castle: George Hazzard, 1906, pgs. 586-587
[ii] Puntenney, George H. History of the Thirty-Seventh Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers: Its Organization, Campaigns, and Battles, September 1861 to October 1864. Rushville: Jacksonian Book and Job Department, 1896, pg. 10
[iii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Colonel George W. Hazzard dated November 30, 1861.
[iv] “The Charges Against Col. George W. Hazzard,” Chicago Tribune (Illinois), February 15, 1862, pg. 1
[v] Puntenney, op. cit., pgs. 13-14
[vi] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Theodore Gazlay dated January 8, 1862.
[vii] Prokopowicz, Gerald J. All for the Regiment: The Army of the Ohio, 1861-1862. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001, pg. 21
[viii] “From Edgarton’s Battery,” Cleveland Daily Leader (Ohio), February 13, 1862, pg. 3
[ix] Diary of Launcelot Scott, 18th O.V.I. Stones River National Battlefield
[x] Puntenney, op. cit., pg. 13
[xi] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Colonel George W. Hazzard dated December 15, 1861
[xii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, report from Hospital Attendant Dan Nollen
[xiii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Assistant Surgeon Dent Geoghegan dated December 28, 1861
[xiv] Puntenney, op. cit., pg. 14
[xv] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from citizens of Jennings County, Indiana dated January 1862
[xvi] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from the citizens of Ripley County dated January 14, 1862
[xvii] Letter from 18th Ohio, Pomeroy Telegraph (Ohio), January 31, 1862
[xviii] Letter from Charlie, Pomeroy Telegraph (Ohio), January 31, 1862, pg. 3
[xix] “Infamous Record of an Indiana Colonel and West Pointer,” Chicago Tribune (Illinois), January 10, 1862, pg. 1
[xx] “Arrest of a Colonel and Surgeon,” Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), January 11, 1862, pg. 3
[xxi] “Infamous Record,” op. cit.
[xxii] “Arrest of a Colonel,” op. cit.
[xxiii] “Infamous Record,” op. cit.
[xxiv] Puntenney, op. cit., pgs. 15-16
[xxv] Letter from 18th Ohio, op. cit.
[xxvi] Puntenney, op. cit., pg. 16
[xxvii] “Kentucky Army Correspondence,” Cincinnati Daily Press (Ohio), January 8, 1862, pg. 2
[xxviii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Surgeon R.G. Bogue dated January 6, 1862
[xxix] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, inspection report from Captain Wesley G. Markland dated January 17, 1862
[xxx] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Colonel George W. Hazzard dated January 11, 1862
[xxxi] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Colonel Carter Gazlay dated January 12, 1862
[xxxii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Colonel Carter Gazlay dated January 18, 1862
[xxxiii] “Colonel George W. Hazzard,” Cincinnati Daily Press (Ohio), January 8, 1862, pg. 2
[xxxiv] “Brutality in Shoulder Straps,” Chicago Tribune (Illinois), January 10, 1862, pg. 1
[xxxv] “The Case of Col. Hazzard,” Evansville Daily Journal (Indiana), January 11, 1862, pg. 2
[xxxvi] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Judge Johnson Watts dated January 18, 1862
[xxxvii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from B.F. Spencer and John G. Berkshire dated January 20, 1862
[xxxviii] Editorial, Evansville Daily Journal (Indiana), January 22, 1862, pg. 2
[xxxix] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Jesse B. Holman dated January 27, 1862
[xl] “The Tyranny of Colonel Hazzard,” Buffalo Commercial (New York), January 16, 1862, pg. 1
[xli] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, Special Orders No. 34 Paragraph 4 dated February 15, 1862
[xlii]  Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Colonel Carter Gazlay dated March 16, 1862
[xliii] “The Colonel of the 37th Indiana,” John Morton, National Tribune, June 19, 1884, pg. 7
[xliv] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Major James S. Hull dated March 20, 1862
[xlv] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Colonel Carter Gazlay dated May 1, 1862
[xlvi] “Rev. John H. Lozier,” Chicago Tribune (Illinois), March 20, 1862, pg. 2
[xlvii] Indiana Adjutant General’s Correspondence, 37th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers file, letter from Lieutenant Colonel Carter Gazlay with unknown date [speculation that it dates from February-March 1862]
[xlviii] “Memoirs of General Oliver O. Howard,” National Tribune, February 7, 1884, pg. 8
[xlix] “Where was Captain Hazzard Killed?,” Leroy Roberts, National Tribune, May 8, 1884, pg. 7


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