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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
[Treatment of Suspected and disloyal Persons, North and South]

Series 2, Volume 2, Pages 1501 - 1506.

Serial Set Vol. No. 3788; Report H. Doc. 66.
December 5, 1898.

Case of Dr. Stephen Hagadorn.

RICHMOND, July 30, 1861.

President DAVIS.

     MY DEAR SIR: Can you be prevailed on under the circumstances to release a poor distressed man, one that is laboring under rheumatic pains, one whose general health is poor, and of a broken-down constitution? I am here a prisoner, not because I have waged war against anybody; only on account of possessing a parent's anxiety to know if my son was alive, who enlisted in Wisconsin, not having seen him in many months. I reside when at home at Bath, Steuben County, N.Y.; left on the evening of the 17th instant, promising to return last week. I am sure that no one's happiness is increased by keeping me here. I was not in any way connected with the army, neither had I any ams about me; was robbed of all my money when taken. I beg to be released. I beg to have a hearing. Don't, for humanity's sake, continue my suffering longer while it is in your power to relieve me. I am not in office of any kind; am a practicing physician and have a home, and oh! could I go and enjoy it once more. Can I? It is in your power to say. General Beauregard was made acquainted with my circumstances at Manassas and sent for me; as I was taken in the night, I was lying on the ground asleep and the office said he could not find me. What will you do with my entreaties for mercy?

Yours, &c.,

RICHMOND, July 30, 1861.


     MY DEAR SIR:  My condition is the most unhappy of all men. I am imprisoned here for what I am not guilty of doing, any public or private wrong. Have not directly or indirectly been engaged in the present disturbances existing in our country. Left my business, which is the practice of medicine, on the evening of the 17th instant, intending to return last week. I am a resident of Bath, Steuben County, N.Y. Came for the express purpose of seeing my son who had come in the Second Wisconsin Regiment. Having learned when I got to Washington on Friday that a battle had been fought at Bull Run came over only to see whether he was dead or alive, and my anxiety led me to venture too far, and consequently am here. Will you as an act of humanity and kindness have the goodness to liberate me from this very revolting condition in which I am placed? I came entirely unarmed except with money to defray expenses, which was taken from me when I was taken. It is now in your power to relieve suffering humanity. Will you do it? Do, I pray you, but submit I must to whatever you are pleased to direct.

Yours, in faith and submission,
To the WAR DEPARTMENT, Confederate States of America:
     I had no time when my name was registered to give a statement of  my case, which I will briefly do at this time. I left my home and business on the 17th of July to return as soon as the 27th. Did not come as an invader, having no weapons of any kind. I am in the fiftieth year of my age; am a physician, Stephen Hagadorn by name, and live at Bath, Steuben County, N.Y. I came only to see a son who had enlisted in Wisconsin. Found on Sunday that a battle was being fought. Anxious as a father could be to know whether my son was alive, was too venturesome, consequently am a prisoner. My son is a prisoner here and must of course be held as such until disposed of. I ask mercy at your hands, and a release that I may go to my distressed family. When taken I was robbed of over $100 in money and papers that were valuable to me, and am as unpleasantly sisuated as mortal man can be on account of being detained from my family, who of course must be much distressed on account of my absence. Will you, my dear fellow-beings, let me go I pray you? I have done nothing to offend you therefore I pray you let me go.

BATH, STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y., October 14, 1861.

HON. JEFF DAVIS, Richmond, Va.

DEAR SIR: Among the prisoners taken at the battle of Bull Run was a Dr. S. Hagadorn, a quiet and peaceable citizen of this village. Owing to some family difficulty his son, S. H. Hagadorn, had some months previous left home. As the doctor was about leaving for New York to purchase medicines, &c., he learned that his son had joined some one of the regiments that had gone to Washington. With a father's anxiety he concluded to visit Washington immediately, saying he "might never see his son again should he go into battle." On his reaching Centreville he learned that the command had moved forward. He did not see any fighting the day of the battle but went toward evening about two miles (he should judge) beyond Centreville in hopes of seeing his son if returning; if wounded to dress his wounds and to do all that affection could dictate, but your cavalry came up and he was taken prisoner.
     This is the simple and truthful statement of the case given to me by his almost distracted wife, and I have written to you hoping that when you are assured he was a non-combatant, a quiet, peaceable citizen, you will release him. Dr. S. Hagadorn is a man about fifty I should think, a gentleman and a Christian, and will respect his parole.
     Perhaps you have forgotten me, but I remember General Jeff. Davis, who was wounded in Mexico, and whom I had the pleasure of entertaining at the mouth of the Rio Grande when he and his suite were en route for New Orleans. Mr. Davis, a compliance with my request will be an act of humanity and great kindness, and I will esteem it a personal favor.

I am, very respectfully, &c.,
Widow of the late Maj. E. A. Ogden, U.S. Army.
[First indorsement.]
     If on inquiry this case seems to be well stated let the prisoner be released on parole.
[Second indorsement.]
     General Winder for report, in accordance with the President's indorsement.
RICHMOND, November 7, 1861.

General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.
     SIR: Dr. Stephen Hagadorn was sent to Richmond as prisoner of war with a number of others. There were no papers to show that he differed from the rest. The inclosed papers contain all the information there is about him. Doctor Hagadorn has always adhered to the same statement.

     Respectfully, your obedient servant,
     Let the prisoner be released on parole and allowed to go to the United States.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
October 8, 1861.

     DEAR SIR: Accompanying this note you will find certain papers handed me by Hon. John C. Breckinridge, who left this place on yesterday for Kentucky.

R. B. CHEATHAM, Mayor.
[Sub-inclosure No. 1.]
BATH, STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y., September 11, 1861.


     MY DEAR SIR: Although an entire stranger to you I have taken the liberty to inclose to your address a letter to General Winder, of the C. S. Army, asking for the release of a prisoner he now holds and which I beg of you as an act of humanity and a favor to me to forward to Richmond, if in your power. I ask the favor as a political friend and a national Democrat, relying upon your generosity and kindness of heart. A perusal of the inclosure will explain its object. To satisfy you of my identity I also inclose a note received from F. H. Hatch, * the collector at New Orleans, with whom I am connected by marriage and was in correspondence until the present difficulties and through [whom] I would make this application if I knew how to reach him. You are probably acquainted with him. If you are satisfied of my sincerity and honor may I ask you to add your indoresement of the request I make of the general? You will never have occasion to regret it. I may be able in some way to oblige you.

Yours, truly,

* Omitted.

[sub-inclosure No. 2.]
BATH, STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y., September 10, 1861.

General JOHN H. WINDER, C.S. Army.

     MY DEAR SIR: Among the prisoners taken at Bull Run and now detained at Richmond is Dr. Stephen Hagadorn of this place. In July last having learned that his son, a resident of Wisconsin, had enlisted and was then in Washington with a father's anxiety he resolved to take in that city on his way to New York to purchase a stoc of medicines, in hopes of seeing that son. He reached Washington on Friday before the engagement and learned that his son's regiment was at or near Centreville but was unable to procure a pass until Sunday. He reached the hospital on the battle-field just before the rout commenced and administered to the wounded, but being in feeble health was unable to escape in the flying host and consequently was captured. The doctor was in no way connected with the army. He holds no political office. He is a man of no pretention or extended influence. He is simply a country physician of small practice, depending upon it for the support of his family. I have no personal connection with or interest in the doctor or his family other than a neighbor. In goint to and from my office I pass his house. The distress of sorrowing wife and children touched my heart. I found that a set of miserable comforters had imposed upon them and their fears by reporting bloody and cruel outrages perpetrated by the Confederates upon the Federal prisoners and bade them entertain no hope of his being restored to them. I indignantly denounced them as libels upon humanity and base fabrications unworthy to be repeated by Christian lips. I had of course to suffer from the imputation of sympathy with rebels, but happily all that I had said of Southern humanity and generosity proved true. The family soon received letters assuring them of his safety and comfort as far as his feeble health would permit. My further advice and assistance not being asked I did not obtrude it. I watched closely the conduct of the Black Republicans and was shocked at their manifest heartlessness and indifference. In fact they seemed disappointed that the poor man had not been hung and quartered. I ventured to inquire of a friend of the family what had been done for his comfort or toward procuring his release and was told nothing whatever; that the same miserable comforters had advised the wife that nothing could be done for her husband, that it was useless to make the effort.
     Without being even asked or having consulted any one but my wife I resolved to lay the case before you and make an appeal to your magnanimity. His detention can be of no practical importance or benefit to the C.S. Army. On the other hand his release would operate to dissipate the bitter prejudice that interested persons have sought to raise against the Confederates in this vicinity. If you will eamine the doctor you will find that all that is stated is substantially true and become satisfied that his discharge would subserve the public interest. It may seem presumptuous in one so humble to make such a request, but I know brave men are ever generous and confiding, always ready to lend a listenting ear to the petitions of the simple and true-hearted.

I remain, your obedient servant,
[Inclosure No. 2.]
BATH, STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y., October 18, 1861.


     MY DEAR BROTHER: Some time since I wrote you in behalf of Dr. Stephen Hagadorn, of this place, a prisoner confined in your city. By letters just received from him I learn that that communication reached you and that you kindly visited him. I am therefore emboldened by your past kindness to trouble you again. Accompanying this is a communication addressed to Hon. J. Davis, stating facts in relation to the doctor and signed by some of the gentlemen of this town. We trust it may be the means of procuring his discharge. Will you, my brother, see that it is put into the hands of Mr. Davis at the earliest possible moment? By so doing you will have the consciousness that you have done what you could to release a worthy brother in Christ from a painful and unnecessary confinement and bring happiness to a distressed and highly worthy family. Will you also use your personal influence to bring about so worthy an object?

Yours, affectionately, in the truth,
Pastor of Bath Church.
BATH, STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y., October 16, 1861.

     This is to certify that we, the undersigned, residents of the village of Bath, aforesaid, are familiarly acquainted with Dr. Stephen Hagadorn, of this village, now a prisoner at Richmond, in the State of Virginia. That said Hagadorn is highly esteemed as a citizen, a physician and a Christian, being a member of the Baptist Church in this village. Unassuming in his intercourse but always up to his pretentions, his word always reliable; is strictly a civilian, never seeking military or political honors not so much as holding a town office. The doctor has a son by the name of S. H. Hagadorn, who left this village about the 6th of January last, went to Milwaukee, in the State of Wisconsin, and there without his father's knowledge enlisted, which facts came to his father's knowledge, and on the 17th of July last prompted by parental affection to look after his son the doctor left his home for the city of Washington without the least hostile intentions and expecting to return home in a very few days, and that by the way of the city of New York for the purpose of replenishing his stock of medicines as required in his practice as a physician.
     All of which is respectfully submitted.
          R. Campbell, Lieutenant-Governor of New York; D. Rumsey, jr., ex-Member of Congress; W. Barnes, judge of Steuben County, N.Y.; Orson Mosher, clerk of Steuben County, N.Y.; Reuben Robie, ex-Member of Congress; Wm. Y. Hubbell, ex-Member Twenty-eighth Congress; O. Seymour, sheriff Steuben County, N.Y.; James Lindsay, justice of the peace in and for Steuben County; O. R. Howard, rector Saint Thomas' Church (P. E.); E. R. Kasson, under-sheriff Steuben County, N.Y.; E. J. Scott, pastor of Bath Church; D. M. Van Camp, insurance agent.
Steuben County, Clerk's Office, ss:

     I, Oscar J. Averell, deputy clerk of the county of Steuben, do hereby certify that I am well acquainted with each and every one of the persons whose names are subscribed to the foregoing petition and statement and that I believe the signatures thereto are the genuine signatures of the individuals whom they purport to be; and further that I am well acquainted with the said Doctor Hagadorn and hereby freely indorse the statement and certificate foregoing and know it to be true and correct.
     In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my official seal at Bath, this 18th day of October, 1861.

Deputy Clerk.
RICHMOND, November 7, 1861.

General WINDER.

     DEAR SIR: You wish to know what General Beauregard promised me. I did not see the general. The officer of the guard told me in the morning that he sent for me in the night but that he could not find me. He was so busy during the day that I could not get an opportunity to see him. I never was in Virginia until the 21st of July, about noon, and then in search of my son, to learn whether he was dead or alive. I stated the circumstances to the officers, who told me they had no doubt but that the general would let me go if he knew the circumstances. I was not in arms; left my home and business only for a week to learn the fate of this son who had enlisted from the State of Wisconsin, having left his home and gone West some months previous.

Yours, with much respect,
Bath, Steuben County, N.Y.

P. S. - The officers at Manassas said they had no doubt I would be released as soon as my case was known at Richmond - My case is one that needs as much sympathy as any one's. I learn my family are in great distress.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, November 11, 1861.

Brig. Gen. J. H. WINDER, Richmond, Va.

     SIR: The Secretary of War directs that Dr. Stephen Hagadorn be released on parole and allowed to go to the United States.

Chief of Bureau of War.