Excerpt: Colonel William B. Hatch

The following is derived from George Reeser Prowell’s History of Camden County, N.J. published in 1886.

Colonel William B. Hatch was the son of the late William B. Hatch, of Camden. As a youth he developed a fondness for military life. After his father’s death he visited Europe, and spent several months in observation of the military systems of the Continent. Upon the breaking out of the late war he was appointed adjutant of the Fourth Regiment New Jersey Militia, under Colonel Miller, and served with that regiment in the three months’ service. Upon the organization of the Fourth New Jersey Volunteer Regiment for the three years service he was offered and accepted the commission of major of the regiment, and very soon after was commissioned lieutenant-colonel. With the Fourth Regiment he served under Generals Kearny and Taylor, and as a part of General Franklin’s division, Sedgewick’s Sixth Army Corps. He took an active part in the Peninsula campaign under General McClellan. At the battle of Gaines’ Mill the Fourth Regiment fought bravely for hours, but were finally surrounded and captured by the enemy, with his fellow officers and companions. Colonel Hatch was carried a prisoner to Richmond, where for many weeks he sustained the horrors of the rebel prison. After being exchanged he rejoined his regiment, and soon after was commissioned its colonel.

His commissions date as follows: Major of the Fourth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, August 17, 1861; lieutenant-colonel, September 7, 1861; and colonel, August 28, 1862. He participated with his regiment in the following engagements:

  • West Point, VA, May 7, 1862
  • Gaines’ Mill, VA, June 27, 1862
  • Manassas, VA, August 27, 1862
  • Chantilly, VA, September 1, 1862
  • Crampton’s Pass, MD, September 14, 1862
  • Antietam, MD, September 17, 1862
  • Fredericksburg, VA, December 13, 1862

In this last battle he fell mortally wounded at the head of his regiment, while leading them to the attack upon the enemy’s works. He was conveyed to the field hospital near Falmouth VA, where his leg was amputated. He died two days later, on December 15, 1862, and his remains were returned to Camden and interred in the cemetery. To such an extent had he gained the love and appreciation of his command that they collected in the field six hundred dollars, and purchased and presented to him a beautiful dapple gray horse called the Grey Warrior, which afterwards became the property of General A. T. A. Torbert. This famous horse died at General Torbert’s home in Delaware in 1882.

On November 25, 1879, a Grand Army of the Republic Post was organized in Camden NJ. At the first meeting of the new post, it was unanimously decided to honor Colonel Hatch by adopting the name William B. Hatch Post.

The William B. Hatch Post No. 37, Grand Army of the Republic had among its members several prominent Camden residents, including merchant Isaac C. Toone, builder Mahlon E. Harden, journalist Benjamin M. Braker, and Lewis Derousse, who served at one time as Camden’s postmaster.


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