William B. Hatch

William B Hatch

Colonel William B. Hatch, born to William and Catherine Browning Hatch around 1838 in Camden, NJ, was part of Gloucester County during that era. His father, a farmer, lived in Camden’s North Ward.

Colonel Hatch’s military journey began as a soldier of fortune, serving in the cavalry of the Russian Imperial Army in 1859 and 1860 during his time in Europe. Returning to New Jersey at the onset of the Civil War, he enlisted as Lieutenant 1st Class on April 27, 1861, with the 4th Infantry Regiment New Jersey, serving a three-month term. The regiment reenlisted for three years, and Colonel Hatch continued his service, enlisting as a Major on August 17, 1861, and subsequently promoted to Full Lieutenant Colonel on September 7, 1861. He saw action at Mason’s Hill, VA, on October 28, 1861.

Colonel Hatch and his cousin, First Lieutenant Charles Hollingshead Hatch, served together and were captured during the Gaines’ Mill battle, leading to their imprisonment in Libby Prison. During their captivity, Colonel Hatch and other officers successfully tunneled out but were recaptured after three days.

Promoted to Full Colonel on August 18, 1862, Colonel Hatch took command of the 4th Infantry Regiment, replacing James H. Simpson. Leading his troops into Crampton’s Gap, MD, on September 14, 1862, he prepared for the offensive at Fredericksburg, VA, on December 13, 1862. Colonel Hatch was mortally wounded during the attack on Marye’s Heights above Fredericksburg, succumbing to his injuries on December 15, 1862. His final resting place is Evergreen Cemetery in Camden.

In honor of Colonel Hatch, the Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 37 was established in Camden on November 25, 1879. This post included notable members such as merchant Isaac C. Toone, builder Mahlon E. Harden, journalist Benjamin Braker, and Lewis Derousse, a former postmaster in Camden.

Joseph Champion, another cousin of the Hatch family, also served in the Union Army during the Civil War.


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