Monday, February 25, 2013

Captain Theron E. Hall

I am finding more and more that Facebook is a wonderful place to "get history." Depending on the people, historic sites, organizations or blogs that one happens to "Like" or "friend," lots can be learned.  For example, today I came across a picture of Captain Theron E. Hall on one of The American Civil War's posts. It was an image I had never seen before, although it is in the collections of the Library of Congress (LOC). If you follow my blog posts, you know that I use images from the LOC often. Somehow, through all of my searching on their website I never stumbled across this one.

This image of Quartermaster Hall was taken at Acquia Creek, Virginia, in April 1863. Capt. Hall was later transferred to Camp Nelson, Kentucky, where he also served as that base's quartermaster. Although a Massachusetts abolitionist, Hall had had an up and down relationship the the African American soldiers, their refugee families, and minister John G. Fee (who worked ministering, educating, and caring for the soldiers and the families), it was Hall who brought attention to the expulsion of refugees on a cold November day in 1864.

Immediately after that chilling forced exodus Hall wrote to Ohio Senator Benjamin Wade and asked that he share the contents of the letter and a USCT soldier's affidavit describing how his family had suffered due to the expulsion with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Hall also sent the affidavit to the New York Tribune, who published it. News of the tragic event spread rapidly across the North and eventually bore fruit by shaping legislation that was passed in March 1865 that freed the family members of soldiers that enlisted in the USCT.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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