Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sgt. George W. Hatton, 1st USCI Expresses Disappointment on Unfair Treatment

 After receiving a serious wound to the left knee in the June 15, 1864 fighting at Petersburg, 21 year old Sgt. George H. Hatton received medical treatment at the army hospital at Hampton, Virginia. While there he wrote to the Christian Recorder newspaper to express his disappointment. 

"I have been silent for a long time, but today I must speak, for it is a day long to be remembered by me, a wounded soldier of the U.S. Army.

I was wounded at the battle of Petersburg on the 15th of June last, and arrived at the Hampton Hospital on the 20th. On my arrival there, I wrote to my father, stating that I was wounded and would like him to come and see me, and if possible, take me home, where I should have the attendance of my kind and loving mother. My father complied with my request, and arrived at Fortress Monroe on the 30th. I was overjoyed to see him.

Today, he departed with a hung-down head, leaving me with an aching heart. I must here state the cause of my trouble. It is as follows:

On my father's arrival at the hospital he stated the object of his visit to the doctor in charge, who, very short and snappish, referred him to Dr. White, one of the head surgeons. Father immediately proceeded to Dr. White's office, where he expected to receive a little satisfaction, but to his heart-rending surprise, received none. After making every exertion in his power to get a furlough, he failed in so doing, without receiving the slightest shadow of satisfaction.

All of this I was willing to stand, as I had discharged my duty as a soldier from the first of May, 1863, up to the time I was wounded, for the low United States' degrading sum of $7 per month, that no man but the poor, down-trodden, uneducated, patriotic, black man would be willing to fight for. Yes, I stand all this; but the great wound I received at the hospital was this: A white man, whose name I did not learn, came from Washington with my father for the same purpose, to see his son and carry him home. His success needs no comment; let it suffice to say that he was white, and he carried his son home.

Such deception as that I thought was crucified at the battle of Fort Wagner; buried at Milliken's Bend; rose the third day, and descended into everlasting forgetfulness in the Appomattox River at the battle of Petersburg.

Mr. Editor, when, oh! when can one of my color, and in my position, at this time, find a comforter? When will my people be a nation? I fear, never on the American soil; though we may crush this cursed rebellion."

1st Sgt. Hatton transferred to Summit House General Hospital in Philadelphia in August 1864. He apparently retuned to duty on November 28, 1864. However, he became ill on March 17, 1865, and appears to have remained so until he was mustered out due to disability on June 17, 1865. Hatton appears in the 1870 census living in Washington D.C.'s Fourth Ward with his wife Frances. 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hello Tim,
    Thank you for posting the letter from George Hatton. I'm studying Black History. It's a very interesting experience to look into the past and learn from it. The journey to freedom was very tragic for Black people.