1865: William Hazzard Wigg to Charles Jones Colcock Hutson

This letter was written by William Hazzard Wigg (1809-1875), a South Carolina native who worked in the District of Columbia prior to and during the Civil War as a government worker. He was married in July 1853 to Emma Maria Stevens (1825-1899) of Connecticut—the sister of Admiral Thomas Holdup Stevens, Jr., U. S. Navy. By his first wife, Margaret Euphemia Patterson (1809-1848), Wigg had at least three children before she died in 1848, one of which was Samuel Patterson Wigg (1842-1862) who met his death on the battlefield at Sharpsburg in September 1862 carrying the regimental banner in Co. H, 1st South Carolina Infantry. Wigg recovered his son’s remains from the battlefield the following January though his final resting place remains unknown.

William was the son of William Hutson Wigg (1777-1827) and Sarah Galt Martin (1783-1809). He was sometimes referred to as “Capt.” or “Maj.” Wigg though I’m unaware if he was ever in the military. Clearly the Civil War tested his loyalty and he may have, indeed, clandestinely done all in his power to aid the Southern cause. Newspaper notices from the period indicate he was frequently harassed and arrested by the military authorities and he was the object of derision by loyalists who knew of his southern heritage and family connections. He was still working for the Internal Revenue Service as late as 1870.

Charles Jones Colcock Hutson

Wigg wrote the letter to his relative, Lieut. Charles Jones Colcock Hutson of Co. H, 1st South Carolina Infantry, who was Adjutant of the regiment when he was taken prisoner at Harper’s Farm, Virginia, on 6 April 1865 and sent to Johnson’s Island on 17 April 1865. He was released on Oath of Allegiance on 6 June 1865. At the time of his release from prison he was described as 23 years old and a resident of Pocotaligo, South Carolina. Charles’ father was Richard Woodward Hutson. Readers will notice that Charles served in the same regiment and company as Wigg’s son, Samuel P. Wigg.

Wigg’s letter conveys $50 to his young relative, Charles Hutson, for his use with two other officers from South Carolina, to make their way from Johnson’s Island Prison, as soon as they were released, to Alexandria, Virginia, where he would meet them, give them lodging and the means to make the rest of their journey home to South Carolina. He advises them to make sure their papers are in order and to go immediately to the Provost Marshal’s office in Alexandria when they arrive, not taking time “to kick a dog out of your path” in order to show their papers and avoid arrest.


Alexandria, Virginia
May 2, 1865

Charles J. Hutson, Adjutant & Prisoner of War
Johnson’s Island, Block 3, Room 18

My dear young relative,

The restriction to my correspondence with rebels having been removed by the cancelling of my prohibitive [ ], I write to say that from Miss Stewart (who with her sisters are noble-minded, benevolent & devoted ladies), I learn that her brother (a Capt. & fellow prisoner of yours) has written to her stating that the prisoners at your prison have been generally determined to take the oath [of allegiance] and take their discharge.

Advertisement for rent of home placed by W. H. Wigg in the Alexandria Gazette on 8 July 1865

Poor fellows. I sympathize with them, one and all, and cannot think otherwise than they have acted wisely. He states also that no transportation will be furnished them but they must get home the best way they can. I consider yourself, Col. George W. C. Miller, & Lieut. Crawford all from poor, lost, and subjugated South Carolina as under my special protection & therefore, to enable you three to get here on your way home, I enclose you fifty dollars—all I have at this moment to share. And when you reach here (on landing at the wharf, enquire for No. 9, South Fairfax Street), I will accommodate you as best I may & will provide you with the means of going on.

On reference to the railroad map, I find there is no shorter or better road home than via this place, via Relay House near Baltimore, via Wheeling, Va., via Cambridge, OH, via Zanesville, OH, via Newark, OH, via Mt. Vernon, OH, via Mansfield, OH, via Sandusky, OH. This I am told is the most direct and cheapest rout & from here you can get on to Richmond without difficulty and thence home.

I hope the $50 will serve to bring all of you on here although it will be close shaving. If I am misinformed as to the intention of your (or either of you) obtaining release by taking the oath, then you may appropriate the money enclosed according to your discretion.

Hoping I shall see you all in health very shortly, I remain truly your affectionate cousin, &c. &c, — W. Haz. Wigg

P. S. If you come here, you must take care to provide yourself with all of the right kind of papers, else you will fall under the tender care of our Provost Marshal who has but a single opinion of all rebels & the method of their treatment. By the by, on landing, you had better proceed at once from the boat up King Street to his office & report before you say a word to any living human being, or even tarrying to kick a dog out of your path. If you do start for this place, do give us a little notice of your coming.

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