Rare Collection of Documents of Gen. Isaac Stevens (KIA) and son Hazard Stevens (MOH)
Rare Collection of Documents of Gen. Isaac Stevens and son Hazard Stevens – This Stevens father and son collection consists primarily of materials of Hazard Stevens (1842 – 1918), Civil War officer and Medal of Honor winner, and of his father, Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818 – 1862), a brigadier general in the Union Army of the Potomac. The elder Stevens, a Massachusetts native who had graduated from West Point, had served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers and participated in the Mexican War, but resigned his commission when he accepted the post of governor of the Washington Territory from President Franklin Pierce, in 1853. He was appointed colonel of the famed 79th New York Infantry (The Highlanders) in July of 1861; he was later promoted to the rank of brigadier general in September of the same year. He led the brigade on several expeditions and took command of Beaufort, South Carolina, for a time, before returning to Virginia, where the 79th New York participated in the Second Manassas Campaign. Stevens was killed in action, shortly thereafter, at the Battle of Chantilly, on September 1, 1862.
Hazard Stevens, son of General Stevens, served as assistant adjutant general to his father, and after the general’s death, was offered a post on the staff of General George Washington Getty (1818 – 1901), in the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He led troops in the taking of Fort Huger during the siege of Suffolk, Virginia, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, albeit three decades later. After the war, Hazard moved to Washington State to care for his widowed mother and there gained additional fame for being the first, with a friend and colleague, to scale Mount Rainier, in 1870. He worked for the Oregon Steam Navigation Company and was later a federal revenue collector. Hazard never married.
These documents were discovered, approximately 25 or 30 years ago, within an old oak, roll-top desk, perhaps once a possession of Hazard Stevens, in the State of Washington.
Along with the wartime correspondence of the two Stevens, within this grouping are documentation of Hazard’s Medal of Honor nomination, some postwar ephemera, documents of General Stevens’ father, Isaac (b. 1785) and ephemera related to the Stevens extended families.
Some of the more significant documents contained in this fine grouping are as follows:
- Three wartime letters written by Gen. Stevens to his wife describing military activities undertaken by the 79th NY; the third letter, Stevens’ last written communication, is dated September 1, 1862 – in this letter Gen. Stevens mentions an encounter with the Rebels wherein the forces under his command are defeated, suffering numerous casualties; he also mentions that his life, and that of Hazard’s, have been spared, although his horse was shot out from under him; written on one side of this letter, during the war period, is the following: “The last letter General Stevens wrote. The morning it was written in the evening he was dead.” – the general would be killed in action, later that day, at Chantilly.
- Letter written by Gen. Stevens to wartime Massachusetts Gov. John A. Andrew, recommending the appointment of his son, Hazard, to the rank of Colonel, to command the 28th Massachusetts Infantry
- Multiple wartime letters written by Hazard Stevens to relatives, detailing his military activities, including detailed descriptions of “Rebel” fortifications, military action, troop movements, winter camp and actions against “guerrillas”.
- Letter written by Hazard Stevens to his Aunt Mary providing a detailed description of Confederate fortifications along the Elizabeth River, built by African American laborers; this letter includes a hand-drawn map of the Confederate fortifications, sketched by Stevens.
- Letter (contemporary copy) dated April 22, 1863 from General George W. Getty to General Lorenzo Thomas (1804 – 1875) requesting that Capt. Hazard Stevens be promoted to the rank of major and permanently assigned to the Adjutant General’s Department of the 3rd Division of the 9th Corps of the U.S. Army
- Letter (contemporary copy) dated December 15, 1864 from General George W. Getty to Governor John A. Andrew (of Massachusetts) recommending Hazard Stevens be awarded the rank of Colonel of one of the regiments raised in Massachusetts – bears the endorsement by General Horatio Gouverneur Wright (1820 – 1899).
- Notes on references to both Gen. I. Stevens and Hazard Stevens in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.
- Newspaper clipping from 1863, from an unidentified Newport, R.I. paper, concerning the capture of Ft. Huger at Suffolk, Virginia, on April 19, by troops under the command of Captain Hazard Stevens.
- Letter dated April 23, 1863, from Gen. George W. Getty to Professor A.D. Bache (Alexander Dallas Bache, 1806 – 1867) as superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, urging his support for the promotion of Captain Hazard Stevens to major for gallantry in taking Fort Huger.
- Letter dated December 13, 1893, from Gen. George W. Getty to Gen. Thomas W. Hyde (1841 – 1899) concerning his recommendation of General Hazard Stevens for the Medal of Honor.
- Letter dated January 12, 1894 from David Morrison (1823 – 1896), formerly Lt. Colonel of the 79th NY Infantry, to Daniel Lamont, U.S. Secretary of War, supporting the recommendation that Brevet Brig. Gen. Hazard Stevens be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in the taking of Ft. Huger, in 1863.
- Letter dated August 24, 1894, written by Gen. George W. Getty to Gen. Hazard Stevens, concerning the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia.
- Two letters written by Margaret Lyman Stevens (wife of Gen. Isaac Stevens and mother of Hazard Stevens), dated in the year 1856, when Gen. Stevens was territorial governor, to her son Hazard.
- Envelope marked: “Last Letters of Gen. Stevens to his wife and locks of his hair”
- Envelope marked: General’s Hair cut off by John L. Hays in Washington Monday September 1st at his house” – day of Stevens’ death at Chantilly – envelope contains substantially thick lock of Stevens’ hair
- Envelope marked: “Father’s Hair General’s Hair” – envelope contains substantially thick lock of Stevens’ hair
- Envelope marked: “Shot’s Hair” – thick lock of hair tied by period twine – could be hair from Stevens’ horse
- Small albumen of late 19th century photographs of interior and exterior views of a well-appointed home, presumably owned by members of the Stevens family
***A detailed inventory of the entirety of the Stevens document collection will be included with this grouping. All of the documents and various ephemera have been placed in acid free, PVC free Mylar, contained within a three ring binder.