53rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, Infantry, Private, Company I

Great Grandfather of DANIEL S. DOYLE

STEPHEN HADFIELD, was born May 26, 1841 in Cale Green in the District of Stockport, County of Chester, England. He was the son of Joseph Hadfield and Mary Hadfield, formerly Hazledine. Joseph's occupation was Hatter. Stephen emigrated to the United States and joined the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, Company I, and mustered into service on August 30, 1864 and served until the end of the war. After the war he moved near Guelph, Ontario, Canada and lived to be 95. Stephen died on September 8, 1936 and is buried in Saint Joseph's Cemetery within the City of Guelph.

Stephen attended the 48th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic held in Detroit, Michigan, August 31 to September 5, 1914. The encampment medal he wore during that occasion is worn by his great grandson.

The only known account of his life during the war is in a newspaper article published in the Guelph Daily Mercury on March 2, 1934. The following is that article.

Stephen Hadfield at Age 93, Recalls meeting Lincoln - Still Retains Clear Memory of Battle Incidents - Lived in Wellington Since 1868
A. E. Byerly, D.D.

One of the remarkable old men of Wellington County and the only soldier of the United States Civil War to live in Guelph, Stephen Hadfield, at the age of 93, possesses a keen memory of the events of 1864 and 1865 when the North and South fought their final battles, and he enjoys the distinction of being one of the survivors who were present at the surrender of General Lee to General Grant.

Mr. Hadfield has been a resident of Wellington County since 1868, where he is one of the very few men now living who engaged in the construction of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway in 1868 and 1869, he being employed on the section between Guelph and Fergus.

Mr. Hadfield has never before told the story of his connection with the Civil War for public notice, but now that so few are left, and especially in Canada where the number must be indeed very small, he consented to go over the story of his early life in America.

Full of vigor, Mr. Hadfield would pass for a man little over eighty. He was born in England on May 26, 1841, a son of Joseph and Mary Hadfield. In 1864 he left Stockport in his native country and emigrated to the United States. In the same year he joined Company I, 53rd Pennsylvania Regiment and served until the close of the war. One incident he recalls was at the fierce but short battle of Hatcher’s Run, where he was a company of 32 strong, when in a charge he realized that he was the only man for some distance standing. Wondering what the trouble was, he looked about, and those who were not dead or dying were on the run down hill. There was nothing for him to do but to turn and run also.

His company was the one that besieged Petersburg during the winter of 1864 and 1865. Earthern breastworks guarded the men on both sides of Petersburg but at times the men would call a halt or truce and exchange sugar for tobacco, and have some conversation back and forth before hostilities started again.

On April 2, 1865, Mr. Hadfield recalls the Southern troops evacuated Petersburg and started their retreat. The Northern soldiers followed. A few more days and the war was over. General Grant’s army, in which Hadfield served, marched up from Farnville to Appomattox Court House, where General Lee was making his stand. Mr. Hadfield’s company was located near a cross road, and there on the 8th of April, 1865, they saw General Sheridan and cavalry pass along the road between their lines. That night they slept in the field just off the road leading into Appomattox, and their breakfast consisted of what they had in their haversacks, without coffee.

About 9 or 10 o’clock that historic morning of the ninth, a man was seen by Mr. Hadfield to come from Lee’s troops with a white flag, and word was soon passed around that Lee was negotiating with General Grant. A man went from Grant’s army into the camp of Lee. After his return Grant himself came along in a carriage drawn by four horses and entered Appomatox Court House, and about mid-day it was announced the war was over.

Young Hadfield stayed in Pennsylvania until 1868 when he came to Canada and located at Fergus, where he was employed by the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway in building the road from Guelph to Elora, and from Elora to Fergus. He worked for this road many years, his home being at Fergus, then at Aboyne, near Fergus, and later at Marden, north of Guelph. Mr. Hadfield married Catherine Doherty, and they had four children, of whom one, Mrs. Catherine Myers, is living at Guelph. Mr. Hadfield resides with his daughter.

The aged veteran still can see clearly those closing hours of the war, and has never forgotten the time when he shook hands with Abraham Lincoln, the one and only time he saw the President. This occurred at a place on the Potomac River when Mr. Lincoln shook hands with a few of the men who were marching by.


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