Norman Johnathon Hall
Few men from Monroe County participated in as many events related to the Civil War as Norman Hall. Raised on a farm south of Monroe, Hall was the first appointment from Michigan to the West Point Military Academy. After graduation, under Colonel Robert E. Lee, he was part of the force that put down John Brown’s Raid in Harper’s Ferry, in 1859. Assigned to Fort Moultrie in 1860, he was the only Michigan man to witness the assault on Fort Sumter. It was reported that Hall ran through fire during the bombardment to save the Union flag and hoist it on a makeshift pole. After serving on the staff of General George McClellan, Hall was promoted to Colonel and placed in command of the 7th Michigan Infantry in 1862. He was placed in command of the 3rd Brigade of the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Antietam. He led troops gallantly in battles that included Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. Hall survived the war but died from typhoid fever contracted during the war.
Heroic Leadership: the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg
Hall would receive three brevets for “gallant and meritorious service” during the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. He was given command of the 3rd Brigade, when brigade commander Brigadier General Napoleon Dana received a severe wound during the battle of Antietam. While under heavy fire, Hall tried to rally what remained of his units. At Fredericksburg, Hall led his men across pontoon bridges while under enemy fire to attack Mayre’s Heights. On the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, the 7th Michigan anchored the center on Cemetery Hill and then on the third day filled a hole in the Union line during Pickett’s Charge.
Hall contracted typhoid fever and had to leave his regiment on July 9, 1864. He sent this letter to his troops:
Brooklyn, New York
July 9th 1864
To the officers and Men of the 7th Michigan Veteran Volunteers,
The Official relation between your regiment and me has been dissolved by an order of the Secretary of War.
I cannot attempt to express the regret I feel in the necessity of this separation, but while I have been almost miraculously fortunate in passing safely through the dangers that have laid low so many of your comrades, I have not escaped the heavily afflicted hand of disease, and since I am unable to share your present dangers in the field I cannot wish to enjoy the honors as the chief officer of your veteran organization.
The emotions possess me at this moment are profound beyond my words to describe, side by side with the bitterly painful realization that I cannot return to the war-worn companions, I have learned to trust and love, arise the proud recollections of the days and years of toil and suffering and blood so cheerfully Met, so patiently and faithfully endured so full of honor and glory to you even when complete success was not your reward…..
….In bidding you this farewell I have the happy reflection that in my relations with you I have never lost sight of the fact that my command was for the cause and for you. Not for myself and no one can say with a shadow of truth that he enjoys a favorable position or name or that he has suffered in any way through any purely personal regard or disfavors of your late commander….
…With a heart sincerely mourning the brave dead full of sympathy for the wounded and suffering, and the bereaved and helpless ones, with earnest prayers for their welfare, and My assurance of deep and lasting regard for everyone of you and my hearty GOD SPEED.
I have the honor to be your late commander and sincere friend
(Full letter published in The Seventh Michigan Volunteer Infantry by David G. Townshend)
Read more about Norman Hall and the 7th Michigan Infantry in these books:
|Remembering Michigan's Civil War Soldiers by David Finney, Jr. and Judith McIntosh|
|Michigan at Antietam by Jack Dempsey and Brian Egen|
|The Seventh Michigan Volunteer Infantry by David Townshend|