This letter is part of a collection of 12 letters written by Jesse Hatch to his brother, Abel, and father, Amos, back in Norwich during the Civil War. Jesse served in the Union Army from 1862-1865. He enlisted at age 26 as a 2nd Sergeant in company K of the 27th Iowa Infantry which fought in the western theater. By the time of Jesse’s enlistment, Grant had already captured Forts Henry and Donelson (Tennessee) respectively, as well as fought the Battle of Shiloh (April, 1862).

The Hatch-Peisch House.
Constructed by Jesse’s Great Uncle Joseph, ca 1773.
You can still see it today– the blue building on your right as you drive into town from the east on Main Street.

Jesse Hatch was one of the fourth generation of the Hatch family to grow up in Norwich. He is directly descended from John Hatch who, along with his brother Joseph, were two of Norwich’s earliest settlers. Although by the time of his enlistment Jesse and two of his older sisters had moved to Iowa, much of his family remained in Norwich including his widowed father Amos, and his older brother Abel. Jesse was one of 11 children and he makes reference to some of his siblings in his letters including his younger brothers Henry and Alpa (Alpha) and sisters Julia, Ann and Eunice in this first letter.

It is interesting to note that in this letter he mentions General John Pope who, owing to his prior work in the west, had been called back east and as of July 4th ,1862 was the new commander of the Army of the Potomac. Pope didn’t last long in that position as he was relieved of this command after the defeat at the battle of Second Manassas (Bull Run) at the end of August. Pope then is relegated to the west and heads up the Department of the Northwest which is during the period Jesse writes about.  As Jesse mentions, the  27th Iowa is called out to help in Minnesota against the Indians. Jesse says no more about what happened in Minnesota and next we hear from him he is in Mississippi where the 27th has joined the army led by General William T. Sherman.
Stay tuned for more next week!

Thanks to NHS volunteer Bob Bristol for his research, writing, and narrating.