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Absalom N. HATCH

I WAS born in Steuben county, New York, March 8, 1839. Enlisted at Saginaw, Mich., November 11, 1861, Company F, 1st Regiment Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. Was captured near Huntsville, Ala., May 5, 1864, and confined in a prison at Cahaba, Ala., also at Marion, Miss.

I was put on board the "Sultana" too weak to care what became of me, but the air from the river, with the sweet crackers and other dainties provided by the ladies, seemed to put new life into me. I began to realize that I was on my way home after a prison life of ten and one-half months.

On the night of the disaster I did not lie down until the boat loosed from her moorings at the coal barge near midnight, and then found that some comrade had occupied my place or rather the one that I had selected on the boiler deck. There was no other way than to find another, a task easier thought of than accomplished, but which I proceeded to do. I first explored the boiler deck, then cabin and hurricane decks, but all were full. I then went below and out in front of the boilers, near the flagstaff on the bow, and rolled myself up in a blanket, between coils of rope. Had just gone to sleep when the explosion occurred. Several men ran over me and jumped into the river before I could get on my feet. I stayed on the boat until the wheel or covering on the left hand side began to topple into the boat, when I jumped in the river with an oak scantling (2x4) for company, floated within three miles of Memphis and was finally picked up by a boat just at peep of day.

The sight while on the boat, previous to leaving it, brings a shudder even to this late day.

P. S.—Yours found me just attacked with erysipelas, wrote off what you find on this sheet; the next morning both eyes were swollen shut, have just got around again. Would have written more if I had been well. Present occupation is that of farming. Post-office address, Ellington, Tuscola county, Mich.

Full List of Michigan Men  |  Reminiscences Of Survivors

(Reminiscences also linked in Full List of Men)

Sources For Your Research


Civil War Files On This Site

Michigan Civil War Files | 1883 Michigan Pensioners | 1894 Civil War Veteran Michigan Census
African Americans Who Served From Michigan | 1st Michigan Sharp Shooters Co. K | Loss of the Sultana
Honor Roll Interments in Michigan