Sunday, January 29, 2017

David W. Hamilton -- a man of strict integrity!

Capt. David W. Hamilton is one of my great great grandmother Eliza Ann Hamilton Morgan's younger brothers. Here I posted some of great grandfather John Hamilton Morgan's journal entries about his Uncle David's 1892 visit to Washington D. C.  for a G. A. R. gathering

Sketch of His Life and Services held in Memory of Him.
[February 28, 1896]


The funeral services of Capt. David W. Hamilton were held in the First M.E. [Methodist Episcopal] church Friday afternoon conducted by his old friend, Rev. James B. Lathrop, assisted by the pastor, Rev., J. W. Duncan. The deceased was raised here, and his life’s record is such that it will be a continual inspiration to those who knew him to lead a higher and better life.

In 1863 he had charge of Camp Morton where several thousand Rebel prisoners were confined, and upon leaving that position he turned over to his successor $14,000 belonging to prisoners and intrusted to his care by their relatives and friends.

If he had not been a man of strict integrity he might have kept this fund. This is an instance that shows his fine sense of honor and reveals his true character. He was a member of the First M.E. church, “Pap” Thomas Post, No. 5. G. A. R., and Greensburg Lodge, No. 36, F & A. M--The G. A. R. and Masonic fraternities held ritualistic services in the church and at the grave. Both orders were well represented, showing their high esteem of a comrade and brother. The following sketch appeared in the Indianapolis Journal which we reproduce for the benefit of our readers:

Capt. David W. Hamilton died at noon yesterday at St. Vincent’s Hospital, after an illness of several years. Captain Hamilton was born in Kentucky, February 1, 1828 but early in life the family emigrated to this State, settling in Decatur county, where the boy grew to manhood. At Greensburg, with his elder brother, John T. Hamilton, he learned the trade of a saddler and harness maker. From early youth he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was very popular there in the days of 1850 to 1861. In politics he was a Whig of unwavering fidelity, and become a Republican of unyielding conviction, supporting John C. Fremont with all the zeal of his ardent nature.


When Sumter fell in 1861 Captain Hamilton was one of the first men to place his name [illegible] Morgan’s roll. His company [illegible] organization, April 22, 1861, Company B of the Seventh Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. As first sergeant he served in that company in the three months’ service. In the movement from Webster on Phillippi, Va., on June 2, 1861, with Lient Rickets, of his company, he was detalled to lead the advance guard of the direct column, and, probably the only time during the long war, two men carried a lantern at the front, as the night was so dark and rainy and the mud so deep that the commanding officer deemed it necessary to find the road. These two officers carried the light within two or three miles of the objective point when it became so fine a target the outpost pickets of the enemy that it brought the column to a halt. Upon the reorganization of the Seventh Regiment for the three years’ service, he was elected as first lieutenant of Company E, and on the promotion of Capt. Ira Grover, became its captain.

Contracting diseases that made it impossible for him to march, he was transferred to the invalid corps, and was soon after appointed to the command of Camp Morton in 1863, where he had charge of the rebel prisoners therein. He gave complete satisfaction to the government as a pains-taking commander. When the term of his enlistment expired he was mustered out of the service, and in a few months, believing his disabilities would permit it, he again entered the service and was commissioned a captain in the Fifty-first Indiana. Before leaving the service he was commissioned a major of that regiment, but was not mustered with that rank before he retired finally from the service. He was a member of Encampment No. 80, of the Union Veteran Legion of Indianapolis; a command of “Pap” Thomas Post, G. A. R. [Grand Army of the Republic] of Greensburg, and a Mason of the lodge at the same place. His remains were taken to his old home at Greensburg last night. Captain Hamilton lived a bachelor’s life until a few years ago, when he married an estimable woman, who lived but a few months.

References: Greensburg, Decatur, Indiana Library new papers obituary collection.                                          

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