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James Childs Hitchcock (1841-1864)

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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James Hitchcock, born in 1841, was the only child of one of the most prominent citizens of Deerfield, Massachusetts, Nathaniel Hitchcock. When the Civil War came, he enlisted in the 27th Massachusetts Volunteers, one of the units President Abraham Lincoln authorized in the weeks after the disaster of the first Battle of Bull Run. Hitchcock then served in Virginia under General Benjamin Butler. He was an orderly, or assistant, to one of Butler's staff officers. In May, 1864, Hitchcock was captured during the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Virginia. He was sent to the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. The Confederacy was unable to properly feed or house the prisoners it captured: even its own armies were not getting full food rations by 1864. Its treatment of Union prisoners at Andersonville was later found to be criminally neglectful. Perhaps because of those conditions, James Hitchcock died there in September, 1864. His father would go on to help found Deerfield's Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and he would write the epitaph on Deerfield's Civil War monument. This photograph was probably taken soon after James Hitchcock enlisted. It shows the techniques of mid-19th century photography: it is tinted and so heavily retouched that it almost seems like a painting.


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