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'Fighting Joe' Hawley


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Hartford lawyer Joe Hawley was an abolitionist and the first Connecticut resident to enlist in the Union Army after the shelling of Fort Sumter. Hawley enlisted as a first lieutenant and rose to the rank of major general. After the war, he served as governor of Connecticut, congressman and U.S. senator. He died in 1905, two weeks after leaving office.

Joe Hawley's first wife, Harriet (Hattie) Ward Foote became a Civil War nurse and served at the Armory Square Hospital, on the mall, in Washington. Hattie tended the most badly wounded soldiers of the war. On a single day in May 1864, forty-eight soldiers on her ninety-seven-bed ward died. Hattie lived to adopt a child when she was fifty-four, but died a year later.

Joe Hawley's second wife was a Brit and Nightingale nurse, Edith Anne Horner, who served in the 1879 Zulu War in South Africa. For her work, she received the Royal Red Cross. She then traveled to Philadelphia with another Nightingale nurse, Alice Fisher, to reorganize the Blockley Almshouse (later Philadelphia General Hospital). The two women also started a nursing school there. At this point, Edith met and married Joe Hawley. When he passed away, she returned to Hartford and served as president of the Visiting Nurses Association. She died of a stroke in 1925 and was buried at sea.

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