Robert Hatton

November 2, 1826–May 31, 1862

Robert Hatton was a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee and a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

Robert H Hatton, Congressman

While leading his troops in an assault against Union soldiers on Nine Mile Road, during the Battle of Seven Pines, Robert Hatton was felled by a rifle or cannon shot to the head and he died instantly. Image Source: Wikimedia.

Who Was Robert Hatton?

Robert Hatton was an American politician and lawyer who lived from 1826 to 1862. He is notable for his service in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, as well as his political career in Tennessee. Hatton began his career as a lawyer and served in the Tennessee State Legislature before being elected to the United States Congress in 1859. When Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Hatton resigned from Congress and joined the Confederate Army as a colonel. He was eventually promoted to the rank of brigadier general but was killed in action at the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862.

Robert Hatton Facts

  • Full Name: Robert Hatton
  • Birth Date: November 2, 1826
  • Birth Location: Steubenville, Ohio
  • Parents: Robert Clopton and Margaret (Campbell) Hatton
  • Education: Cumberland University
  • Occupation: Lawyer, politician, military officer
  • Career Summary: U.S. Congressman, Brigadier General (CSA)
  • Spouse: Sophie K. Reilly
  • Place of Death: Henrico County, Virginia
  • Date of Death: May 21, 1862
  • Place of Burial:
  • Cedar Grove Cemetery, Lebanon, Tennessee

Early Life

Robert Hatton was born in Steubenville, Ohio on November 2, 1826. He was one of six children of Robert Clopton Hatton, a Methodist Episcopal minister, and Margaret Campbell Hatton. Hatton’s family lived in various locations in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania before moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 1835. Hatton attended several schools during his youth. Although he was only eighteen years old, in 1845, Hatton entered Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee as a member of the junior class. Hatton graduated in June 1847.

After graduation, Hatton studied law at Cumberland University. Lacking funds to complete his studies, Hatton left school in 1849 to serve as principal and teacher at Woodland Academy in Sumner County. While performing his duties at Woodland, he continued to study law and passed the bar exam in 1850. Hatton and Colonel Jordan Stokes then opened a successful law practice in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Marriage

Two years later, on December 16, 1852, Hatton married Sophie K. Reilly of Williamson County. The couple settled in Lebanon, which would be Hatton’s adoptive hometown for the rest of his life.

U.S. Congressman

While living in Lebanon, Hatton became an active member of the Whig Party. In 1855, voters elected him to serve in the General Assembly of Tennessee for two years. In 1857, he made an unsuccessful bid for the governorship of Tennessee. As the Whig Party began to dissolve in the South during the 1850s, Hatton changed his party affiliation to the Opposition Party, which opposed secession and the extension of slavery into U.S. territories. In 1858, voters elected Hatton to the U.S. House of Representatives. Hatton served in the 36th Congress from March 4, 1859 to March 3, 1861. During his tenure, he was Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs.

Civil War

Confederate Officer

Although Hatton opposed secession, he cast his lot with his home state of Tennessee when President Abraham Lincoln issued his call for volunteers to put down the rebellion in the South. Hatton returned home and formed the Lebanon Blues, a Confederate military company of approximately 100 soldiers. While training at Camp Trousdale in Sumner County, the Lebanon Blues merged with other local units to form the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. On May 27, 1861, the men of the 7th elected Hatton as their regimental colonel. Hatton’s regiment served under Robert E. Lee during the Western Virginia Campaign in the fall of 1861, and the men also served under Stonewall Jackson during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862.

Peninsula Campaign

When Major General George McClellan launched his Peninsula Campaign into eastern Virginia in March 1862, Confederate leaders dispatched Hatton’s regiment to the Richmond area to help check the Union advance. On May 23, Confederate officials promoted Hatton to brigadier general, commanding the 5th brigade, 1st division, 1st corps of General Joseph Johnston‘s troops in the Department of Northern Virginia.

Death at the Battle of Seven Pines

Eight days later, on May 31, Hatton’s brigade went into combat during the Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks. While leading his troops in an assault against Union soldiers on Nine Mile Road, enemy soldiers shot Hatton’s horse from beneath him. Moments later, as Hatton continued to lead the attack on foot, a rifle or cannon shot to the head killed him instantly.

Hatton’s soldiers removed his body from the battlefield and sent it to Knoxville, Tennessee for burial. After the war, Hatton’s remains were disinterred and sent to Lebanon, Tennessee, where they were reburied at Cedar Grove Cemetery on March 23, 1866. In 1912, the citizens of Lebanon erected a memorial statue of Hatton in the town square.

Robert Hatton Significance

Robert Hatton was significant because he was an American politician, lawyer, and Confederate Army officer who played a key role in the American Civil War and the politics of Tennessee. Hatton served as a lawyer and a member of the Tennessee State Legislature before being elected to the United States Congress in 1859. When Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Hatton resigned from Congress and joined the Confederate Army as a colonel. He was eventually promoted to the rank of brigadier general but was killed in action at the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862.

Robert Hatton — Facts About His Life and Accomplishments

  • Hatton was one of six children of Robert Clopton Hatton, a Methodist Episcopal minister, and Margaret Campbell Hatton.
  • Hatton’s family lived in various locations in Eastern Ohio and Western, Pennsylvania before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee in 1835.
  • In 1845, Hatton entered Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee as a member of the junior class even though he was only eighteen years old.
  • Hatton graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee in June 1847.
  • Hatton studied law at Cumberland University in 1848.
  • Lacking funds to complete his law studies at Cumberland University, Hatton left school in 1849 to serve as principal and teacher at Woodland Academy in Sumner County.
  • Hatton passed the Tennessee bar exam in 1850.
  • Hatton married Sophie K. Reilly of Williamson County on December 16, 1852.
  • While living in Lebanon Tennessee, Hatton became an active member of the Whig Party.
  • In 1855, voters elected Hatton to serve in the General Assembly of Tennessee for two years.
  • In 1857, Hatton made an unsuccessful bid for the governorship of Tennessee.
  • As the Whig Party began to dissolve in the South during the late 1850s, Hatton changed his party affiliation to the Opposition Party, which was generally opposed to secession and to the extension of slavery into U.S. territories.
  • In 1858, voters elected Hatton to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Hatton served in the 36th Congress from March 4, 1859 to March 3, 1861.
  • During his tenure in Congress, Hatton was Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs.
  • Although Hatton opposed secession, he cast his lot with his home state of Tennessee when President Abraham Lincoln issued his call for volunteers to put down the rebellion in the South.
  • In 1861, Hatton formed the Lebanon Blues a Confederate military company of about 100 soldiers.
  • On May 27, 1861, the men of the 7th Tennessee Infantry Regiment elected Hatton as their regimental colonel.
  • Hatton’s regiment served under Robert E. Lee during the West Virginia Campaign in the fall of 1861, and under Stonewall Jackson during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862.
  • On May 23, 1862, Hatton was promoted to brigadier general commanding the 5th brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, of General Joseph Johnston’s Army of Northern Virginia.
  • On May 31, 1862, a rifle or cannon fell shot to the head killed Hatton instantly while he led his troops in an assault against Union soldiers on Nine Mile Road, during the Battle of Seven Pines.
  • After the battle of Seven Pines, Hatton’s body was sent west and buried at Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • After the Civil War, Hatton’s body was disinterred and sent to Lebanon, Tennessee where it was reburied at Cedar Grove Cemetery on March 23, 1866.
  • In 1912 the citizens of Lebanon, Tennessee erected a memorial statue of Hatton on the town square.
  • Hatton was one of six generals in the Confederate Army who was born in Ohio.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Robert Hatton
  • Date November 2, 1826–May 31, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords robert hatton
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date June 21, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024

Taxonomies