Harriet Foote Hawley

1831 - 1886

harriet-foote-hawley crop

Harriet Foote met Joseph Hawley in the spring of 1854. They married the following year.

The Civil War

Joseph, Hartford’s first Civil War volunteer, enlisted shortly after the April 1861 attack on Fort Sumter. In November of 1862, Harriet joined Joseph, then a colonel of the Seventh Connecticut Regiment, in the South.

When Harriet joined her husband, she served as a hospital visitor wherever he was stationed. In April 1864, she was assigned to the hospital at Armory Square in Washington.

Harriet arrived at Armory Square just after the wounded from the Battle of the Wilderness arrived. The hospital, designed for 900, cared for 1,400 patients. For 4 months, she took charge of a busy hospital ward. In September, her health failed and she relinquished her charge. She returned in November and remained until 1865.

She then joined her husband in Wilmington, North Carolina. There she organized volunteers, oversaw the making of garments, and visited hospitals. In July of 1865, she went with her husband to Richmond, Virginia.

In October of 1865, Harriet was injured when an ambulance in which she was riding overturned. She received injuries to her head and spine which made her an invalid for many years and from which she never fully recovered.

After the War

When Harriet returned to Hartford after the war, she was involved in social, literary, and charitable work as her health permitted. During her husband’s Washington life as a representative and senator, she aided him in his correspondence.


Harriet Foote Hawley died on March 3, 1886. On the day of her funeral, flags flew at half-mast at Hartford City Hall, the Capitol, and the State Armory in recognition of her service during the Civil War. More than 100 members of two Grand Army posts attended the funeral in tribute to her, a faithful friend of the soldier.

Section 1, Lot 55


Hartford Courant. Obituary, March 4, 1886

Hartford Courant. “Funeral of Mrs. Hawley,” March 8, 1886

Photo Credit:

Harriet Foote Hawley, Public Domain