Hardys in the Civil War

Records show that three sons of John Hardy served with the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and the fourth, Jess, probably also served.

John R. Hardy

From copies of John's Service Record and his Confederate Pension Application, and other historical sources on the war, I was able to piece together a portion of his Civil War experiences.  John R. Hardy enlisted in the  “Invincible Guards of Magnolia”, a company of volunteer state troops from Columbia County, Arkansas.  After participating in the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri on August 10, 1861, this unit was disbanded in September, 1861, and the members returned home and joined regular army units.  In October, 1861, John joined Company A, 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment (Johnson's).  He fought in the battles at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and was captured by Union forces on 16 Feb 1862 when Confederate forces surrendered at Fort Donelson after intense fighting.   He was sent to a Union prison camp at Camp Butler, Illinois, and remained until 23 Sep 1862, when he was paroled and sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi. At that point in the war, the two sides were exchanging prisoners of war.

After the troops captured at Fort Donelson were released, the regiment was reorganized at Jackson, Mississippi, and on November 1, 1862 they joined the Confederate forces poised to defend Port Hudson, on the Mississippi River in Louisiana.  A 48 day siege began on 21 May 1863 when Union forces attacked.  John's unit, the 15th Arkansas, defended a section of the Confederate line known as "Fort Desperate", and repeatedly repulsed the Union attacks.  After a fierce and bloody battle, the garrison surrendered.  John, rank shown as Corporal and now in Company C,  was captured on 9 July 1863, and paroled three days later.  On his Confederate Pension Application, John stated that he suffered a gunshot wound in this battle, the ball entering below his right shoulder blade and exiting near the "point" of the shoulder.  The Fort Desperate garrison suffered a 46% casualty rate.  The record shows John on a list of Confederate soldiers sent from Port Hudson to New Orleans on the Steamer "Suffolk" on July 14, 1963.  (This may be a mistake, since in general, only officers were sent to New Orleans for imprisonment, and the enlisted men were released.)  Possibly he was in a hospital in New Orleans.  After his release, he was sent to Washington, AR in the fall of 1863.

I have a copy of a fascinating letter written during the period March 8th through March 11th, 1863 by John R. Hardy from Port Hudson to his sisters and other relatives in Arkansas.  This was at a time just two months before the start of the battle and siege, and his words reflect his doubts as to whether he would ever see his relatives again.  See the letter and read a transcription here.

On 1 Jan 1864, John enlisted in Company B, Hardy's Arkansas Regiment, at Camp Bragg, Arkansas.  This unit was involved in several engagements in Louisiana and Arkansas, but John's participation is not know.  It is believed that he served with this unit until the end of the war.

Beverly D. Hardy

Beverly's Civil War Service Record shows that he enlisted with Company B, 24th Arkansas Infantry Regiment on 12 May, 1862 at Palestine, Arkansas.  He is last shown as present with this unit for the period ending on June 30, 1963, at Palestine, Arkansas.  He is also recorded with Hardy's Arkansas Regiment, which was formed from remnants of the 24th and other units, after part of the 24th Regiment was captured.  He was listed as present on the August, 1863 Muster Roll, at Palestine, Arkansas.  The last record of him, for the Muster Roll of Jan. and Feb., 1864, shows the remark: "Deserted Sept. 15, 1863".  Soldiers were often reported as deserted if they were absent for valid reasons, such as being in the hospital or on leave.  On his widow's Confederate Pension Application, filed in 1905, two fellow soldiers testified in a sworn statement that he did not desert.   They further state that he served in the unit until the end of the war.  He survived the war and moved to San Augustine County, Texas around 1872.

Molias Hardy

Molias Hardy, the brother of John R. and Beverly Hardy also served in the Confederate Army.  There is no official record filed of a Molias Hardy serving in the Confederate Army.  However, there is a Service Record file of a N. Hardy (with M. Hardy listed as an alternate name) who served with Company A, 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment(Johnson's), and, like brother John R. Hardy, fought and was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee and sent to the POW camp at Camp Butler, Illinois.  The record states that he died there on 15 Mar 1862 and is buried in Springfield National Cemetery at Springfield, IL.  It is not known whether he died from wounds or from illness.  I am certain that this record refers to Molias Hardy.  The actual Service Record cards show the name as "N. Hardy" on some and "M. Hardy" on others.  Obviously the transcriber could not always read the initial on the original Confederate record.  The most convincing evidence that this is Molias Hardy comes from the last card, which documents a Claim of Deceased Officers and Soldiers for "Molins Hardy", made by "Julia Hardy, widow", filed on 11 Dec 1862.  Molias's wife was named Julia, from several sources.  Also, in one of the letters to his wife described below, Molias gives the 15th Arkansas Regiment as his  return address.

I have copies of two letters written by Molias to his wife Julia during his time in the Confederate army.  The first was written from his army camp at Camden, Arkansas, before the unit moved out to join the Confederate forces in Tennessee.  See the letter and read a transcription here.  The second letter was written on January 11, 1862 while his company was camped near Monticello, Arkansas, on the march to Tennessee.  He speaks of his longing to see his wife and daughter, and looks forward to returning home when his twelve month enlistment is complete.  Unfortunately, at that time he had only about two months left to live.  See this letter and read a transcription here.

Jess F. Hardy

John R. Hardy's younger brother Jess F. Hardy probably also served in the Confederate Army, although I have no concrete proof of this.  He was definitely of the age to have served.  I have found two military records of a J. F. Hardy who served in the 11th Arkansas Infantry Regiment which I believe refer to Jess:

(1) From Confederate Service Records, 11th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, Company H:

Hardy, J.F. Pvt
Enl 9 Jan 1862 at Ft Thompson, MO. Captured 8 Apr 1862 at Island 10, MO and sent to MP at Camp Douglas, IL. Died 20 Aug 1862 at Camp Douglas, IL.

Company H of the 11th Arkansas was formed from men from Columbia County, AR where Jess was living at the time of the 1860 Census, which makes it highly likely that this record refers to Jess Hardy.

(2) From the book "Confederate POWs - Soldiers and Sailors Who Died in Federal Prisons in the North":

"Hardy, J. F. Pvt 11 Ark Inf. Died: 8/20/1862 Buried: Confed. Section, Oak Woods Cem., Chicago, IL"

Whether or not these records refer to Jess Hardy, he must have died during or soon after the war since I have been unable to find any further records of him.

Civil War Service Record of John R. Hardy

Letter Written Home by John R. Hardy from Port Hudson, LA, 1863

The Battle of Port Hudson

Civil War Service Record of Beverly D. Hardy

Civil War Service Record of Molias Hardy

Letter Written Home by Molias Hardy, 1861

Letter Written Home by Molias Hardy, 1862

Search for Soldiers Who Fought at Port Hudson

Search for Hardy Surnames Who Served in Arkansas Confederate Units

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