Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Hadley mss., 1860-1869, are Civil War letters of John Vestal Hadley, 1842-1915, who served from 1861-1865 in the seventh regiment, Indiana infantry, which was with the Army of the Potomac.

Career: born, October 31, 1842, in Hendricks county, Indiana, the son of Jonathan and Ara (Carter) Handley; married Mary J. Hill, March 15, 1865; Indiana state senator, 1869-1872, circuit court judge, 1888-1899, justice, Indiana state supreme court, 1899-1911; died, November 17, 1915.

The letters in the collection were written to Hadley's future wife, Mary J. Hill, and to his brother, Enos Hadley. They contain descriptions of the Battle of Green Briar, 1861; Winchester Heights, 1862; Port Republic, 1862; Bull Run, 1862, in which he was wounded; Chancellorsville, 1863; and Gettysburg, 1863. There is a map of Reynolds' camp, Cheat Mountain Pass, Virginia, at the end of a letter of September 25, 1861, to his brother. Unfavorable comments on McClellan as a general are found in a letter of July 7, 1862. Throughout the letters the activities of other Indiana soldiers are mentioned.

In addition to the 1860-1865 letters there is one of February 7, 1869, written by Hadley to his wife, which tells of a visit to Terre Haute, Indiana, to inspect a new building of the state normal school.

The letters in this collection with some omissions have been edited by James I. Robertson, Jr., and published in the Indiana magazine of history, LIX: 189-288, September 1963.

An inventory is available.

Collection size: 90 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.