Thomas Hamlin Hubbard
April 23, 1864
Thomas Hubbard was practicing law in New York at the outbreak of the Civil War. The Hallowell native, Bowdoin College graduate, and son of former Maine Governor John Hubbard, Tom Hubbard returned to Maine and chose to serve in the 25th Maine Infantry Regiment, one of the nine-month regiments
Upon being discharged from the 25th Maine, he re-enlisted as Lt. Colonel of the 30th Maine Veteran Volunteers Regiment.
In mid-March, 1865, the regiment was engaged in the Red River Campaign to capture Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Union Army had two objectives. One was to obtain supplies of cotton that were thought to be stockpiled in the area. The hope was that the cotton, once seized, would be shipped north to relieve employment problems in New England textile mills.
A second objective was to frustrate Confederate hopes of the French intervening by way of Mexico.
The campaign was less than a total success. After several battles, the Union Army began its return downriver. Arriving at Monett's Ferry, a crossing of the Cane River, they discovered their path blocked by "the Enemy strongly posted on the Southern bank of the river."
Union General Nathaniel Banks proposed the option of surrendering his army. Others within the command wanted to attempt to break through the Confederates’ position.
The 30th Maine was a part of the attempt, which was led by Colonel Francis Fessenden, of Portland.
Hubbard reports that "after moving into position to assault the bluff, the orders received were to remove the fence, advance at the order rapidly across the open field, reform lines if necessary under cover of the hill, and finally dislodge the Enemy from its summit at all hazards. Before the fence was torn down and while as yet two regiments of the brigade had not gained the designated position in line, an Officer of General Bank's Staff … ordered forward the 173rd N.Y. Vols. without communicating with Col. Fessenden, and contrary to his intention. I immediately led my own regiment forward, and the 162nd (N.Y.) followed…"
He continues: "This regiment advanced rapidly over the field, and ascended the hill under a severe fire from the Enemy. Its colors reached the Summit of the hill almost entirely unsupported by its line, in as much as the men, although they advanced without the slightest hesitation, and at a run, were impeded by the weight of their knapsacks and by the fences mentioned before. The Colors of the 162 N.Y. Vols. reached the summit of the hill almost simultaneously with those of this Regiment. The Enemy inflicted a severe loss upon our line during the entire advance, but did not make an obstinate resistance as expected upon the hill."
Hubbard complains that "the harmony of the attack, and the designs of Col Fessenden, were so far frustrated by the untimely excitement and officious interference of the Staff Officer before mentioned, as to hazard the success of the entire enterprise."
In spite of the assault’s bungled start, the charge succeeded. The cost to the 30th Maine was heavy – 81 men killed or wounded. But, with the Confederates forced to retreat, the Union Army continued to move downriver.
Fessenden’s wound required that his leg be amputated. Hubbard was then promoted to Colonel. He resigned his commission on July 23, 1865, days after being commissioned as Brevet Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers, for meritorious service.
After the war, he returned to his New York law practice. He was associated with Admiral Robert E. Peary, who named Cape Thomas H. Hubbard for him. Hubbard died in 1915 in New York City.
- What was the French threat involving Mexico?