Pvt.* Edward Wallace, Co. C, 2nd South Carolina Infantry, ADC to Col. Joseph Kershaw, on the Death of Pvt.* William Henry Hardy, Co. C, 2nd South Carolina Infantry , ADC to Col Joseph Kershaw

7 08 2020

Death of Col.* William H. Hardy.

Our entire community was painfully excited on Saturday last, at the announcement of the death of the gallant and most estimable young man whose name stands at the head of this article. He was the son of our esteemed townsman, Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, and was acting as special Aid to Col. Kershaw, of South Carolina. Col. Hardy was in the battle of Bull’s Run on Thursday the 18th, and passed through it unharmed. But in the bloody battle of Sunday the 21st he sealed his devotion to his native land with his life. No particulars are known, further than that the was shot through the head and died instantly, while fearlessly performing his dangerous duty on the field.

A letter to his parents** has been received, written on the morning of the battle, in which he expresses his entire readiness to meet death, if it should be his fortune to do so in the discharge of the sacred duties he owed his county.

No event has over spread over this entire community a more profound feeling of sadues. Young in years – not above 21 – Col. Hardy was universally beloved, not only for his noble and manly qualities, but also for those less attractive but more endearing virtues which fitted him so eminently to adorn the home circle, and rendered him so dear to those who enjoyed an intimate acquaintance with him. He was born and reared at this place, and we believe it can be truthfully said, he never had an enemy.

The afflicted family have the warmest sympathy of the community; and while all are sad at the loss of one so young, so gifted, so full of promise, none can appreciate the affliction and bereavement of the parents and immediate family of the noble martyr to liberty. – Their grief is sacred – too deep for common place condolence – too holy to be obtruded upon. May God in his goodness temper the blast to the stricken ones.

It has been well said ‘the patriot soldier can never die.’ Bullets and bayonets may slay the body; the soul they cannot hurt. Pure as the overhanging firmament from which their spirits look down upon us, bright as the stars which illumine its immeasurable depths, immortal as the Being [???]…space, the spirits of the just can never die. Every generous heart feels a pang of agony as well as pride to see many a mother’s darling, the laughing dimples of youth yet upon his beardless cheek, rush gaily by to the scene of strife and blood, and hot tears rush to eyes unused to weep at the thought of that fair head pillowed on the bloody turf; and yet, where could mortal die as well? Pity the desolate ones at home; but for him, the death that must have come at the last and torn him reluctant from the earth, he had gone bravely forth to meet, and in the virtue and valor of self-sacrifice, has robbed it of its sting and despoiled the grave of its victory. – When Wolfe, on being told that the French retreated, exclaimed ‘I die happy,’ he expressed, no doubt, the feelings of every true hero as he looks his last upon the earth and feels that he has not died in vain. Happy in being a benefactor, at the cost of his own life, to his naïve land and to humanity; happy in knowing that he will be remembered with love and gratitude, and that he himself will be permitted to look down and see how from his blood will spring the life-giving plants of freedom, independence, and happiness to his country.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould,
She then shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There honor comes, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.

Since the foregoing was written we have been permitted to read the following letter from Col. Edward Wallace*, of Kershaw’s Regiment. The anxiety of a wide circle of friends to learn the particulars attending to the death of Col. Hardy, will plead a sufficient excuse for the publication of a private letter.

Stone Bridge, July 23d, 1861,

Dear Sir: – I have been requested by Col. Kershaw, who is unable to write himself on account of the numerous duties which devolve upon him, to inform you of the melancholy death of your son William. The particulars of his death are as follows: When Col. Kershaw’s Regiment was in the heat of the engagement, he dispatched Willie to a Virginia Regiment, commanded by Col. Preston, in order to bring it to its proper position. As he was returning at the head of the Regiment, he was fired upon by one of the Federal soldiers, concealed in a clump of woods, through which they had to pass. He survived only a few moments after he was shot. – He was taken immediately to a place where his body could be recovered after the battle, which has since been done. His body has been temporarily interred, and will be sent, as soon as a burial-case can be procured, to your residence. He died discharging his duty nobly and manfully, but his death has thrown a gloom over all his numerous friends, detracting, in a great measure, from the pleasure we would otherwise feel in the glorious victory which our nation obtained.

Nobly he lived and nobly died, and it may be a mournful pleasure to you to know that so universally was he esteemed that his death is mourned by the whole Regiment, as if he were a near relative of each individual.

Yours, in deep sympathy,
EDWARD WALLACE,
Aid-de-Camp of Col. Kershaw.

P. S. – My dear sir: – I fully endorse all that Wallace has said of your noble boy. God bless you and Mrs. H., and soften this terrible blow.

Your Friend,
J. B. KERSHAW.

To Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, Asheville, N. C.

The Spirit of the Age (Raleigh, NC), 8/10/1861

Clipping Image

Edward Wallace at Ancestry

Edward Wallace at Fold3

* Notwithstanding the reference to Hardy as a Colonel here and as a Lieutenant on this marker in Asheville, NC where he was born, Hardy appears to have died with the rank of Private. Wallace also appears to have been on the rolls of Co. C as a Private.

Co. C, 2nd S.C. Infantry roster

William Henry Hardy at Ancestry

William Henry Hardy at Fold3

**William Henry Hardy at FindAGrave