A Civil War Biography

Robert Hopkins Hatton

Hatton was born 2 November 1826 in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. His family moved to Tennessee not long after he was born. He attended the common schools then graduated in 1847 from the Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He remained at the university as a tutor until 1848 then in the law school until 1849. Hatton was principal of the Woodland Academy in Sumner County, Tennessee until he was admitted to the bar in 1850 and established a practice in Lebanon in 1850. He was named a trustee of Cumberland University in 1854, a position he held until his death.

He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1855 and served until 1857 when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Tennessee. He was elected to the US House of Representatives representing the 5th Tennessee district and served from 4 March 1859 until 3 March 1861.

Although he believed in preserving the Union once Abraham Lincoln called for troops Hatton chose to protect his state from aggression. He formed the Lebanon Blues and was elected colonel of the 7th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, the regiment to which the Blues were attached, on 26 May 1861. He commanded the regiment at Cheat Mountain and Savage Station. He was promoted to brigadier general on 23 May 1862 and given command of the 5th Brigade/ Gustavus W. Smith's Division/ I Corps Army of Virginia. While leading his brigade at Seven Pines on 31 May 1862, Hatton was killed.

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