To close our chapter on the 1st U.S. Cavalry, the 23rd Illinois Infantry and recruiting in 1862, a biographical sketch of Judson Haycock follows. He was a bit of a mysterious character, and it took a lot longer to prepare this sketch than I thought it would, but I’m certain this is the most comprehensive information available on the man. I have tried to simply present the facts, as I have desire to defame the man’s memory, but what I discovered was not always positive. To my mind, this sketch completes the series that started with Private Timothy O’Connor, or I would have left it unpublished.
Judson Haycock was born in Machias, Maine, in 1836. The family moved to Boston some time before 1850, where he prepared for college in the local schools. He entered Norwich University in 1850. He studied there for nearly four years. His name while at Norwich was Judson Haycock Tukey.
Judson entered the United States Military Academy on July 1, 1855. He was classmates with Wesley Merritt, Alexander Pennington and Josiah H. Kellogg in the fifth class. Unfortunately, he was dismissed after only one year, on June 30, 1856. Not only was he deficient in Mathematics and English Studies, but he accumulated 195 demerits for various infractions as well.
Undeterred, he returned to Massachusetts to finish college. Judson graduated L.L.B. from Harvard University Law School in 1858. He moved to California to start his law practice north of San Francisco later that year. He also served as the secretary of the Sacramento Masonic Lodge from December 10, 1858 to September 30, 1859. On October 2, 1859, he married Mary Kiamesia Birdsall. They lived in Sonoma, California according to the 1860 census, where he continued his law practice until the outbreak of the war.
Haycock was fortunate in his choice of brides, for his sister-in-law Sophia was married to California Senator and former governor Milton Latham. Latham, a pro-Southern Democrat, was appointed to the Senate after only five days as governor to replace Senator David Broderick.
The Broderick–Terry duel was an interesting event in its own right. Later called “the last notable American duel,” it was fought between Senator Broderick and ex- former California Supreme Court Chief Justice David S. Terry on September 13, 1859. The duel was the result of political disagreements, as one man was an abolitionist and the other man pro-slavery. More detail is available on the duel here.
Senator Latham petitioned President Lincoln for Haycock’s appointment. It is not known whether he disclosed that Haycock was his brother-in-law.
“Hon. Sec. of War Executive Mansion
My dear Sir August 6, 1861
Mr. Senator Latham wishes Judson Haycock to be a 2nd. Lieut. of 1st Dragoons, in place of Charles Stewart Brooks rejected by the Senate. If this place is open, as Mr. Latham thinks, oblige him in this matter. Yours truly A. Lincoln”
Brooks’ appointment had been rejected by the Senate the previous day. Haycock was actually appointed vice James S. Brisbin, who was granted the position and then received an appointment as a captain in the 6th U.S. Cavalry in the interim. Although Haycock’s appointment was not confirmed by the Senate until February 3, 1862, it was effective August 6, 1861. In the meantime, he joined his regiment and assumed his duties as a second lieutenant in Company H, 1st Dragoons.
Lieutenant Haycock served as post adjutant at Fort Dalles, Oregon Territory in October and November 1861. It was a small post – his company commander was also the post commander. The following month, the regiment was ordered to concentrate in California for movement to Washington, D.C. He served temporarily as regimental adjutant during the movement east with the regiment’s advance party, arriving in New York on the steamer Northern Lights on January 4, 1862.
The following week, Haycock was promoted to first lieutenant and assigned to Company F. Josiah H. Kellogg, his former classmate at West Point, was assigned as regimental adjutant, and Haycock replaced him.
Lieutenant Haycock served with his company throughout the Peninsula campaign. When the regiment returned to northern Virginia at the beginning of the Antietam campaign, Haycock was temporarily assigned to recruiting duty through the cavalry depot at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He commanded the recruiting station at Wheeling, Virginia from September 8, 1862 to January 1863. During this time he recruited large numbers of volunteers into the regiment, including the previously reported members of the 23rd Illinois.
Interestingly, although Haycock’s date of rank for first lieutenant was January 13, 1862, the promotion orders were dated June 10th, and official word did not reach the regiment until December.
Lieutenant Haycock’s career grows very obscure after this stint of recruiting duty. It appears that recruiting duty may have been the high point of his cavalry career. The December 1862 regimental return shows him on detached service recruiting, then he disappears. He is not shown at all on the regimental returns from January to July 1863; it is as if he was not assigned to the regiment. The August 1863 return shows him absent on sick leave, and in September he is listed as present for duty as a first lieutenant in Company K with no comments on the preceding eight months. At the time of the October return, he was absent without leave, and ordered to join the regiment per an A.G.O. special order dated October 24, 1863.
In November he is once again listed as present for duty in Company K with no additional comment. He remained with the regiment with the exception of a brief approved leave and a brief sick leave through mid 1864. Although he was promoted to captain on December 29, 1863, there is no evidence that official notification of the appointment reached Haycock or the regiment.
In January 1864, Haycock’s squadron, commanded by his company commander Captain Isaac R Dunkelberger, of Companies A and K was assigned as escort to Headquarters, Army of the Potomac at Brandy Station. They served there until March, presumably without incident. In April, he commanded the detachment of the regiment’s dismounted men.
Lieutenant Haycock was present with his company for General Sheridan’s first raid in May 1864, and commanded Company G for the following month’s actions. Captain Nelson Sweitzer, the assigned company commander, was commanding the regiment.
Something happened in the early fall, but I have been unable to determine what it was. Lieutenant Haycock was placed in arrest on September 18, 1864 on moved to Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He remained there until November 12, 1864, when he was dismissed from the army by Special Order 359, Headquarters, Adjutant General’s Office. One would assume there was a court martial, but I have been unsuccessful in attempting to locate the court martial files.
Judson returned to California, where he worked as an attorney in San Francisco and Vallejo as an attorney. According to census data, he shifted between the two locations several times. He was apparently not too successful, as one newspaper account in 1889 describes him as “a young attorney whose career, though promising at the time, never came to anything above the most severe mediocrity – if that.”
Judson Haycock died in Vallejo, California on February 14, 1899.
Adjutant General’s Office. Official Army Register, 1865.
Ellis, William A., ed. Norwich University, 1819-1911; Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, Volume 2. Montpelier, Vermont: The Capital City Press, 1911.
Gregory, Thomas J. History of Solano and Napa Counties, California. Los Angeles: Historical Record Company, 1912.
Heitman, Volume 1, pg. 330.
National Archives, U.S. Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916.
National Archives, U.S. Army Returns from Non-Infantry Regiments – 1st Cavalry
New York Times, January 4, 1862.
Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. June, 1856.
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 8 vols. Volume 8. Wildside Press LLC, 2008.
U.S. Federal Census Data, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1890.
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