Richard Hawes

Richard Hawes

Infobox Politician
name = Richard Hawes

order = 2nd Confederate
office = Governor of Kentucky
lieutenant =
term_start = October 4, 1862
term_end = April 9, 1865
predecessor = George W. Johnson
successor = None
office2 = Kentucky State Representative
term_start2 = 1828
term_end2 = 1829, 1834
predecessor2 =
successor2 =
constituency2 = Clark County, Kentucky
office3 = United States Representative
term_start3 = March 4, 1837
term_end3 = March 3, 1841
predecessor3 =
successor3 =
constituency3 = Fayette, Clark, Woodford, and Franklin counties (Kentucky)
majority3 =
birth_date = February 6, 1797
birth_place = Caroline County, Virginia
death_date = death date and age |1877|5|25|1797|2|6
death_place = Paris, Kentucky
party = Whig, Democrat
spouse = Hetty Morrison Nicholas
relations = Brother of Albert Gallatin Hawes
Nephew of Aylett Hawes
Cousin of Aylett Hawes Buckner
alma_mater = Transylvania University
profession = Lawyer

Richard Hawes (February 6, 1797 – May 25, 1877) was a United States Representative from Kentucky and the second Confederate Governor of Kentucky. He was part of an influential political family, with a brother, uncle, and cousin who also served as U.S. Representatives. He began his political career as an ardent Whig and was a close friend of the party's founder, Henry Clay. When the party declined and dissolved in the 1850s, Hawes became a Democrat, and his relationship with Clay cooled.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hawes was a supporter of Kentucky's doctrine of armed neutrality. When the Commonwealth's neutrality was breached in September 1861, Hawes fled to Virginia and enlisted as a brigade commissary under Confederate general Humphrey Marshall. When Kentucky's Confederate government was formed in Russellville, Hawes was offered the position of state auditor, but declined. Months later, he was elected Confederate governor of the Commonwealth following the late George W. Johnson's death at the Battle of Shiloh.

Hawes and the Confederate government traveled with Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, and when Bragg invaded Kentucky in October 1862, he captured Frankfort and held an inauguration ceremony for Hawes. The ceremony was interrupted, however, by forces under Union general Don Carlos Buell, and the Confederates were driven from the Commonwealth following the Battle of Perryville. Hawes relocated to Virginia, where he continued to lobby President Jefferson Davis to attempt another invasion of Kentucky.

Following the war, the Confederate government of Kentucky collapsed, and Hawes returned to his home in Paris, Kentucky. He swore an oath of allegiance to the Union, and was allowed to return to his law practice. He was elected county judge of Bourbon County, a post he held until his death in 1877.

Early life

Richard Hawes was born on February 6, 1797 near Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia.cite web |url= |title=Hawes, Richard, (1797 - 1877) |publisher=United States Congress |accessdate=2007-05-07] He was one of eleven children born to Richard and Clararef|clary| [a] Walker Hawes."Richard Hawes in Powell, p. 115] The Hawes' were a political family; Richard's brother, Albert Gallatin Hawes, nephew, Aylett Hawes, and cousin, Aylett Hawes Buckner, all served in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1810, the family moved to Kentucky, settling in Fayette County, near Lexington."Hawes, Richard" in Kleber, pp. 418–419] Part of Hawes' early education was obtained through the Jessamine County school conducted by Samuel Wilson.Harrison in "Register", p. 28]

On November 13, 1818, Hawes married Hetty Morrison Nicholas of Lexington. He pursued classical studies at Transylvania University, then studied law under Robert C. Wickliffe. [cite web |url= |title=Capt. Richard Hawes, Jr. House | |month=June |year=2006 |accessdate=2007-05-07] Hawes and Wickliffe became law partners upon the former's admission to the bar in 1818. Due to overcrowding of the bar in Lexington, Hawes moved to Winchester in 1824. While there, he became part owner of a rope and bagging factory with Benjamin H. Buckner.

Political career

Hawes began his political career in 1828 when he was elected as a Whig to represent Clark County, Kentucky in the Kentucky House of Representatives. As a member of the state militia, Hawes saw limited service in the Black Hawk War in 1832, and returned to his position in the Kentucky House in 1834. [Harrison in "Register", p. 29] He was an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Representative in 1834, but was elected to represent Henry Clay's "Ashland District" three years later, serving from March 4, 1837 to March 3, 1841. He then moved to Paris, Kentucky in 1843 and continued the practice of law.Harrison in "Kentucky Governors", pp. 82–84]

Hawes was once close friends with Clay, but the friendship between them cooled when Hawes supported Zachary Taylor instead of Clay for president in 1848."Richard Hawes, 1797–1877: Our Cause is Steadily on the Increase" in Rose, pp. 90–91] When the Whig Party dissolved in the 1850s, Hawes became a Democrat, supporting presidential candidates James Buchanan in 1856 and John C. Breckinridge in 1860.

Though alarmed by the election of Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1860, Hawes was an opponent of secession, supporting instead of the idea of armed neutrality. In May 1861, Hawes, Breckinridge, and Kentucky governor Beriah Magoffin represented the Southern Rights viewpoint at a convention to decide Kentucky's course in the Civil War. He attended another such convention in September 1861. Neither convention produced a conclusive decision.

A July 1861 address to the people of Bourbon County, authored by Hawes and other like-minded Democrats, blamed Republicans for starting the Civil War, denounced the coercion of states to remain in the Union, and warned that the Lincoln administration would fight to end slavery. The address called for an end to the war, recognition of the Confederate States of America as a sovereign nation, and equitable distribution of the national debt and federal property.

Military service

When Kentucky's neutrality was breached in September 1861, Hawes fled to Virginia to escape imprisonment by Federal authorities. While there, he enlisted as a brigade commissary under Confederate general Humphrey Marshall and was given the rank of major. Though his ability to obtain supplies for Marshall's brigade was commendable given the difficult conditions, his age (64) and lack of military experience lessened his value to Marshall's unit, and his predilection for jumping the chain of command and communicating directly with Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin put him at odds with Marshall personally.cite web |url= |title=Kentucky Had Two Confederate Governors |accessdate=2007-06-26 |author=Neace, James Clell and Harned, Edgar Porter |year=2000 |format=HTML]

In November 1861, delegates to the Confederate state sovereignty convention in Russellville, Kentucky appointed Hawes state auditor of the Commonwealth's Confederate government, but he declined in order to continue his military service. However, he wrote President Davis on January 25, 1862 to inform him that he was traveling to Bowling Green, Kentucky at Confederate Governor George W. Johnson's request in order to assist Johnson in administering the state government. He resigned his military commission two days later, but his departure for Bowling Green was delayed when he was stricken with typhoid fever.

Confederate Governor of Kentucky

While recovering from his illness, Hawes learned of the death of Governor Johnson at the Battle of Shiloh and of his own election as Johnson's successor. He joined the leaderless and nomadic shadow government, which had been traveling with the Army of Tennessee, in Corinth, Mississippi, and took the oath of office on May 31.Brown, p. 93] The army's leader, General Braxton Bragg, had been considering an invasion of Kentucky. On August 27, Hawes was dispatched to Richmond, Virginia to favorably recommend this action to President Jefferson Davis, but Davis was non-committal. Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith proceeded with the invasion nonetheless, while the leaders of Kentucky's Confederate government remained in Chattanooga, Tennessee, awaiting Hawes' return. They departed on September 18, and caught up with Bragg and Smith in Lexington, Kentucky on October 2.

Bragg, desiring to enforce the Confederate Conscription Act in the Commonwealth, decided to install the provisional government in the recently-captured state capital of Frankfort. The ceremony took place on October 4, 1862. Humphrey Marshall gave the opening remarks, then General Bragg introduced Governor Hawes.Brown, p. 95] Hawes delivered a lengthy inaugural address in which he declared "It is now a truth and a fact that the late Union cannot be restored." He promised to call a convention to provide for a permanent government as soon as such a convention was feasible, and denounced the Union's goal of freeing the slaves. In the celebratory atmosphere of the inauguration ceremony, however, the Confederate forces let their guard down, and were ambushed and forced to retreat by Union general Don Carlos Buell. Hawes later denied ever taking the oath of office, and became a vocal critic of Bragg.

Displaced from their home state, the legislative council dispersed to places where they could make a living or be supported by relatives until Governor Hawes called them into session. Scant records show that on December 30, 1862, Hawes summoned the council, auditor, and treasurer to his location at Athens, Tennessee for a meeting on January 15, 1863. Hawes unsuccessfully lobbied President Davis to remove Hawes' former superior, Humphrey Marshall, from command. On March 4, he told Davis by letter that "our cause is steadily on the increase" and assured him that another foray into the Commonwealth would produce better results than the first had.Brown, pp. 96–97]

The government's financial woes also continued. Hawes was embarrassed to admit that neither he nor anyone else seemed to know what became of approximately $45,000 that had been sent from Columbus to Memphis, Tennessee during the Confederate occupation of Kentucky.Brown, p. 97] Another major blow was Davis' decision not to allow Hawes to spend $1 million that had been secretly appropriated in August 1861 to help Kentucky maintain its neutrality. Davis reasoned that the money could not be spent for its intended purpose, since Kentucky was now a part of the Confederacy.

By 1864, Hawes had joined his sister at the small Virginia settlement of Nelly's Ford. His wife and daughter joined him there. This location was only convert|100|mi|km from Richmond, allowing Hawes to travel easily to the Confederate capital for audiences with President Davis. Records show that as late as September 16, 1864, Hawes still maintained hope for another military advance into Kentucky. In the summer 1864, Colonel R. A. Alston of the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry requested Governor Hawes' assistance in investigating crimes allegedly committed by General John Hunt Morgan during his unauthorized raid into Kentucky. Hawes never had to act on the request, however, as Morgan was suspended from command on August 10 and killed by Union troops on September 4, 1864.

Later life and death

Hawes remained at Nelly's Ford until May 1865. Finally satisfied that it was safe to return to Kentucky, Hawes arrived in Paris to find his home that had been burned by Union troops. Four of Hawes' sons served in the Confederate Army, including brigadier general James Morrison Hawes; only three sons returned home from the war."Hawes, James Morrison" in Kleber, p. 418] ref|children| [b] On September 18, 1865, Hawes took an oath of allegiance to the United States, and was allowed to return to his previous career as a lawyer.

In 1866, he was elected county judge of Bourbon County. His most notable ruling in this capacity was to nullify the apprenticeship contracts of the Freedman's Bureau in Kentucky.Harrison in "Register", p. 38] Hawes based this decision on the fact that the Bureau's powers extended only to states that had been part of the rebellion, which Kentucky had not. Hawes was also chosen master commissioner of the circuit court in 1866. In 1871, Hawes was mentioned as a possible candidate for governor of Kentucky. In 1876, he helped frame his party's response to the disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential election. Hawes died in Paris, Kentucky on May 25, 1877 and was interred in Paris Cemetery.


*cite book |title=The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass |editor=Kent Masterson Brown |publisher=Savas Publishing Company |location=Mason City, Iowa |year=2000 |isbn=1882810473
*cite journal |last=Harrison |first=Lowell Hayes |authorlink=Lowell H. Harrison |title=George W. Johnson and Richard Hawes: The Governors of Confederate Kentucky |journal=The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society |month=Winter |year=1981 |volume=79 |issue=1 |pages=pp. 3–39
*cite book |title="Kentucky's Governors" |editor=Lowell Hayes Harrison |publisher=The University Press of Kentucky |location=Lexington, Kentucky |year=2004 |isbn=0813123267
*cite book |editor=Kleber, John E. |others=Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter |title="The Kentucky Encyclopedia" |year=1992 |publisher=The University Press of Kentucky |location=Lexington, Kentucky |isbn=0813117720
*cite book |last=Powell |first=Robert A. |title="Kentucky Governors" |publisher=Bluegrass Printing Company |location=Danville, Kentucky |year=1976 |id=OCLC|2690774
*cite book |title=Kentucky's Civil War 1861ndash 1865 |editor=Jerlene Rose |publisher=Back Home in Kentucky, Inc. |location=Clay City, Kentucky |year=2005 |isbn=0976923122


"The Kentucky Encyclopedia" lists the name as "Clary"
There is some discrepancy regarding the number of children born to Richard and Hetty Hawes. Harrison claims that the couple had two children, while Neace and Harned mention four sons. The 1850 census showed 6 Hawes children living in the householdndash 4 sons and 2 daughters. This did not include James Morrison Hawes, who was already an instructor at the United States Military Academy by 1850.

ee also

*History of Kentucky
*Kentucky in the Civil War
*Confederate government of Kentucky

External links

* [ Find-A-Grave profile for Richard Hawes]
* [ Hawes family of Virginia at The Political Graveyard]

NAME = Hawes, Richard
SHORT DESCRIPTION = United States Representative; Second Confederate governor of Kentucky
DATE OF BIRTH = February 6, 1797
PLACE OF BIRTH = Caroline County, Virginia, United States
DATE OF DEATH = May 25, 1877
PLACE OF DEATH = Paris, Kentucky, United States

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