Hagadorn, Francis L.
Archive of Correspondence, Documents, Papers, Photographs and Ephemera, of Brigadier-General Francis L. Hagadorn, of Troy and Staten Island, New York, Major 79th New York Volunteers in the U.S. Civil War and Inspector General of Artillery of the Republic of Venezuela Army, 1862-1895

15 letters, 22 pp., 7 documents, papers, 23 photographs, 185 pieces of newspaper clippings and related ephemeral material, dated 1862-1895.

$ 750.00 | Contact Us >

 

Francis L. Hagadorn (1817-1897)

Francis L. Hagadorn was born 1817, the son of a New York newspaper editor, and following in his father's footsteps, opened a newspaper on Staten Island in 1837, purportedly the first newspaper printed on Staten Island, the Richmond County Mirror. Francis was its editor and proprietor. Hagadorn was the son of William Hagadorn who had started the New York and Richmond County Free Press about 1832. William Hagadorn was formerly of the Republican newspaper. Francis L. Hagadorn continued to publish the Mirror for a number of years before it merged into the Staten Islander.

Francis entered his father’s printing office in Newark, New Jersey when he was about 10 years old and learned to type set. At 12 he began literary work, writing a series of stories and poetry before he was 16. In later years he wrote a romance of Staten Island entitled the “Story of a Spoon.” When he was about twenty years old, Francis married Elizabeth Lawson, and together they had at least five children: Fannie, Caroline, William, Francis, and Joana.

Active in the New York state militia before the Civil War, Francis L. Hagadorn took great interest in military matters. He was a sergeant in the 2nd Regiment NY State Militia, 1835; 1st Lieutenant 142nd Regiment, 1838, promoted to Adjutant in 1839; Adjutant 146th Regiment, 1841; Captain Richmond County Guards, 146th Regiment, 1842; Major 1st Battalion, 1850; Colonel 73rd Regiment, 1854; Brigadier General on Governor’s Staff, 1854. In 1862, during the Civil War he was appointed Major of the 79th NY Volunteers.

After a short service in the Civil War, he resigned in May of 1862 to accept his friend Venezuelan President Jose Paez's offer of the position of Inspector General of Artillery in the Venezuelan Army. Paez had for a time lived in exile in New York City and here he met and befriended Hagadorn. Upon the fall of the Paez regime, Hagadorn returned to the US despite the confirmation of his position and rank by the new government of Venezuela.

General Hagadorn died at Georgetown, South Carolina, on 1 July 1897, and was buried with military honors in Troy, New York.

       Description of Collection

The archive of Francis L. Hagadorn, offered here, includes a letter to President Abraham Lincoln from Venezuelan President Jose Paez. Also included are personal papers, mementos and newspaper clippings of Hagadorn, primarily concerning his career as Brigadier General and Inspector General of Artillery of the Venezuelan Army. Documents include his commission, signed by President Jose Antonio Paez; confirmation of his position and rank by President Juan Crisostomo Falcon after the fall of Paez; and a manuscript passport signed by future interim President Manuel Ezequiel Bruzual as Secretary of War for the Falcon government, among other official documents of his service under the Paez regime.

The collection includes a signed autograph letter of commendation (in English) to Abraham Lincoln, written by Paez after his fall from power, extolling Hagadorn's service and improvements in the field of artillery. Hagadorn would spend the next thirty years trying to convince the United States Army to adopt the improvements in the safe transport and handling of artillery shells that he implemented in Venezuela. This letter is accompanied by a letter from the United States Minister to Venezuela Erastus Culver, who also mentions Hagadorn's accomplishments.

In addition to his inventions in the field of artillery, Hagadorn also patented a pinking machine used in making clothes. A CDV photo of the machine endorsed on verso "patented June 8, 1869" is included in this archive.

Jose Antonio Paez, compatriot of Bolivar, hero of Venezuelan independence and first President after Venezuela, separated from Bolivar's Gran Colombia, and served as Venezuela's President three separate times (1830-1835, 1839-1849, and 1861-1863). He had been exiled in 1850 after Jose Monagas declared a dictatorship. During his exile, he lived in New York City, where he became friends with Hagadorn. Returning to a Venezuela torn by civil war in 1858, he established a dictatorship in 1861 as head of the Conservatives to restore order. This would be his third and last term as President, being overthrown in 1863 by rebels led by Juan Falcon.

Paez's successor, Juan Falcon asked Hagadorn to pursue support for an American exploration of the Orinoco river basin, with an eye toward developing the area. Hagadorn championed this project with every United States Administration from Lincoln to Grover Cleveland. Included in the archive are two letters sent to President Cleveland regarding this project and a reply letter on Executive Mansion stationery from Cleveland's private secretary expressing interest in the project.

General Juan Crisostomo Falcon, as leader of the Federalist forces in civil war of 1859-1863, assumed power after defeating the Conservatives led by Paez, and was elected to a second term, governing from 1863-1868. His government was toppled by conservative forces in the "Blue Revolution" after mismanagement by the Liberals.

General Manuel Ezequiel Bruzual, hero of the Federalist revolution, was made War minister in the Falcon government. After Falcon was overthrown in the Blue Revolution, Bruzual headed an interim government before being ousted.

Also included are 5 letters of General Nelson A. Miles, Civil War Medal of Honor winner at Chancellorsville and last Commanding General of the United States Army before the implementation of the Chief of Staff system, regarding US Army testing of Hagadorn's patented artillery wagon system after a series of fatal explosions from using the old style wagons. Signatures of Miles include those as commander of the Department of Missouri (overall commander of Army forces involved in the Indian Wars) as well as Commanding General of the United States Army.

Printed materials include: issues of El Independiente (a Caracas, Venezuela newspaper) during the Paez regime; printed version of Paez's address to the people (manuscript version also included); clippings of Hagadorn's Venezuelan service in Spanish and English; and a large amount of Chicago World's Fair souvenir newspaper items; and a group of twenty photos, mainly of Persia, but also including Ming tombs, Timur's tomb in Samarkand and Siberia, which are identified on verso, some in pencil, some with the label “Made by Records of the Past Exploration Society.”

      A full description of archive includes:

7 letters, 10 pp., dated 1862-1863, includes Venezuela related letters: One letter written by General-in-Chief B. Figuerado of the Army of the Liberator, Major General Staff 1st Division to Hagadorn stating his acceptance as Inspector General of Artillery of Venezuela; one letter (copy) of Hagadorn accepting position of Inspector General of Artillery of Venezuela;  a second letter (in Spanish) by Figuerado to Hagadorn concerning artillery matters; one letter (copy) of Venezuela President Jose Paez to President Abraham Lincoln written by Paez after his fall from power, extolling Hagadorn's service and improvements in the field of artillery; one letter written (copy) by Hon. E.D. Culver, U.S. Minister at Caracas, to President Lincoln, which accompanied Paez’s letter to Lincoln, Culver also mentions Hagadorn's accomplishments; one letter (translated into English) written to Hagadorn by Secretary of War & Marine Manuel Ezequiel Bruzual, concerning plans to explore the Orinoco River; and one unfinished letter, presumably by Hagadorn, concerning his acceptance of the position of Inspector General of Artillery of Venezuela.

3 letters, 6 pp., dated 1887 - 1895, two were written by Francis L. Hagadorn to President Grover Cleveland and dated 1895, and one letter written by Cleveland’s private secretary to Hagadorn in 1887. The three letters concern Hagadorn’s efforts seeking support for an American exploration of the Orinoco river basin in Venezuela with an eye toward developing the area.

5 letters, 6 pp. by Major General Nelson A. Miles, dated 1894-1896. Four of the letters are written to Francis L. Hagadorn and one letter written to the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army. The four letters to Hagadorn are typed and signed, the letter to the Adjutant General is a typed copy, and is not signed. The letters concern Hagadorn’s ideas for improving military carriages used to transport munitions.

7 documents/papers, 12 pp., concerning Venezuela, dated 1862-1863, including General Order (in Spanish) announcing the appointment of Hagadorn as Inspector General of Artillery of Venezuela signed by B. Figuerado; Copy of General Order appointing the Inspector General of Artillery to be also the Brigadier General of the Artillery of the Province of Caracas; General Order (in Spanish) signed by President Jose Paez conferring employment of Hagadorn; “The Supreme Chief of the Republic to his Countrymen” by President Paez – two copies, one a printed version on an oversize sheet of paper in Spanish, as well as 5 mss page copy in English, (unclear who wrote mss copy); 1 page confirmation of Hagadorn’s position and rank by President Juan Crisostomo Falcon after the fall of Paez (in Spanish); and a manuscript passport of Hagadorn signed by future interim President Manuel Ezequiel Bruzual as Secretary of War for the Falcon government (in Spanish).

23 black and white photograph, most measure 8 ½” x 6 ½”, mainly of Persia, but also including Ming tombs, Timur's tomb in Samarkand and Siberia, which are identified on verso, some in pencil, some with the label “Made by Records of the Past Exploration Society.” Includes CDV of Hagadorn’s patented pinking machine used in clothes making endorsed on verso "patented June 8, 1869."

20 pieces of miscellaneous ephemera, including a telegram sent by Major General Nelson A. Miles to Hagadorn, dated c1895; a couple of blank envelopes with Venezuela flag in color; one page printed poem “Dirge” by Hagadorn; Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tickets to San Francisco; program for “Welcome Home Parade of the U.S.A. 27th Division”; 2 page mss story in pencil of two 100 year old residents of Chicago, apparently written up for printing; “The Little Corporal” 4 page printed miniature publication, Vol. 1 No.1,, Stapleton, 1853; subscription receipt for Staten Islander newspaper; Folding map of Chicago’s World Fair published by Chicago Tribune; Printed copy of Rev. Jacob Duche’s Letter to General George Washington;  old envelopes, etc.

165 newspaper articles & clippings, mostly on the Chicago’s World Fair, or things  of military interest, as well a couple of issues (7 & 14 Oct 1862) of a Spanish newspaper “El Independiente” in Caracas, mentioning Hagadorn’s appointment to Inspector General of Artillery of Venezuela.