Hawkins, Thomas R.
- Glenn Allen Knoblock
Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born free in Cincinnati, Ohio. Details of Hawkins's early life are unknown, but by 1863 he would join the Union army in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and soon he became an accomplished soldier. By 1863, two years into the war, President Abraham Lincoln and the Union army faced a dilemma. Despite victories, albeit at a high cost, at Antietam, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg, Northern states found it increasingly difficult to raise their quotas of men for the Union army. It may have been Chaplain George Hepworth of the 47th Massachusetts Regiment who summed up the situation best when he wrote in late 1863 We needed that the vast tide of death should roll by our own doors and sweep away our fathers and sons before we could come to our senses and give the black man the one boon he has ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.