Hugh A. McCadden, Private, Company B, 3rd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Browns Rifles: Private McCadden was born 1835 in Granville NC. Hugh had 6 siblings, one being a brother Henry C. McCadden that also served with the Confederate States of America. Hugh married Virginia Wall 1856 and moved to Putnam County Georgia, Eatonton. Their only daughter Anna Jones McCadden was born, Oct 29, 1858 at home in Putnam County Georgia.
Private H. A. McCadden volunteered and enlisted with Browns Rifles Oct 3, 1861 in his hometown Eatonton. Some of the more notable officers Private McCadden served under officers were Robert E. Lee, Major Gen. Ben Huger, Brig. Gen. Blanchard, and Brig. Gen. Ambrose (Rans) Wright, Captain Nisbet, and Lt R.A. Dennis during the time of Oct 3, 1861–July 1, 1862. Browns Rifles, 3rd Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry was attached to the Army of Northern Virginia and in early October 1861 Private McCadden reported to his regiment then located on Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
Research of Private McCadden’s Regiment history confirms that he was camped near Weirs Point Battery; he supported construction of the breast work between Weirs Point and Ashby Landing as well as Sturgis Battery. McCadden’s regiment left Roanoke Island on Dec 13, 1861 marching to Portsmouth where he helped establish Camp Blanchard and Camp Hardship. April 19, 1862 he served at South Mills ensuring the “Locks at Dismal Swamp Canal” remained open, by successfully repelling the Union assault (Col. Sneed Address History of 3rd Ga. Regiment). June 1, 1862 he served at Seven Pines where he survived a picket line “stampede at sunrise” by the Yankees (Stephen W. Sears, To the Gates of Richmond, The Peninsula Campaign pg. 143). June 25th he manned the picket lines at Oak Grove and on June 30 (Battle of Glendale) when the Charles City Road was blocked by Union troops with felled trees, Private McCadden provided defensive cover north of White Oak Swamp to help ensure that accompanying brigades were able to cut a new road through the forest to move artillery to Glendale (Sears pg. 284).
McCadden’s final skirmish came during “The Seven Days Battles” (June 25-July 1, 1862) defending Richmond Va. For most of seven days it appears Private McCadden experienced little fighting near Richmond, however, on the 7th day of the “Seven Days Battles” July 1, 1862, Confederates found the Yankees to be entrenched with artillery and sharpshooters atop Malvern Hill providing cover for the larger retreating Union Army. The Confederate goal was to make a final push to destroy the Yankees or chase them into the James River and off the Peninsula. The 3rd and 4th Georgia Regiments final assault would position them in front of the Union entrenchment. This day would see Rans Wright’s Brigade execute an unprecedented gutsy and courageous charge in the face of a well-entrenched Union Artillery on the crest of Malvern Hill. According to Sears (pg. 324), some 5,000 Confederates were already in the field in a disorganized charge. McCadden’s brigade (after 530pm) was ordered out of the wooded ravine to charge into the open to take the hill. Wrights men advanced quickly, and found themselves separated from the larger CSA infantry; they were pinned down on the slopes of Malvern Hill by Hiram Berdans’s Sharpshooters. For three hours or more the 1,500 Confederates fought back from the cut over wheat field and grass slopes with little cover. David Winn, a 4th Ga. Private in a letter to his wife said, “The true measure of a man’s courage that day was simply answering the call for the desperate charge” (Sears, pg. 325).
A letter (treasured by McCadden’s family five generations) details how the final events unfolded. Written by Lt. R. A. Dennis CSA, to Private McCadden’s Widow Virginia McCadden, described it this way: “I have learned that by some means getting away from his unit 3rd Ga. towards the close of the fight, he fought with the 4th Ga. and was killed among them. I learned that he was shot through the head and died instantly. A relative of his in the 4th Georgia buried him on the field he so nobly defended”.
Malvern Hill and the “Seven Days” campaign would prove to be a victory for Robert E. Lee with Richmond no longer being under Union threat; the effort to force the Union Army off the Peninsula during 1862 was accomplished.