If you dig long enough, you can usually find information on a person. I’ve done it for Col. John B. Palmer. I started with a paragraph from the troop books and over the past ten years, I’ve been able to collect about three inches of material.
However, mounds of information on Washington M. Hardy, colonel of the 60th NCT, seem to elude me.
I am distantly related to the colonel. He and I share a common grandfather, a Revolutionary War soldier from Virginia. Washington’s family moved to Edgefield District, South Carolina, and mine to Limestone County, Alabama.
Washington Morris Hardy was born February 8, 1835, in Buncombe County, North Carolina. His father was Dr. J. F. E. Hardy, the noted Asheville physician. His mother was Jane Patton. Washington was educated as a lawyer prior to the war.
With the dissolution of the Union, and the prospect of war at hand, Washington joined the Buncombe Riflemen on April 27, 1861. Washington was elected 1st Lieutenant on the same day. The riflemen became Company E, 1st North Carolina Volunteers, also known as the "Bethel Regiment" for their participation in the battle of Big Bethel, Virginia, in June 1861. Washington was mustered out of service on November 12-13, 1861.
Returning home, Washington commenced raising a new company. On January 27, 1862, he was appointed captain of the Buncombe Light Artillery. Hardy’s company became Company A, 60th North Carolina Troops, and on March 1, 1863, he was appointed major, to date from February 21. On June 10, 1863, Hardy was promoted to colonel of the 60th NCT, to rank from May 14, 1863. According to the troop books, Hardy was with his regiment in May and June 1863, and November 1, 1863, until August 23, 1864. However, it appears that Maj. James T. Weaver was in command of the regiment during the battle of Chattanooga. The troop books also state that Hardy went home on leave on August 23, 1864, and that there is no further record. That it not exactly true.
During part of the Atlanta Campaign, Hardy is listed as in command of Reynold’s brigade (AofT). During the Carolinas Campaign, Hardy commanded a brigade composed of the 7th North Carolina Reserves, the 10th North Carolina Battalion, and the 50th North Carolina Troops. On March 31, 1865, he is listed as being back in command of the 60th North Carolina. However, once the 58th and 60th NCT are consolidated (on April 9, 1865), Hardy is not listed as the commanding officer.
Washington married Rebecca Carson. After the war, he worked as either a librarian, or assistant in the documents room for the United States House of Representatives. Hardy died in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in March 1880. His simple obit, in the March 31, 1880 edition of the Carolina Spartan, read:
Col. W. M. Hardy died last Sunday night at the residence of Mrs. Carson of this place. He was a native of Asheville, a son of Dr. Hardy. For several years he has been in Washington. His health failing, he returned to the South a few months ago. He was continued in his room several weeks. He was buried in the Episcopal Church yard Tuesday evening.