The story of a Southborough vet: Osgood T. Hadley

Southborough is the final resting place of more than 800 veterans. This is the story of one of them.

Osgood T. Hadley was born in 1838 in Nashua, New Hampshire. He would eventually make his way to Southborough, but not before he became a war hero.

Hadley enlisted in the Civil War from his then-hometown of Peterborough, New Hampshire. A color guard, Hadley entered battle against Confederate forces near Pegram House, Virginia on September 30, 1864. As the story goes, the color bearer dropped the flag during the fight. Despite heavy fire, Hadley recovered the flag and successfully guarded it for the remainder of the battle.

Hadley survived, but an estimated 3,800 — more than 100 from Hadley’s New Hampshire regiment alone — were killed in the fighting.

After the war, Hadley and his wife, a Massachusetts native, settled in Southborough where they lived the rest of their days. In 1896, Hadley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor with the citation that “as color bearer of his regiment he defended his colors with great personal gallantry and brought them safely out of the action.”

Hadley died in 1914 at the age of 76, and was buried in Southborough. He is Southborough’s only veteran to have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The bridge on Route 85 over Route 9 is named in Hadley’s honor.

Thanks to John B. for mentioning Hadley in a previous comment, to VFW Commander Steve Whynot for acknowledging Hadley during his remarks at the flag placing on Friday night, and to Fences of Stone for filling in some of the detail about Hadley’s story.

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