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Hiram Berry Civil War Letters to Hannibal Hamlin

Identifier: MSS-4290

Scope and Contents

This collection contains twenty-four letters. Twenty-two are from Union General Hiram G. Berry to US Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, who served together in the Maine legislature. Berry's letters cover his military activities in Virginia during the US Civil War, including the Union's Peninsular Campaign (March-July 1862) in southeastern Virginia. In a letter dated June 13, 1862, Berry notes to Hamlin that he wrote about Maine men's participation in the Battle of Fair Oaks and is "trusting to your generous self to see that Maine gets her fair share of the credit for the conduct of her sons." The collection also contains copies of two recommendation letters written on Berry's behalf, both dated October 15, 1862. One, from Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman to Abraham Lincoln, commends Berry for "saving the day" during the Battle of Williamsburg. The other letter is from Major General Joseph Hooker to Major General Henry W. Hallack, chief army commander, and refers specifically to Hooker's support for Berry's promotion to major general.


  • 1862-1863

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Hiram G. Berry was born in Rockland, Maine, in 1824, and served several terms as a Republican member of the Maine state legislature before becoming mayor of Rockland. While in the state legislature, he became political allies with Hannibal Hamlin, another Republican member of the legislature.

Soon after the beginning of the US Civil War, Berry was appointed colonel of the Fourth Maine Infantry. Berry was later promoted to brigadier general, in March 1862, and given command of the Third Brigade, Hamilton's Division (later Kearny's) of the Third Corps in the Army of the Potomac. He took part in the Peninsular Campaign in southeastern Virginia (March through July 1862), an initiative intended to help the Union army capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia--which included the Battles of Williamsburg (May 5) and Fair Oaks (May 31-June 1). In November 1862, Berry was promoted again, to major general, with command of the Second Division of the Third Corps. He died on May 3, 1863, at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

Hannibal Hamlin (1809-1891) served briefly as governor of Maine (January-February 1857) and as a Maine state senator (1848-1861; 1869-1881), and would serve as vice president of the United States for one term (1861-1865) under President Abraham Lincoln. Hamilin died in 1891 in Bangor, Maine.


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Language of Materials



This collection contains twenty-two letters from Union General Hiram G. Berry to US Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, both of Maine, along with copies of two letters of recommendation from generals who served with Berry. The letters detail Berry's activities in Virginia during the US Civil War.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The University of Alabama Libraries acquired the Hiram Berry Civil War Letters to Hannibal Hamlin in 2018.

Related Materials

See Edward Kalloch Gould, Major-general Hiram G. Berry; his career as a contractor, bank president, politician, and major-general of volunteers in the civil war, together with his war correspondence, embracing the period from Bull Run to Chancellorsville (Rockland, Me.: Press of the Courier-Gazette, 1899), in The University of Alabama Libraries. There is one copy in the A.S. Williams III Americana Collection and one copy at the Libraries' Annex.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, March 2021.
Guide to Hiram Berry Civil War Letters to Hannibal Hamlin
Erin Ryan
May 2021
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266