Herbert, Hilary A.
Alabama US Rep 1877-93, Navy Secretary 1893-97
Autograph ID: 7043
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1834-1919) Colonel of 8th Alabama Infantry in Civil War, lawyer, US Rep (D) 1877-93. Herbert practiced law in Greenville, Ala. until the Civil War. He was captain of the Greenville Guards, later colonel of the 8th Regt., Alabama, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness May 6, 1864. He was elected to Congress from Montgomery (D) serving 1877-93. He was chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, largely responsible for the increased appropriations which led to the revival of the Navy. However, he was among those who favored a more limited program than the one proposed by Navy Secretary Tracy in 1890, which called for 40 battleships; only 4 were authorized as a result. Herbert also became well known for efforts to reduce funding for the US Geological Survey. In 1893, President Cleveland appointed him Secretary and he mustered support for an enlarged navy, despite the Depression of 1893, and brought the fleet to some level of preparedness for the Spanish-American War. He converted to naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan’s opinion which called for a large fleet capable of offensive action. Five battleships (Kearsage and Illinois classes) and 16 torpedo boats were authorized during his tenure.
Signed 2 ½ x 5 ½ fragment of an autograph album page, adds “Montgomery,/ Alabama”, likely while US Rep; undated but ca. 1878”