Hiram Berry memorial poem, ca. 1863
Hiram G. Berry, a carpenter, navigator, banker, and politician in Rockland, was commander of the Rockland Guard, a militia unit before the Civil War.
He was asked to recruit a regiment for the war – the 4th Maine Regiment. Berry was colonel of the regiment from May 1861 to March 1862 when he was promoted to major general in the U.S. Volunteers General Staff Infantry Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863, while leading a bayonet charge. He reportedly told his soldiers to "have hearts like oak and let the Stars and Stripes wave high."
Abner W. Harmon, a native of Buxton, wrote the memorial poem about Berry, which became popular during the war. Harmon wrote a number of other poems about the war and other memorials, including one about Abraham Lincoln. Some of the poems were set to music.