(1841 - 1899)
Home State: Maine
Education: Bowdoin College, Chicago University, Class of 1861
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 7th Maine Infantry
see his Battle Report
A 20 year old from Bath, he had recently graduated from Bowdoin College and was a student in the first Senior Class at Chicago University in 1861. At the start of the war in April he enlisted there as a Private in Company D, Chicago Zouaves, but they were not selected for war service.
On graduating in May 1861 he returned to Maine, drilled students at Bowdoin, opened a recruiting office with Senator Fessenden's son Sam, and helped raise a company of troops from his hometown - the "Harding Zouaves." He was commissioned Captain of Company D, 7th Maine Infantry on 21 August 1861 and was appointed Major by an election among the officers the next day.
On the Campaign
He led the regiment at Antietam on 17 September 1862. Late in the day he was ordered to charge a concentration of Confederate troops to save a battery nearby from dangerous sharpshooter fire. The charge was reasonably successful, but not well advised:
I drove the enemy from the trees and buildings Colonel Irwin ordered me to clear, but for want of support was unable either to push on after his line was pierced or to hold the position that was gained.It was devastating to the regiment, which suffered nearly 100 casualties. Major Hyde was very unhappy with Brigade commander Colonel Irwin, who ordered the charge on his own initiative, and who may have been drunk at the time. Hyde wrote later:
We did not take a large space on the line as we lay down in the falling darkness ... Fifteen officers and two hundred and twenty-five men in the morning, and this little party at night! ... as the French officer at Balaklava said, "It is magnificent, but it is not war."Many years later he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in the battle.
When we knew our efforts were resultant from no plan or design at headquarters, but were from an inspiration of John Barleycorn in our brigade commander alone, I wished I had been old enough, or distinguished enough, to have dared to disobey orders.
The rest of the War
Soon after, he was appointed Acting Inspector General of the Left Grand Division, Army of the Potomac. He was with General Sedgwick at Gettysburg and all the battles following in which the Sixth Corps was engaged. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 December 1863, and remained with the Sixth Corps until August 1864, when he accepted the commission as Colonel of the First Maine Veteran Volunteers. He was present at Sayler's Creek and at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. He was honored by brevet to Brigadier General of Volunteers to date from 2 April 1865 for his war service, and mustered out on 28 June 1865.
After the War
He bought a shop in Bath, ME that made windlasses and other ship hardware, and named it Hyde Windlass. He grew the business and expanded by acquiring others. By 1882 he had grown to be able to build complete ships and incorporated the company as the Bath Iron Works in 1884. He was also elected to the State Senate in 1873 and served three terms, two as president. In 1876 and 1877 he was the Mayor of Bath. He retired due to kidney disease in 1899, leaving his business to his sons, and died later that year.
References & notes
His service from the Adjutant General1 and his own Memories of the Sixth Army Corps (1894), source also of the second quote above and his picture. The first quote from his after-action report. Personal details from family genealogists and a brief bio accompanying a collection of his papers at Bowdoin College. His gravesite is on Findagrave.
He married Annie Hayden (1841-1915) in about 1866 and they had 6 children; their first named John Sedgwick Hyde (1867-1917) after his beloved 6th Army Corps commander, who was killed at Spotsylvania in May 1864.
More on the Web
Bath Iron Works is now (2021) part of the General Dynamics Corporation, and is still a major shipbuilder, particularly for the US Navy.
There's a good post-war (c. 1876) photograph of him online from the Maine State Archives.
He published Following the Greek Cross, or, Memories of the Sixth Army Corps in 1894; it's online from the Hathi Trust.
1/15/1841; Florence, ITALY
11/14/1899; Fortress Monroe, VA; burial in Oak Grove Cemetery, Bath, ME