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Federal (USA)


Matthew Berry

Home State: New Jersey

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: 2nd Division, 6th Corps

Before Antietam

He enlisted as Private in Troop H, 2nd US Cavalry on 25 May 1857 and served to 12 December 1861. In February 1862 he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Company I, 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He was detailed to General Smith's staff in June 1862.

On the Campaign

He was on General Smith's staff as aide-de-camp (ADC) on the Maryland Campaign. He was later cited by brevet to Captain, USV for gallantry at Antietam.

The rest of the War

He was on General Smith's staff to December 1863. He was promoted to First Lieutenant, Company F of the 5th Pennsylvania on 26 December 1863, and discharged on 5 February 1864. He was appointed Captain, Company B, 20th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 17 February 1864, served on the staffs of Generals Hunter and Torbert, and mustered out with the 20th PA Cavalry on 13 January 1865.

After the War

He was commissioned First Lieutenant, 7th US Cavalry on 28 July 1866 and Captain on 5 December 1868. He served with the 7th in the West, lastly in command of Troop C, at Ft. Lyon, CO. He was tried by Court Martial in June 1869 for disrespecting a senior officer (his Squadron Commander, Capt. R. M. West*) and for breaking confinement afterward, to visit his CO, Lt. Colonel G.A. Custer. He was found guilty of most of the specifications on the first charge and sentenced to 3 months confinement at Ft. Hays, KS, and forfeiture of rank and pay for that period. He was unassigned as of 9 August 1869 and was honorably discharged on 31 December 1870, at his own request.

References & notes

Basic information from Heitman1, Bates2, and Henry3. His role on the staff from General Smith's Report. Details from General Court Martial Orders, HQ, Department of the Missouri (1869 - pdf from the Library of Congress).

* Robert Mayhew West, also a pre-War Regular Army enlisted soldier, was Colonel of the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry shortly after Berry left in 1864, and received 4 brevets for actions in the War. He resigned his commission in the 7th Cavalry on 1 March 1869, and died in September of that year at Ft. Arbuckle, OK. Berry had called him "a scoundrel" and "SOB", and was slow to take his orders.


Date not known in IRELAND


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pp. 214 - 215  [AotW citation 14643]

2   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871  [AotW citation 14644]

3   Henry, Guy Vernor, Military Record of Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, 2 Volumes, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1873, Vol. 1, pg. 138  [AotW citation 14645]