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CDV Hamilton Lieber, 9th Illinois, 10th VRC
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Carte-de-visite format albumen photograph of (Alfred) Hamilton Lieber, 9th Illinois Volunteers, wounded in action with loss of his left arm at Fort Donelson. Subsequent service with the 10th Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps.

Lieber came from a prominent and divided family. His father, Francis Lieber, was a noted jurist and legal scholar who authored the Lieber Code, published by Lincoln as a General Order in 1863 codifying the laws of war for the army. The elder Lieber held anti-slavery views and moved his family from South Carolina, where he held a teaching post, to New York City in the late 1850s. Hamilton Liebers older brother, Oscar, however, remained in the south, served in a South Carolina artillery unit during the siege of Fort Sumter, and was mortally wounded in May 1862 while serving in the Hampton Legion.

Both Hamilton Lieber and his younger brother, (Guido) Norman Lieber, joined the Union army. Norman served as a lieutenant in the 11th U.S. Infantry and received several promotions and brevets, but is best known for his judicial service, rising to the ranks of judge advocate, assistant judge advocate general (1884-1895), and judge advocate general from 1895-1901.

Hamilton Lieber was commissioned lieutenant in the 9th Illinois 25 April 1861. At Fort Donelson on 15 February 1862 he was shot twice in the left arm, necessitating its amputation. He resigned 4 May 1862, but received a commission as Captain in the Veteran Reserve Corps and served in the 10th Regiment VRC, which was organized in New York City from a number of independent companies in October 1863.

Our view shows Lieber in a knees-up standing shot wearing his single-breasted line officers frock coat showing a captains shoulder strap. Lieber has his right hand tucked into his coat in a Napoleonic pose. His left sleeve, however, is empty and pinned to the lower torso of his coat at waist level. The photographers imprint along the bottom of the card reads By M. Ormsbee, 411 Broadway, New York. Next to that in period pen is Lieber. The card bears a cancelled two-cent tax stamp on the reverse.

Interestingly, Liebers VRC regiment served in Washington, D.C., where Alexander Gardner took several photographs of the different companies and regimental band. One of the views of Company A, which Lieber is documented as commanding at one point, shows Lieber in his proper position in the front rank on the right of the company line, holding his officers sword in his right hand, and with his empty left sleeve again pinned to his coat at waist level.

Lieber received two brevet ranks as of 13 March 1865: major of volunteers for meritorious service during the war and lieutenant colonel for gallant and meritorious service at Fort Donelson. Lieber joined the regular army in 1866, gaining a position as captain and military store-keeper in the Quartermaster Department until retiring 13 Dec 1875. He died late the next year in Germany, where he had gone to seek medical treatment.

Good condition, as shown. Minor bumps to corners, small gouge to card edge at top center, slight lifting of albumen paper at upper left.

A telling view of the wars cost to an individual and a divided family.

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