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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Henry Washington Hilliard Correspondence MSS.0674


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266



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Collection Title:

Henry Washington Hilliard correspondence

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University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


1.5 Linear feet




Contains photocopies of correspondence of Henry Washington Hilliard with others, regarding his various diplomatic appointments, as Foreign Minister to Belgium and Berlin.

Preferred Citation:

Henry Washington Hilliard correspondence, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Scope and Contents note

The papers consist of photostatic copies of correspondence of Henry Washington Hilliard with others, regarding his various appointments, as Foreign Minister to Belgium and Berlin. The correspondents include John McPherson Berrien, John C. Calhoun, J.O.A. Clark, John M. Clayton, Milliard Fillmore, Benjamin Gardner, Alexander H. Stephens, Benjamin O. Tyler, A. P. Upshaw, Daniel Webster. The collection consists of 34 items of correspondence.

The incoming letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, while the outgoing letters are arranged chronologically.

Biographical/Historical note

Henry Washington Hilliard was born on August 4, 1908 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in 1826 and later read law under William C. Preston in Columbia, S.C. and A.M. Clayton in Athens, Georgia. He was admitted to the bar in 1829 and practiced law in Athens from 1829-1831.

From 1831-1834 Hilliard served as a professor at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was the first chair of English literature at the University.

He left the University in 1834 to practice law in Montgomery, Alabama and was elected to the State Legislature as a Whig in 1838. In 1840, Hilliard was a delegate to the Whig National Convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and was on the William Henry Harrison electoral ticket. He was appointed Charge d'affaires to Belgium by President John Tyler from 1842-1844. In 1845 he was elected to Congress and served three terms.

He was well known as an anti-secessionist, but when President Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the South, he began to support the Confederate government. Hilliard was sent as the Commissioner of the Confederate States to treat with Tennessee and persuade them to secede. On 24 April 1862, Hilliard was commissioned a colonel and authorized to recruit a "legion" of about 3,000 men for Confederate service. The command was divided into a cavalry battalion, three infantry battalions, and one artillery battalion (which served mostly as infantry). Hilliard's principal service was in East Tennessee during the latter part of 1862. He resigned his commission on 1 December 1862 to turn his attention to personal affairs. He returned to Montgomery and the practice of law.

In 1865, after the War, he began practising law in Atlanta, Georgia. He was then appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as the U.S. Minister to Brazil in which capacity he served from 1877 to 1881.

Hilliard was married twice, first to a Miss Bedell, of Georgia, and then to Mrs. Mayes, a sister of Col. Thomas O. Glascock. He died on December 17, 1892 in Atlanta, Georgia.

For additional information on Henry Washington Hilliard, consult the following items located in the University of Alabama Special Collections:

(1) Marks, Henry S. Who Was Who in Alabama. Huntsville, Alabama: Strode Publishers, 1972.

(2) Owen, Thomas McAdory, L. L. D. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. Chicago: the S.S. Clark Publishing Company, 1921.

Processing Information:

Processed by

Betty P. Chancellor, 1981

Correspondence - Incoming.1842-1864

Components in Detail

Letters (17 items) Box 1053

From E. C. Cabell; M. Gentry; David Outlaw, Aug. 2, 1852, to Milliard Fillmore, Pres. of U.S. - Recommending H.W. Hilliard to be appointed Judge of Supreme Court Box 1053

From J.C. Calhoun, 1844-1850. Dept. of State Note: The letter to Thomas G. Clemson is a partial copy. 6 items Box 1053

From Benjamin Gardner, Aug. 18, 1852, to Pres. Millard Fillmore recommending Hilliard as Minister to Berlin 1 item Box 1053

From Alexander H. Stephens. Sept. 12, 1864. 1 item Box 1053

From Benjamin Ogle Taylore. Aug. 8, 1852 to the President recommending Hilliard to Supreme Court Bench 1 item Box 1053

From John Tyler to Senate of U.S. April 25, 1842. Nomination by John Tyler of Hilliard to charge d'affaires to Belgium 1 item Box 1053

From A.P. Upshaw, 1843-1844. Relating to Hilliard's term as charge d'affaires at Belgium. 3 items. Box 1053

From Daniel C. Webster. 1842-1843. 3 items Box 1053

Circulars (7 items) Box 1053

Correspondence - Outgoing (10 items) Box 1053

Components in Detail

Letters from H.W. Hilliard regarding his appointments as Foreign Minister to Belgium. Letters to John McPherson Berrien; Clayton; Fillmore; Ogle Taylor; A.H. Stephens Box 1053

Letters to: John McPherson Berrien; John M. Clayton (3); Millard Fillmore, Pres. of the U.S.; Benjamin Ogle Taylor; A.H. Stephens Box 1053

Letter to intruduce his son, Dr. C.B. Hilliard, who will visit Crawfordville on business, Feb. 5, 1873 Box 1053

Letter to Dr. J.O. A. Clark regarding book, Elijah Vindicated. Feb. 16, 1887. Box 1053