Hannibal Hamlin served in the Civil War as a private in a militia unit as a cook, oh and he was vice president as well.

major bill

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What roll, beside militia unit cook did Hannibal Hamlin during the Civil War? I know he was vice president, but exactly what did he do as vice president? Hamlin did was not close to President Lincoln and did not attend cabinet meetings. Hamlin rarely visited the White House and I am uncertain Lincoln assigned him much responsibilities. Lincoln did not have him run as VP in 1864. Was Hamlin's biggest contribution to the Union War effort an activated militia cook?
 
On July 23, 1861, two days after the Union's defeat at First Manassas, Vice-President Hamlin, Senator Charles Sumner and Senator Zachariah Chandler went together to the White House and met with Lincoln in an attempt to convince him to emancipate the slaves, which in their point of view would create chaos and cause the Confederacy to collapse. Lincoln listened but disagreed with their advice claiming that the Northern people were not yet prepared for such action.

That's about the only thing I can find that Hamlin was involved in during his term as Lincoln's vice-president.
 
Hamlin was a U.S. Senator before the war and after the war. During the war for all four years as Vice President, he presided over and served as President of the U.S. Senate, a very important position.
My bold

"Hamlin explained that he soon saw that his office was a 'nullity' in Washington. He tried not to intrude upon the president, but always gave Lincoln his views, and when asked, his advice.

"Moreover, Hamlin found presiding over the Senate so boring that he was frequently absent. In contrast to his service as a senator, when he rarely missed a day of a session, as vice president he would leave for Maine well before the end of a session, turning his duties over to the president pro tempore. Hamlin's inattentiveness to Senate proceedings became an embarrassment when the Delaware Democrat Willard Saulsbury launched into a savage attack on President Lincoln as 'a weak and imbecile man.' Republican senators objected that the remarks were not in order, but Vice President Hamlin had to admit that '[t]he Chair was not listening to what the Senator from Delaware was saying, and did not hear the words.' To this Saulsbury replied, 'That is the fault of the Chair, and not of the Senator who was addressing the Chair.' Hamlin finally ordered Saulsbury to be seated for questioning the motives of the senators who had raised the objection, and when Saulsbury refused to comply, the vice president ordered the sergeant at arms to place the senator in custody. After a brief conversation, Saulsbury accompanied the assistant sergeant at arms out of the chamber."
https://www.senate.gov/about/officers-staff/vice-president/hannibal-hamlin.htm
 

Fairfield

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I don't believe that Hamlin's relationship with Lincoln was non-existent. Lincoln tried out many of his speeches and releases before his vice-president. The relationship between the two men--while not "chummy"--was marked by respect on both sides. Hamlin was not Lincoln's initial choice (that was Gideon Welles) but he was the final choice.

Having recently finished Team of Rivals, I think that Hamlin was instrumental in helping Lincoln put together his carefully balanced Cabinet, especially with Seward.

The version cited by @Copperhead-mi of the Saulsbury episode omits the important fact that Saulsbury pulled a gun on the sergeant of arms and said "if you touch me, I'll shoot you dead"--rather a bit more than "a brief conversation". Doris Kearns Goodwin describes the outburst as "drunken" and quotes Brooke on Saulsbury's harangue as containing "language fit only for a drunken fishwife," If this was the case, Hamlin's response (that he hadn't been paying attention) was probably not true, therefore an insult.

I read once in a book by Earl Marriner (a Maine historian)--that I own but cannot find 😡--that the Hamlin family believed that it was Lincoln's personal preference to have continued with Hamlin for his 2nd term. If so, it is a shame that it wasn't the case.
 
The version cited by @Copperhead-mi of the Saulsbury episode omits the important fact that Saulsbury pulled a gun on the sergeant of arms and said "if you touch me, I'll shoot you dead"--rather a bit more than "a brief conversation". Doris Kearns Goodwin describes the outburst as "drunken" and quotes Brooke on Saulsbury's harangue as containing "language fit only for a drunken fishwife," If this was the case, Hamlin's response (that he hadn't been paying attention) was probably not true, therefore an insult.
I'm surprised this incident isn't mentioned in Joan B. Freeman's The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War. The author includes the violent confrontations in the Congress up into Andrew Johnson's administration.
 

Fairfield

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I'm surprised this incident isn't mentioned in Joan B. Freeman's The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War. The author includes the violent confrontations in the Congress up into Andrew Johnson's administration.
I've not read the book so I can't comment on Dr. Freeman's content.

The incident is repeated by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals) and first cited by Noah Brook/Brooks in Mr. Lincoln's Washington (Mr. Brooks, BTW, was a journalist who actually knew Lincoln).

edited for punctuation
 
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Bruce Vail

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Being enrolled in a militia unit is not the same thing as serving in the field. Are there any contemporaneous reports that Hamlin ever served in unform?
 
Being enrolled in a militia unit is not the same thing as serving in the field. Are there any contemporaneous reports that Hamlin ever served in unform?

"During the summer of 1864, the lame-duck vice president briefly served in the Union army. When the war began in 1861, Hamlin had enlisted as a private in the Maine Coast Guard. His unit was called to active duty in 1864 and ordered to report to Fort McClary, at Kittery, Maine. Although Hamlin could have accepted a purely honorary place on the roll, he insisted upon active service. 'I am the Vice-President of the United States, but I am also a private citizen, and as an enlisted member of your company, I am bound to do my duty.' He added, 'I aspire only to be a high private in the rear ranks, and keep step with the boys in blue.' Promoted to corporal, Hamlin reported on July 7, drilled, and did guard duty and kitchen patrol along with the rest of the enlisted men. As vice president, however, he was assigned to officers' quarters. When his tour of duty ended in September, he left the company to campaign for the Republican ticket, first in Maine, and then down through New England to New York and Pennsylvania, doing what he could to aid Lincoln's reelection."
https://www.senate.gov/about/officers-staff/vice-president/hannibal-hamlin.htm
 

Bruce Vail

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"During the summer of 1864, the lame-duck vice president briefly served in the Union army. When the war began in 1861, Hamlin had enlisted as a private in the Maine Coast Guard. His unit was called to active duty in 1864 and ordered to report to Fort McClary, at Kittery, Maine. Although Hamlin could have accepted a purely honorary place on the roll, he insisted upon active service. 'I am the Vice-President of the United States, but I am also a private citizen, and as an enlisted member of your company, I am bound to do my duty.' He added, 'I aspire only to be a high private in the rear ranks, and keep step with the boys in blue.' Promoted to corporal, Hamlin reported on July 7, drilled, and did guard duty and kitchen patrol along with the rest of the enlisted men. As vice president, however, he was assigned to officers' quarters. When his tour of duty ended in September, he left the company to campaign for the Republican ticket, first in Maine, and then down through New England to New York and Pennsylvania, doing what he could to aid Lincoln's reelection."
https://www.senate.gov/about/officers-staff/vice-president/hannibal-hamlin.htm

I am amused by the idea that the Hamlin, one of the leading politicians in Maine, was assigned to "kitchen patrol" while doing his militia training. What do we suppose that entailed? Picking out the best victuals for his own table?
 

Fairfield

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I am amused by the idea that the Hamlin, one of the leading politicians in Maine, was assigned to "kitchen patrol" while doing his militia training. What do we suppose that entailed? Picking out the best victuals for his own table?
From my understanding, doing KP is a regular task for privates. Given his age and status, I suspect that his activities were more honorary than actual--and I've not read that Mr. Hamlin was a "foodie" (to use a later term) so he was probably unable to select what was best.

General Connor of Maine was known for his cooking: beanhole-beans and brown bread (probably learned from his lumberman father). But I've not encountered an instance of his wielding pots and pans during the war. ☺️
 
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