Hilary Abner Herbert, born in Laurensville, S.C., in 1834, was educated at the University of Alabama and the University of Virginia. He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1856 and practiced law in Greenville until the Civil War.

The future Secretary of the Navy entered the Confederate Army as a second lieutenant and served his cause with gallantry for 4 years. After the war, Herbert returned to his law practice and was elected to Congress in 1877. During his tenure as Congressman, Herbert was chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs and was largely responsible for the increased appropriations which led to the revival of the American Navy.

In 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed Herbert as Secretary of the Navy. Secretary Herbert was able to muster support for an enlarged navy, despite the Depression of 1893, and brought the fleet to some level of preparedness for the Spanish-American War. From 1897 to his death 6 March 1919 Herbert practiced law in Washington, D.C.

Source: Naval Historical Center, DANFS.