Cyrus Hamlin, son of Senator and Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, was born on April 26, 1839, at Hampden, Maine. He was educated at the Hampden Academy and at Colby College, Waterville, Maine, but left the latter school before graduation in order to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1860 and began practice in York County, Maine. Hamlin did not enter military service until April, 1862, when he was mustered in as aide-de-camp with rank of captain and assigned to the staff of General John C. Fremont, for whom he discharged the duties of acting commissary of subsistence. He attracted Fremont's notice by his conduct at the battle of Cross Keys and was among the first army officers to advocate the enlistment of Negroes. He was appointed colonel of the 80th U. S. Colored Infantry, February 12, 1863, although the regiment itself (originally called the 8th Corps d'Afrique) was not organized at Port Hudson, Louisiana, until September 1, 1863, and was not named until April 4, 1864. After the fall of Port Hudson in July, 1863, Hamlin's men were garrisoned there along with the balance of the Corps d'Afrique, consisting of eleven regiments divided into two divisions. The 1st Division contained two brigades (one commanded by Hamlin); the 2nd Division, only its 2nd Brigade —the Official Records tersely remark, "The First Brigade disintegrated." Hamlin commanded the district of Bonnet Carre- Louisiana, for some time and on December 13, 1864, was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers. In the omnibus promotions of 1865, Hamlin was brevetted major general. He remained in New Orleans after the war as an active lawyer and carpetbagger and died of yellow fever on August 28, 1867, at the age of twenty-eight. General Hamlin was first buried in Girod Cemetery, New Orleans, but three months later was removed to the family ground in Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor, Maine.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.