Rutherford B. Hayes Collections

Collection ID: HAYES-30
Location: HAYES-30

(Description ID: 595599)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Major Eric Bergland


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

Major Eric Bergland, a Civil War veteran, West Point graduate, and career U.S. Army officer, was the first Swedish American to graduate from the United States Military Academy. Bergland married Lucy Scott McFarland in Lexington, Kentucky in 1878. She was a cousin of Lucy Webb Hayes. The Berglands' granddaughter, Martha Bergland of Glendale, Wisconsin, preserved his Civil War diaries, numerous photographs, and biographical data. Ms. Bergland donated typed transcripts and photocopies of the material to the Hayes Presidential Center in 1998. Additional information on the Berglands may be found in the typed transcript of the journal of Lucy Scott West and in the papers of Lucy Webb Hayes.

Biographical Sketch
Major Eric Bergland, born April 25, 1844 in Helsingland, Sweden, was the son of Anders Berglund who emigrated to the United States in 1846. The Bergland family settled in Illinois where Eric spent much of his youth working at the Bishop Hill Colony printing office. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Bergland, then aged seventeen, joined the 57th Illinois Infantry, organizing in Henry County. He took part in the capture of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, Corinth, and Resaca. While in the field at Rome, Georgia, Lt. Bergland received his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Taking an extension on that appointment, Bergland reported to Johnson's Island, Ohio as an assistant to Captain Tardy until the end of the war. After graduation from the academy in 1869, Bergland joined the Fifth Artillery at Fort Warren, Massachusetts; at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut; in the field on the Canadian boundary during the Fenian raid (1870); and at Artillery School, Fort Monroe (1872). In 1884, Bergland was transferred to the Corps of Engineers, teaching engineering, mathematics, ethics, and law at the academy. Bergland later served on western surveys in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado and on river and harbor improvements in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In 1891, Bergland's responsibilities included the building of lighthouses at Cape Charles, Hog Island, Wolf Trap, and at numerous other locations. Major Bergland married Lucy Scott McFarland, daughter of Mary Eppes Scott and William C. McFarland of Lexington, Kentucky. Lucy was a cousin and frequent guest of Lucy Webb Hayes at the White House during Hayes's term in office. In 1896, Bergland retired from the service. He died at his residence in Baltimore, Maryland in 1918..

Scope and Content
The collection contains typed transcripts and photocopies of the Civil War diaries (1861-1864) and letters of Major Eric Bergland written during his Civil War service with the 57th Illinois. Additional material focuses on Bergland's life, including his military education and career, Swedish immigrants of the Bishop Hill Colony in Illinois, his marriage to Lucy Scott McFarland, and his death in 1918.

Ac. 5465
130 items

I. Civil War Service

1. Photograph of Bergland at Cartersville, Georgia, 1864
2. Photocopies of Civil War diaries (5 pages)
3. Typed transcripts of two Civil War letters written by Bergland to his parents. Originals
    are in Swedish. English translations included.
4. Photograph of Bergland during the Civil War
5. Civil War diaries of Eric Bergland with introduction (44 pp.)
6. History of the Swedes in Illinois. Part I "Company D. Fifty-Seventh Illinois Infantry,"
    (Chicago: The Engberg-Holmberg Publishing Co., 1908). (17 pp.)

II. U.S. Military Academy

1. Photocopy of photograph and newspaper clipping
2. Photocopies of two photographs of Bergland with groups at the U.S. Military Academy

III. Eric Bergland and Lucy Scott McFarland

1. Photocopy of tintype. Bergland and two unidentified women
2. Photocopy of letter to Bergland from John McFarland, granting permission for Bergland
    to marry his daughter, Lucy. February 13, 1878
3. Photocopy of portrait of Mary E. Scott McFarland, mother of Lucy McFarland Bergland
4. Photocopy of photograph (thought to be Lucy McFarland Bergland).
5. Photocopy of wedding picture of Lucy McFarland Bergland, dtd. July 1878.
6. Photocopy of photograph of Eric and Lucy McFarland Bergland on their wedding trip.
    Niagara Falls, Summer 1878.
7. Photocopy of photograph of Lucy McFarland, ca.1878.

IV. Military Career

1. Photocopy of letter directing Bergland to Johnstown, PA during the Johnstown Flood,
    June 1889. (2 pp.)
2. Photocopy of U.S. Military Academy reunion dinner souvenir, signed by nine members of the
    class of 1869. June 12, 1914.
3. Photocopy of copy of notes of the Philip Stoneberg interview with Bergland, April 22, 1915
    (Bishop Hill, Illinois ?). 15 pp.

V. Bergland Obituaries

1. Photocopy of formal portrait photograph of Bergland near the end of his life.
2. Photocopy of informal photograph of Lucy McFarland Bergland at the Bergland summer
    home in North Hatley, Quebec.
3. Obituary of Eric Bergland from The Fiftieth Annual Report of the Association of West Point 
    Graduates. June 10, 1919. Introduction, photograph (7 pp.)
4. Obituary of Major General William Penn Duvall (author of Bergland's obituary).
5. Obituary of Bergland; The Galva (Illinois) News, November 1918.