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Civil War Soldiers - Pierce

Pierce, Byron Root, Major-General, U.S. Army, editor of the chapter on "Military Affairs in Michigan," was born at East Bloomfield, Ontario county, N.Y., Sept. 20, 1829, a son of Silas and Mary (Root) Pierce. He was educated at an academy in Rochester, N.Y., and began his business career in his father's woolen mills. After a few years of this life he studied dentistry and in 1856 located at Grand Rapids, Mich., where he opened an office for the practice of his profession, at the same time conducting a branch office at Joliet, Ill. On May 13, 1861, he entered the Union army as captain of Co. K, 3d Mich. volunteer infantry. For bravery and efficient services he was rapidly promoted, becoming major of the regiment Oct. 21, 1861; lieutenant-colonel July 25, 1862; colonel Jan. 1, 1863; and brigadier-general of volunteers June 7, 1864. In the Peninsular campaign and the movements in northern Virginia, while major, he was frequently mentioned in the reports of his superior officers as a gallant and skillful officer. At Fredericksburg, as lieutenant-colonel, he commanded the regiment, then in Berry's brigade, Birney's division, 3d army corps. At Chancellorsville Col. Pierce was wounded and was mentioned in Berry's report as "distinguished for gallantry." In the fierce fighting at the "peach orchard" in the battle of Gettysburg, Col. Pierce received a would that ultimately cost him a leg, but he continued in the service, taking part in the Bristoe and Mine Run campaigns and the subsequent operations in Virginia. On May 23, 1864, he was assigned to the command of the 2nd brigade, Birney's division, and led a successful charge at the North Anna river. At Bethesda Church and Cold Harbor he commanded the 1st brigade of Gibbon's division, being slightly wounded in the latter engagement. He then returned to his old brigade, which he led in the assault on the Petersburg works June 18, 1864, and continued in command of it until the close of the war, except for a short time when he was temporarily in command of a division of the 2nd corps. For gallant conduct in the battle of Sailor's creek he was brevetted major-general. Gen. Pierce served two years as commander of the Department of Michigan, Grand Army of the Republic, and as senior vice-commander of the Michigan Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion. After the war he was for some time connected with the U.S. postoffice department. He was influential in securing the establishment of the Michigan soldiers' home at Grand Rapids, and served for several years as its first commandant. On Oct. 12, 1881, Gen. Pierce married Abbie L. Evans of Rhode Island.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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