John Pierson papers  1862-1865
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Pierson, John, 1813-1899

Rank : Captain; Lt. Colonel (1864)

Regiment : 10th Michigan Infantry Regiment. Co. H (1862-1865)United States. Army--Infantry Regiment (Colored), 109th (1864-1866)

Service : 1861 October 1-1864 December 30

John Pierson was born in Schoharie Co., N.Y., on February 13th, 1813, and moved to Michigan in 1834, to Flora, Ill. (1866), Atchison, Kans. (1876), and finally to Dayton, Ohio (1896). On May 4th, 1836, Pierson married Joanna Burlingham, with whom he had one daughter, Emma Juliet (b. 19 August, 1839). After Joanna Pierson's death at Pontiac, Mich., on April 10th, 1864, Pierson eventually remarried on January 9th, 1866, to Margaret A. Sharb. John and Margaret Pierson had three children, Charles (b. January 6th, 1867), Belle (b. December 28th, 1869), and Margaret (b. May 3rd, 1872).

For several years prior to the Civil War, Pierson had lived in Pontiac, Mich., working in the lumber manufacturing and mercantile business. On February 6th, 1862, he accepted a commission as Captain of Co. H, 10th Michigan Infantry. The 10th Michigan traveled down the Ohio River and overland to near the strategically important city of Corinth in northeastern Mississippi, where they were assigned as part of the occupying force, performing guard duty. The 10th were a typical line regiment in the Army of the Cumberland, seeing action during the Siege of Corinth, performing occupation duty in northern Alabama (where Pierson supervised the Winslow plantation near Tuscumbia), before being assigned to garrison the besieged city of Nashville in the late summer, 1862. The regiment saw action at Stones' River and in a number of small skirmishes, and were often posted in vulnerable positions, guarding supply lines, doing picket and guard duty, etc.

For most of 1863, the 10th Michigan were assigned to duty around Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tenn. In September, they took part in the Battle of Chickamauga, suffering some casualties, and were called into the Chattanooga Campaign at the end of the year, playing a major role in the charge on Missionary Ridge and the battles that followed, as they routed Confederate forces in Tennessee and neighboring Georgia.

Pierson remained with the regiment during the early stages of the Atlanta Campaign, and may have left to attend to family matters following the death of his wife in April. On July 12th, 1864, Pierson resigned his commission in the 10th Michigan to accept the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the 109th U.S. Colored Infantry, though he remained only until December 30th of that year, when he resigned for "personal reasons." The 109th had been stationed near Dutch Gap Canal, outside of Richmond.