INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED BY A DECENDANT OF MAJOR GUY PIERCE, DEBRA PIERCE COHIG. BUD GUSSEL TRANSCRIBED THE INFORMATION FOR DEBRA WHICH SHE HAS ALLOWED US TO SHOW ON THE WEBSITE. THIS INFORMATION IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT OWNERS ARE DEBRA PIERCE COHIG AND BUD GUSSEL.
They have kindly allowed us to post it on the 4thwisconsin.com out of the kindness of their heart.
Guy Carpenter Pierce was born near Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York, February 13, 1840...His father, Morris Pierce, in Whiting, Addison County, Vt. in 1806...and his Mother, Mary Ann Carpenter, near Potsdam, New York, in 1811...Their ancestors being Scotch and English. They moved to Lenawee County, Michigan, in 1844 and to Branch County, Michigan in 1853.
The writer was travelling in Wisconsin when the Rebels fired on Fort Sumter, and enlisted in Captain Joseph Bailey's Company of 'Columbia County Rifles' for the three months' service, April 30th, 1861, but did not get out with the three month troops. They were among the first to reorganize for three years or during the war. Pierce being the first Private who stepped to the front with a red hot patriotic speech urging every comrade to enlist for the war, which they did. Pierce was then detailed to go to Necedah with Lt. Edwin E Herron and recruit the Company up from 77 men to 101, for which services he was promoted to 2nd Sgt. June 1st, went into camp at Racine under Col. Halbert E. Paine, and mustered in as the 4th Wisconsin Infantry July 2nd, 1861.
"Our first military work was in putting down the Bank riot in Milwaukee about the 1st of July 1861. The 15th of July, started for Baltimore, reaching there during the 1st Battle of Bull Run and relieving the 1st Massachusetts. The whole Rebel element in Baltimore was in a frenzy of excitement and we had our hands full to keep the mob in subjection. Soon after this, we were sent to the Relay House and the writer's Co. 'D' under Captain Bailey were divided up in squads and guarding the railroad from Relay House to Annapolis Junction. While there, the writer, Sgt. Pierce, in arresting four armed soldiers was severely cut with a knife through the left shoulder.
"In October 1861, the Regiment took part in General Locherwood's expedition on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, marching some three hundred miles--returning to Baltimore in December. In February 1862, on account of being an old and tried Regiment, were assigned to General Benjamin F. Butler's Expedition against New Orleans: embarking at Newport-News on the old Steamer 'Constitution', the largest vessel afloat at that time.
"March 8th, '62, the 6th Michigan, 21st Indiana, and 4th Wisconsin---thirty-three hundred souls all told. While off Hattaras, we encountered a storm that very near made short work of our careers as soldiers. However, we landed at Ship Island about the middle of March, a place so barren and sandy that criminals dreaded banishment thereto. We remained on this godforsaken sand bar until near the 25th of April when we embarked on the old Sail Ship Great Republic and lay at the mouth of the Mississippi River while Commander Farragut bombarded and took Fort Jackson and St. Phillips, when we were transferred to freighters and started up for New Orleans.
"The grandest Negro Jubilee that ever took place was when the Bands of the 4th Wisconsin, 6th Michigan, and 21st Indiana began playing National Airs on the hurricane decks. W.D. Hoard, our present Governor, was a member of our band and says he never enjoyed himself so hugely as he did while playing to that conglomerated mass of darkies who began to gather on the levees after passing the ---and of all the shouting and singing..."Massa Lincum, come to save us...Massa Lincum make us free," keeping abreast of our boats until they would fall to the ground from sheer exhaustion.
"On the 1st of May, the 4th Wisconsin and 30th Mass. were the first rights to land in that Rebel stronghold. The 4th Wisconsin with her band in the lead playing Red, White and Blue as we marched out Canal Street, and took possession of the custom house. Sgt. Pierce was left general guide of the first platoon which brought him near the curb stone of the street. The mob was pouring out upon the Yankee cutthroat as they called them the worst epithets one ever listened to, but were positive commands to keep our temper. But when a fine dressed fellow leaned over the edge of the walk, swinging his hat and says 'Hurrah' for Jeff Davis and Beuregard, you G-D Northern S-of-Bs, the butt of the Sergeant's musket which he was carrying at right shoulder, shot out by impulse taking him in the head and laying him quivering on the sidewalk.
"After taking possession of the Custom House, we found among the endless pile of letters and papers the following dispatch from General Lovell commanding New Orleans to General Pimberton, commanding Vicksburg: "The Yankee's Fleet has passed the Forts, the City is doomed. My troops are on the march. Where to, God only knows.'
"One very laughable incident I must speak of: The State emblem of Louisiana is the pelican. My Captain, Joseph Bailey, (afterwards General Bailey, who dammed the Red River, thereby saving Porter's fleet and Banks' Army) was in the Beauregard Saloon with Captain Lloyd of Co. 'H', when some citizens asked them to drink. As they bumped glasses, one of them says, 'Here's to the Pelican.' Bailey, not knowing the State emblem, took it for some insult and instantly knocking him down saying they couldn't drink to no damn Pelican with him. "About the 5th of May, we learned a Rebel pay train would leave Kenner Station a point some 25 miles up the river for Vicksburg, by taking boats up the river and crossing a cypress swamp some three or four miles which we could intercept the train which was to leave at 8 p.m. and capture it. We made the attempt, but after leaving our boats and entering the swamp, our progress was so slow, the water and mud being so deep, we did not reach the station 'til the train had left.
"Sixteen miles above here was a draw bridge that General Williams who commanded us was anxious to burn, which would cut off the Rebel approach to New Orleans by rail. So, General Williams called for a volunteer company to make the march of 16 miles that night and burn the bridge. Major Boardman of the 4th Wisconsin came to Captain Bailey and asked his company to volunteer. Forty of us responded Major Boardman, Captain Bailey and Lt., Herron among the number. Sgt. Pierce and three men were on the advance. After going about three miles, they saw by starlight a hand cart and seven men coming towards them. Sgt. Pierce commanded them in a loud voice to halt when he distinctly heard one of them say, 'Damn them, run through them.' They being only able to see the four men on the advance, Sgt. Pierce ordered his men to fire into them, taking aim himself at the foremost man and tumbling him from the car with a shot through the heart. One of the guns snapped but the three shots killed four men, which Gen. Williams said was the best shooting he ever saw, bar none.
"In the night, Sgt. Pierce went forward to examine his man and his first sight was a champagne bottle projecting from his inside breast pocket 2/3 full which he quietly transferred to his own pocket and gave to his men as a tonic on that terrible sixteen mile walk over almost constant trestle work. About six miles further on, we met a large flat car with eighteen men, but they stopped their car and surrendered without firing on them. They had a few baskets of provisions and a basket of champagne which we was sadly in need of, and gladly relieved them of. We learned that both of these parties had been sent out to reconnoiter our movement. Eighteen out of the forty went on and burned the draw bridge. When we got back to our Regiment, our feet were blistered, as our march through the cypress swamp had almost parboiled them in mud and water. Then our tramp of sixteen miles and back without sleep or rest, and 3/4 of the whole distance on trestle work. You can only imagine the physical condition we were in the 8th of May, 1862.
"We took a steamboat and started up the river, landing a short time at Baton Rouge and taking possession of the State House, Sgt. Pierce being one of the first men to enter the building. Our present governor, W. D. Hoard, also being among the first, and who remembers well the Ordinance of Secession captured at that time by Sgt. Pierce, which will hereafter be spoken of.
"We continued our trip on up the Mississippi with General Williams and his brigade on captured steamers till we came in sight of that Rebel stronghold, Vicksburg, on the 18th of May"The 19th, we had a skirmish with some Rebel Cavalry in which two of our men were wounded, the first of our troops shot by the enemy in action. After gaining all the information we could of Vicksburg and its surroundings, we returned to Baton Rouge and while passing Grand Gulf, Miss., we were fired into by two Rebel pieces of light artillery. We brought our own artillery to bear on them, and under their fire Co. 'E' in command of Captain Harrison C. Hobert (afterwards General Hobert, whose name became famous for tunneling out of Libby Prison) and Captain Joseph Bailey, landed and followed them about three miles, where a skirmish took place in which four Rebels were killed and several wounded. Sgt. Pierce had the advance with four men and when Lt. DeKay of General Williams' staff came forward with the extreme advance, Sgt. Pierce asked him if he realized his danger. He said he did, It was now quite dark and coming to an angle in the road, the Lt. received 16 buckshot. Sgt. Pierce and Chris Lyons of Co. 'D' sprang forward and brought him back. John Babs of Co.'D' was also wounded.
"Lt. DeKay's funeral took pace at New Orleans, and General Butler sent a woman to Dry Tortuga for spitting on his coffin. June 5th, General Qilliams issued Order No. 46 commanding all Officers to "turn out from their camps...all colored fugitives and keep them beyond their lines". Col. Paine refused to obey this order in a communication of which the following is an extract, and was placed under arrest by General Williams: Headqtrs.
4th Wisconsin Regiment Baton Rouge June 5th, 1862
Captain Wickham, Hoffman A. A. General
Sir. With my own personal knowledge, many fugitives have been received aboard our transports at different places in this State by General Williams and have upon close interrogation given him important military information. Such of these as has not already been returned to their owners may still be in the camps of this brigade. What their fate will be if delivered up to claimants or hinters, it is easy to predict. It seems to me that their surrender would be in palpable violation of the law.
'It would also, in its moral aspect, be obnoxious to the gravest objections. The order of General Williams forces upon me an alternative which is peculiarly painful, because my obedience to orders has always been in practice as well as theory a fundamental military maxim. I am complied either to disobey him, or defy the sovereign power of the Republic. In this matter, I cannot hesitate. No punishment for disobedience to this order can be as intolerable as would be the consciousness of having violated the law by compelling my guards to return to vindictive Rebels fugitives whose information has been sought and used for the benefit of our arms. While I have the honor to command the 4th Wisconsin Regiment, it cannot, with my consent, be employed in violation of law for the purpose of returning fugitives to Rebels.
Your Obedient Servant,
Halbert E. Paine
Col. 4th Wisconsin Regiment
"June 16th, we joined the 2d expedition with General Williams to Vicksburg. On reaching Black Bayou near Grand Gulf on the captured steamer, Laurel Hill, we entered and wormed our way up about five miles when we landed and made a forced march of 13 miles in the hot, scalding sun. Our purpose was the capture of a Rebel Camp near Port Hudson. Sgt. Pierce, with several men, had the advance, as they dashed into the Rebel camp. They broke for the woods like a flock of sheep, leaving their colors and their dinner nearly cooked which we gladly took possession of, Sgt. Pierce giving the colors to Lt. W. S. Payne of his company. We returned to our boat and reached Vicksburg the 25th For our success, the 4th Wisconsin received the following congratulations from General Williams:
Steamer Labell, June 24th, 1862
The General commanding congratulates, the 4th Wisconsin Volunteers upon the capture of the camp of the Rebel troops, the Confederate flag, and other trophies. After a fatiguing march, this Regiment formed promptly into line at the first report of danger, conducted themselves well after a trying and oppressive day. Like soldiers fighting in the cause of their country, the General commanding hopes that in another place and of a larger scale, this Regiment will soon have an opportunity to exhibit the same conduct and claim courage.
By order of Brig. General Thomas Williams
Wickham Hoffman A. A. General
"We returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At 4 o'clock the morning of August 5th, we met General Breckinridge with more than twice our numbers, and in a hard fought battle drove the Rebels from the field, leaving over a thousand dead, wounded, and prisoners in our hands. General Williams was killed while leading the 21st Indiana. August 21st, we left Baton Rouge for Carrollton, a point six miles above New Orleans. Sept. 8th we embarked with other troops going up the Mississippi River 35 miles to Bonne Carre Point where we encountered Col. Wallers, noted Texas Cavalry, driving them into an impossible cypress swamp, and capturing some fifty of them and over three hundred horses. Sgt. Pierce was one of the first soldiers to prove that one Southerner could not whip five Yankees as he took a Lt. and twelve men with only two men and marched them out of the swamp after breaking their arms over a cypress stump.
"September 25th, Co. 'D', under Capt. Bailey, was detailed to build a levee 3/4 of a mile long, height 14 ft. and 12 feet across the top. Lt. Herron and Sgt. Pierce had immediate working charge of over seven hundred colored refugees and while there, he became familiar with all the traits of the Negro. August 30. Sgt. Pierce received his commission as 2nd Lt. Co. 'D' to date, August 16th, 1862.
"December 15th General Butler was relieved from the command of the Department of the Gulf: December 19th, joined the Regiment and returned to Baton Rouge. February 2nd, Lt. Pierce was attached as Aide de Camp to General Paine. February 6th, embarked on steamers to Plaquemine, Louisiana, and marched to Indian Village, while here several expeditions were sent out to find the enemy, seize transportation, and open navigation through Grand River. "February 22nd, took steamers for New Orleans going into camp at Algiers opposite the city. March 5th 1863, went back to Baton Rouge. On the 13th, started with General Banks on an expedition against Port Hudson. Fourteenth and 15th, lay on our arms, while our artillery and the Navy shook the earth belching forth shot and shell into the
Rebels' works. Commander Farragut running the Rebel batteries with the loss of the Mississippi, her heavy guns exploding while floating down the river burning. We returned to Baton Rouge March 20th with our attempting to take Port Hudson.
"April 3rd, we again took steamers for New Orleans, then the Opelousas and Great Western Railroad to Brashear City then moved on the enemy who were camped on (illegible)and April the 13th and 14th, we fought the battle of Bisland, Lt Pierce losing his little black horse, the evening of the 13th driving the whole day of the 14th, Lt Pierce rode a white mare given him by Capt C D Wooster of Co E. The only white horse rode on the field that day. Some years after the war, Sergt Dan Kenyon of Co G was down in the Southern States when his landlord found he belonged to the 4th Wisconsin and was in the battle of Bisland asked him who the little cuss was that rode the white horse---that he must of born a charmed life for he was shot at more than a thousand times.
"April 20th, Genl Banks ordered Lt Col Bean to seize and capture horses enough to mount his entire Regt which he did and they were skirmishing up the Red River nearly every day until May 23rd, when they returned to Simsport and crossed the Stehafalaya and made a rapid march to the Miss River opposite Bayou Sara. Here, we crossed the river and reached the rear of Port Hudson, May 21st. At daybreak of the 27th, we charged on the Fort through broken ruins filled with fallen timber and trees in the face of a deadly withering fire from the enemy. We got within close musket range, but did not take their works. Lt Pierce, while going forward to change the (75th NY?) by the right flank was shot through the right arm just above the elbow. He went with his Capt Edwin R Herron, who lost his left leg above the knee to the St James Hospital of New Orleans. May 29th, our gallant little Colonel Sidney Bean was killed by sharp shooters. Corporal I N Earl of Lt Pierce's Co D swore he would never sleep until he had killed a rebel of equal rank, which he did by killing the Colonel of the 16th Miss Regt.
"The 11th of June, Lt Pierce told Herron and Mrs Morton, their ward nurse, that he was going back to Port Hudson, also jokingly told Mrs Morton she might save his bed as he might want it again. He reached Genl Paine's Hdqtrs the evening of the 13th. Went into the 2nd charge the morning of the 14th, and was shot through the left leg just above the ankle, and just a week to a day from the time he left the St James Hospital, two colored men carried him back on a stretcher. As they entered the office, he sent for Mrs Morton, and wanted to know who had his bed. After her surprise at his sudden return and finding how badly he was wounded, she said she would give a patient who was occupying his old bed another room and would not let Captain Herron know until Lt Pierce was brought back to his old bed...where Pierce and Herron lay for the next two months until ordered North on wounded furlough.
"About the 1st of September, 1863, Lt Pierce joined his Regt at Baton Rouge now transferred from 4th Infantry to 4th Cavalry. For the next five months, the Regt were constantly scouting and skirmishing between the Miss River and the Comite and Smite Rivers, often going 30 and 40 miles from Baton Rouge and capturing several times our own number and in the five months taking over 150 prisoners, exclusive of those captured by companies at detached points.
"February 4th, 1864, Col Boardman started from Baton Rouge on steamer Black Hawk with less than 100 cars and about 40 Infantry for Rosedale on Bayou GrosTete, routing and capturing twelve rebels including one Major, one Captain and one Lt. returning to Baton rouge the evening of the 5th. February 14th, Capt Keefe took the steamer John Warren with one hundred and fifty men went up the river 12 miles to Lobdell's Landing, then took a most difficult road through a low, wet cypress swamp to Rosedale from there they took the left bank of Bayou Gros Tete three miles to Lt Slacks Plantation where they captured four prisoners, 150 fat cattle, 20 mules and 12 horses, bivouacking three miles further down on the right bank.
"At midnight, the rebels opened fire from across the Bayou, which Capt Keefe returned with killing effect, as we laid out four rebels and several horses. Our loss was three horses and a good rebel mule. We reached Indian at daybreak, crossed Bayou Plaquemine on flat boats, reaching the Miss River at noon and taking the steamer Iberville back to Baton Rouge.
"May 2nd, 1864, 162 of the Regt under Col Boardman marched at 5:00 pm and joined Col Sheldon camping near Redwood moving early in the morning towards Clinton three miles beyond redwood. The rebel pickets were driven in by our advance and followed to Olive Branch, where the enemy were formed in force the 4th Wis was in advance and soon intercepted a force of 350 rebel cavalry who were attempting to gain our rear after an hour's sharp skirmishing they were driven back across the Comite River. Col Boardman ordering his Reg't to march at a walk, his last words being "I will ride ahead and see how the road is." A few moments after he was shot from a volley by the enemy. across the river his body was recovered by the noble daring of seven of our men from Co B, G and I, who brought it from the field under a severe fire from the enemy.
"August 25th, 1864, Brig Genl A L (L32?) Comdg Cavalry forces at Baton Rouge made a raid of forty miles to Clinton, La, after crossing the Olive Branch, the advance sent back word that a large force of Rebel Cavalry were in line waiting our advance. Genl Lee ordered Capt Pierce, who was on his staff, to go forward and develop their position and shell them out with our Light Artillery unless we thought we could whip them by charging.
"Capt Pierce rode forward and after consulting with Major Craigne, 4th Wis Cavly, Major Remington, 11th NY Cavry, and Col Montgomery, 6th Mo Cavry, it was decided to charge them. Major Craigne telling Capt Pierce if he would lead the charge, they would support him with the three Regts, which he did. Breaking their line and completely routing their forces consisting of Scotts and Gobers, two Rebel Regts. Capt Pierce, shortly after striking their column, was shot through the wrist of his bridle hand, which gave him no control of his horse, who was making good time towards the head of their column. While Capt Pierce was defending himself with his revolver, "having shot three men in self defense" when he was shot through the belt plate, breaking two ribs and throwing him several feet out of his saddle near the foot of a pine tree, where he supposed he was mortally wounded until Major Reese, surgeon of the 188th Ill Infantry, pried the clasp of his belt plate open and found two ribs broke without even breaking the skin. Capt Pierce felt from then on that he was not made of stuff the rebel lead could kill.
A running fight was kept up for seven miles till we reached Clinton, where we camped for the night. The next day, Capt Pierce with several other sick and wounded under a small escort, started in an ambulance with Pvt S W Wilson of the 4th Wis Cavy for Baton Rouge when nearing White Bayou. Six miles from Baton Rouge, a small squad of Rebels appeared. Capt Pierce immediately left the ambulance, mounted a horse, and charging them with a handful of men drove them pell mell into the woods. Capt Pierce returned to the ambulance and all reached Baton Rouge in safety, the forces returning the following day.
"While Capt Pierce was yet suffering from the gun shot wound of left wrist and left side, received in the charge on Olive Branch, he went to New Orleans and wore a light citizens' suit---his pants being gray with the gold cavalry cord. He was soon taken by the citizens for a revel officer on parole and the attention he received at the hands of J Morganstall on Canal Street and Mrs Genl Frank Hatch, whose husband was collector of the Port of New Orleans when the war broke out,and Mrs Cheatham, who spent most of her time looking after the wants and curing for the rebel prisoners held in New Orleans was pleasant and delightful. He received from Mrs Hatch much valuable information which he gave to Genl Frank Herron, and wound up his three days round of pleasure by receiving from the President of the Crescent City Bank, a purse of sixty dollars made up by a few citizens to help him along till he secured his special exchange which he was figuring to effect shortly after returning to Baton Rouge.
"A portion of the 4th Wis, 11th NY, and 6th Mo cavalries started to capture Camp Beauregard, a Rebel force stationed in the forks of the Comite and Amite River some thirty miles from Baton Rouge. During the evening, we captured a prisoner. He claimed to be a union man and said he could pilot us ten miles through the woods and save several miles travel. We followed him till after midnight, when we discovered he was leading us by their flank between them and the jaws of the two rivers. Col Montgomery, Major Remington and Major Craigne held a short drum head court martial. When they asked Capt Pierce if he had nerve enough to dispose of the prisoner, his reply was 'he could'. Riding up, he told one of the guards to take the fellow's bridle rein. Turning to him, he asked, "Do you believe in Jesus?" He said he did. "All right, go to him," and he went. The command not even halting till they had got back into a position of safety. The attack was abandoned and the forces returned to Baton Rouge.
"The 4th Wisconsin had been owing the rebels around Clinton a grudge for nearly a year for dressing in our uniform and capturing one of our outposts. Major Craigne and Capt Pierce swore they would pay them off in their own coin with compound interest. Finally, we captured a large amount of Confederate gray and by hocus-pocus deceived the best rebel ladies in and around Baton Rouge to make up 100 Rebel suits, they believing it was for their own soldiers until after the following raid showed them what a mean dirty Yankee trick had been played on them.
"October 6th, 1864, Genl A L Lee made a second raid on Clinton. Capt Pierce taking the advance with forty men dressed in Rebel gray and Major Craigne in close support with sixty more. As the first dawn of day approached, Lt Col Pichten, three other officers and thirty-six men on our return to Baton Rouge via William's Bridge and Greenbush, our advance was ambushed and Sergt Tygall of Co B killed Lt Chase, company G, wounded and Capt Pierce's horse wounded so it died next morning, this making the third horse that Capt Pierce lost during the service and five times that he was wounded.
"Nov 7th, Capt Pierce with his Company went with Major Craigne six miles below Baton Rouge and occupied the Highland Stockade which Major Craigne had built the year before. Our work was mostly guarding the river and preventing the rebels from running salt and beef from western La and Texas across the river into the confederacy. We were very successful in capturing large quantities of rebel stores and supplies, quite often engaging in hot skirmishes with squads of cotton burners and guerrillas. Capt Pierce's life was probably saved by Obe Driskall, now of Richland City, Wisconsin, who got the drop on a rebel just as he was drawing a bead on the Capt from behind a tree while we were having a fight in the open woods with a party of guerrillas.
"Nov 14th, 1864, the detachment under Major Craigne and Capt Pierce stationed at Highland Stockade joined an expedition under General A L Lee making first Clinton, La, then on to Liberty, Miss....sixty miles from Baton Rouge, charging in and surrounding the Head quarters of rebel General Hodge capturing his A A General and a portion of his body guard. The old General escaping through a window the back way jumping a high picket fence in a dense bramble thicket in his shirt-tail "after this, he was always known as shirt-tail Hodge".
Before reaching Liberty, a large portion of the 4th Wisconsin with Lt Jerry Flint in advance charged into Camp Beauregard. Lt Flint capturing the rebel, picked without alarming the camp, also taking fifty prisoners, most of their arms and equipment, and twenty horses. On the 18th, 400 men under Genl Fonda of the 118th Ill and Major Craigne started early in the evening for Brookhaven fifty miles from Liberty. Capt Pierce began the advance with 40 men and orders to take all rebel outposts without firing a gun, if possible. Which he did by answering friends when challenged and that the Yankees were at Liberty and to fall in as we must get our forces together to attack them. Capt Pierce took several small squads during the night , they not knowing we were Yankees till completely in our clutches. As they went forward, Capt Pierce saw in the dim distance, a lone horseman. As he drew near, Capt Pierce called out, "Who comes there?" He answers, "Capt Scott, Quartermaster of the Trans Mississippi Dept."
"Capt Pierce rode up with his revolver all cocked, and says , "It's Capt Pierce of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry. What kind of a horse have you got?" The most crestfallen man one ever saw as he was made to dismount and fall in with the other prisoners. One of our special objects was to recapture a six hander that had been taken from Genl Fonda's Foragers a few months before and we learned that Pierce, with another had left Liberty in the morning for Brookhaven as the first streaks of dawn appeared. We could see the front wheel tracks of the cannon carriage and remember that Genl Fonda was quite nervous for fear his long wished for game might yet escape and as we were not about five miles from Brookhaven, and Capt Pierce was to lead the charge into the town. Genl Fonda rode up to him and says, "Capt Pierce, what will be your course if you come on to that artillery."
He replied, "I shall charge right by them and if you and Major Craigne cant take them with your 360 men, I'll come back and take them with my 40. Capt Pierce then took a slow gallop, and when they struck the railroad on the edge of town, he followed the Artillery, which had turned to the left, and gone into camp about 80 rods up the track. They were completely surprised and the two guns and sixteen men captured. Capt Pierce immediately strode back t the crossing when he met Genl Fonda, who wanted to know if he had seen anything of the Artillery, when he told him where it was, Pierce says he can see the Genl yet putting spurs to his old spike-tail mare making up the railroad. In the meantime, Major Craigne, he divided his forces, cutting the telegraph and taking the depot and several of their store houses. We were obliged to burn the storehouses, which also destroyed most of the town. Our entire capture was ten officers and 59 men, two pieces of artillery,and a large portion of their wagon train. On returning to Liberty, we learned that 400 rebels had attacked our forces and a desperate fight lasting three hours had taken place when the rebels withdrew our loss being eight wounded. the rebels much greater. When we got back to where our outer picket post was, we found it deserted, and an old darky told us the rebels had possession of Liberty, and our forces had fell back 11 miles towards Baton Rouge. It was now getting dusk, and we had reached the top of the hill a mile above town when Capt Pierce, who had the advance, could plainly see a dark line, that he took for rebel infantry. He halted,and sent for Genl Fonda and Major Craigne they all decided it must be a line of rebels. That our forces had been obliged to fall back across the Comite River and leave us to our fate. The only thing we could do was to charge their line and get possession of the covered bridge over the Comite River three miles beyond town if possible.
"Capt Pierce was asked if he would lead the charge, which he did in column of fours at full gallop with drawn revolvers. Imagine our surprise, if you can, when our dark line of rebels turned out the fair ground fence. However, we never slackened our pace until we got possession of Liberty and our forces cut off and completely at their mercy in less than two hours. As it was, we soon put the Comite between us and the enemy and tore up the bridge. as soon as the last of our rear guard had crossed, we reached the camp of our forces at midnight. the most tired varmint lot of men in the U S Service. The following day, we again reached our old quarters at baton Rouge. Capt Pierce and Major Craigne going again to Highland Stockade.
"Nov 27th, the 4th Cav joined the Davidson expedition making a final on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to prevent the rebels in and around Mobile from going to the assistance of Genl Hood marching by way of Greensburg and reaching Tangipaho seventy miles from Baton Rouge, the evening of Nov 30. Major Craigne with Capt Pierced commanding the advance charging the town capturing several rebels with a rare quantity of subsistence and a full medical outfit.
"Dec 1st marched 28 miles to Franklinton, Georgia. We pressed on through swamps almost impassable until December 4th when we reached Pearl river crossing her on our pontoons, marching thence by way of Columbia, Miss crossing the Black and Pascagonia Rivers, reaching west Pascagoula, Miss on the Gulf of Mexico December 13th, 140 miles from New Orleans having marched over 300 miles from Baton Rouge; here we lay till January 1st, 1865 when we shifted to Lakefort, La there to New Orleans and up to Carrolton reaching there the 3rd and on up to Baton Rouge the 5th, Major Craigne taking captain Pierce with Companies D-E-F&G and again occupying Straightland Stockade here Captain Pierce received his commission as Major 4th Wis can to date from January 6th, 1865
"March 1st, 1865 our forces left the Stockade and joined General bailey's expedition against Clinton camping near the Olive Branch the first night . March 2nd Major Pierce with 150 men started to make Clinton and meet colonel Craigne at 12 hr who with the rest of the -eight took another route reaching Clinton without meeting the enemy he waited until 1 pm and not hearing from Pierce he started to his aid knowing he was in trouble or he would of reached Clinton as agreed upon. Three miles out he met Major Pierce who was thrice glad to see Col Craigne as he met the enemy three miles out from camp in the morning and had been skirmishing with them all day a part of his force being ambushed three different times losing seven men and eleven horses killed and wounded during the day but each time charging and driving the enemy and slowly making their objective point until they met Colonel Craigne. They all returned to Clinton and remained until the 10th when they returned to Baton Rouge.
"March 30 Major Pierce embarked with the 1st Battallion for Carrolton, Georgia to join the expedition against Mobile the following day Major arrived with the 2nd Battalion and afterwards Colonel Craigne with the rest of the right on the 4th and 5th and 6th of April embarked at Lake Port near New Orleans for Starks landing reaching there April 8, 1865 where the right was all reunited on the 9th and moved to Holyoke Plantation near Blakely Alabama where they remained until the fall of Mobile. Major Pierce being detached upon the staff of General Joseph Bailey commanding the engineers forces on the 9th of April. General Conley being at Blakely and anxious to get transports up to Spanish Fort injured through General Osterhaus chief of Staff by telegraph if General Bailey could find some courageous Captain who would take his boat move up and try the channel General Bailey replied that he would try to find a Captain of a vessel who would go but failing to find one he would go himself. Not long afterwards he telegraphed again to General Conley that the Steamer Mustang had arrived and he would got up on her and asked if he should go that evening and wait till morning an answer promptly came to wait till morning and that the commanding General feel much regret that he had determined himself to go on so perilous an adventure 'as the channel was full of torpedoes three of our ironclads having already been blown up' on the morning of the 16th, General Bailey with the following Staff Officers: Major Guy C Pierce, Captain Meredith Saint's Nolan Still Martin and Burdich started with the Mustang and up the channel we soon passed the Admiral's flag ship then further on the Monitor's and near them the three sunken ironclads some hundred yards further brought us to the first torpedo net her wheels stopped we all held our breath but she glided safely over, we moved on a half mile further up when we came to Commander Thathers advance gun boat the Octorara there we anchored and General Bailey, Major Pierce and the Captain of the Mustang took a skiff and went aboard the Octorara there saw ten large torpedoes something the shape of a beer keg only more pointed.. They had taken from the channel that might after getting what information General Bailey could we returned to the Mustang and started up all of us believing "Except Bailey" that we would get blown out of the water before going two hundred yards. It was a sorry sight to the Navy boys to see a lot of volunteers take a worthless worn-out old tub take the Mustang and steam on up the channel to Spanish fort some three miles further up then Commander Thatcher would risk another of his gun boats (after the third one was blown up) on going ashore General Bailey and Staff proceeded to colonel Bertranes quarters and had been there but a few minutes when a signal officer came in and informed him that the commander at Fort Tracy had ordered every gun at Fort Stuger to open on that steamer and sink her for God's sake:" These were two small Forts out in the channel of six guns each. We turned back out the Stauson and started down the torpedoes for the solid shot was flying through us in every direction cutting down our flag staff through the smoke stacks and cabin with splinters flying in every direction but fortunately we got down out of range without getting blowed by torpedoes or going to Davy Jones' lockers by the 12 guns that were firing solid shot through us. But I think we all breathed easier when we reached Starks Landing just four hours from the time we started. The regiment remained near Spanish Fort collecting stones, artillery, ammunition abandoned by the enemy until the 18th of April when they started with the Cavalry .
"Crossing the Escambia River the 21st and reaching Greenville, Alabama the 22nd, resuming the march the 24th through Troy and Louisville, crossing the Chattahoochee River the 28th, reaching Georgia April 30th. May 3rd started westward, reaching Montgomery, Alabama the 8th, resuming the march on the 11th towards the Mississippi River via Kings and Terryville reaching Centerville the 14th, passing on through Greensborough and Eutaw. Crossed the Black Warrior River the 17th, then on to Pickensville, Alabama, and Columbus, Mississippi.
"Here we crossed the Tombigbee River the 20th of May, remained until the 21st when ordered to West Point, Mississippi, to secure Confederate Cotton and stores. Here detachments went to Aberdeen, Okolona and other points on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
"May 27th we were recalled by General Grierson and ordered at once to Vicksburg, Mississippi, reaching thus June 5th, 1865 via Kosciusko and Clear Creek. We remained there until June 21st when ordered to Texas, going down the Mississippi River until we reached the mouth of Red River then up to when ordered to Texas, going down Shreveport, Louisiana, going into camp at Natts Springs July 2nd. July 9th started with General Meritt via Austin. During July we lay on the low wet ground opposite Vicksburg where we has gathered from all directions 2,000 darkies and was digging what is known as the Williams' cut-off, intending to change the channel on the Mississippi and leave Vicksburg an inland city.
"July 14th the brave Captain Soyan of Company 'I' with 20 men crossed to Commander Porter's fleet above Vicksburg, took the gunboat Tyler and started up the Yazoo when they met the Rebel ram Arkansas. A running fight ensued back to the Mississippi River, one Rebel shell killing Captain Soyan and five brave men and wounding six. The ram ran through the whole of Porter's upper fleet of 22 vessels and that night the combined fleet of Porter above and Farragut and Harris below opened all guns on Vicksburg which made the quadrant display one witnessed. This with the terrible death rate, caused us to abandon the canal and Marshall Braumfils, reaching San Antonio, Texas August 2nd."
"While here the regiment was consolidated from 12 companies down to eight. Major Pierce being retained in the service and assigned to his old company 'D', filled up from Companies 'F' and 'M', until October 11th, 1865, when returning from a long severe raid after a party of marauding Indians. Finding himself completely used up with rheumatism through both hips caused from his four years and a half service and most of the time in the saddle, together with constant trouble and suffering from some of the five wounds, caused him to resign and return to Wisconsin.
"The Regiment soon after went on to the Rio Grande Company 'C', under the command of Captain Brooks, remained at Brownsville at General Weitzel's Hilgro; Company 'B' under Captain Baker 35 miles above at Santa Maria; Company 'F' under Captain Curt Mawen 100 miles above at Los Guavas; Company 'G' and 'H' with Hilgro of Regiment under Col. Craigne at Eingold Barracks 120 miles above Brownsville; Company 'A' and 'D' under Captain A C Ketcham at Echmonds ranch 180 miles above; and Company 'E' under Lt. Pixley at Larcho 240 miles above Brownsville. Courier Stations were established every 20 miles protecting the mail route, enforcing the collection of revenue and looking after marauding Indians and Mexican cattle thieves, in fact, robbers of every description.
"The 4th Wisconsin Cavalry Veteran Volunteers reached Madison, Wisconsin and disbanded June 16th, 1866, remaining in service five years and ten months, the longest of any volunteer Regiment and covering more miles and more field service.
Guy C. Pierce,
Lt. Major 4th Wisconsin Cavalry "
Source:DEBRA PIERCE COHIG.