(1827 - 1910)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Education: Madison College, Class of 1845
Branch of Service: Infantry
He read the law and was admitted to the bar in 1848, and was elected district attorney of Fayette County, PA in 1850. About 1857 he visited Hiawatha, KS, and invested in some land there, returning home soon after.
He helped raise troops and enrolled and mustered as Captain, Company F, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves on 20 June 1861. He was captured at Gaines' Mill, VA on 27 June 1862 and held at Libby Prison in Richmond, VA. He was exchanged and returned to duty on 14 August.
He was then on leave in Washington, DC for two weeks and did some "politicking" for a more senior commission and a regiment of his own, but was not immediately successful. He rejoined his Company in time to march into Maryland.
On the Campaign
He was in action at Turner's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September 1862 ...
where he was severely wounded in the left arm, the ball passing through the elbow joint and lodging in the forearm, from which it was not extracted until the 25th of the following November.
The rest of the War
While convalescing, on 24 October 1862, he was appointed Commandant of Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, PA and organized the 171st, 172nd, 173rd, 176th, 177th, and 178th Regiments there. He resigned his commission in the 11th Reserves to accept the commission as Colonel of the 171st Pennsylvania Infantry on 18 November 1862. He mustered out with the regiment on 26 September 1863. He was in the Veteran Reserve Corps in the first 3 months of 1864, then resigned with no further military service.
After the War
He moved permanently to Brown County, KS in October 1865, with a farm near Hiawatha and a law office in town. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1867. He died of cancer at home in 1910, age 83.
References & notes
Casualty information from Nelson.1 Details from Bates,2 Joseph Gibbs' Three Years in the Bloody Eleventh (2002), Harrington's Annals of Brown County, Kansas (1903), and Lewis Publishing's Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas (1900), source also of the quote about his wound. His gravesite is on Findagrave.
He married Ellen Smouse (1832-1913) in 1852 and they had 8 children.
More on the Web
Some of his war correspondence is in an online collection from Dickinson College.
A late-1863 letter from Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin to President Lincoln introducing Bierer is online from the Library of Congress.
A presentation sword of his was offered at auction by Grogan & Company in June 2018.
His face is on a large panel of photographs of the members of the Kansas House of Representatives for 1868 (he's #2, near bottom, center), online from the Kansas Historical Society.
01/09/1827; Uniontown, PA
12/26/1910 Hiawatha, KS; burial in Mount Hope Cemetery, Hiawatha, KS
1 Nelson, John H., As Grain Falls Before the Reaper: The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam, Hagerstown: John H. Nelson, 2004, pg. 132 [AotW citation 16425]
2 Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871 [AotW citation 22824]