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H. Dryer

H. Dryer

Federal (USA)


Hiram Dryer

(1822 - 1867)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 4th United States Infantry


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He enlisted as Private, then was Sergeant, and finally First Sergeant, in Company H, US Mounted Rifles, from 31 October 1846 - 24 July 1848. He was slightly wounded in combat at Chapultepec (13-14 Sept 1847) during the war with Mexico. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, USA, on 31 July 1848, and promoted to 1st Lieutenant 29 September 1853.1

At the outset of the War he was made Captain (14 May 1861), Company H.

On the Campaign

Regimental historian (then) Colonel Thomas M. Anderson later said ...

"In the great battle of September 17th, the Regular Division was held in reserve and in support of the reserve artillery until about two o'clock in the afternoon, when Capt. Hiram Dryer was ordered to cross the Antietam creek with the 2d and 10th, the 4th, 12th and 14th Infantry."

"These regiments supported Tidball's batteries, and about sundown advanced and easily drove back the enemy into the village of Sharpsburg. Captain Dryer did not feel authorized to go further without orders, and applied for permission to press his attack. It appears from official reports that General Pleasanton also advised an advance. General Sykes told the writer after the war that it was on this occasion that General Fitz John Porter reminded General McClellan that his corps was the last reserve of the last Army of the Republic. It is needless of course to speculate on what might have been, but this can be said, that the Regular Division was that day in its best condition."

"Captain Dryer rode into the rebel lines and saw that there were but two regiments and a battery left in the centre. That night there was gnashing of teeth in the Regular camp." 2

The rest of the War

He was cited by brevet in Civil War service: to Major 13 December 1862 for the battle of Fredericksburg, Va, and Lt Col 3 May 1863 for the battle of Chancellorsville, Va.

He was appointed Major, 13th US Infantry on 2 February 1865. 1

After the War

He continued in Federal service, being transferred to the 22nd US Infantry 21 Sept 1866.1 He was in command of Fort Randall, Dakota Territory until shortly before his death there in March 1867.

References & notes

Image above courtesy Tim Reese, from the MOLLUS Collection, US Army Military History Institute (USAMHI).

More on the Web

See also: a list of casualties in Mexico (1847-8) of the Rifles, including then-Sgt Dryer, from the descendents of Mexican War vets.


05/29/1822; Allegheny, NY


3/5/1867 Fort Randall, South Dakota


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, p. 384  [AotW citation 8]

2   Anderson, Thomas M. (Col. 14th Inf), and Theo F Rodenbough and William L. Haskin, eds., Fourteenth Regiment Of Infantry, from Historical Sketches Of Staff And Line, New York City: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1896, pp. 586-609  [AotW citation 9]