Lewis Bir was born in Clark Co., Ind., Aug. 19, 1843, and settled in New Albany in 1866. He was married April 23, 1867, to Miss Sophia Cheap. Two children were born to this union, Mary E. Bir and Edard M. Bir. At the time of his enlistment Comrade Bir was 18 years of age and was engaged in farming; he entered the U.S. service, Aug. 1, 1862, at New Albany, Ind., as a private of Co. K., 93rd Regt., Ind. V.I., and was soon promoted to Corp. and Sergt., of his Co. He served under Grant, and in the winter of 1862-63 marched from Memphis to Corinth and Moscow; his Brigade made a forced march back to Holly Springs, when Van Dora captured the place and got there just in time to see the last of our supplies burned up by Van Dora who then retreated. This Brigade then made a forced march to Grand Junction, the nearest point for supplies, and then back to Memphis. Soon the Vicksburg campaign opened where he helped to dig the canal at Duck Point, then marched to Grand Gulf, crossing the river and took part in the battles of Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Black River and others. May 18, he helped to drive the pickets and army of Pemberton in Vicksburg and took part in the charge and assault on that place, May 19-22. Then with Sherman returned to Jackson and drove Jo. Johnson back again the second time; also Meridian and from Memphis was engaged in a number of raids and fights with Forrest’s Cavalry in the fall of 1863 and winter of 1863-64; was in the Guntown fight, the Tupelo and Oldtown fights, and in the fall of 1864, was after Price from Little Rock, through Arkansas, Missouri and nearly to the Kansas line, thence back through Missouri to St. Louis; thence to Nashville, Tenn., where they took part under Gen. Thomas in his two days fight with Hood and pursued his routed army to East Port, where the remnant of his forces escaped across the Tennessee River. From Nashville, Comrade Bir with his Regt., went to New Orleans and Mobile, and through the campaign against the Spanish Fort. After the fall of Mobile, they marched to Montgomery, Ala., and they learned of the surrender of Lee. They then remained in Ala., until fall when they proceeded to Indianapolis and were mustered out on November 20, 1865, his Regt. Having traveled about 11, 000 miles during service; he was taken prisoner the day after the Guntown fight, where he and seven of his comrades made a stand and killed eleven of the rebels; he escaped from his captors the next day, and was hid away and concealed by a colored man right in Forrest’s camp for four days, and then made his way to the Union lines 56 miles away in about 10 hours, arriving there, bare-footed, bear-headed, nearly naked and famished, with the flesh torn from his feet and ankels.
From the book, Presidents, Soldiers, Statesmen Vol. II
H.H. Hardesty, Publisher
N.Y., Toledo, Chicago
Copyright 2004 by Sharon Pike