A biography of Edward Pomeroy - Captain, Company E, lst Michigan Volunteer Infantry

By

Mike Miallard






He was born in Livingston County, New York in 1837. He attended public schools until about 1851 and was evidently sponsored to attend college, entering the University of Rochester and graduating in 1855 at the age of 18. He did some surveying work in the U.P. and other work of this nature around Jackson County.

Shortly after he pursued law studies in the City of Marshall, Calhoun County and in 1859 passed the bar exam in that County, In December, 1859 he came to Jackson and was sponsored to join the law office of a Hon. Eugene Pringle, who was then prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County. In November, 1860, Mr. Pringle joined the Republican ticket as a state legislature, requiring giving up his law position. Mr. Pomeroy then filled that position at only the age of 23. He was accredited to serving that position well until in early 1861 he joined the local company being organized by Captain William Withington called the "Jackson Greys". One of those first patriotic responses to arms with succession of the southern states and the attack on fort Sumter, Edward Pomeroy volunteered in as a third sergeant at 24 years of age. On May 1 the Greys were sworn for three months as known as Co. B of the 1st Michigan Infantry.

On May 13th they were in transit to the seat of our government, arriving in Washington City on May 16th as being the first western regiment to reach the Capitol. With rebel forces harassing the Capitol, the 1st Michigan was the first northern force to invade Virginia, driving rebel pickets from Arlington Heights and entering Alexandria on May 24th.

The regiment later participated in the Battle of Manassas (1str Bull Run) where they made four desperate assaults on rebel batteries that were on Henry Hill. Surviving this ordeal the 90 day term of service resulted in him being mustered out on August 7, 1861. However, the 1st Michigan was reorganized into three years of service. Due to his record in battle Pomeroy became a 1st Lieutenant in Co. G of the reorganized regiment. The winter of 1861-62 ended up being idle time with guarding railroads in the Baltimore/Washington area. Due to his business qualities, Pomeroy became the Adjutant to the regiment on January, 1862 and was subsequently promoted to Captain of Co. E.

That spring of 1862 the regiment joined the Army of the Potomac under General McClellan and was involved with the Peninsular campaign. Pomeroy was in Jackson on Furlough at the commencement of the 7 days of battles before Richmond. He promptly shortened his furlough and joined his regiment to participate in the Battles at Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills and Malvern Hill. He won accolades for bravery and skill with his company.

At the Battle of 2nd Bull Run on August 30, 1862 his regiment was order to attack a railroad cut that had some 5 rebel batteries of Jackson's command. The men were cut down in the assault with Pomeroy being the ranking surviving officer of the regiment to reach the base of the hill. He had no choice to order a retreat to save the rest of the men. In his retreat he was shot thru the head by rebel fire. After the cessation of fire the Regimental Surgeon, Dr. J. Tunnicliff was able to return to the battle area and identify the body of Captain Pomeroy. Circumstances did not allow the burial of the fallen men.

It wasn't until 1863 that Governor Blair was able to visit the battle site with Dr. Tunnicliff in an effort to locate Pomeroy's remains. A skull was found at the location of where the Pomeroy had fallen with two bullet holes that Dr. Tunnicliff verified as being the remains of Captain Pomeroy. The skull was placed in a box and in care of the doctor with the inscription, "Capt. Edward Pomeroy, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, This cranium was obtained on a visit to the battle field by his fiend and fellow soldier J. Tunnicliff Jr., late Surgeon to the 1st Michigan Infantry.

Soon after the doctor's death, his wife contacted Governor Blair on the remains with it being given to a Josiah Smith in charge of all cemeteries. It was then buried at the speaker's stand in Mount Evergreen Cemetery. When the newly formed GAR post was designated as Post No. 48 and was seeking a suitable name for it, General Withington suggested "Edward Pomeroy" in tribute for his bravery and coolness under fire and unswerving devotion to the cause he fought for. After the death of General Withington, his widow provided a significant donation to relocate the remains of Captain Pomeroy and provide a granite headstone. Ceremonies were held by the GAR post that bore his name.

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