Dr. Stephen Owen of Morristown, New Jersey

In September 2022 I was gifted a photo album by my friend Charles Joyce that he purchased at the Gettysburg Show earlier in the year. There were a couple of Civil War images in the album that he wanted which he kept but passed the remainder of the album on to me hoping I might be able to identify several of the other people in the album. It turns out the album belonged to Heyward Glover Emmell whose letters I have recently transcribed. Included in the album were pictures of Heyward, relatives and friends—mostly from Morristown, New Jersey.

Cabinet Card of Dr. Stephen Pierson, photographer E. G. Lacey of Morristown, NJ
(Griffing Collection)

Two pictures of “Dr. Pierson” were included in the album which I have identified as Dr. Stephen Pierson (1844-1911) of Morristown. Stephen was the eldest son of Edward and Elizabeth (Guerin) Pierson.

Here is a brief biographical sketch lifted from the Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey written by a colleague in the medical profession.

After attending the old “Morris Academy,” Stephen began his freshman year at Yale, After completing his freshman year, Stephen dropped out to enlist in the 27th New Jersey Infantry, a nine-months regiment commanded by Col. George W. Mindil. It wasn’t long before Mindil selected Stephen to be his adjutant, and when Mindil received command of the newly organized 33rd New Jersey Infantry, Stephen reenlisted went with him and was promptly promoted to Sergt. Major, then Adjutant and Lieutenant, then breveted Major.

“Doctor Pierson’s record of honor in the two commands cannot be more than noticed in a brief study of his life, its motives and its accomplishments. A commissioned officer in the field and a medal of honor man, he fought in Virginia under Burnside and Meade, in Georgia (where he was wounded at Pine Knob), under Thomas and Sherman. He was found “marching through Georgia” and was of that column of Western Giants in the “Grand Review” by President Lincoln…

Lt. Stephen Pierson, 33rd New Jersey

“The writer finds, in ‘Foster’s History of the New Jersey Regiments in the Civil War,’ that the 27th Regiment was under fire on various occasions, that it manifested sterling bravery and that when its term of service expired, it offered to serve the government in the Gettysburg Campaign, actually doing so for an extra month, when, it not being longer required, it was mustered out wit this additional act of patriotism to its credit.

“As to the 33rd New Jersey, Forst writes, “The 33rd N. J. Volunteers fired the last shots of the war (fighting with the rebel cavalry). This regiment in a little less than two years, traversed a distance of 2500 miles, 1700 by marching. It fought in eight battles and engaged in over a dozen skirmishes…”

After he was discharged from the 33rd New Jersey, Stephen returned to college and “passed to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating with such honors as to ensure his internship at Bellevue Hospital.” His obituary (below) includes more details on his life as a physician.


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