the secession of seven southern states, on April 15, 1861 President
Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers
to help preserve the Union. Four days later, Bierce enlisted
as a private in the Ninth Indiana Infantry, Company C. After three months’ service,
and his first battle at Philippi, he re-enlisted as a sergeant and served
with his unit in West Virginia.
fought in some of the most famous and horrific battles of the Civil
War, including Shiloh, Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary
Ridge, and Franklin. He was commissioned second lieutenant in 1862, and
lieutenant after Stones River in 1863.
was in time assigned to the staff of General W. B. Hazen, on which he served as a topographical engineer. In this capacity, he surveyed
the landscape and prepared detailed maps of the regions over which
the Union army maneuvered and fought.
the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain on June 23, 1864, Bierce suffered
a grievous head wound from a Confederate bullet. Hospitalized for
months, he was back in action in September during the Franklin-Nashville
campaign. Bouts of dizziness and frequent blackouts -- the aftershocks
of his wound -- forced him to resign from the army on January 25,
his departure from the military, Bierce became a Treasury agent
in Alabama. In 1866, he joined Hazen on an expedition into Indian
Territory, making maps of the regions through which they passed.
The party reached San Francisco in 1867, and Bierce remained there
as an employee of the U.S. Mint.