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Brigadier-General John Pulford, U.S.V.
Brevet Brigadier-General John Pulford, U.S.V.
Brevet Brigadier-General John Pulford was born in New York City July 4,
1837. He was educated in the public schools and afterwards read law, and
is now a member of the Detroit bar, in which city he has resided since
1850. When the war of the Rebellion broke out in 1861 he was proprietor of
a hotel and foreman of Engine Company No. 3 in said city, and on April 20
he, in conjunction with Mr. E. T. Sherlock, proprietor of the Metropolitan
Theatre, reorganized said fire company into a military company and offered
their services to the general government, and on June 19, 1861, he was
commissioned first lieutenant Fifth Michigan Infantry. He was stationed at
Fort Wayne, Michigan, to September 11, 1861, when he, with his regiment,
left to join the Army of the Potomac, and was actively engaged with said
army in all its campaigns and battles up to Malvern Hill, where he was
severely wounded by a ricochet cannon-ball, which fractured his temporal
bone and also broke his jaw and collar bones. He was taken prisoner and
retained at Richmond until July 18, 1862. He was promoted captain May 15,
1862, and major January 1, 1863. He did not recover from his wounds until
September 12, 1862, when he again took the field, and participated in the
battle of Fredericksburg. In this battle his company and regiment suffered
The regimental commander having been killed, Captain Pulford, although one
of the junior captains, was soon after appointed major of the regiment,
the officers of the regiment having petitioned to the governor for his
promotion, on account of his efficient services as an officer. At the
battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863, he assisted in the capture of the
Infantry, and the next day, May 3, assumed command of the regiment, after
Lieutenant-Colonel E. T. Sherlock had been killed, and remained in command
of the regiment (though suffering severely from a wound received at
Chancellorsville) up to and including the battle of Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania, where he was twice wounded, but did not leave the field or
Major Pulford was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Michigan May 3,
1863, and in August of that year was sent to New York City with his
regiment on account of the draft riots, and from there to Troy, New York,
for the same purpose, returning to the Army of the Potomac September 18,
1863. On December 29, 1863, he went on veteran furlough, and returning to
the field in February, 1864, he participated in the actions and movements
of the Army of the Potomac to the surrender of Lee, April 9, 1865.
||At the battle of the Wilderness
Colonel Pulford was severely wounded, having his back broken and
both arms partially disabled from an injury to the brachial plexus
and loss of part of the first and second dorsal vertebra. He was
promoted colonel of his regiment July 12, 1864, and brevet
brigadier-general of volunteers March 13, 1865, "for good conduct
and meritorious services during the war," and was honorably mustered
out July 5, 1865.
General Pulford held on various occasions command of a brigade and
division during the war, and of several Western regiments at its
He has to his credit all general engagements the Army of the Potomac
participated in (except first and second Bull Run, Chantilly, and
Antietam), including surrender of insurgent armies at Appomattox
On February 23, 1866, he entered the regular army as lieutenant and
served in the Southwest and West, and engaged in General Hancock's
expedition across the Plains against hostile Indians to April, 1867.
Subsequently he was placed on reconstruction duty in the South, and was
retired from active service with the rank of colonel, on account of wounds
received in the line of duty, December 15, 1870.
General Pulford is the seventh son and ninth child of Edward and Sarah
Lloyd (Anis) Pulford, the former a native of Norwich, and the latter of
Bristol, England. They emigrated to New York City in 1833.
In 1856 he married Miss Sarah L. Lee, who died in 1875, leaving four
children,-namely, Ida A., wife of George F. Summer; Josephine A., wife of
Henry Cleland; Grant L., a clerk in the Detroit post-office; Sadie E.,
wife of Theodore E. Quinby, one of, the editorial staff of the Detroit
Free Press. In 1883 General Pulford married Mrs. Emma J. Cady. They have
one child, John Pulford, Jr.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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