History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Samuel H. M. Byers
SAMUEL H. M. BYERS was born in Pulaski, Pennsylvania, in 1838. Coming to Iowa in 1851 with his father he was educated in the schools of Oskaloosa, where his father was located. He enlisted in the Fifth Iowa Infantry and served in the army until March, 1865, was promoted to adjutant in April, 1863. He was in many battles and in a charge at Missionary Ridge was taken prisoner and for fifteen months suffered the horrors of Libby and other Confederate prisons. He finally escaped and returned to the army, where for a time he was on General Sherman's staff. At the close of the war he was brevetted major. While in prison at Columbia, South Carolina, he wrote the well-known song, “The March to the Sea,” which brought him into national notice. It gave the name to Sherman's famous march and thousands of copies were sold immediately after the war. Major Byers was sent by General Sherman to General Grant and President Lincoln as bearer of dispatches announcing his great victories. He served fifteen years as American consul at Zürich in Switzerland and was under President Arthur, Consul General for Italy. Under President Harrison he served as Consul to St. Gall and later as Consul General for Switzerland. Major Byers has been a contributor to the leading magazines of the country. He is the author of “Iowa in War Times,” “Switzerland and the Swiss,” “Twenty Years in Europe” and several volumes of poetry.