Pvt. Charles Bieger
USCIS Kansas City Field Office
The USCIS Kansas City District dedicates the Kansas City Field Office to Medal of Honor recipient Pvt. Charles Bieger. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 25, 1844, Bieger was 12 when his family immigrated to the United States. In 1862, during the Civil War, he joined the U.S. Army, enlisting in Company D, 4th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry at St. Louis.
On February 22, 1864, at Ivy Farm near Okolona, Mississippi, Bieger’s company clashed with Confederate forces led by Gen. Nathan B. Forrest. Bieger’s captain, Frederick Hunsen, was thrown from his horse when the animal was badly wounded near the front lines of the fighting. Bieger, on horseback, pressed through gunfire and gave his horse to the captain, who rode to safety. Bieger then managed to catch the captain’s wounded horse, which was running around in circles, and rode it out of battle.
Hunsen later insisted that Bieger had saved his life. In a 1927 interview, Bieger recalled that Hunsen offered to promote him to corporal or sergeant, and even offered him money out of gratitude. The private, who was 19, declined all offers, explaining that his father believed he was too young for a promotion.
After the Civil War, Bieger married, raised a family and ran a store in St. Louis that sold trunks. Though he continued to downplay his battlefield actions, the Army did not forget. Congress awarded him the Medal of Honor in 1897, more than 30 years after his act of bravery.
Charles Bieger, a U.S. citizen, died on August 10, 1930, at the age of 86.