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Birth: Sep. 5, 1825, Vilseck, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany
Death: May 2, 1863, Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
Wife: Margaret Lewis Peissner (1836 - 1904).
Children: Barbara Kotzbauer Peissner Hollis (1858 - 1892), Keziah Lewis Peissner (1858 - 1860), Tayler Lewis Peissner (1860 - 1895).
Burial: Riverside Cemetery, Fort Miller, Washington County, New York.
Elias Peissner, Age 35. Enrolled at New York City, for 3 years, and mustered in as Lieutenant Colonel, August 9, 1862;, as Colonel, September 1, 1862; Killed in action, May 2, 1863, at Chancellorsville Virginia. Not commissioned Lieutenany Colonel; commissioned Colonel, September, with rank from same date original.
revolution and obtained with difficulty a passport to visit foreign universities.
His record as a soldier is brief, but it is very characteristic. He was as faithful to his men as he had been to his students, and he mastered every detail of his new profession with the rapid intelligence and the intense application which he had shown in his old one. When his regiment lay in camp facing the enemy one of his superior officers remarked, "We can lie down in safety tonight, for Peissner has command of the pickets." The words were, in little, the description of his admirable character. Whoever came in contact with him instinctively felt this unreserved confidence that whatever a generous sense of duty could demand he would be sure to give.
I need not say that he was brave. His was the courage at once of a strong nature and of a lofty ideal. What were the dangers of the field to a soul which saw in its immediate surroundings scope for the noblest activity, and which saw, beyond, the infinite worth of the cause which it was serving? When he crossed the Rappahannock, the first man of that gallant and ill-fated Army of the Potomac, he knew that whether he lived or died his acts were linking the efforts of all the past to the possibilities of freedom and progress in the continual future.
When, on that terrible morning of the 2d of May, he rode calmly down the lines, holding his men firm against the fierce onset that was scattering those on either side, he knew that those who fell in that fight fell as the seed falls, making the great harvest possible. And yet, when this heroic soldier of universal freedom, this patriot whose patriotism was deeper than love of country, lay mortally wounded, his last words, which a stricken comrade gathered from his lips, were a prayer that touches the deepest spring in our heart, "God protect my wife and children!" Let us bow in silence before this cry of human anguish which so reveals to us the costliness of the sacrifice that had been laid on the altar of our country and its sacred cause.
In honor of Elias Peissner, Professor in Union College,
Colonel of the 119th New York Volunteers
Killed at the head of his Regiment at Chancellorsville, Va.,
May 2nd, 1863.