Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRIER, William Nicholson, soldier, born in Pennsylvania in 1812; died at Napa Springs, California, 9 July, 1885. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1835, and assigned to the 1st dragoons. He was on frontier duty in the Choctaw nation from 1839 till 1840, when he became assistant instructor of infantry and cavalry tactics at West Point, and held the office one year, after which he was engaged in frontier duty in the west. He was appointed captain, 23 April, 1846, and entered on active service at the beginning of the Mexican war. He was brevetted major for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales, 16 March, 1848, and was on frontier duty at Fernandez de Taos in 1849. During the two following years he took part in the expedition against the Apache Indians, and was wounded in the skirmish at Too-koon-kurre Butte, 17 November, 1849. Subsequently he was in active service on the Pacific coast and in the far northwest, serving in expeditions against the Indians in Washington territory. In 1861-'2 he served as acting inspector-general of the Army of the Potomac, and commanded the 1st regiment of cavalry in the Virginia peninsular campaign. He was present at the siege of Yorktown and the battle of Williamsburg, where he was wounded and brevetted colonel for gallantry. He also took part in the battle of Gaines's Mills and in the seven days' change of base to the James river. He was on court-martial duty in St. Louis, Missouri, from September, 1862, till February, 1863, and served as superintendent of volunteer recruiting service and chief mustering and disbursing officer of Ohio. He also held this office in Iowa from March, 1863, till June, 1865, and in Pennsylvania from June, 1865, till April, 1866. He was brevetted brigadier-general, United States army, for faithful service during the war on 13 March, 1865. On 31 August, 1866, he became colonel of the 3d cavalry. At his own request he was placed on the retired list, 15 December 1870.
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