Charles C. Pierce
Colonel, United States Army
in Salem, New Jersey, in 1858, Colonel Charles C. Pierce served as a U.S.
Army Chaplain on the western frontier throughout the 1880s and 90s. Included
among his traditional duties was care of the dead. During the Spanish American
War (1899-1903) he headed the Office of Identification and U.S. Army Morgue
in Manila, where he perfected new techniques for identifying the war dead,
maintaining accurate records and transferring embalmed remains stateside
for proper burial.
Colonel Pierce retired from active duty in 1908, but was recalled to service at the outset of World War I. On 27 September 1917, he was named Chief of the newly created Quartermaster Graves Registration Service. Weeks later he deployed to France with the first fully trained graves registration units -- and was ultimately awarded a Distinguished Service Medal, along with maximum praise from General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing.
Colonel Pierce, who died on 16 May 1921 and
is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, is credited with being the founder
of the Army’s first modern mortuary affairs system. And is looked upon
still as the "Father of Mortuary Affairs."
Charles Campbell Pierce of New Jersey
Appointed from Illinois, Chaplain, 9th United States Cavalry, 12 December 1882
Resigned 30 June 1884
Post Chaplain, 12 May 1888
Assigned to 11th United States Cavalry 25 February 1901
Transferred to 2nd United States Cavalry 20 November 1901
COLONEL C. C. PIERCE DIES IN TOURS HOSPITAL
Head of American War Memorials Commission Follows His Wife in Death
TOURS, France, May 16, 1921 - Lieutenant Colonel Charles C. Pierce, head of the American War Memorials Commission, died of pneumonia, brought on by the influenza, at 10 o'clock this morning in a hospital here.
Colonel Pierce, accompanied by his daughter, Mrs. Dewitt C. Jones, was compelled to stop off in this city recently, on the way to Italy to inspect the graves of American soldiers, in a state of collapse through grief over the death of his wife, who died in the American Hospital at Neuilly some time ago.
Funeral services for Colonel Pierce will be
held in Paris on Wednesday. Mrs. Jones intends to return to the United
States with the bodies of her mother and father. Colonel Pierce arrived
in France in March from New York.
PIERCE, ETHEL M D/O CHARLES C
Posted: 27 April 2002 Updated: 3 October 2004 Updated: 19 October 2006 Updated: 9 October 2007 Updated: 14 October 2007
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, October 2007