March 29, 1865 – Alfred Lawrence Pearson Medal of Honor recipient (December 28, 1838 – January 6, 1903) was a lawyer and Union Army general in the American Civil War. He was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Lewis’s Farm.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pearson studied law at Meadville College and Jefferson College. He was admitted to the Allegheny County bar on January 14, 1862, but worked in the profession for only a few months before leaving to join the army.
He enlisted in the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry on April 2, 1862, and was commissioned a captain in Company A later that year, on August 23. Over the next few years he took part in all of his regiment’s operations and received a series of promotions: to major on December 31, 1862, to lieutenant colonel on July 22, 1863, and to colonel on August 31, 1863. On December 14, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Pearson for appointment to the brevet grade of brigadier general of volunteers, to rank from September 30, 1864, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on February 14, 1865.
On March 29, 1865, in the last weeks of the war, Pearson participated in the Battle of Lewis’s Farm in Virginia. When a Union brigade was pushed back by intense Confederate fire, Pearson rallied his regiment and led an attack which successfully regained the lost ground. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Brigadier General Pearson’s official Medal of Honor citation
Seeing a brigade forced back by the enemy, he seized his regimental color, called on his men to follow him, and advanced upon the enemy under a severe fire. The whole brigade took up the advance, the lost ground was regained, and the enemy was repulsed.