John Calvin Fiser (Fizer)
John Calvin Fiser (Fizer) was born
on May 4, 1838, in Dyersburg, Tennessee, the son of Matthew D. Fiser, a
merchant. The family moved to near Batesville, Panola County, Mississippi, when
Fiser was ten. His father died soon after, and he was raised in the home of an
uncle, John B. Fiser, a prominent Panola County merchant and politician. At the
age of fifteen Fiser went to work as a clerk in a country store in Lafayette
County. Two years later he relocated in Memphis, Tennessee, and connected
himself with a mercantile establishment. By the start of the war Fiser was a
rapidly rising yOUng Memphis merchant.
Returning to Panola County on May 27, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant of the 17th Mississippi Infantry and was made regimental adjutant on June 4- The 17th was ordered to Virginia in time to participate in the First Battle of Bull Run. Adjutant Fiser was especially praised for his "most important and effective service" that October at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Elected lieutenant colonel of the 17th on April 26, 1862, he led the regiment at the Battles of Malvern Hill and Antietam and became a "great favorite with the soldiers."Fiser especially distinguished himself at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where Barks-dale's Mississippi brigade (including the 17th) delayed the advance of the whole Union army for half a day. At the Battle of Gettysburg Fiser was wounded three times, being shot once in the cheek and twice in the leg. Accompanying Longstreet's corps to Georgia, Fiser fought in the Battle of Chickamauga, and in the November 29,1863, assault on Fort Sanders outside of Knoxville, Fiser was shot in the arm while standing atop the Union works. The wound required amputation of the arm. Fiser was promoted to colonel on February 26,1864- Not fully recovering from the loss of the arm, the "fearless, earnest" Fiser' resigned his commission on June 12, 1864- In the winter of 1864, at the special request of Major General Lafayette McLaws, his old divisional commander, Colonel Fiser was transferred to South Carolina and assigned to command a brigade of Georgia reservists. His reservists fought in the Carolinas campaign of 1865, opposing Sherman's army until the end of the war.
After the war Fiser returned to Memphis. Resuming his business career, Fiser rose to a partnership in one of the South's largest cotton brokerage firms. He was also active in Democratic party politics and in veterans organizations, being elected president of the Confederate Historical Association of Memphis. Fiser died on June 14, 1876, in Memphis of the "flux" and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
Fiser is listed as a general in Heitman, SHSP, and CV. However, he is termed colonel, commanding brigade, throughout the OR in 1865. His small (eight-hundred-man), ragtag brigade hardly needed a full general to command it, and when on April 9,1865, the brigade was merged with Colonel George P. Harrison's brigade Harrison, not Fiser, led (as senior colonel) the combined brigade, suggesting both that Fiser wasn't a general and that there was no brigade for him to command subsequently. Fiser's obituary states that his commission as brigadier general was issued in the last days of the war, but never reached him.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.