Hermann Lieb, born in Switzerland on May 24, 1826, came to the U. S. when he was 28 years old. Educated in his home country and in France, Lieb settled in Decatur, Illinois, and became an attorney.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lieb enlisted in the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment. In July 1861, he was elected captain and was promoted to major the next year. His regiment saw action at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and the Siege of Corinth. In the spring of 1863, he was appointed colonel of the Union 9th Louisiana Regiment of African Descent. His unit was part of the African Brigade that garrisoned Milliken’s Bend on the Mississippi River above Vicksburg, and he was wounded in the battle there on June 7th, 1863. In August, he was named colonel of the 5th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, and in 1864 he commanded all Union artillery forces around Vicksburg, where he remained until the end of the war. Lieb was promoted to brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers in March 1865. After the war, he returned home to Illinois and became a newspaper editor, postal worker, and author. He died in Chicago on March 5, 1908, and is buried in Rosehill Cemetery there.