Simeon Tierce was one of several men from The Hills (a long-standing settlement of free blacks in Harrison) to join the Union Army in 1863. New York did not have "colored" regiments until 1864; Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut were the first states to organize black regiments. Simeon Tierce joined the 14th Regiment Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artillery. (When the government established the Bureau of Colored Troops in May of 1863 most state troops were redesignated as US Colored troops. The 14th Rhode Island then became the 11th Regiment, US Colored Heavy Artillery.) Sergeant Tierce's regiment was used as an occupying force in New Orleans, LA.