Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
Civil War History
Source: extracted from THE PORT
WASHINGTON STAR -- submitted
by Mary Saggio
Co. I, 9th Wisconsin
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (May 1, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
When the bombardment of Ft. Sumter proved to the world the fact that the slave holders of the South were determined, if possible, to dissolve the Union of states and set up a government of their own; when President Lincoln was appealing to the loyal North to furnish men and means to suppress the rebellion; and when it was evident that a terrible civil war was about to test the stability of our form of government, occurred "the days which tried men's souls," and showed the materials of which they were made. In that period of disorder, conflicting opinions, and intense excitement, none exhibited more sturdy, unswerving patriotism and loyalty to the old flag, than did a very large majority of our adopted citizens of German birth; and it is said that before the end of the war, 170,000 of them entered the Union army, there to risk life and limb in defense of Freedom's flag and to perpetuate our republican form of government, thousands of them dying for the glorious cause.
A leader among the loyal Germans of Ozaukee county was Peter Spehn, then as now an honored citizen of Grafton. He was serving his third term as register of deeds for the county when the war began; but although well advanced in years and the father of a large family of children, he became convinced that the proper place for him to serve his adopted country was at the front, in the blue line of battle. Refusing a re-election as register of deeds, he resigned that office, and securing a recruiting commission from Gov. Randall, in July, 1861, began the task of recruiting a company of his countrymen for the Ninth Wisconsin infantry, the first regiment of Germans furnished by the state.
In the latter part of September and the first two weeks of October, the following named heroes from Ozaukee county enrolled their names in Spehn's company, enlisting for "three years or during the war."
Claude Augustin, August Bethke, George Bernhardt, Ferdinand Born, Carl Fred Gross, Louis Heinemann, John F. Wilkie, Fred B. Hanns, John M. Schmidt, John Schmit, Henry Trautsch, Jacob Theilen, John Schaefer and Joseph Schaub, of Saukville.
Peter Spehn, Wm. Baden, Ferd. Larromie, Fred Meyer, Peter Loewen and John Wiltges, of Grafton.
Wm. Fred Groth, Henry Hackfeld, Henry Meyer and Wm. Riebling, of Cedarburg.
Geo. Fischer, Henry Haverkost, Moritz Mann and John Fritsch, of Mequon.
Nich. Metzer and Paul Oswald, of Port Washington.
Paul Hemmer and Henry Tibor, of Belgium -- 32 in all. Frank Simon of Grafton, joined the company in the field, as a recruit, in October, 1862.
Capt. Spehn took his Ozaukee squad to Camp Sigel, Milwaukee, the rendezvous of the Ninth regiment, where recruits from Milwaukee and other parts of the state swelled his ranks until he had a company of 100 men which was mustered into Uncle Sam's service with the balance of the regiment, on the 26th of October, 1861, as Company "I" with the following commissioned officers: Captain Peter Spehn, of Grafton; 1st Lieutenant Wm. Markhoff, of Milwaukee; and 2nd Lieutenant Wm. Schulten, of Fond du Lac. John M. Schmidt, of Saukville, and Henry Meyer, of Cedarburg, were two of the first sergeants of the company. Meyer was transferred to Co. C., Dec. 3, ‘61.
The Ninth regiment remained drilling in Camp Sigel until January 22, 1862, when it left the state under orders to report to the commander at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with the following regimental roster: Colonel Frederick Salomon; Lieut.-Col. A. George Wriesberg; Major, Henry Orff; Adjutant Arthur Jacobi; Quartermaster, Wm. Finkler.
Traveling by rail to Weston, Mo., the Ninth marched the remainder of the distance to Leavenworth, where it was assigned to the "Southern Expedition," then organizing under Gen. Jim Lane, at Fort Scott, Kan. Marching the 160 miles to Ft. Scott, the Ninth remained there until the 27th of May, when the expedition being abandoned, it marched by way of Humbolt, Kan., and Indian Mission to Spring River. Encamping there till June 13th, the regiment marched to Baxter's Springs. While there, expeditions were sent out which destroyed the rebel camps at Cowskin Prairie. The regiment was now reinforced by two regiments of Indian infantry, and two cavalry regiments with a battery of artillery, all under command of Col. Wm. Wier, and destined for an expedition into the Indian country.
Starting on the 28th of June, the expedition met and routed a force of rebel Indians on July 3rd, and arrived at Flat Rock Creek, fifteen miles from Fort Gibson on the 9th. Here Col. Wier, whose intemperate habits endangered the command, was placed under arrest by Col. Salomon of the Ninth, his junior officer, who took command of the troops and conducted them back to Quawpaw Reserve, 80 miles from Fort Scott. There were several skirmishes, and the retreat was continued to Fort Scott, which was reached on the 11th of August. Col. F. Salomon was here promoted to Brigadier General, and Chas. E. Salomon, another brother of the governor of Wisconsin, was commissioned Colonel of the Ninth. It was no wonder that Lieut. Colonel Orff, who had been promoted from major when Lieut. Colonel Wriesberg resigned in February, resigned at once. Major A. Jacobi, who had been promoted from Adjutant in March, was now commissioned Lieut. Colonel, and Capt. H. Schleuter, of Co. E, was promoted major. About this time, the regiment was sent on a "wild goose chase" into southwestern Missouri, and traveled 350 miles without meeting the enemy.
When the "Army of the Frontier" was organized by Gen. Blunt, the Ninth Wisconsin was assigned to the first brigade, Gen. Salomon commanding. Leaving Fort Scott, the brigade marched to Sarcoxie, Mo., reaching that place on the 22nd of September. On the 29th, Lieut. Col. Jacobi, with companies D, G, E and H, of the Ninth, a section of artillery, and a squad of cavalry was sent to reconnoiter the enemy's position at Newtonia, fifteen miles out. They fell into a well laid trap and after a short, sharp and heroic fight, nearly all of the four infantry companies were killed, wounded or captured. The killed numbered 28, the wounded is unknown, and 167 were taken prisoners. On the 3rd of October, Newtonia was evacuated by the rebels, and some of the wounded of the Ninth were retaken. From this time until Nov. 29, the regiment was engaged in marching to various points in Arkansas, without getting into a fight. That day the brigade arrived at Rheas' Mills, where it remained operating the mills until the 7th of December, when it joined the main force at Cane Hill. Here it was discovered that the enemy was in their rear, and the first brigade was hurried back to Rheas' Mills to protect the wagon trains.
The rebel Gen. Hindman, advancing with 30,000 men against Gen. Blunt's 10,000, the latter ordered Gen. Herron, at Wilson's Creek, to hurry to his assistance. Gen. Herron met the enemy at Prairie Grove, Ark., on Dec. 7th, and defeated him. Gen. Blunt reached the field with a portion of his command during the battle, the Ninth reaching the scene too late to participate in the fight. On the 10th of December, the Ninth marched back to Rheas' Mills, and remained there some time making flour and meal. In a raid on Van Buren, Ark., the regiment marched sixty miles in two days, and returned to the Mills. During the first six weeks of 1863, the Ninth performed a sort of patrol duty, which required almost constant marching, and on February 20th, went into winter quarters at Stahl's Creek, thirty-six miles west of Springfield, Mo. Here the men captured through the unpardonable blunder at Newtonia, returned to the regiment, having been paroled.
During the year, 1862, Ferd. Born, Ferd. Larromie, Moritz Mann and Henry Trautsch of the Ozaukee squad in Company I, were discharged on account of sickness, on October 1 and Nich. Metzer on December 9th. Two members of the squad died of disease; Peter Oswald at Quawpaw, Kan., on the 8th of August, and John Schmit at Sarcoxie, Mo., on the 3rd of October. Frank Simons, of Grafton, joined the company in October. The squad thus had its number lessened by five during the first year in the field.
With the exception of a short time at Carrollton, Ark., the Ninth was stationed at different points in Missouri, engaged in foraging duties during the first half of 1863, and on the 8th of July, moved by rail to St. Louis, Mo., where it remained doing guard duty until Sept. 12th.
Here Capt. Spehn, who had suffered terribly from rheumatism for some time, was forced to resign on account of ill health, and go home. The boys of Company I were very sorry to lose their kind, honest and brave Captain, but he felt that he could not accompany them on any more marches if he stayed in the service, and therefore, could be of little use to them.
Co. I, 9th Wisconsin (Chapter 2)
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (May 8, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
While the Ninth was lying at St. Louis, a detail from its ranks was made to escort a paymaster down the river to Gen. Grant's army then investing Vicksburg. There was quite an effort made by some of the men to get on the detail, as the service the paymaster's guard would have to perform, was far preferable to such campaigning as the boys of the Ninth had seen so far. When the steamer upon which the paymaster and his guard embarked had reached appoint in the river below Cairo, Ill., it caught fire and was completely destroyed. In attempting to reach the bank of the river, a number of the guards were drowned, including two of the Ozaukee boys of Company I, George Bernhardt of Saukville, and Peter Loewen of Grafton. The accident happened on August 4, 1863.
In September, the regiment was sent by steamer down the river to Helena, Ark., reaching that place on the 15th, and remaining nearly a month. On the 10th of October, it started to march to Little Rock, Ark, where it went into winter quarters. In this camp in January, 1864, 230 members of the Ninth "veteranized" or re-enlisted; and two companies, C and K, left for Wisconsin on veteran furlough. Of surviving Ozaukee boys in Company I, the following named re-enlisted: Wm. Baden, George Fischer, Wm. F. Groth, Carl F. Gross, Fred. B. Hanns, Henry Haverkost, Louis Heinemann, Paul Hemmer and Wm. Riebling. Sergt. John M. Schmidt had been transferred to Company B, Jan. 1, '61. On the same day, Henry Meyer, who had been transferred to Company C before the regiment left Milwaukee, was transferred to Company A. He was afterwards wounded in the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry, recovered and was mustered out at the end of his three year's term.
The Ninth was noted for the number of its officers and men who were transferred from one company to another. What the cause or causes of all those transfers was or were, I have been unable to learn, but there were so many transfers that there must have been considerable confusion in the rolls, and a great deal of dissatisfaction, especially in regard to officers. Company I was now under the command of Capt. Phillip Kruer, who had been promoted from first lieutenant of Company H. The 1st Lieut., Hugo Koch, had also been transferred from Co. H; and the 2nd Lieut., David Veidt, had been transferred from Co. D. It was little wonder that Sergt. Schmidt wanted to be transferred to another company, and that many of the brave boys refused to "veteranize."
On its arrival at Little Rock, the Ninth had been assigned to the First Corps, First Division, Seventh Army Corps, General Steele commanding. The winter was spent quietly in the performance of fatigue and guard duties, work upon the fortifications, etc. Company E was detailed to serve as artillery. The brigade was commanded by Gen. Rice and the division by Gen. Salomon.
When the Red River expedition started up that river, Gen. Steele was ordered to co-operate by land, and on the 23rd of March, his command left Little Rock for the Red River country. On the 1st of April, Gen. Rice's brigade was guarding the supply and pontoon trains and when in the vicinity of Gendry's Creek, was attacked by a rebel force under Gen. Shelby. After a sharp fight, Shelby was repulsed by the Twenty-ninth Iowa, fiftieth Indiana and a section of Vogl's battery (Company E of the Ninth). At the junction of the Camden road, the brigade repulsed a second attack by Shelby.
On the 3rd, Rice's brigade encamped at Elkins’ Ford of the Little Missouri, where it remained until the 6th when it again moved onward and on the 10th, engaged in a severe skirmish, driving the enemy from one position to another till darkness ended the fight. On the 11th, it again moved forward and compelled the enemy to abandon his works and retreat. On the 14th, Rice's brigade was sent in advance to occupy a position which would prevent the rebels from reaching Camden before the Union forces and encamped that night near White Oak Creek, eighteen miles from Camden. On the 15th, the forces of the notorious, Marmaduke were encountered near the junction of the Washington and Camden roads, when a spirited fight occurred in which the enemy was driven from the field, and the brigade entered Camden that evening. From the 16th to the 23rd, the Ninth was guarding the pontoon bridge across the Washita river.
Here news was received of the failure of the Red River expedition, and Gen. Steele began his retreat to Little Rock. The enemy had succeeded in getting into his rear and capturing his supply trains, which left the Union troops on short rations. Leaving Camden on the 26th, nothing of importance occurred until the Union forces reached the Saline Bottom on the 29th where they were attacked so boldly that it soon became apparent that a battle must be fought before the little army could cross the river at Jenkins' Ferry. Gen. Salmon's division was the rear guard of the army, and Rice's brigade was sent out to hold the enemy in check. Being confronted by a great force of rebels, the brigade was heavily reinforced on the morning of the 30th.
That morning, Gen. Salmon's division was in line two and a half miles from the river, with a rebel army of 20,000 men, under the noted General Kirby Smith, in his front. In his rear, were parked several miles of wagon trains and artillery, which must cross the river before his troops could withdraw, and under these conditions, there was no alternative but to fight. To add to the difficulties of the situation, the whole river bottom was flooded.
At about 5:30 A.M., the skirmishing began, and Rice's brigade was the first engaged. He was soon ordered to fall back to a new line nearer the river, which movement had scarcely been accomplished when the enemy advanced to the attack. They at first tried to deceive our troops by appearing partly dressed in blue uniforms and by arriving before them a flock of sheep, hoping to create the impression among our men that they were a returned foraging expedition. But the ruse did not work, and after an unsuccessful attempt to turn the right of the Union line, the enemy attacked the left with such force and vigor that it was driven back about 250 yards. Being reinforced, Rice's brigade drove the rebels back to and beyond the first line, and the enemy's artillery was nearly silenced by the fire of the sharpshooters.
Reforming his lines, the enemy again advanced to the attack, and again was repulsed. Fresh supplies of ammunition were now distributed among the Union troops, preparations made to receive the next assault, and for some time the incessant roar of musketry extended along the whole line. Early in this assault, Gen. Rice was wounded, and the command of the brigade devolved upon Col. C. E. Salomon of the Ninth, who led it through the remainder of the action, and by a display of personal courage and coolness, did much to encourage his men to hold the line. After the third assault had been repulsed, the enemy retired out of range and at 2 P.M., the battle was over. The trains and artillery having passed safely across the river, the troops gathered up their dead and wounded comrades and retreated across the river without interruption or annoyance from the rebels. Gen. Salmon's division fought this battle unaided, the balance of the army being on the other side of the river, and won unfading laurels by its heroic fight. Gen. F. Salomon spoke in enthusiastic terms of the conduct of his troops, saying among other things: "Our men forgot that they were tired, forgot that they were hungry, and only remembered that they were ordered to hold their ground."
In this battle, our boys of the Ninth Wisconsin fought with a gallantry that won the admiration of their comrades of other regiments, and sustained the good name made by Wisconsin men on every battle field of the war. The losses of the regiment in the battle of Jenkins' Ferry were thirty-one killed and fifty-two wounded. Of the Ozaukee boys in Company I, Geo. Fischer was killed in the fight with Marmaduke near Camden on the 15th of April. Wm. Baden was mortally and Jacob Theilen was seriously wounded at Jenkins’ Ferry. Baden died of his wounds on the 22nd of the following month, and no further record of Theilen is given.
Co. I, 9th Wisconsin (Chapter 3)
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (May 15, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
Returned to Little Rock after the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, the Ninth was engaged for some time in the erection of a chain of forts around that town; and then settled down to the usual routine of garrison life. In the campaign just ended, the boys of the Ninth had suffered very much from hunger and exposure, and a rest in a comfortable camp, with plenty to eat, was greatly enjoyed by them.
In August, Companies H and I went home to Wisconsin on a thirty-day's veteran furlough, and all had a very pleasant time among their relatives, friends and old neighbors, with the exception of Sergt. Wm. F. Groth, of Cedarburg, who had been ailing for some time. He grew rapidly worse on the homeward trip, and died in Camp Randall, Madison, Wis., September 18, 1864. The survivors of the company returned to the regiment at the expiration of their furlough, and again cheerfully assumed the duties of the soldier.
On the 17th of November, the non-veterans of the regiment, whose term of enlistment had expired, were mustered out of the service at Little Rock, together with Col. C. E. Salomon and such other officers as were not required in a battalion; and the veterans and recruits were formed into an Independent Battalion of four companies, under the command of Lieut. Col. Jacobi. The Ozaukee members of Company I, who were mustered out at that time were Claude Augustin, August Bethke, John Fritsch, Henry Hackfield, Fred. Meyer, John F. Milkie, John M. Schmidt, Henry Tibor, John Schaefer, Joseph Schaub and John Wiltges. Seven of the Ozaukee squad still remained in the service, and were transferred to Company C of the Battalion. They were Carl F. Gross, Fred B. Hanns, Henry Haverkorst, Louis Heinemann, Paul Hemmer, Wm. Riebling and Frank Simon.
The Independent Battalion remained at Little Rock performing guard duties until January, 1865, when it formed part of an expedition to the Saline river, and returned to its camp at Little Rock with the loss of one man. Here they remained at their old duties until after the close of hostilities, and here the glad news of the successes of Sherman and his army reached them. Here the joyful tidings of the fall of Richmond, the surrender of Lee and the surrender of Johnston, and the sad news of Lincoln's assassination found them.
In June, the Battalion accompanied its brigade when it proceeded by transports to Camden, on the Washita river, 100 miles south of Little Rock, where they remained until August, when they marched back to Little Rock, reoccupied their old quarters and resumed guard duty in and around the city. Here the Battalion remained on duty until the 30th of January, 1866, when it was mustered out of the service and sent home. The boys had been so long in Little Rock that they had begun to feel quite at home there, and had become well acquainted. Reaching Milwaukee in the first week of February, the boys quickly scattered to their homes, and the old Ninth Wisconsin was but a memory.
Capt. Peter Spehn
Few if any of the resident veterans of the Civil war are better known to the people of Ozaukee county than is Capt. Peter Spehn, the venerable post master of the village of Grafton. Born in Baden, Germany, August 1, 1815, Peter Spehn grew to manhood in his native town, and received his military training during a six-year's term in the cavalry branch of the German army. In 1842, he was married to Anna Marie Drexel, and three years later came to America and to Milwaukee, Wis. That same year, he moved his family to a home in the wilderness, in what is now the town of Polk, Washington county, and in 1852, removed to a farm in the town of Grafton, this county, upon which he resided until after the war, rearing an interesting family of five boys and six girls, all of whom are now living and married.
In ante bellum days, there was a militia company in nearly every village and hamlet of Ozaukee county, and in 1856, Mr. Spehn was chosen captain of Grafton company, and remained its commander until he entered the Union army. It is a fact worth noting here, that Capt. Spehn was the only one of the militia captains of the county to tender his sword to the government in the hour of its peril. In 1857, Capt. Spehn was elected to the office of register of deeds for Ozaukee county, and was serving as such when Old Glory was fired upon at Ft. Sumter.
In the foregoing chapters, I told of the patriotic stand taken by Capt. Spehn when the government of this country was assailed by traitors, and was in danger of perishing. Although the father of a large family, the incumbent of a lucrative office, and well advanced in years, Capt. Spehn was not long in coming to the conclusion that his adopted government had the best claim on his services. Believing, as did millions of others, that this government "of the people, for the people, and by the people" should endure; that secession was impolitic, unconstitutional and rebellious; and that in its unprepared condition, the government would sorely need the services of every man of the North who had had a military training, he resigned the office of register of deeds, settled his business affairs, and tendered his services to Gov. Randall in defense of Freedom's banner.
Gov. Randall was not slow to accept the services of such an officer, and as has been told in the sketch of his company, Capt. Spehn was given a recruiting commission; and in those trying days of '61, recruited a company of one hundred of his countrymen, which became Company I of the Ninth Wisconsin infantry. He served with it in the field, sharing all of its privations and hardships for two years; and then broken down in health, was forced to resign and leave the service in his forty-ninth year, regretting sincerely that he could not remain with his boys until the end of war.
Returning to his farm at Grafton, Capt. Spehn recovered his health, partially, was soon taking a deep interest in politics, and in 1866 was elected chairman of the town board. In 1867, he was elected sheriff of Ozaukee county, and was re-elected in 1868. In 1870, he was again elected chairman of the town board and member of the county board and has filled that office during twenty terms. He is now serving his second term as post master at Grafton.
Always conscientious, upright and honorable in his dealings with his fellow men, Capt. Spehn in the eighty-third year of his age is highly respected; and his war record stamps him as a patriot of whom the county, state and country are greatly indebted, and whose declining years should be brightened and made happy by the esteem and kindly care of a grateful people. That he may live for many years to come, in the enjoyment of good health and happiness, under the bright folds of the flag he fought to render stainless; and that when he is finally “mustered out” he may be marched away to the Celestial camp, there to receive his reward from the Eternal Commander, are the sincere wishes of a host of friends.
Personal sketches of survivors of Company H, 24th Wis., will appear next week, after which a sketch of the service of the Ozaukee boys in the 26th Wis. will be undertaken.
Co. H, 24th Wisconsin
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (May 22, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
The writer finds it much more of task to collect data for personal sketches of his old comrades in arms than it is to collect the facts and write up the history of the organizations in which they served during the civil war. Some of the old boys are too modest, and do not like to furnish data for biographical sketches of themselves, preferring to have the heroic deeds of their comrades written up. It is with considerable difficulty that I have collected what I have, and very few of those written have furnished the required facts. This does not seem to me to be just the proper state of affairs, boys. Your deeds on the field of battle have become a portion of your country's history and such facts in regard to your lives in camp, on the march, in hospital, in prison-pen, and in private or public life before or since the war, as would interest the public, should be freely given to it, and should become a part of your record in the annals of the Nation. As soldiers of the Union and defenders of the banner of the free, you became public benefactors, and as such, the records of your life belong to posterity.
The writer regrets that he has been unable to secure a picture of Capt. Gustavus Goldsmith; and that owing to unavoidable delays, he has not yet secured data for a sketch of Capt. John N. Kiefer's life and services. But I hope to do so later.
Capt. Gustavus Goldsmith
The subject of this sketch was born in Germany on the 14th day of June, 1839. Coming to America with his parents when a child, his early youth was passed at Port Washington, where his father was a leading merchant. When the guns of Fort Sumter startled the North and called her loyal sons to arms, Gustavus Goldsmith was in the employ of the Great Western Railway, of Canada, as a mechanical engineer.
Like so many thousands of his countrymen, he saw the peril in which his adopted country was placed by the rebellion, and promptly answered President Lincoln's first call, by volunteering to fight for Old Glory. Entering one of the three months regiments, the First Michigan Infantry, he was soon on "Virginia's sacred soil," and on that eventful July day of 1861, participated in the battle of Bull Run. Next day, the wires flashed the news to his friends in the North that Gustavus was one of the killed, and they mourned his death for nearly a month, when they learned that he was living, but was wounded and a prisoner in the notorious Libbey Prison, Richmond, Va. After suffering untold and barbarous hardships in southern prisons for nearly ten months, he was finally exchanged, and returned to his home to recruit his strength.
As we have seen in the history of his company, he secured a recruiting commission in the early part of August, 1862, and opening a recruiting office in the old "Union House," Port Washington, succeeded in enlisting thirty-four of the young men of that village and vicinity, whom he took to Camp Sigel, Milwaukee, and incorporated into Company H, of the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin regiment, of which company he was commissioned first lieutenant.
Accompanying the regiment to the front, Lieut. Goldsmith was with it on its first trying march, which ended in the battle of Perryville, where his boys received their "baptism of fire." He was with it in the pursuit of the enemy to Crab Orchard; was with it on the march to Bowling Green, Ky., and to Nashville, Tenn. He was with it in the sanguinary battle of Stone River, where the Twenty-fourth displayed conspicuous gallantry; and where the boys of company H won unfading laurels. In February, 1863, he was promoted to the captaincy of the company and led it in the Tullahoma campaign; in the succeeding pursuit of Bragg's army to the Tennessee River; and in the fatiguing campaign that ended in the battle of Chickamauga.
Heroically leading his company into the vortex of death at Chickamauga, Capt. Goldsmith fell mortally wounded. The Union lines being driven back, he was left with thousands of other wounded boys in blue, to the tender mercy of the enemy. For seven long days and nights, Capt. Goldsmith laid with his unfortunate comrades on the bloody field, with but little care and little nourishment. Finally, he with others were sent into the Union lines and taken to the hospitals in Chattanooga, where his brother, Bernard, who had hastened thence from home, found him and tried to nurse back his strength, but in vain, he rapidly sinking until on the third day after reaching Chattanooga death ended his suffering, and his spirit went to join the legions of blue in the unknown camp beyond the grave.
Sorrowfully, his brother prepared his remains and bore them back to Milwaukee, where they were laid to rest in the beautiful Forest Home Cemetery, within the sound of old Michigan's moan, to sleep peacefully and in grateful remembrance, under the starry folds of Freedom's emblem, which he loved so fondly, and died to save.
"Far dearer the grave or the prison,
Illumed by one patriot name,
Than the trophies of all, who have risen,
On liberty's ruins to fame."
One of the unassuming boys of Company H, who so sturdily did his whole duty, was Henry Bichler. Born in Luxemburg, on the 26th of May, 1833, Mr. Bichler came to America twenty-two years later, and after spending one year in Erie, Penn., came to Port Washington in 1856. Having learned the tailoring trade in Europe, he has followed it for a livelihood ever since, with the exception of the time spent in the army.
When war's alarms resounded throughout his adopted country, Henry Bichler was not slow to see that it was the duty of all good citizens to stand by the Federal government, and to fight for the preservation of the Union. When in August, 1862, Gustavus Goldsmith hung out his recruiting flag in Port Washington, Mr. Bichler became convinced that the time had arrived for him to act, and closing his shop, he inscribed his name on the rolls of Company H. He marched proudly and hopefully away under the folds of the starry banner of the Union, keeping step to the wild martial music; and taking his place in the long blue line which stretched itself between advancement and anarchy, fought manfully for the perpetuation of this refuge for the oppressed of every land, until treason's banner was trampled in the dust and the bonds of the Union of states were firmly welded.
Accompanying the regiment to the front, Comrade Bichler participated in its campaigns and battles, until in the whirlwind of death at Stone River, he, with Sergt. Warling, and privates Franklin Hoyt and Charles Bisch, the latter wounded, were overpowered and taken prisoners. Fortunately for him, he was soon paroled and exchanged, and resuming his place in the ranks of company H, he faithfully served there, with the exception of two months he was sick in hospital at Lost Mountain, until the regiment was mustered out of the service.
Returning to Port Washington, Comrade Bichler again took up his trade, and is still working hard at it, striving to earn an honest competence, and to enjoy some of the prosperity which his services in the army so materially assisted in making possible in this country. Now, with the sixty-fourth year of his age nearly completed, although he still labors at his trade, the frosts of the autumn of life are silvering his once dark hair, his step is not as buoyant and agile as it need to be, and certain twinges of pain come more frequently to remind him of those never-to-be-forgotten days when he, like thousands upon thousands of others, used his energies so freely in behalf of freedom and humanity. He, like all surviving veterans of that war, is on the downward journey; and let us hope that his may be extended until far into the twilight, his name revered by his associates and all lovers of liberty.
Co. H, 24th Wisconsin (Personal Sketches)
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (May 29, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
Lieut. Edward R. Blake
One of the boys from Ozaukee county who distinguished himself by his bravery in battle and fortitude on the march, was Edward Reed Blake, who fought his way from the ranks to a lieutenancy in Company H. Born in Franklin, Mass., November 28, 1844, the subject of our sketch was by birth and breeding a genuine "Yankee." Coming to Wisconsin and Port Washington with his father, Barnum Blake, in 1848, Edward was given a common school and commercial college education; and when the war began, he was one of the boy patriots who believed that the Union should be preserved.
When in August, 1862, Gustavus Goldsmith opened his recruiting office in Port Washington, Edward had become convinced that his place was at the front in that glorious line of blue, which was forming for the protection of the old flag and the perpetuation of our great republic, and he made up his mind to go at once. His father, mindful of the boy's youth, and fearing that he would not be able to survive the privations and hardships of a soldier's life at the front, tried to induce him to stay at home, and it is said offered Edward $10,000 if he would remain. But all the remonstrances and proffered bribes were of no avail. It is said that young Edward's answer was: "Father, you cannot bribe me to desert my country!" and on the 13th of August, 1862, he volunteered to serve Uncle Sam as a soldier in the ranks, for "three years or during the war."
Marching to the front in the ranks of the gallant Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, Edward received his baptism of fire in the battle of Perryville; and continuing on with the regiment, marched coolly into the whirlwind of death at Stone River, where he, with his brave comrades fought heroically for the old flag, winning by their valor a proud name for the regiment -- a name which places it high up in the list of fighting commands. Never being sick or unfit for duty, Ed. Blake participated in every campaign and battle in which the regiment took a part. At Chickamauga, his trusty rifle added its voice to the din, and his encouraging cheer helped to buoy up many a sinking heart.
Just before the battle of Mission Ridge, Edward was promoted color-corporal, and as such, gallantly climbed the Ridge in the face of that terrible fire. Being one of the first to scale the enemy's works on the summit, our hero was the first boy in blue to reach the rebel General Bragg's headquarters, and Erastus Parr, another Port Washington boy, was the second. This is a matter worth making note of, as a number of generals and other officers have claimed the distinction of reaching the rebel commander's headquarters first, and of capturing the guns “Lady Breckenridge” and “Lady Buckner,” which were near the headquarters and which were captured by the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin and other regiments of Sheridan's heroic division. Put it down as a fact that cannot be disproved, that those two Port Washington boys were the first at Bragg's headquarters on Mission Ridge.
At the battle of Adairsville, Ga., in May, 1864, the struggle in which the young hero, Frank Ellenbecker, of Port Washington, fell gallantly fighting for the flag, a Gin House between the contending lines gave the enemy considerable shelter, and Gen. Sherman sent orders to Col. McArthur of the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, which was on the skirmish line, and in whose front the Gin House stood, to have the house burned or destroyed in some way. Riding up to the color-guard, the boy-colonel told of Sherman’s orders, and asked Corporal Blake if he would try to go to the house and set it on fire. Blake's answer was: "If I am ordered to do so, I will go!" Col. McArthur gave the order and the young corporal immediately started upon the dangerous errand. By very good luck, he escaped the bullets which rained around him from both friend and foe, reached the house and not only fired it, but also applied a match to a barn nearby, and strange to say, returned to his comrades without a scratch. For this daring exploit, Blake was promoted color-sergeant, and carried the colors in the battles of Peach Tree Creek, Jonesboro, Franklin and Nashville.
At the battle of Franklin, one of the fiercest fights of the whole war, the Twenty-fourth, with the balance of its brigade, Opdycke's, was lying in reserve below the famous Carter house, when the heavy assaulting column of the enemy broke through the Union line at that point, and came pouring over the works. Without a moment's delay, Gen. Opdycke put his gallant brigade of seven small but veteran regiments, numbering but 2,000 officers and men, in motion, and leading it with a flag in his hand, charged heroically into the mass of grey which was swarming over the works and around eight pieces of Union artillery which had fallen into their hands. What followed is graphically described by an eye-witness in an article written for the New York Times in 1882, and from which we quote as follows: "Fortunately, we struck the enemy just before they had time to come to order on our side of the trenches, and therefore, they were unable to withstand the shock of an unexpected and determined attack made with fixed bayonets. This conflict was short but severe; the brigade soon sent some hundreds of prisoners to the rear, captured ten battle-flags and left others on the ground; retook the flag of a friendly regiment, and forced the enemy from the cannon so recently fallen into their hands. Opdycke's men then worked these guns upon the enemy, and Bridges brought forward a battery of reserve artillery. Thus the line was restored; on our side of the works there remained no Confederates except the dead, the wounded and the prisoners."
"Still the struggle continued some time longer, the men fiercely contending on opposite sides of the breastworks, before the whole of the exterior slope of the parapet was yielded to us." . . . “The attacks on the other parts of the line, although vigorous and severe, were firmly repulsed with little loss to our side, Rielly and Lane taking some flags and prisoners. The enemy soon gave his principal attention to maintaining and developing his advantages on Carter's Hill. Having been expelled from the works, Hood now sent forward Johnson's division of the reserve corps, and so reinforced his line as to partly enclose our position on Carter's Hill. The reserve brigade (Opdycke's) thus became exposed to direct and cross fires of great severity; but it was reinforced by many of the routed soldiers, who were rallied by Gen. Cox, and the successive assaults that followed were met by a mass of fire so destructive that no troops could retain their organization within its range. The rebel Grandberry's brigade, with its brave leader, nearly all fell dead in or near the ditch on their side of the parapet.” . . . "Though under fire 115 days during the war, and participating in a number of bayonet charges, this was the only conflict in which I saw bloody bayonets." . . . "The gallant young McArthur commanding the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, received a second ugly wound before he would consent to leave the field. His standard-bearer, Blake, had become so attached to the regimental flag that he declined a promotion that would separate him from the emblem of martial glory, probably the only instance of the kind in the history of the war."
Jeff Davis thus wrote of the struggle at Franklin: "This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war . . . The engagement was close and fierce, many of our men being killed inside of the enemy's works. Some of the Tennesseans, after years of absence, saw again their homes, and strove with desperation to expel the invader." Gen. Hood in his "Advance and Retreat," says: "These soldiers had been gloriously led by officers, many of whom had fallen upon or near the Federal breastworks."
Our troops succeeded in breaking the main line at one or more points, capturing and turning some guns on their opponents. Just at this critical moment, a brigade, reported to have been Stanley's, gallantly charged and restored the Federal line, capturing almost 1,000 of our troops within the enemy's intrenchments.” The brigade referred to was Opdycke's. The great rebel chieftain, Gen. Jos. Johnston, who is thought by many to have been a far greater general than Lee, referred to this battle as "the useless butchery at Franklin," meaning that the slaughter was of no benefit to the rebel cause.
It was in this fierce struggle that Edward R. Blake won the shoulder-straps and commission of first lieutenant by conspicuous valor. Bearing his colors in the van of his brigade when it went charging up the hill to the rescue, he gallantly bore them through the fierce melee near the Carter house, and planting them on the works in the midst of a rain of lead, held them there until the fight ended in victory for the Union arms.
And then in that trying night retreat to Nashville, our hero carried his colors with a fortitude and endurance that showed of what splendid material he was made. Through the two days of battle at Nashville, he heroically bore Old Glory; and in the pursuit of Hood and the subsequent minor campaigns, it was ever on his shoulder. On June 2, 1865, Blake was given a commission as first lieutenant of Company H, but the regiment being mustered out of the service a few days later, he was not mustered as lieutenant. But he proudly bore his colors home to Wisconsin, turned their tattered remnants and bullet-shattered staff over to the state authorities, and retired to private life. When in 1880, Generals Grant and Sheridan came to Milwaukee to attend the great soldiers’ reunion, the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin turned out to greet its old division commander, “Little Phil,” and to act as his escort and Blake again carried the tattered remains of his beloved flag.
After the war, Comrade Blake married and engaged in the mercantile pursuits in Port Washington until the failure of the Ozaukee County Bank in 1887, carried his business down with a crash. In 1874, he represented Ozaukee county in the lower house of the state legislature, and in 1882 was elected to the state senate from this district. In 1891, he became president of the "Woven-Down Duster Company," of Chicago, which position he still holds. His family still resides in the old homestead in Port Washington, whither he often comes to spend Sundays and holidays with them. Thus the heroic color-bearer of the fighting Twenty-fourth Wisconsin is peacefully floating down the "stream of time." That his voyage may be a happy and prosperous one, ending in a haven of rest; that his sterling patriotism and heroic services may be fittingly recorded in the annals of the county, state and nation; and that his memory may be kept green by a grateful posterity, are the sincere wishes of his old comrades-in-arms.
Co. H, 24th Wisconsin (Personal Sketches)
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (June 12, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
Alanson C. Powers
One of the young heroes who responded to their country's call in 1862, was Alanson C. Powers, of Port Washington. Born in Genoa, Cayuga county, N.Y., June 29, 1835, of pure Puritan stock, the subject of this sketch was given such an education as the common schools of those days afforded, and when old enough, learned the house painter's trade. When twenty years of age, he came to Wisconsin and directly to Port Washington, where he worked at his trade until he responded to the President's call for volunteers in August, 1862.
Being by birth and breeding a true American patriot, Alanson, or "Lant" as he was known to his associates, was ready to march to the rescue of the old flag, when the crisis came, and on August 21, 1862, he enrolled his name among the list of recruits which Gustavus Goldsmith succeeded in securing in Port Washington for Company H, of the Twenty-fourth regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers. Marching to the front, "Lant" carried a musket until a few days previous to the battle of Chaplin Hill, when he was detailed as one of the regimental teamsters, and made such a good and faithful one that he was retained in that position until the close of the war. He accompanied the regiment in all of its campaigns, and was mustered out with it June 10, 1865. Returning with the survivors of the company to Port Washington, he was married in September, 1865, to Miss Esther J. Grinnell, of the town of Saukville. Living on a rented farm in that town until 1868, Comrade Powers moved his family to southern Michigan that year, but returned in 1869, and worked at his trade in this county until 1890, when he removed to Corydon, on the Allegany river, in Pennsylvania. Six years later, he again returned to Wisconsin, and purchasing a snug little home in Port Washington, he lives there still toiling at his trade, but not with the vigor of days gone by, he having nearly completed his sixty-second year.
His good wife still survives, and having reared an interesting family of three girls and two boys, the three eldest of whom are married, he and his helpmate are silvering with age and peacefully drifting on with the tide to the unknown shore, whence none return. Comrade Powers was quite a musician, and he still retains much of the genius and ability in that line which made him very entertaining and much sought for company, in the days when he furnished music for the dance and charmed by his singing.
Generous, gentlemanly, temperate, truthful, and of a kindly, peace-loving disposition, Alanson C. Powers has led a quiet, law-abiding, God-fearing life, and is approaching the evening of his day without an enemy and with hosts of friends. It can be truthfully said of him that:
"Age sits with decent grace upon his visage,
And worthily becomes his silvery locks;
He wears the marks of many years well spent,
Of virtue, truth well tried, and wise experience."
Sergt. Justus Lauterbach
There is a highly esteemed member of the gallant Twenty-fourth Wisconsin living in the city of Cedarburg, who although not a member of Company H, deserves a short notice in these columns. I refer to Justus Lauterbach, the successful merchant tailor of that place, who served with the Twenty-fourth from its muster-in to its muster-out.
Born in Hessen-Cassel, Germany, Feb. 3, 1836, our hero grew to manhood, was given a common school education, and learned the tailoring trade in his native land. In May, 1856, he came to America to seek his fortune; and landing in the city of New York, remained two months, and then came directly to Milwaukee, Wis., where he worked at his trade about two years. Then in the summer of 1858, he visited the cities of Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Lexington, Ky. and Buffalo, N.Y., but not finding suitable employment or wages at any of those places, he returned to Milwaukee and again engaged in his trade. In 1859, he was married to Miss Amale Pancer, of the town of Mequon, this county, and that fall he went down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and worked there at his trade until the following June, when fearing to reside there during the hot months, he returned to Milwaukee.
In the autumn of 1860, he again went to New Orleans, leaving his wife at the home of her parents in Mequon, and worked there during that eventful winter. In the early spring, he ascended the river to Napoleon, Ark., where he rented a shop and set up in business for himself. He was doing very well there when Fort Sumter was taken and the great crisis came in our national affairs. But although the sympathies of our young tailor were not with the slaveholders in their rebellion, and were strongly with the Federal government, he was not allowed to choose the side he wished to fight upon. Immediately after the fall of Ft. Sumter, recruiting began for the First Arkansas infantry regiment and Company C was organized in Napoleon. Into this company, all the able-bodied men of the little town were forced, our hero among the rest. The members of the company were allowed to pass the nights at their several places of abode, but were required to report at the sound of the drum for drill every day.
Uniforms of grey were soon obtained for the company, and it was not long before guns and accoutrements were sent to it, and the company considered itself ready for the field. A certain day in the first week of May was fixed for all companies of the regiment to report at Napoleon, there to take a boat up the river, the destination of the regiment being Ft. Henry, Tenn.
Our young tailor had been for weeks looking out for some means of escape to the north, but none had turned up. Scarcely a steamer was allowed to pass up the river unless it was under the control of the rebels and the outlook for Mr. Lauterbach was exceedingly gloomy. When he learned that the regiment would leave for Fort Henry on the day appointed, he hired another German of the place, who being a cripple, had escaped the conscription, to row him across the river to the Mississippi bank, determined when once there to work his way north by some means. The time fixed for crossing the river was the night preceding the day upon which the regiment was to embark, but fortunately the steamer "Hiawatha," which had been detained by the rebels at New Orleans for several weeks, arrived at Napoleon that day on its way to St. Louis.
Mr. Lauterbach's crippled friend brought him the good tidings that a steamer was at the levee bound for St. Louis, and he determined to make the attempt to get away on that boat that night. A storekeeper of the town had had the contract for furnishing the rebel troops with uniforms, and Mr. Lauterbach had made over 100 of them for him, upon which there was due a balance of $250 to Mr. Lauterbach. Although the storekeeper had not received a cent from the rebel government for the uniforms, Lauterbach managed to collect $200 from him that afternoon. As nearly all of it was in half and quarter dollar pieces, Mr. Lauterbach had to make canvas belts to secure it to his person, and that being done, he locked his shop and going out the back way, crawled under the building to hide until night.
Soon the drums sounded the usual call for the drill, and when Lauterbach did not report, a squad was sent to hunt him up. They gained an entrance to the shop but of course did not find him there, and went back to the company. After the drill, a lieutenant of the company came to make a second search of the premises, but luckily did not look under the shop. From his hiding place, Mr. Lauterbach could hear the lieutenant swearing and threatening to hang the "D--n Dutchman" to the first tree as soon as he was caught.
At length, night came and with it a heavy rain storm, which made the darkness dense. Under cover of the darkness, Lauterbach crawled out of his hiding place and taking through back yards and alleys, managed to reach the levee, over which he crawled and finally reached the wharf-boat to which the steamer was moored. Here he found a large lamp burning, and one of his own company pacing up and down under it as a guard. Lauterbach's heart began to creep up into his throat, but the case was getting desperate and by some wise maneuvers, he managed to pass the guard and get on board of the steamer without being recognized. Boldly walking up the stairs to the cabin he found a satchel containing some of his private valuables, which his trusty German friend had previously carried aboard for him, and picking it up, he went to the clerk's office where he paid his passage to St. Louis, and securing a stateroom, went to it and locked himself in.
But even then he could not breathe easy and sat there almost trembling with apprehension until an hour or two later the steamer cast off her lines and swinging into the stream, started on its long journey northward. The next morning while taking an airing upon deck, he was accosted by a clerical appearing old man, who eyed him sharply and asked where he had come from. Poor Lauterbach's heart again began to dance around and thump his ribs, for he felt sure that this man was on the lookout for deserters, and would hand him over to the rebels at the next town. He told the old gentleman where he had come from, but was careful not to tell of the circumstances attending his departure from Napoleon, and luckily found him to be a friend instead of a foe. The old man told him that he boat had been searched at Vicksburg and all able-bodied men found aboard had been conscripted for the rebel service; and he expected that the same thing would happen when the steamer reached Memphis. This was anything but assuring news for our hero, and he anxiously and closely scrutinized the levee and wharf-boats when they reached Memphis that evening. Fortunately the boat was not searched, but two rebel soldiers came aboard and informed Mr. Lauterbach that they belonged at Fort Henry, which was, they informed him, in a pitiable condition, they having a poorly constructed fort and no ammunition. They told him to tell the "Yanks," when he reached Cairo to go down and gobble up Fort Henry, which could be easily done at that time. As it happened, it was several months thereafter that the "Yanks" reached Fort Henry, and found it prepared to give them a warm reception.
Nothing of much importance happened until the steamer reached St. Louis, and there landed her few passengers on the morning of the day that the rebel Camp Jackson near the city was captured by the Union troops under Gen. Lyon. Mr. Lauterbach walked up town and saw where there had been up to that morning, recruiting offices for the Union and rebel armies on either sides of the same street, and witnessed much of the excitement in the streets during that eventful day.
After visiting some friends in Illinois, Mr. Lauterbach returned to Milwaukee, where he followed his trade until the defeat of McClellan's army and the calls of the President for volunteers convinced him that the time had come for him to hasten to the defense of his adopted country and its flag. On the 5th day of August, 1862, he inscribed his name on the rolls of Capt. Carl Von Baumbach's Company C, of the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, and volunteered to fight for the starry banner "three years or during the war." He was made one of the sergeants of the company, and going with the regiment to the front was with it in all of its engagements and marches until it reached Nashville, Tenn., in November when he was taken sick with the typhoid fever, and had a very long and serious illness. He rejoined the regiment before it entered upon the Chickamauga campaign, but was so weak that he was again sent to the hospital and did not get back to the regiment until it was living on starvation rations at Chattanooga.
Taking his place in the ranks, Sergt. Lauterbach participated in the battle of Mission Ridge, the trying Knoxville campaign, and in the Atlanta campaign, including the battles of Resaca, Adairsville, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesboro and Lovejoy. He was with the regiment in its glorious charge at the battle of Franklin, was with it in the battle of Nashville and the pursuit of Hood's army, with it in all subsequent movements and was mustered out with the regiment June 10, 1865.
While Gen. Phil. Sheridan commanded the division, Sergt. Lauterbach was his tailor, and while working at the general's headquarters, became well acquainted with the dashing illustrious commander.
Returning to Wisconsin after his musterout, Comrade Lauterbach moved his family to Cedarburg, where he established a merchant tailor business in which he has been very successful, and in which he is still busily employed. Tall, straight and well proportioned, Comrade Lauterbach is still an active, soldierly looking man, but is in his sixty-second year, and the frosts of age are whitening his hair and mustache, and forming crow's feet on the once smooth cheek.
May he live long to enjoy the prosperity of the country he suffered so much to save.
Co H 24th Wisconsin (Personal Sketches)
Source: extracted from THE PORT WASHINGTON STAR (June 19, 1897) submitted by Mary Saggio
One of the sturdy and patriotic German boys of Port Washington who enlisted in Capt. Gustavus Goldsmith's company in 1862, was Charles Klein, then a strong stocky-built young man of 27, who signed his name to the roll on August 15th of that year to serve three years or during the war. It was not without considerable sacrifice that the determination was reached that his adopted country had the best claim on his services. Young Klein was an only son, the prop and stay of aged parents in their declining years, and had been earning good wages at his trade as carpenter. He laid the matter before them and asked their consideration of what he thought his plain duty as an American citizen in the nation's hour of peril. "Go, if you think best," was the reply, and he at once enlisted. As may be imagined the parting from the old folks at home was a sad one, for neither expected to meet him again on earth.
Leaving Port Washington with the rest of the boys, Comrade Klein participated in nearly all of the battles and skirmishes of the war that placed the old Twenty-fourth Wisconsin high up on the list of fighting regiments. He endured the hardships of camp life and duty, the fatigue of forced marches, the unremitting toil in building fortifications, and performed the duties of a private soldier with the same unwavering cheerfulness that has characterized him through life and in all places. At Chattanooga, he was one of the 12 men of his company that reported for duty, the balance all being disabled or sick and for 14 days and nights worked unremittingly on fortifications around that place. He was in 14 battles in which the regiment was engaged, namely: Perryville, Chickamauga, Rocky Face, Resaca, Calhoun, Adairsville, Dallas, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, and escaped without a scratch although as he quaintly puts it, "I got a plenty of holes in my clothes."
Charles Klein was with the regiment from the time it went to the front until the muster-out, was never sick, never had a furlough, and was always on duty. Being once urged by his lieutenant to take a furlough and see his old home, Klein protested that it would be harder to leave home again than it was at first and that the old folks would feel the parting more keenly; besides a furlough would mean about $40 expense, which the thrifty soldier forwarded to his parents instead of spending it for a pleasure trip for himself.
When Capt. Goldsmith was stricken down by a rebel bullet on Chickamauga's bloody field, comrade Klein was hardly three feet away and the bullet whistled by him. The federal troops were being driven back by the advancing confederates at the time, and an orderly of the colonel of the Thirty-sixth, which fought alongside of the Twenty-fourth, seeing Goldsmith fall, caught him up, flung him across the colonel's horse (the colonel having been killed in action) and brought him off the field. Capt. Goldsmith did not die until several days after the battle, and as Klein was an old friend the captain asked for him several times and he finally was allowed to visit the hospital at Nashville and remained at the bedside until the captain died.
Comrade Klein received his discharge at Nashville at the general muster out June 10, 1865, and arrived home June 24 on the Goodrich steamer from Milwaukee, which line gave the boys free transportation home, stamping their discharge papers with the ticket later for the passage. Like thousands of other patriotic citizens our hero at once took up the burden of life and worked at his trade until advancing years compelled him to give it up for lighter work. He is now employed in the Wisconsin Chair Co.'s factory and gives his employers the same faithful service that he did his country. His hair and beard are turning gray and his face and form show the ravages of time, and the result of hardships endured, but he is still hale and sound, and works every day. May he live long to enjoy the liberty and prosperity of the nation he helped to preserve!
Charles Klein was born in Ausbach, Westerwalder, district Coblentz, Germany, July 14, 1836, and received a common school education. When twelve years old, in 1848, he came with his parents to America, settling in the town of Abbott, now town Sherman, Sheboygan county. In 1854 they removed to Port Washington, where young Klein worked at building the old middle pier, and at rebuilding Blake's pier; also worked at other building operations until 1861 when he started to learn the carpenter's trade. He followed this occupation up to the time of his enlistment, and after the war until he entered the chair factory as above stated. He married Mary Josephine Bielfeld on August 9, 1869, and to them have been born one daughter and four sons. The oldest, the daughter, is married and lives in Chicago.
The Twenty-Sixth Wisconsin
Another regiment in which Ozaukee county was largely and ably represented, was the Twenty-sixth Wisconsin Vol. Infy., the second German regiment recruited in the state.
In the summer of 1862, General Franz Sigel was authorized by President Lincoln to raise a division of twelve regiments of infantry, from among the German population of the loyal states. He sent a request to Gov. Salomon for one full regiment from Wisconsin, and the Governor entrusted the task to Wm. H. Jacobs of Milwaukee. That gentleman went energetically to work, and with the aid of the patriotic Germans of the state, soon had a full regiment recruited and organized at Camp Sigel, Milwaukee. With the exception of a part of Co. G., which had been recruited at West Bend, Washington county and a few individuals in other companies, the whole regiment was composed of men and boys of German birth or German parentage.
On its rolls we find the names of thirty-six men and boys who were either citizens of Ozaukee county before the war, or have been since that period.
In Company A, we find the names of August Bielefeld, Wm. Maetzold, Mich. Moldenhauer, Wm. Mueller, Wm. H. Rintleman, Henry W. Rintleman and Henry Roth, of Cedarburg; Wm. Hausberg, Gottlieb Jaenig, Richard Klett, Wm. Nero, Anton Nolde, Herman Opitz, John Paul and Julius Semisch of Mequon; and John B. Mueller, of Grafton.
In Company B, John Grundke, Chas. Gottschalk and John Erdmann of Cedarburg.
Company C, Jack Mathias of Belgium; and Moritz Winkler of Port Washington.
In Company D, Hugo Boclo of Cedarburg; Peter Hoffranz of Port Washington; and William Milkie of Saukville.
In Company I, Wm. Baatz, Chas. Beckman, Fred. Krus, John Lau, Henry Luedolph, Fred. Neumeister, and J. Stegeman of Mequon; and Jonn Graff of Fredonia.
In Company K, Ed. Schoenfeld of Port Washington.
As above stated Company G was raised in Washington county. I intend to devote some space to that company later on, but will first pay attention to the regiment in general, and to the services and fate of the members from Ozaukee county. The ten companies were filled principally with recruits from the counties of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Washington, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Sauk, Jefferson, Dodge and Ozaukee. It was a fine body of men who later proved to be excellent soldiers. Recruiting for this regiment had commenced about the first day of August, and by the 7th of September all of the companies had reported at Camp Sigel with ranks filled to the minimum strength. At Camp Sigel the recruiting was continued until on Sept. 17th, the companies having all been filled to the maximum, the regiment was mustered into the United States service, with an aggregate of 1,040 men on its rolls.
The following was the roster of the field officers of the regiment: Colonel, Wm. H. Jacobs; Lieut. Colonel, Charles Lehman; Major, Philip Horwitz; Adjutant, Philip J. Scholosser; Quartermaster, F.W. Hundhausen; Surgeon, Francis Huebschmann; 1st Asst. Surg. Simon Von der Vaart; 2nd Asst. Surg., Theodore Fricke, Chaplain, Wm. Vette.
Company A, Capt. William George, hailed from Milwaukee; Co. B., Capt. Frederick C. Winkler from Milwaukee; Co. C, Capt. John P. Seemann, from Milwaukee; Co. D, Capt. August Ligousky, from Racine; Co. E, Capt. Anton Kettler from Fond du Lac; Co. F, Capt. Henry Baetz from Manitowoc; Co. G, Capt. Jacob E. Mann from West Bend; Co. H, Capt. Hans Boebel from Sheboygan; Co. I, Capt. Franz Lauda from Milwaukee; and Co. K, Capt. Louis Pelosi from Milwaukee.
A part of the regiment had reached Camp Sigel when on the 2nd and 3rd of September, 1862, the great "Indian Scare" swept over the state, and two companies under Lieut. Col. Lehman were sent out to Cedarburg to protect that village from the savage hordes, who, as reports had it, were sweeping down from the north with torch and scalping knife. The boys had to make a forced march to Cedarburg and did not feel much like engaging in a rough-and-tumble with Indians when they reached their destination; but happily no painted braves made their appearance there or elsewhere in the state, and after a day's rest the soldiers were carted back to Camp Sigel in farm wagons. The next morning one of the daily papers of Milwaukee referred with such levity and sarcasm to "Col. Lehman's campaign against the Indians," that that officer was highly incensed, and marching the two companies down town, it is said he drew them up in battle array in front of the office of the offending newspaper, and going upstairs he personally chastised the editor, thus getting himself into a heap of trouble.
The regiment remained drilling in Camp Sigel until the 6th of October, when it left the state under orders to report at Washington, at which place it arrived on the night of the 12th; and the next day it marched across the Potomac on the famous "Long Bridge" and encamped on Arlington Heights. Here the regiment was supplied with "Wedge" or "A" tents, and was assigned to the Second Brigade, Col. Kryzanowski, Third Division, Gen. Carl Schurz, Eleventh Army Corps, Gen. Franz Sigel. The Eleventh corps being then at Fairfax Court House, the Twenty-sixth marched to that place and joined its brigade on Oct. 15th.
The regiment remained in that vicinity, occupied in drilling, picket duty, etc., until the 2nd of November when it struck its tents and leaving all surplus baggage behind, including the tents, marched through Centreville and bivouacked on the Bull Run battlefield that night. The next day it marched to Thoroughfare Gap. While there, Lieut. John Orth of Co. I, was accidentally wounded while on picket. On Nov. 7th the regiment marched with its division through the Gap to New Baltimore, where it pitched its "shelter" or "dog" tents (which it had drawn when reaching its last bivouac) amidst a driving snow storm, and remained there trying to keep warm until the 9th, when it marched to Gainsville until the 18th, the division again struck its tents and retraced its steps to Centreville, where it remained comfortably encamped until the 10th of December. On that day the Eleventh Corps took up its line of march for Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, by way of Dumfries and Stafford Court House, and reached its destination on Dec. 14th. It was too late to participate in Gen. Burn side's ill-advised and unfortunate attack on the heights behind Fredericksburg and witnessed the withdrawal of the defeated army to the north bank of the Rappahannock. The march from Centreville to Falmouth was one of the severest and most trying the Twenty-sixth ever made. Rain and melting snow made the roads almost impassable, and the mud was so deep that it was with much labor and difficulty that the wagons and artillery were dragged through it. Nearly every night the troops were late in reaching camp, and then had to bivouac in snow and mud. To make matters worse rations grew very scarce and the boys suffered very much from hunger, cold and fatigue.
On the 17th of December the corps marched back to Stafford Court House, nine miles in the rear of Falmouth and built winter quarters. But they were not fated to enjoy this camp very long. On the 21st the enemy's cavalry made an attack upon the Union troops at Dumfries, and the division was ordered to hurry to the assistance of its comrades at that place. It was soon on the march, but when a few miles from camp was recalled to it, the danger being past at Dumfries.
The First Year of War
The Draft Riot
The Last Years of War
Politics & Pathos
Ozaukee Rifles - Chapters 1 -2
Ozaukee Rifles - Chapters 3 - 8
Ozaukee Rifles - Chapters 15 - 20
Ozaukee Rifles - Chapters 21 - 26
Co. H, 24th Wisconsin (Chapters 1 - 4)
Co. H, 24th Wisconsin (Chapters 5 - 8)
26th Wisconsin (Chapters 1 - 5)
26th Wisconsin (Chapters 6 - 11)
26th Wisconsin (Chapters 12 - 16)
Life in the Trenches
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