The following article first appeared in the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Newsletter beginning in July 2005 and concluding with the April 2006 issue. It was last revised on March 18, 2012.
The Wends were no strangers to war. During the Napoleonic period, just forty years before the migration to Texas, they witnessed the Battle of Bautzen fought in their own neighborhood. They knew wars were universal and they would not have migrated under the illusion that residence in the United States would isolate them from its horrors. After all, the Mexican War (1846-1848) started on the southwestern boundary of Texas. All too soon war returned to Texas and just seven years after the Ben Nevis Wends set foot in Texas the Civil War became a part of their lives. The same youngsters who had said farewell to their playmates and their relatives in 1854 and embarked on the journey to America with its cholera and death, were the young men who left their homes and faced the hardships of the bloodiest of all our wars. They went to war reluctantly; and all but three fought for the Confederacy.
Wendish Attitudes toward Secession and the Civil War
We often read history backwards and assume the people of an earlier time knew what we now know. So it is necessary to place ourselves into the 1861 context and to separate three events: (1) the vote to secede from the Union, (2) the decision to fight, (3) the decision to free the slaves. When South Carolina seceded in December 1860, in response to Lincoln’s election, war was not inevitable. Many Southerners believed that because they had freely become part of the United States, they were just as free to leave it, undisturbed. Some Northerners preferred to “let the erring brethren go.”
More Southern states, including Texas, followed South Carolina’s lead and on February 1, 1861 a special convention in Texas passed the Ordinance of Secession and referred it to the citizens for a vote. On February 22, the date of the popular vote in Texas, Lincoln had not even been inaugurated and a Peace Convention was meeting in Washington to resolve the crisis and prevent war. In several southern states, including Texas, the states had taken over the United States military posts and arsenals, without conflict. When the vote was counted, the Texas electorate on February 23, 1861 supported the Ordinance of Secession and voted to secede from the Union by a vote of 46,153 to 14,747. The strongest pro-Union vote came from the German communities and the area north of Dallas. Bastrop, the county where most of the Wends lived, had a population of 7,006 whites and 2,248 slaves. The Bastrop County voters—white adult males—voted against secession 352 to 335. In the precinct where the Wends lived, Rabbs Creek, the vote was fifty-six against secession and one in favor. At least thirty-three Wends, including Johann Kilian, had been naturalized and could have voted. [Bill Moore, Bastrop County1691-1900 (Wichita Falls: Nortex Press, 1977) p. 78, 240-252]. We do not know if these fifty-six who cast the vote against secession included any Wends. The vote was not for preserving slavery, nor for going to war, only for leaving the Union. So the question is, “Given what we know about the Wends, if they even voted, how would we expect them to have voted on the question of leaving the United States?”
Assuming that they followed their tradition in Europe, the Wends would have voted against leaving the Union. They had been loyal Saxon and Prussian citizens and obedience to a state was self-understood. Even when the Prussian ruler imposed a religious structure on them, they did not talk of rebellion. They emigrated. In 1848, when Kilian was moving from Kotitz to Weigersdorf, many Germans rose in revolution to expand democracy in their lands. Most Wends, especially those in the working classes stayed out of it. A vote for Texas secession would have been an act of revolution against the government that had accepted them. Most likely the Wends cast some of the votes in the Rabbs Creek precinct and opposed leaving the Union.
Then in early March 1861 Lincoln was inaugurated, and in early April he informed South Carolina that he intended to resupply the Union troops at Ft. Sumter. When the commander of Fort Sumter rejected an ultimatum to surrender it, South Carolina troops, operating under the instructions from the Confederate government in Montgomery, Alabama, began the bombardment. So the war began on April 12, but nothing Lincoln said during this time indicated that it was a war to free the slaves. It was a war to preserve the Union. So the second event raises the question, “How did the Wends view military service?” The Wends in Europe did not try to evade military service in either Saxony or Prussia. As citizens of those states they fulfilled their military obligation. There is no indication that the Wends who migrated in the 1850s did so to avoid military service. Jan Cyž, (Ziesch), a Wendish scholar and biographer, maintained that the Wends looked upon military service as a way of getting out of the village to broaden their horizons and not as an onerous duty. At the same time these young men, upon visiting their families, and dressed in full military regalia, were not displeased by the admiring glances of young maidens. The Wends in Europe were not pacifists and did accept military service. Nothing in their seven years of residency in Texas, hints at a change in philosophy.
The third event was the abolition of slavery. All of the young Wends, with three exceptions, joined the Confederate forces. Does that mean that the Wends supported slavery when they joined? In all likelihood slavery was not a factor in the decision of the Wends just as it was not for a majority of the members of the Confederate military. Even though Wends may have objected to slavery they did not purchase slaves because slavery was morally wrong. Slavery was not part of their way of doing things and it was economically wrong. Slaves were expensive in Texas at that time and Wends were short of cash. Wends were not planters, but yeoman farmers, clearing land and producing crops and raising livestock on a small scale. Yet they grew cotton as their cash crop and accepted the southern economy. Even though they had no slaves, the entire family, including the children, helped in the fields. Something is to be said for large families in agricultural societies. School did not start until cotton had been picked. In the election of 1860, Lincoln’s Republican Party did not oppose the institution of slavery—it opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories. Not until January 1, 1863 did Lincoln officially issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and by then the Wends had made their decision to enlist in the Confederate forces. It was safer to enlist in the Confederacy than to attempt joining the Union forces.
With one exception there is no documentation that reveals the views of Kilian or the Wends. That exception is Carl Buettner. According to family tradition, Carl first enlisted in the Confederate Army, but when Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation Carl made his way to New Orleans and joined the Union Army. Other than that example, the closest we have is an entry in the Wendish newspaper, Serbske Nowiny. The first paragraph is a summary of a Kilian letter previously published in the Misionski Posoł, a religious journal.
“The Misionski Posoł No. 8 writes: ‘At long last a letter from America has arrived, written by the Sorb pastor Mr. Kilian in Texas and addressed to his Uncle Pastor Wetzke in Bautzen. Mr. Kilian was a pastor in Kotitz, then Weigersdorf, and in the year 1854 traveled to America with other emigrants. As a result of the [Civil] war this letter had to be sent to us through the Mexican city of Matamoros. Mr. Kilian writes that his wife has not been sick a single time in America, and those young men from his Sorb congregation called Serbin, who went to war are at the time still alive and occasionally write letters. The war has caused a horrible inflation of all things that they cannot produce themselves. They have not experienced hunger, although new clothes and other necessities are available but expensive. A box of matches costs more than 1 dollar. Mr. Kilian conducts both Sorb and German church services and teaches school children 5 days a week.’”
The next paragraph does not reflect Kilian’s views but was written by the editor of Serbske Nowiny, Jan Smoler. It was written after the Emancipation Proclamation so Smoler could well have projected his own feelings toward slavery on to the Wends who would not have known that they would defend slavery by enlisting. Kilian talked about inflation, not slavery. There is also one error. Citizens who did not choose to fight were not hanged on the spot.
“And strangely enough, the Sorbs who migrated to America under the leadership of Mr. Kilian settled down in the area where slavery was also enforced and all able bodied Sorbs were forced to go to war with the secessionists and to fight for slavery when at the same time they hated it in their hearts. But what could they do? Whoever chose not to go along with the Secessionists would be hanged on the spot. And so some American Sorbs, as we infer from Mr. Kilian’s letter, fought against the Union at Vicksburg. But the Union prevailed there because Vicksburg fell into their hands, and there is the possibility that many Sorbs gave up their lives and for a cause in which they did not believe.”
So when the fighting began, those Texans who favored secession flocked to the Confederate colors, and by the end of 1861 twenty-five thousand eager Texans had volunteered. Most Wends stayed home for a full year. Too many Southerners also stayed home so in March 1862 B. F. Forney announced the formation of additional infantry units. The notice, printed in Texas newspapers, appealed to Texas patriotism. “Will not the patriotic sons of the Lone Star State, respond to the calls of their Governor and the Commanding Generals, and rally at once to the defense of their country and all they hold near and dear on earth?” He also promised monetary awards in the form of a $50 bounty and a clothing allowance of $25 every six months. In conclusion he raised the threat of conscription. “Will the brave sons of Texas suffer themselves Drafted? God forbid!”
And on April 16, 1862 the Confederate Congress did indeed pass the First Conscription Act. All men between 18 to 35 years of age would be drafted into service for three years unless the war ended sooner. Exemptions were allowed for certain occupational groups such as railroad workers, teachers, and for one white male on every plantation with twenty or more slaves. The act also permitted hiring a substitute or paying $500 to the Confederate Treasury. Johann Kasper became a substitute but he lost his life. The law also exempted aliens and foreign subjects from being drafted. One Wend, thirty-four-year-old Andreas Kiesling, married and father of four, was forcedly enrolled at LaGrange. With the assistance of Jul. Friedrich of Houston, Acting Counsul for Prussia, he presented evidence that he had been born in Gross Radisch and remained a subject of the King of Prussia.
The threat of conscription forced some Wends to think of their options and how to make the best of a bad situation. They could stay at home and risk being drafted, they could hide and risk being caught, they could leave and join the Union forces, or they could enlist before they were drafted. Only one Wend was conscripted, three made their way to the Union forces, an unknown number hid, but approximately fifty-eight men enlisted. One advantage of enlisting enabled a young Wend to select the unit or company, and by doing so he could elect a German-speaking officer and serve with his friends. A second incentive to enlist was that each volunteer was promised a $50 bounty.
The commander of the Western sub-district of Texas declared Martial Law in April 1862 and the law was extended to the entire state in May. In October 1862, at least forty-four Union sympathizers were hanged in Gainesville and some Germans on their way toward Mexico and eventual Union service were killed in August. Dodging the draft did not result in hanging. Aiding the Union, however, could lead to death.
Many Wends under the age of thirty-five were married and some did not serve. Others deserted. Mrs. James C. Killen in History of Lee County, Texas told of Agnes Schubert who “took many meals down to the creek bottoms of Pin Oak Creek and Knobbs Branch for the local draft dodgers. She would usually put the platter of food on a fairly high stump, out of the reach of dogs. After dark, the men would come out of their hiding places to claim the food. The men often hid in trees thickly enveloped by grape vines or Spanish moss. One man hid upstairs under a big cotton basket, while another stood between rows of drying tobacco leaves upstairs in his home while the Government officials were searching the premises to get them for military service. Other men donned dresses and bonnets to plow the fields without being recognized.”
One of the romantic views of the Civil War that developed after the Confederate defeat was the “Lost Cause.” The Lost Cause maintained that the heroic Southerners knew from the very beginning that they could not win. So the war was a type of statement in which they defended the Southern traditions and way of life. Without the possibility of victory the war became a noble act. But the war was not noble for the Wends. Eight did not return. No Wend got a medal and there were no victory parades. It was a lot of walking, sleeping on the ground, trying to stay warm during the winter months, eating camp food, getting sick, and facing death. The war was not a test of Wendish courage—it was a test of their ingenuity to stay alive. It is entirely possible that subsequent generations of Texas Wends showed more loyalty to the Confederacy than the generation that endured it.
Note on Terms
The following are military units from smallest to largest. Company (commanded by a captain; approximately 100 men) < Battalion (commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel, between three and eight companies) < Regiment (commanded by a colonel; approximately ten companies) < Brigade < Division < Corps < Army.
The first step in the enlistment process was to enroll. Someone who could persuade others to enroll, or who had the trust of others, signed them up and he became the captain. Unless the Wend recruit had learned English, a prerequisite was that the captain knew German. Some men enrolled and then went home to be mustered in later, while others enrolled and were mustered in on the same day. The term of enlistment was three years or the duration of the war whichever was shorter. With the exception of eleven individuals the Wends enlisted in three units: Waul’s Texas Legion, the Allen’s 17th Texas Infantry Regiment, or Bose’s 3d Texas Infantry Regiment.
In the early days of the war, to a limited extent, opposing commanders exchanged prisoners of war shortly after a battle. In July 1862, a cartel was agreed to that provided that all prisoners would be paroled within ten days and sent to their own lines. The number of captured was so huge after some battles that the Union military printed a form providing spaces for the name, rank, and unit of the POW along with the name of the battle and its date followed by “do give this, my solemn parole under oath: That I will not take up arms against the United States, nor serve in any military, police or constabulary force, in any fort, garrison, or field work held by the Confederate States of America against the United States of America; not as guard of prisons, depots or stores; nor discharge any duties usually performed by officers or soldiers, against the United States of America, until duly exchanged by the proper authorities.”
These exchanges were managed through an elaborate system under which men who could not be exchanged for an enemy of equal rank would be matched according to a sliding scale of equivalents, i.e., a general equaled sixty privates. The exchange concept was based on a short war and small number of men. It began to fail when the numbers became immense and many of the paroled soldiers went back to bearing arms. It was further complicated after the promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation when the Union began enlisting former slaves into the Federal army. The Confederates looked at the black soldiers and their white officers as people who should be dealt with under the laws for the suppression of slave insurrections and therefore were not subject to exchange. Exchanges on a much-reduced scale continued as the war progressed, but from 1863 onwards, both sides were holding large numbers of prisoners. Finally, on August 10, 1864 General Grant stopped all exchanges and paroles and the “holding” camps became prisoner of war camps.
Some of Wends who were captured, signed the parole and returned to their homes. Others returned to Texas and rejoined their reconstituted units.
Area of Operation:
The military activities of the Wends were limited to Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. By the fall of 1862, when they would have been ready to engage in battle, New Orleans and the lower Mississippi was in Union hands as well as Memphis and the upper Mississippi. Vicksburg remained in Confederate control, but if it fell the three western states would be separated from the Confederacy. The first objective that called on Wendish units was to preserve Vicksburg as a Confederate city. After it fell into Union hands, the second objective was to thwart a Union invasion of Texas
WAUL’S TEXAS LEGION
Waul’s Legion was the only true legion of Texas troops and comprised twelve companies of infantry, six cavalry companies, and a six-gun battery of artillery. The total number of men was approximately 2,000. The man who organized it, Colonel Thomas N. Waul, had no military training whatsoever. He was a lawyer and had served as a delegate to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States in Montgomery, Alabama. In comparison, Robert Thomas Pritchard Allen, leader of the Wends who enlisted into the 17th Infantry was in the West Point Class of 1834. They are examples of two types of military leaders during the Civil War, both North and South. One type of officer had received military training but could have found it difficult handling volunteers who had no intention of giving up their independence. The other was an officer who commanded friendship and trust of the men, but who had no military training and could have had difficulty in instilling strict discipline.
The Legion was organized at Camp Waul on Old Gay Hill, seven miles north of Brenham, during the spring of 1862. The training lasted about three months until August 1862 when the unit was ordered out of the state. Judging from the service records, the payment of the bounty and the wages was more systematic for Waul’s unit than it was for Allen’s. The muster roll was called on the last day of every other month and the men were then paid—at least in theory. Even though the distribution of wages, in the early months, was punctual, the men were not given weapons or uniforms until they arrived in the vicinity of Holly Springs, Mississippi.
Brief Unit History
The infantry battalions left Camp Waul between August 9 and August 18, 1862, and traveled on foot all the way to Shreveport, Louisiana. The next destination had been Little Rock, Arkansas, but while en route Confederate officers ordered the unit to Vicksburg, Mississippi. The route from Shreveport to Vicksburg took them through Monroe, Louisiana and on September 27 they arrived at Vicksburg and crossed the Mississippi River. On October 11, 1862, they arrived at Camp Cold Water, six miles north of Holly Springs, Mississippi where the men received their uniforms and their shoulder arms. Rifles were in short supply so the Texans received .69 caliber flintlock muskets converted to percussion muskets that were effective at less than one hundred yards.
Much of November was spent slogging around in northern Mississippi bravely enduring the cold, rain, and rations. On December1 there was a skirmish with some Union troops at Rocky Ford, Mississippi, on the Tallahatchie River, where the Confederates had built some breast works. During the Confederate retreat to Grenada many of the men could not keep up. The sick were left behind at Coffeeville. There, on December 9, 1862, Peter Gersch was captured. He was taken to Holly Springs, then in Union hands, and sent on to the prisoner-of-war camp at Cairo, Illinois. From December 7, 1862 to January 25, 1863, they remained in Grenada. Upon leaving Grenada, they moved to Snyder’s Bluff, about fourteen miles above Vicksburg. From there they traveled by steamboats up the Yazoo River to Camp Pemberton, a breastworks fort between the Yazoo and Tallahatchie Rivers, near Greenwood, Mississippi. Camp Pemberton was constructed of stacked cotton bales covered with dirt and defended with a few light guns. During their time there, between March 11 and 16 they repulsed a series of Union ground and river attacks. Matthes Mitschke got sick in April 1863 and was sent to the Texas General Hospital in Quitman, Mississippi and died there on September 19, 1863. Matthes’s brother John also became ill, and was sent to Quitman, where he recovered.
While the Mitschke brothers were at Quitman, Waul’s Legion, in early May 1863, was divided. Eleven of the twelve infantry companies were sent to Vicksburg and attached to Gen. John C. Pemberton’s Army in defense of the city, and 1st Battalion, Company C went to Yazoo City as part of its garrison. General U.S. Grant had moved his army south of Vicksburg and attempted to storm it on May 22, 1863. The attack failed, in part because of Waul’s Infantry. Grant then laid siege to Vicksburg that lasted from May to July 4th, and on the national holiday, Waul’s force was part of the 29,491 Confederates that surrendered. It was a Union victory, and with the Union forces in control of the river, President Lincoln could report: “The Father of Waters again flows unvexed to the sea.” It was a turning point in the West, and no Texas soldier could help but realize that Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas were separated from the Confederacy. Of the 713 men of Waul’s force, forty-seven were killed, One hundred ninety wounded, and eight were missing. The remainder surrendered. The Wends at Vicksburg, Johann Arldt, Matthaus Hohle, Christian Jatzlau, Andreas Kieschnick, and Johann Schulze were captured. The prisoners were paroled and those from Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana were allowed to go on leave to their home across the Mississippi until they were properly exchanged. They were declared exchanged on September 12, 1863. The Legion was then reorganized in Houston and stationed near Galveston to protect the Texas coast. Only Schulze, of the Wends who had been captured, reported to Galveston.
In the meantime, Company C of the 1st Battalion had moved around Mississippi until June 5 when it camped near Yazoo City. John Kasper died there on June 25. When the Union forces arrived on July 13, the Confederate officers ordered all Confederate men to withdraw. The men of Company C, who were serving as heavy artillerists, however, remained at their guns and were captured. There was some question among Confederate officers about the nature of the surrender. They maintained that the company could easily have withdrawn, but the men made a conscious attempt to stand and be captured. Christopher Kubitz and Carl August Weise were captured at Yazoo City. John Kieschnick was not among the captives because his arthritis was so bad that on May 6, 1863, he had been detailed to the shoemaker service and had retreated with the main force. Yazoo City ended the fighting for the Wends of Waul’s Legion. The reorganized command, even though it continued to be identified as Waul’s Legion, was headed by Colonel Barnard Timmons and was charged with defending the Texas coast. It was again reorganized March 23, 1864, with the consolidation of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalions of Waul’s Legion into ten companies, which was the standard Confederate regiment. It was sometimes thereafter known as Timmons’ Regiment. Kubitz, Weise, and Kieschnick rejoined the Legion at Galveston.
Military Service Records
The War Department compiled these records between1903 and 1927 to reduce the wear and tear on the original documents. The heavy use of the original documents was caused by requests for evidence to support pension applications. The usual sources for the compiled records included the muster rolls and pay records. For the Texas Wends the records were generally informative for the early months, but sketchy or nonexistent near the end of the war. Conditions were deteriorating and so was record keeping. Just because nothing was recorded does not mean that the person did not serve or that the unit was not in the field.
Co. A, 1st Infantry Battalion, Waul’s Texas Legion (Eugene S. Bolling)
Later Co. G, Timmons’ Texas Infantry Regiment
Peter A. Gersch (b.19 December 1827) was enrolled and mustered in on July 10, 1862 at Brenham. He was present at the roll calls until December when he was reported missing since December 9, 1862, during a retreat from Rocky Ford, MS. He had been captured and was forwarded by the Provost Marshall at Holly Springs, MS to Cairo, IL. One of his grandsons, William Charles Gersch, in 1968 wrote: “It wasn’t long before the Civil War broke out and the South’s recruiting officer came to Serbin. Grandpa Gersch enlisted. He fought for the South until he was wounded and captured by the Northern Army. He endured much suffering but recovered from his wounds. He told us kids about the lack of anything to eat and the time they caught a soft shell turtle and how they built a fire and made some turtle soup. He served in the Army three years. During that time Grandma was raising the children. She was well qualified to do that as she was trained in Germany as a nurse. She was also serving the community as a ‘midwife’ and delivered many children in her lifetime. I know she delivered all of us in our family.” (d. 29 Sept 1900, Serbin). Assistance from J. B. Gersch, Jr.
Andreas Kieschnick (b.13 November 1828) was enrolled July 1, 1862 at Brenham under Bolling and mustered in on July 10 at Camp Waul. He was present and received pay and bounty on August 31, 1862. After being transferred to Co. C, he was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, and signed the parole oath. He was absent from the succeeding roll calls and declared AWOL in February 1864, and on April 30, 1864, when the unit was at Galveston, he was dropped from the roll. His residence was Rabbs Creek on the Washington – Bastrop county line. His widow, Louisa, applied for a pension and gave his date of death as 21 February 1901. F. Raube, as a witness to the application, testified that Andreas was the tallest man in the company and had served to the end of the war. (d. 23 February 1900, Mannheim).
Co. B, 1st Infantry Battalion, Waul’s Texas Legion (Otto Nathusius)
Later Co. K, Timmons’ Texas Infantry Regiment in combination with Co. C, 1st Infantry Battalion, Waul’s Texas Legion
Christian Jatzlau (b.21 Oct 1834) was enrolled and mustered in on June 16, 1862, at Camp Waul. He was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, and paroled on July 9. In December 1863 he was sick and living in Fayette County. Evidently unaware that he swore not to take up arms again, his officers declared him a deserter and on March 1, 1864, dropped him from the roll. (d. 3 April 1880 at Warda)
Co. C, 1st Infantry Battalion, Waul’s Texas Legion (Robert Voigt)
Later Co. K, Timmons’ Texas Infantry Regiment in combination with Co. B, 1st Infantry Battlion, Waul’s Texas Legion.
John Kieschnick (8 Jan 1834) was enrolled and mustered in on June 11, 1862, at Camp Waul by Voigt. In January and February 1863, when his unit was in Yazoo City, he was absent because of illness. On May 6, 1863, he was detailed to shoemaker service, which was his trade. He suffered from rheumatism in knee and ankle joints and had been in the hospital for six months. From March to August 1864 he was back in Austin and Washington counties because of illness, and on September 10, 1864 he was sent to Houston to shoemaker service. He was 5′ 8″ tall with brown eyes and hair. (d. 14 Feb 1916 Thorndale).
+Johann C. Kasper (b. 1845) enrolled and was mustered in on June 30, 1862, at Camp Waul. In July he was listed as a substitute for H. Weigand who was then discharged. One could serve as a substitute only if he was not subject to conscription. Because Johann was seventeen, he was a year younger than draft age. He died on 25 June 1863 at Yazoo City, MS.
Christopher Kubitz (b.1832) enrolled on March 22, 1862 at Industry under Bader and was mustered in on April 4, 1862, at Houston by Captain S. M. Drake, CSA Mustering Officer. He received his bounty, but not his pay. He was present at the roll calls, but on February 14, he was detailed from Camp Loring to go to Vaughn’s Station to retrieve some property belonging to the company. He was promoted to corporal and then sergeant. Captured at Yazoo City on July 13, 1863, and sent to Memphis, TN under Union Maj. Gen. Hurlbut. (d. 8 April 1873 Serbin)
Johann Mitschke (b. 25 Oct 1841) enrolled on March 22, 1862, at Industry (recruited by Bader) and was mustered in on April 4, 1862, at Houston (under Drake) He was present for the roll calls. From April to August 31, 1863, he was at the hospital in Quitman, MS. He was with his company in February 1864. (d. 12 March 1912 Serbin).
+Matthes Mitschke (b.1843) enrolled March 22, 1862 at Industry by Bader and was mustered in on April 4, 1862 at Houston by Drake. He received his bounty and was present at the roll calls. He was in the Texas General Hospital at Quitman, MS from April 1863, until his death on September 13, 1863.
Carl August Weise (b. Jan. 31,1842) enrolled on March 22, 1862, at Industry in front of E. M. Knolle’s house and was mustered in on April 4, 1862, at Houston. He received the bounty but no pay. Present at roll calls in 1863. He was captured on July 13, 1863, at Yazoo City and paroled on July 18, 1863. As he walked back through Louisiana he fell ill with malaria and lacking proper food and water, he was close to death. A farmer found him, hid him in an overgrown area and provided him with food and water until he regained his strength. After two months of walking he made it back to Industry. He rejoined his unit in December 1863 but was reported sick in Fayette County. When the war ended he was at Galveston. He took the Amnesty oath on November 9, 1865. (d. 19 Aug 1934 Cisco). Assistance from Donald Weise.
Co. D (Pioneer Company), 2nd Infantry Battalion, Waul’s Texas Legion (Henry Wickeland) Later Co. B, Timmons’ Texas Infantry Regiment
Johann Arldt (b. 6 Nov 1842) enrolled on June 15, 1862, and was mustered in on June 20. He was present at roll calls in November 1862 to February 1863. On July 4, 1863, he was captured at Vicksburg and signed his name on the parole document in the old Gothic script. He did not rejoin his company and was declared AWOL. At that time he lived at New Ulm. (d. 11 April 1891 Serbin)
Matthaus B. Hohle (11 April 1830) was enrolled in Austin County on June 17, 1862, and was mustered in at Camp Waul on June 20. He was also in Co. D, 2nd Texas Infantry. He was captured at Vicksburg and signed the parole oath. He was declared AWOL in March 1864 and while the company was at Galveston, he was dropped from the roll in April 1864. (d. 2 August 1912 New Ulm)
Co. E. Later Co. K. Timmons’ Texas Infantry Regiment
Johann Schulze (b. 12 Dec. 1822) enrolled on March 22, 1862 at Industry under Bader and was mustered in on April 4 1862, in Houston by Drake. Possibly because of his age, 39, he was detailed to headquarters as cook. He was present at the roll calls until he was captured at Vicksburg. He received a furlough in December 1864 and then returned to Galveston until he was discharged on April 4, 1865 at the age of 45. (d. 27 February 1904 Loebau)
SEVENTEENTH INFANTRY REGIMENT
The second group of Wends who enlisted joined the Seventeenth Infantry Regiment. The 17th was organized during January and February 1862 at Camp Terry, a camp on the Colorado River near Austin. Robert T. P. Allen, the officer in charge, was trained at West Point and had graduated fifth in his class. In 1857 he and his son had established the Bastrop Military Institute, and in 1861 he gave his support to the secession movement. His first position had been with the Fourth Texas Infantry, but because he was strict disciplinarian the men considered him a martinet and drove him from the camp. When the 17th was being organized he was made the colonel and remained in that position until November 1863 when he was placed in charge of a prisoner-of-war camp near Tyler.
Even though the three companies which included Wends, B, F, and H, trained together during the spring and summer months, they did not head for battle together. No records refer directly to the separation, however, the service records of some of the men of Company F indicate their presence in Austin, Arkansas during the first year of service while Companies B and H spent the winter in Texas, probably at either Camp Terry or Camp Groce. The records do show that during the first year in Texas many of the men of B and H were absent from their units because of illness, but no reason has been found for keeping the companies behind.
Brief Unit History
Company F, along with the 17th took the train from Houston to Navasota, arriving there on August 2. From there the men marched through Tyler, crossed the Arkansas border on September 6, and arrived at Little Rock on Sept 23. Ernst Vogel, in an artillery unit, was in a Little Rock hospital at that time. The destination was Camp Nelson at Austin, Arkansas, northeast of Little Rock, which would be the staging area for Walker’s Texas Division. There the 17th first became part of the 3d Brigade of Brig. Gen. Henry E. McCulloch’s First Division, II Corps, Army of the Trans-Mississippi. After Maj. Gen. John G. Walker took over the command of the division in January 1863, it became known as Walker’s Texas Division or Walker’s Greyhounds because of its ability to travel fast. It was the only division in Confederate service to be composed, throughout its existence, of men from a single state. Approximately 1,500 Texans, probably including Johann Handrick died at Camp Nelson. Because many of the soldiers had grown up in rural isolation they had not been exposed to common childhood diseases, so when they contracted such diseases as measles without receiving proper care, they died. In early November the men finally received weapons, but most were the same type of smooth bores issued to Waul’s Legion. The division left Camp Nelson on November 24 and marched to various places in southern Arkansas and at the end of the year they were at Camp Wright four miles north of Pine Bluff on the Arkansas River. In early December Johann Kubitz took sick and was hospitalized at Pine Bluff. On April 24 they left for Monroe, LA. On March 23, 1863, companies B and H, which had spent the winter in Texas, left their camp and in May joined their regiment, possibly at Monroe.
In the meantime General Grant, in January 1863, moved his forces west and south of Vicksburg and by April crossed the Mississippi to enclose of the city on the south and east. Unable to supply the forces within the city, the Confederates hoped to break Grant’s supply line by attacking at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, a bend in the Mississippi River northwest of Vicksburg. At dawn on June 7 the Confederates engaged the Union forces and got the better of the fight, which was largely hand-to-hand. As the Union troops retreated toward the river, Union gunboats began bombarding Confederate forces, and at noon the Confederates withdrew. The 17th Texas, assigned to the center of the line suffered almost half of the Confederate loses with twenty-one killed and sixty-eight wounded (including Col. Allen), and three missing. Among these casualties were Andreas Ernst Falke, and Andreas Mathias who were captured and Christopher Lowke who was fatally wounded. The battle did not weaken Grant’s hold on Vicksburg, and it fell on July 4, 1863. On July 12 the 17th Texas Infantry marched to Alexandria, Louisiana.
From then on Walker’s Greyhounds participated in both segments of the Red River Campaign, successfully preventing the two-pronged Union invasion. Two battles in Louisiana, Pleasant Hill, and Mansfield, persuaded Union general, Nathaniel P. Banks to retreat back down the Red River. Another Union general, Frederick Steele, based in Little Rock and under orders to join Banks, had started an offensive, moving southwest to Camden, Arkansas. Upon hearing of Bank’s retreat, he began pulling back toward Little Rock but was overtaken by the Confederates forty miles south of the capitol city. The battle of Jenkins’ Ferry, fought April 30, 1864, was the last battle of the Red River campaign. The Confederates, because they held the field, considered themselves the victors. It was, however, a Pyrrhic victory because they suffered larger casualties and had failed to destroy Steele’s retreating army. On April 24, 1864, just before the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry, Walker’s Greyhounds were joined by the Wends from Fedor who served in the 3d Texas Infantry. One member of this unit, Gustave Wiederaenders, a German, was killed.
In July 1864 the decision was made to send Walker’s Division east across the Mississippi River. Hundreds of Texans, sensing a mission creep that would expose their homes and families to enemy forces, deserted to avoid the crossing. Union forces also heard of the plans and increased the patrols and gunboats on the river. Confederate leaders then abandoned their plans to cross the river and the remaining Texans spent the winter on the western side of the Mississippi near Minden, Louisiana. On November 12, 1864, the troops received their pay for the first time in two years. In spring the Confederate officers suspected another invasion of Texas by a Union force originating from New Orleans, and the order was given on March 5, 1865, to return to Texas. On March 15 they crossed the border into Texas. The division reached Camp Groce, about two-and-a-half miles east of Hempstead, a month later and on April 22 they learned that General Lee had surrendered. Realizing the futility of further military action the men began departing for their homes. On May 19 Walker reported that the men who remained had broken into the military stores and stables and carried off anything they could get their hands on. Demoralized and frustrated with nothing to show for their years in the service, they even sacked the town of Hempstead. The unit, which during its tour of duty had walked the equivalent distance from New York to San Francisco, disintegrated.
Military Service Records
Co. B. 17th Infantry Regiment (Joseph Z. Miller)
Matthäus Lorenz (Matthew Lawrence) (b. 21 December 1839) enrolled on March 22, 1862, and was mustered in on March 30, 1862 at Camp Terry. His last recorded pay day was August 31, 1863, and his last recorded roll call was February 1864. (d. 29 November 1876 Rabbs Cr.)
+Christopher Lowke (b. 27 July 1839) enrolled on March 22, 1862 and mustered in on March 30. Paid on August 31 and October 31, 1862. Present for the January to February roll call but was sick. Lowke and those wounded at Milliken’s Bend were taken to Monroe, LA and that is where he died. (d. 25 June 1863 Monroe, LA)
August Miertschin (b. 8 July 1842) enrolled March 22, 1862 and mustered in on March 30. Although absent because of illness in the fall of 1862, he served until April 23, 1865, when he was given a seven day pass. In February 6, 1863, he was assigned to the regimental band and held the position of musician. Musicians traditionally doubled as medical aides on the battlefield. (d. 17 May 1917 Serbin)
John Miertschin (b. 6 August 1835) enrolled June 24, 1862, and mustered in on June 25. Present at several roll calls and paid a $50 bounty on February 27, 1863, (or 1865) When his wife, Agnes, applied for a pension August Miertschin testified that John had served until the end of the war. A. E. Falke and John Schelnick supported the testimony but stated that he was in Company A under Col. George “Wash” Jones. (d. 9 May 1899 Serbin)
+George Prellop (b. ca. 1831) enrolled March 22, 1862, and mustered in on March 30. He was absent from roll call because of illness in September 1862 and in August 1863. Because there were no battles during that time, he could have died of illness. (d. 12 Sept 1863 Monroe, LA)
+Matthäus (Matthew) Schubert (b. 6 July 1839) enrolled March 22, 1862, and mustered in on March 30. He was absent from roll call in July and August 1862 because of illness. He went on furlough on October 1, 1863, and the muster roll of January and February 1864 listed him as absent without leave. The service record stated: “Supposed to be dead as he has not been heard from.”
August Teinert (b.19 December 1837) enrolled on June 25, 1862 and mustered in on June 20 [sic]. From September onward he was absent because of illness, but in August 1863 he was declared absent without leave. He received a $50 bounty payment on February 27, 1865. (d. 27 January 1900 Serbin)
Ernst Teinert (b. 6 June 1843) Enrolled on March 30, 1862, and mustered in on March 22 [sic]. He was present for the roll calls from March 30 until February 1863 when he was on detached duty. He evidently served as a teamster and received pay of twenty-five cents a day. He was absent because of illness in July and August and on April 23, 1865 he received a seven-day-pass. He was paroled in August 1865 at Brenham. (d. 28 Aug 1905 Thorndale)
Co. F. 17th Infantry Regiment (E. P. Petty)
Andreas Ernst Falke (b.11 Oct 1841 or 27 Oct 1842) Enrolled June 27, 1862 and mustered in the same day. He was present for the remainder of the year, and in February 1863 he was present even though he was sick. He was captured at Milliken’s Bend and taken as a POW to Cairo, IL where he was freed. On his way back to Texas Falke came across some cotton bales that had been abandoned by the Yankees who had taken the cotton during a raid. He then commandeered some of the bales and with the assistance of a slave drove the wagons to Mexico and sold the cotton. Using the funds he returned home and opened a store and business constructing cotton gins. (d. 19 Dec 1916 Warda). Assistance from Walter Penk.
+Johann Handrick (Hendrick) (b. 8 April 1844) enrolled on June 24, 1862, and was mustered in that same day. His name appears on the muster rolls through February 1863. Declared missing.
Andreas Kappler (b. 6 Dec 1832) enrolled on June 24, 1862, and mustered in that same day. He was paid on June 30 and went on a ten-day furlough. He never returned and in December 1862 he was declared AWOL. According to family tradition their third child had been born while the father was away, but died before it could be baptized. The death of the child without the sacrament of baptism was a burden on his conscience, and he was determined not to let it happen again. (d. 7 July 1902 Giddings). Assistance from LaNell Kappler Mahler.
Johann Kubitz (Schkade), (b. 26 April 1841) enrolled on June 24, 1862, and mustered in on that same day. He became sick at Pine Bluff, Arkansas and was absent in December 1862. In January and February 1864 he was detached to the hospital. On April 10, 1865, as they were approaching Camp Groce, he left his unit. (d. 19 April 1913 The Grove)
Andreas Mathias (b. 29 Oct 1831) enrolled on June 27, 1862, and mustered in the same day. He was absent because of illness in November and December 1862 at Austin, Arkansas. He was captured, probably at Milliken’s Bend, and signed a Non-combatants Oath at Young’s Point, Louisiana on June 13, 1863. In that oath he swore loyalty to the United States and that he would not aid or encourage rebel forces. Andreas was the only Wend who had previous military experience in Germany. He had not sailed on the Ben Nevis because he had entered the Prussian army in 1852 and was not released until 1856. Although he was designated as 2nd Lieutenant, there is no indication that his experience in the Prussian infantry was utilized in his service to the Confederacy. (d. 28 January 1908 Frelsburg) Additional source: Esther L. Mathias and Dianna L. Tupa, The Mathias Family History.
August Polnick (b.12 Mar 1823) His record was difficult to read, but his service was short, if at all. Either he or someone in his family was sick. (d. 25 July 1876 Fedor)
John Schelnick (b. 9 July 1838) He enrolled on June 27, 1862, mustered in on the same day, and then received a five-day-furlough. In November he was assigned to the cooking detail at Austin, Arkansas, and on one occasion was paid twenty-five cents per day as a teamster. He later applied for a pension and stated that he was mustered out of service in June 1865 at Alexandria, Louisiana. John Teinert, John Pillack, and August Miertschin supported his claim. (d. 14 Dec. 1917 Giddings)
Christoph Vogel (b.1831 or 1829) enrolled on June 27, 1862, and mustered in on the same day. In November and December 1862 he was absent either because of illness or he was at Bastrop. After that he was AWOL. (d. 2 Mar 1903 Serbin)
Co. H. 17th Infantry Regiment (H. E. Jordt)
Johann Neumann (b. 2 May 1841) enlisted on July 1, 1862 at Camp Terry. From September 1862 until August 1863 he was either absent because of illness or absent without leave. (d. 25 January 1893 Giddings)
Johann Noack (Nowack) (b. March 1823) enrolled April 7, 1862, and mustered in on April 11, 1862. He was absent because of sickness from October 1862 on until August 1863 when he was declared AWOL. When he applied for a pension in 1899 he reported that he had served for eight months but was discharged because of rheumatism (arthritis) that resulted from his service. He lived near Nelsonville. (d. 15 December 1907 Serbin)
+John Noak (b. 15 December 1839) (d. 17 July 1863 Washington, LA.) No service record was found.
Andreas Sonsel (b. 1841) enrolled April 7, 1862, mustered in on April 17. He was present at all roll calls. He was a musician. According to a pension application he was discharged in Louisiana in May 1864. (d. 1924 Peters, TX)
August Sonsel (b.29 June 1833) enrolled April 7, 1863, and mustered in on April 17. He was present at all roll calls. When he applied for a pension, he testified that he had served until the end of the war. (d. 6 Dec 1914 Colorado Co.)
Ernst Sonsel (b.1840) enrolled on May 4, 1862, and mustered in on the same day. He was regimental musician until October 1, 1862. He was absent because of sickness from November to December 1862. (No information on death.)
THIRD REGIMENT TEXAS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Company K, Captain Julius Bose’s Company – Comal County
While Waul’s Legion and the 17th Infantry were expected to engage the enemy beyond the borders of Texas, the 3rd Texas Volunteer Infantry was considered to be home guard and assigned to the defense of the state in the event of an attack by Union forces. Most of its time was spent in Texas, but near the end of the war when a Union army in Arkansas was threatening to invade Texas the 3rd Regiment left the state. The records usually do not say how the unit traveled around Texas, but it would have been on foot and occasionally by steamboat or railroad.
Brief Unit History
In the summer of 1861, Col. Philip N. Luckett, a resident of Corpus Christi who had served as a surgeon in the Texas Rangers, was authorized to recruit men for the 3rd Texas Infantry Regiment. But competition from recruiters for Confederate units prevented Luckett from filling the ranks. By November 1861, at his headquarters in Ft. Brown on the Rio Grande River, he had only two companies present for duty. One of the companies had been recruited at Corpus Christi, while the other was made up entirely of Mexicans, who were continually deserting and crossing the river. In December he raised another company made up primarily of foreigners and some Mexicans.
Further efforts at recruitment continued at San Antonio and Austin and in June 1862 several Wends from Fedor enlisted. They were furloughed until July 7, when all reported to San Antonio. In mid-August while engaged in military training, some of the men also learned the process of court martial proceedings. Ten privates, including Andreas Pillack, Carl Dube, and August Dube were ordered to cook for some prisoners in the camp. The prisoners were most likely some young men who hoped to avoid Confederate conscription. The ten refused to obey the orders and were charged by Captain Bose with “disobedience to orders.” The accused did not deny the charges but offered the following statement in their defense: “[We] submit to your honorable Court, that being free citizens of a free Government, enlisted at the first call of our Governor to rally for the defense of our Country, we did not think that when doing so, the Government could at the same time, while we were ready to shed our blood for our common cause, think us menial enough, to do such degrading work as to cook for men, imprisoned for the highest crimes know to men, who try to shake off the shackles of tyranny. Never entered it our mind to disobey orders of our captain, but believing it as we stated before as too much degrading the state of a citizen soldier of the Southern Confederacy we were of the firm persuasion that we have done perfectly right in refusing to do so.” The court, meeting on August 14, 1862, found them guilty and sentenced them to be confined to their quarters, under guard, for five days. (Source: National Archives)
Finally, by November 1, 1862, the regiment was at full strength with ten companies totaling 648 men.
The following is an itinerary of Company K based largely on the service record of Capt. Bose. The numbers in the parentheses corresponds with the numbers on the map.
(1) October 31, 1862 Camp Herbert near San Antonio
December 1862 still at Camp Herbert. Co K received sixty-nine percussion muskets
January 9, 1863 departed San Antonio
(2) February 1, 1863 Ringgold Barracks
(3) February 3 departed for Fort Brown, a distance of 120 miles. The barracks were between Fort Brown and Brownsville.
May 14, 1863 departed from Fort Brown
May 17, 1863 Molators Ranch Distance: 45 miles.
(4) May 31, 1863 arrived on King’s Ranch at Santa Gertrudis
June 6 departed King’s Ranch for Alleyton Distance: 274 miles
(5) June 29 1863 arrived at Alleyton
(6) June 30 departed Alleyton and arrived at Galveston on July 1. Distance 130 miles. Philipp Arnold and Johann Lehmann of Co. K deserted at Galveston in July 1863.
On August 10, while the unit was at Galveston the men of regiment, with the exception of Company D, staged a mutiny. The days had been hot, the men had not been given furloughs since their departure from San Antonio, and the rations at Galveston were inadequate. They received only beef, molasses and cornmeal. The cornmeal was sour and filled with weevils and worms, and the molasses was contaminated. Even though they might have accepted this diet in trying times, they knew that better food was stored at Harrisburg and Columbus. The men simply refused to leave their quarters for drill. Later that day they did appear at the courthouse square for the daily dress parade, but the officers surrounded them with cavalry and artillery and ordered them to stack arms. The arms were taken to the arsenal and the men were marched back to the quarters and placed under guard. Luckett arrived the next day and learned that discontent extended into other units as well. He suspended drills until better food was provided and thereby ended the mutiny. (Source: Official Records B Series I Volume XXVI/1, pp. 241-248)
(7) August 16 left Galveston and arrived at Camp Lubbock Springs (Three miles from Harrisburg) on August 17. Distance 50 miles.
(8) On September 9 the regiment was dispatched to Sabine Pass to respond to a major attack by Union forces on September 8. They saw no action because a small force of Texans under Lt. Dick Dowling had beaten back the attack.
September 30, 1863 Corporal Wuensche charged for loss of three canteens. Pvt. C. Dube charged for loss of one canteen.
(9) The unit departed from Sabine Pass on the steamboat “The Sunflower” for Beaumont. From there they traveled to Houston by train even though they experienced a derailment, a locomotive explosion, a fire in the ammunition car, and a locomotive unable to pull the entire train of cars up a hill near San Jacinto. (Oscar Haas, History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas, 1844-1946).
November 25, 1863 arrived at Camp Lubbock
(10) December 2, 1863 departed Camp Lubbock and arrived at Sandy Point (17 miles NW of Angleton in Brazoria County) that same day.
(11) December 5, 1863 departed Sandy Point and arrived at Fort Velasco (mouth of Brazos River – north side- Brazoria Co.) on December 7, 1863 Distance: 89 miles.
(12) January 24, 1864 departed Velasco and arrived the same day at Camp Wharton.
(13) January 27 departed Camp Wharton and arrived at San Bernard the same day.
(14) January 31, 1864 departed San Bernard and arrived at Camp Slaughter (On Brazos east of West Columbia) the same day.
February 1864, Camp Slaughter. In a report in February 1864 on the “drill, discipline and general efficiency” of the troops in the District of Texas, Luckett’s Regiment was one of the five units rated as “very good.”
March 13 Luckett’s regiment is directed to march to Louisiana by way of Houston.
(15) April 11 the regiment is ordered to move to Shreveport as rapidly as possible.
On April 24, 1864 the 3rd Texas Infantry, a green regiment was added to Scurry’s Brigade and fought at Jenkins’ Ferry. (Richard Lowe, Walker’s Texas Division C. S. A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi. page 214. See Installment 3)
May 6, 1864 Camden, AK
December 22, 1864 camped between Shreveport and Minden, LA
April 1, 1865 departed Crockett, TX
(16) April 18, 1865 arrived at Hempstead Distance: 120 miles. Bose promoted to Major
Military Service Records
Co. A. Third Texas Volunteer Infantry (S. Alexander)
Ernst Kiesling (16 April 1839) enrolled and mustered in on June 20, 1862, at Camp Lockridge near Austin. He was present for roll calls from August 1862 until February 1864. In March and April 1863 he worked at Ft. Brown as a mason receiving a wage of forty cents a day. (d. 1925, Black Jack).
Co. K. Third Texas Volunteer Infantry (Julius Bose)
Carl August Dube (9 March 1831) enrolled and mustered in on June 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. Furloughed from June 24 to July 7. He was present at roll calls until February 1864. (d.1 May 1911 Fedor)
Carl Traugott Dube (6 July 1839) enrolled and mustered in on June 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. He was furloughed from June 24 until July 7 and then was present for roll calls until February 1864. He was not at the roll call on April 1865 because he was sick and on March 2 he went to Burleson County. (d. 22 May 1890 Fedor)
[Carl] August Lehmann (b. 28 November 1829) enrolled and mustered in on April 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. He was furloughed from June 24 to July 7, 1862. He was furloughed again from August 22 until September 11, 1862. In November and December he was at home because of illness. In December at Camp Velasco he suffered from several things including arterial palpitation and dyspepsia and on January 28, 1864, he was discharged at Camp Virginia Hawkin’s Farm.
Johann Lehmann (10 August 1832) was enrolled and mustered in on April 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. He was furloughed from June 24 to July 7, 1862. On October 27, 1862 he was furloughed so he could work in the Texas arsenal at San Antonio. On April 11, 1863, he was granted a sick furlough for thirty days. He deserted on July 8 while the unit was at Galveston.
Johann Lorentschk (Lorenz) (b. 1838) enrolled and mustered in on April 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. He was on furlough from June 24 to July 7, 1862. He suffered from remittent fever and was at home in Bastrop County from December 15, 1862 until December 31, 1863.
Ferdinand Jacob Moerbe (6 Dec 1828) enrolled and mustered in on June 24, 1862, at Camp Terry. On furlough from June 24 to July 7. Discharged on July 14, 1862, by reason of surgeon’s certificate of disability at San Antonio. Family tradition holds that his disability was severely bowed legs and that he was sent to San Antonio to sew officers’ uniforms. The Ben Nevis passenger list identifies his occupation as tailor. (d. 13 Dec 1896 Thorndale.)
Andreas Pillak (10 Feb 1840) enrolled and mustered in on June 14, 1862, at Camp Terry. Consistently present for roll calls except when he deserted on Jan 9, 1863. Stoppage for equipment $100. Stoppage for Ordnance stores $0.35. Absent on leave for 26 days since April 12, 1865. He signed parole papers as prisoner of war at Columbus, TX on 18 July 1865 as the result of Kirby Smith’s surrender to Gen Canby. (d. 13 Aug 1910 Fedor) Stoppage was a procedure for withholding funds from the bimonthly pay. Privates were paid $11 per month until June 1864 when the pay was raised to $18.
Johann Pillak (April 1834) enrolled and mustered in on June 24, 1862. On furlough from June 24 to July 7, 1862. AWOL since October 26, 1862. Present again at roll calls up to August 31, 1863. (d. 1 Mar 1920 Serbin)
Michael Urban (18 June 1830) enrolled and mustered in on June 24 at Camp Terry. On furlough from June 24 to July 7, 1862. Paid on June 30, 1862. Discharged because he was appointed mail carrier just prior to the day of enrollment. Discharged at San Antonio on August 19, 1862. (d. appx. 1866)
Carl Wagner (11 June 1828) Enrolled on June 7, 1862 by Bose and mustered in by R.T. P. Allen. Present and paid at muster rolls. Stoppage for equipment $100. Sick at Virginia Point since August 7, 1863. Virginia Point was opposite Galveston. The hospital was a three-story house built by Judge William J. Jones and was called “a black hole of tribulation.” April 1865 he was absent because of sickness at Chappel Hill, Texas since March 6, 1864. (d. 26 June 1885 Fedor)
Andreas Traugott Wuensche (20 Sept 1841) enrolled on April 29 at Camp Terry by Bose and mustered on the same day by R.T. P. Allen. Stoppage $50 bounty. On May 19, 1862 he was promoted to 2nd Corporal. Stoppage for ordnance stores $0.55 and for equipment $165. (d. 1 July 1893 Serbin)
Johann August Wuensche (15 Dec 1837) enrolled and mustered in on June 24, 1862. On furlough from June 24 to July 7, 1862. He was discharged on September 16, 1862, by order of General Hamilton P. Bee at San Antonio. (d. 15 November 1908 Thorndale)
Michael Mikan (21 January 1821) enrolled on June 22, 1861, in Fayette County, into a reserve company (The Long Prairie German Company) that was part of the state’s frontier defense system. He was elected 2nd Corporal under Captain Gerhard Albers. Source: Early History of Fayette County.
Frederick Schoppe (Choppy, Charpey) (b. 12 July 1840) enrolled on March 28, 1862, in Washington County and mustered in on April 5, 1862, at Camp Hebert at Hempstead. He was in Co. B (John C. Wallis) of the 20th Texas Infantry (Elmore’s Reg’t.). This unit remained in Texas and its mission was to prevent the Union invasion of Texas. Its major engagement was the Battle of Sabine Pass. Schoppe’s last recorded roll call was on April 1864 when he was furloughed for thirteen days. (d. 1 December 1927)
August Iselt (b. 23 July 1838) enrolled on October 12, 1861, at San Antonio in Edmund Creutzbauer’s artillery unit—the 5th Texas Field Battery. He was a private in Company A and received a bounty of $50. He was present for roll calls from January 1862 until February 1864. From February 19, 1864 until July 1864 he was on detached service herding horses in Montgomery and Austin counties.
Johann Jannasch (Janish) (b. 10 May 1839) He may have been the first Wend to enlist. He enlisted at Galveston on June 29, 1861 and served the entire war. He was a private in Company C in the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery Regiment (Cook’s Regiment). He served as a teamster, a company cook, and a cook for the officers. In October 1864 he was detached to the Ordinance Department in Houston where he worked as a carpenter. At age 69, while living in Galveston, he applied for a pension because a fall and old age made it impossible to work. He was denied the request because he was not indigent. (d. 1 Feb 1916 Galveston)
John A. Kiesling (29 October 1832) Kiesling’s experience was different from most of the Wends because he had not migrated into the interior of Texas, but remained in Houston. On May 26, 1862, he was assigned to Horace Haldeman’s 4th Texas Field Artillery Battery. His service record reports (probably erroneously) that he was conscripted, but that he received the bounty. Family tradition holds that he enlisted. His artillery unit was also sent to Camp Nelson in Arkansas, except it left earlier than the infantry. It arrived at Navasota from Houston on July 17. Like Petty’s company, Kiesling arrived at Pine Bluff on January 9, 1863. At one point he went AWOL but was captured and sentenced to death. Confederate General Theophilus Holmes pardoned him and spared his life. Not all deserters were as fortunate. Haldeman’s company had been especially hard hit with desertion and forty-seven men had left their posts. On March 12, 1863, in an open field near Pine Bluff, two men, identified as German Catholics from Houston, who had been apprehended, were shot by a firing squad. (d. 1898 Houston) Assistance from Brady Kiesling
John Teinert (14 May 1841) On October 12, 1861, he was in San Antonio and enrolled in Edmund Creutzbauer’s artillery, the 5th Regiment Texas Field Artillery Battery. He was present for the roll calls from January to June, but he fell sick in August and was discharged on September 26, 1862. The surgeon at Ringgold Barracks (Rio Grande City) identified his ailment as disease of one of the heart valves. According to the family history, Teinert did spend some time along the Rio Grande River to protect the border from an invasion by Mexicans. The unit also camped on the King Ranch and enjoyed the generous gift of beeves. (d. 8 March 1932 Copperas Cove)
Ernst Vogel (b. 11 August 1843) enrolled May 28, 1862 in the 4th Texas Light Artillery (Horace Haldeman). In September 1862 he was sick in a hospital at Little Rock, Arkansas. In October 1862 he was assessed $1.00 for a currycomb and brush. In January he became a daily duty cook. Appeared on muster rolls until February 1864 (d. Houston)
+Andreas Iselt (b. 10 April 1842) He enrolled on March 26, 1862, at Richmond and mustered in at Camp Carter near Hempstead on April 16, 1862. He served in Company F (Capt. Thomas W. Mitchell’s company) in the 2nd Regiment (Carter’s Brigade) of the Texas Mounted Volunteers. The value of his horse was $140 and the equipment was $25. He was captured with part of his company at Arkansas Point, AK on January 11, 1863, and taken as a prisoner of war to Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois. He was sent for exchange on April 7, 1863 but on June 17, 1863 he was admitted into a hospital at Tunnel Hill, Georgia. He died of dysentery on August 11, 1863. His effects, $6.50, were turned over to the USA quartermaster.
Johann Pampel (Pompell) enrolled on August 27, 1861, at Brenham and mustered in on September 4 at San Antonio. He was a private in Co. E (H. A. McPhaill) of the 5th Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers. This unit was part of Sibley’s Brigade that invaded New Mexico in 1862 in an unsuccessful attempt to control that part of the West for the Confederacy. On April 30, 1862, Pampel reported the loss of his horse valued at $150 and his equipment valued at $20. His last roll call was in January 1863.
Johann Schatte (Schatty) (b. 18 November 1837) enrolled on October 11, 1861, at LaGrange and was mustered in on October 19 at San Antonio. His unit was Company I of the 5th Cavalry. The value of his horse was $125 and his equipment was $115. He appeared on the muster rolls until January 31, 1863. (d. 10 May 1872 Serbin)
August Schubert (b. 30 December 1842) enrolled on August 17, 1861, at Columbus, Texas and mustered in on August 29 at San Antonio. His unit, Co. A (John Schropshire), 5th Regiment Texas Cavalry, was part of the Silbey Brigade that invaded New Mexico. (See Pampel). He became as prisoner of war on March 26, 1862, and was paroled on April 5, 1862, at Fort Union, New Mexico. His name last appeared on a muster roll in January 1863 although his widow on a pension application reported that he served in Louisiana from 1863 to 1865. (d. May 6, 1896 La Grange).
August Groeschel (22 July 1827) 3d Battalion of Mounted Reserves. Listed in Bill Moore, Bastrop County as serving from March 1, 1865 to April 1, 1865. (4 October 1905). Assistance from Edna Groeschel.
John E. Mieksh (Micksch) (1836) This Confederate has not been satisfactorily identified as a Wend so he has not been counted in the statistics. Even so, there are some bits of evidence that he could have been a Wend and he should not be ignored. The surname is similar to Mieksch, a name appearing on the Ben Nevis and Serbin church lists. His service record is similar to that of Teinert and Iselt. All three served in the same artillery unit, all three were paid by the same officer, and all three lived 120 miles from the rendezvous location. What makes Mieksh unique is that he became an officer. He started as a sergeant and advanced by steps until he became a Senior Lieutenant. One possible explanation could be that he received artillery training in Europe and then, by virtue of his familiarity with artillery, was awarded a leadership position. He remained in Texas for the duration of the war and in 1864 his unit was at Fort Manhassett, near Sabine Pass, in the far southeastern part of Texas. In March 1865 he was at a hospital in Columbus recovering from an illness. In April, as the war was ending, he evidently left the hospital and was reported as a deserter. His name was also absent in the usual genealogical sources thereby making confirmation of a Wendish connection difficult.
WENDS WHO JOINED THE UNION FORCES
First Texas Cavalry, USA
Carl August Michael Buettner (Bittner) (b. October 1842) He enrolled on June 18, 1862, at La Grange and was mustered in on August 31, 1862, at Camp Lockridge near Austin. He served in Company A of the 3d Texas Infantry (S. Alexander’s company). He was absent part of the time on sick leave and his last roll call was during December 1862. According to family tradition, he decided to join the Union army because of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Carl went first to Mexico and then New Orleans where he joined the 1st Texas Cavalry. He signed his enlistment papers on March 30, 1863 at Camp Carrollton, Louisiana. He gave his birthplace as Malschwitz, Saxony. He was mustered into service on April 16, 1863, and was present at roll calls until October 11 when he was detached to serve as an orderly for Edmund J. Davis, commander of the unit and later Republican governor of Texas. At the beginning of 1864 he was at Brownsville, Texas and in October he was at Morganzia, Louisiana. He was mustered out at San Antonio on October 31, 1865, and received another bounty payment for $25 and $21 pay. He was assessed $13 for a carbine and sabre that he kept.
+John Kurio (b. 25 Mar 1843) enrolled on October 27, 1862 in New Orleans at the U.S. military barracks and was mustered in on November 6. He was assigned to Co. A (Capt. Noyes) and was present at the roll calls until July 1863 when he was hospitalized at St. James USA General Hospital in New Orleans. The final certificate states that he was born at Bowdsen [Bautzen], Germany. He died of typhoid fever on September 17, 1863, and was buried the next day at Cypress Grove #2 Cemetery.
Johann Carl Michalk (15 August 1843, Sandförstgen) migrated in 1859 on the Iris.
To get the Union forces he traveled by way of Mexico. En route he worked for a short time for a Mexican rancher and attracted the attention of the rancher’s daughter. But he rejected a marriage proposal, slipped away at night, and continued on to Vera Cruz.
From Vera Cruz, he sailed to New Orleans which had been captured by the Union forces on April 25, 1862. At New Orleans, on May 27, 1862, he enlisted in the Union Army for a three-year term. He was assigned to the 9th Regiment Connecticut Infantry and participated with that unit at the Battle of Baton Rouge on Aug 5, 1862. He was transferred from 9th Connecticut to Company A, First Regiment of the Texas Cavalry beginning in November 1, 1862. The colonel of the newly organized regiment was Edmund J. Davis, later Republican governor of Texas. Michalk was present for roll calls from December 31, 1862, to April 1863. On April 15, 1863, his commanding officer cited him for an action near Camp Carrollton, LA. Michalk was herding horses when two picket guards approached with a prisoner. The prisoner struck one of the guards and broke free. Michalk ordered him to halt and when he did not, pulled his revolver and shot prisoner in the heart. He was present for the May and July roll calls when was promoted to Corporal on July 31, 1863.
From October 23 to December 2, his unit was sent to the Rio Grande. At Brownsville, Texas on December 4, 1863, he was promoted to Sergeant. He was absent from roll calls on January 1864, April 25, 1864, and May 1864 because he was assigned to scouting duty. In action on June 24 at Rancho Las Rinas he was captured and was taken to Camp Groce, two miles east of Hempstead. (Camp Groce also served as a prison camp from the spring of 1863 until December 1864 and held 1,105 POWs. Of that number 150 prisoners died and 74 were missing.) According to family tradition all of Michalk’s 120 men had also been captured and only eight survived. He had some money hidden in the waistband of his pants, and he used it to buy corn and sweet potatoes to share with the men.
Michalk was paroled on December 12, 1864, and was delivered to a ship off Galveston. He reported at New Orleans on December 20 and declared exchanged on January 8, 1865. The unit was ordered to Vidalia, District of Natchez, Mississippi on May 23 and he was mustered out on May 26, 1865, his term of enlistment having expired. He was honorably discharged on June 3, 1865, at Natchez. His unit was ordered to Texas and he must have gone along with them because he appeared on the muster out roll at San Antonio on October 31, 1865. The unit was dissolved in November. He had been paid a $25 bounty and was due another $75.
After his return to Serbin he moved to Fedor in 1877 and then Thorndale in 1886. There he donated the ten acres of land for St. Paul church. In 1890 he applied for an Invalid Pension because he was unable to earn a support by manual labor, by reason of “hemorraged very bad while in prison.” He was awarded a pension of $12 per month. Family tradition says there was some local resentment for his Union service and pension. He and his family also belonged to the Republican Party. (d. May 26, 1901 Thorndale) Assistance from Bill Biar and Edward H. Bernthal.
Two individuals have been most helpful in this study. James Gabel of Rapid City, South Dakota not only guided me through the thickets of Civil War research but also opened his library for my use. Weldon Mersiovsky of Walburg, Texas identified a substantial number of Wends who were hard to find in indexes because of their misspelled surnames or because they lived on the periphery of the Wendish community.