German Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

107th Ohio Filled With Germans

"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fifteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, October 24, 1950

Cleveland Germans formed a great majority of the famed Ohio 107th Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, a unit composed almost entirely of Germans.

The regiment was organized in the fall of 1862, about the same time when another German unit the 20th Battery, was founded. First leader of the 107th was Col. Seraphim Meyer, a Cleveland lawyer who later became a judge in Canton.

In the fall of 1863 this regiment, then part of the 11th Corps, went to South Carolina and Florida where it acquired fame in the battles of Devaux's Creek, Enterprise, Sumterville and Swift Creek.

When Jackson's forces stormed the 11th Corps at Chancellorsville, a near panic developed in the ranks of the 107th.

A Cleveland 48er German, Dr. Karl Hartman, who served as regimental physician, drew his sword and helped to contain the enemy and to reorganize the demoralized regiment. He was killed by an enemy bullet. Dr. Hartman was the only physician in the Civil War who died in actual battle.

Served as Officers

Cleveland Germans who served as officers with the 107th included Gen. Edward S. Meyer, who was gravely wounded at Gettysburg; Maj. George Arnold, at the time a well-known restaurateur; Capt. John M. Lutz, wounded at Gettysburg.

Capts. John Brinker and Anton Mieler, who were promoted to their officer ranks from sergeancy; Capts, John Shrink and Otto Weber, who were staff officers; Lieuts. Julius Sebastian, John Hauer, Conrad Deubel. Quartermaster was Daniel Umbstaetter; Carl Behlen, chaplain; Augustin Schyllander was the pharmacist; William Hurj, the bugler. Sergents were Frank Kupender, John A. Feuerstein and Sigmund Rosenfeld.

The 20th Ohio Battery was another Civil War unit known as "German," although only half of its 243 were Germans, most of them from Cleveland.

Started by Druggist

It was organized by Capt. Louis Smithnight, then a well-known Cleveland druggist. He was born in Saxony in 1834 and came to Cleveland as a lad of 15. Capt. Smithnight became famous as the man who captured the first Confederate cannon, taken in the war. This field piece was brought to Cleveland and placed on Public Square.

The German-speaking Cleveland officers of the 20th battery were Capt. William Backus Sr., Lieuts. Henry Roth, C. F. Nietschelin, Henry Horn, Mathias Adams, Henry Hoehn and William Neracher.

Non-commissioned Germans included Adams Hausman, Philip Schwarz, Paul Walz, John Zeller, Charles Johns, Adam Conrad, Peter Dietrich, John Marquard, George Sommers, George Jansen and Peter Hann.