German Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

German Units in Civil War Union Forces

"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fourteenth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, date unknown

The outbreak of the Civil War was the signal for Cleveland and Ohio Germans to forget whatever differences of opinion they may have had and to demonstrate their loyalty to their new land.

Soon after President Lincoln issued a call for volunteers, Cleveland Germans answered it with complete unanimity. On the political side, the Germans who did not belong to the Republican Party became active in the so-called "War Democratic" section of the Democratic group.

Cleveland Germans kept up their enlistments. When the Civil War ended, the Germans made up one-fourth of the 10,000 soldiers given to the Union cause by Cuyahoga County, as can be seen from the list of names in the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Public Square.

The example set by Cleveland Germans was closely followed by Germans living in other parts of Ohio. Eventually more than a third of the soldiers Ohio gave to the Union cause were German.

11 Regiments

Eleven Ohio regiments were composed mostly of Germans were composed mostly of Germans:

The 37th infantry (Col. Edouard Siber); the 107th (Col. Seraphim Meyer); the 9th (Col. Gustav Kaemmerling); the 28th (Col. August Moore); the 47th (Col. Franz Poschner); the 67th (Col. Otto Burstenbinder); the 106th (Col. Gustav Tafel); the 58th (Col. Valtine Bausenwein); the 74th (Col. Alexander Von Schrader); the 108th (Col. G. F. Limberg); the 165th (Col. Alexander Boehlander).

To this can be added the Third Ohio Cavalry Regiment's Col. Luis Zahm and three German artillery batteries under Lieuts. Louis Hoffman, Hubert Dilger, and Louis Markgran.

Several German Ohioans became generals: Gottfried Weitzel, August V. Kautz, Jacob Ammen, August Moore, Ludwig Von Blsessingh, Franz Darr, Heinrich Giese, Friedrich W. Leister, Edouard S. Meyer, Alexander Von Schrader, and George M. Ziegler.

The first Cleveland Germans who left their city for war were three members of Company E of the First Ohio Volunteer Militia Regiment, formed by members of the the Cleveland Grays. The three were Jacob Lohrer, who later became a police captain; Philipe Heege, another police officer, and Edward Umlauft. They left for Washington on April 18, 1861.

The other two Cleveland militia companies, the Cleveland Light Guards and the Sprague Cadets, also had Germans among their ranks. Of the 16 Germans in the Cleveland Light Guards the following died in battle: Frank Wertz, John Bandel, Abraham Guenther, Wilhelm Kell, Charles Stern, Louis Schroeder and Leonhard Waeher.

Pure German Unit

The first purely German unit from Cleveland was Company K of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, formed by members of the Cleveland Turnverein. Its first officers were:

Capt. John F. Schutte (died in battle, Aug. 20, 1861); Lieut. C. F. Nietchelm; Oscar W. Sterl (later captain in Ohio's 104 Reg.); Sgt. Ernst J. Krieger (later Major in Ohio's 177th); Sgt. Wilhelm Lauterwasser (the color bearer of his regiment in the July 30, 1862, battle of Port Republic); Sgt. William Voges (who died in the battle of Port Republic).

Sgt. G. H. Bohm, who eventually was taken prisoner but was exchanged and became captain of several companies; Sgt. Adolph Kohlman, who died of typhus in a prisoner-of-war camp in New Orleans, Nov. 13, 1861.

Company K was called to the colors on April 30, 1861. With the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Regiment it participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain. Fredericksburg, Chancerllorsville and Chattanooga.

150 Men Started

The first Cleveland German company started out with 150 men. It lost in various battles 27 men. Thirty were wounded.

In August of 1861 a movement was started to organize a purely German regiment in Ohio. Three companies of Cleveland Germans, mostly members of the Cleveland Gesangverein, formed the core of the regiment which was to be known later as the 37th Infantry.

The officers of the three companies were:

Col. Edouard Siber, Maj. Louis Ankele and Maj. Karl Hipp; Drs. Conrad and Julius Schenk (father and son), Capts. Quedenfeld, John Hamm, George Boehm, Karl Moritz, Theodore Voges, Jacob F. Mery, A. Ballander, Sebastian, Louis Hambert, Charles Meesener, G. W. Krauss, Lieuts. Louis von Blessingh, Votteler, Bfahl, Ambrosius, Christ Hambach, Jacob Kleinschmidt, Henry Goelke, Peterson, A. Stoppel, Louts Ritter, Julius Scheldt and Loius T. Wilms.