German Civil War Soldiers

In 1859, just a few years before the Civil War began, there was a marriage in Altenburg on October 2nd.  Before that war came to an end, the groom went off to fight in that war.  In fact, several members of the families of both the bride and the groom became involved in that conflict.

The couple that was married on this day so long ago was Bernhard Schade and Wilhelmine Gerler.  Their marriage is recorded in the Immanuel Lutheran Church books in Altenburg.  If the wedding took place in the church, it would have been in their first log cabin structure.  A new church sanctuary was dedicated in 1860, so that building might have been under construction when this wedding took place.  The wedding also could have taken place in someone’s home.  Here is the civil marriage record for this wedding.

Schade Gerler marriage record Immanuel
Schade/Gerler marriage record

Two children were born into this new family before Bernhard went off to fight in the Civil War in 1864.  Here is a record of Bernhard’s service.

Bernhard Schade Civil War record
Bernhard Schade Civil War record

On this record, we also see another Perry County resident that was involved in that war.  He is shown as Capt. Boehme.  This would have been Charles Boehme, who had entered the war as a sergeant, but had been promoted to captain.  Here is his record.

Charles Boehme Civil War record
Charles Boehme Civil War record

Then this record points at yet another Perry County character, Emanuel Estel.  Here is his record.

Emanuel Estel Civil War record
Emanuel Estel Civil War record

Even before Bernhard Schade went off to the Civil War, Wilhelmine’s brother, Wilhelm Gerler, died after serving in the war.  Here is his service record.

Wilhelm Gerler Civil War record
Wilhelm Gerler Civil War record

He died in December of 1863.  His death record is found in the Concordia, Frohna church books.  Here is an image of that death record.

Wilhelm Gerler death record Concordia Frohna

This next record indicates some events which took place before Wilhelm finally died in Wittenberg as a result of a disease he contracted during the war.  The Second Battle of Corinth in Mississippi had taken place on October 3-4, 1863.  Wilhelm had been sick before that battle, and then became sick after it was over.  It led to his death.

Wilhelm Gerler Civil War record 2


Wilhelm Gerler was also not the only young man from his family to go off to war.  His younger brother, Friedrich, also participated.  Here is his record which shows a much different regiment than most of the others and indicates that he went farther away to fight than the others.

Friedrich Gerler Civil War record
Friedrich Gerler Civil War record

We even have this photo of Friedrich that was published in a local paper much later.

Friedrich Gerler Civil War photo

And if that wasn’t enough, we have some brothers of Bernhard Schade who were also soldiers during the Civil War.  First, here is an image of the Civil War record of Bernhard’s older brother, Charles Schade.

Charles Schade Civil War record
Charles Schade Civil War record

Bernhard’s younger brother, August, was also a Union soldier.

August Schade Civil War record
August Schade Civil War record

Now to get back to Bernhard and Wilhelmine.  Here is a photo probably taken later in their lives showing this couple.

Bernhard and Ernstine Gerler Schade
Bernhard and Wilhelmine Schade

After the Civil War, the Schades had four more children.  Three of those plus the two born before the war are shown in the 1870 census.

Bernhard Schade 1870 census Altenburg
1870 census – Altenburg, MO

The last child, a daughter by the name of Lina Schade, was born right after this census was taken.  Two years after this enumeration, Bernhard would die at the age of 41.  Wilhelmine became a widow with six children under the age of 12.  For the next three years, there were two Wilhelmine Schades living in this household, both widows.  Bernhard’s mother would die in 1875.

As far as I can tell, while Bernhard was alive, and even for a while after his death, this family lived somewhere on The Ridge.  However, by the time the land atlas of 1915 was published, we do not find any Schades farming in that vicinity.

Bernhard’s wife would live 40 more years after his death.  She died in 1912.  Both she and Bernhard were buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Altenburg.  Here is Wilhelmine’s gravestone.  For some reason, does not show Bernhard’s.  Maybe it is an unreadable stone in that cemetery.

Wilhelmine Schade gravestone Immanuel Altenburg
Wilhelmine Schade gravestone

I cannot help but wonder what the answer to one question might be.  Why did these German Lutherans, relatively new in America, go off to a war…….especially a Civil War.  Both the Gerler and Schade families did not get to America until the 1850’s.  They probably only spoke German.  I know the German Lutherans were very opposed to slavery, so I understand why all of them served in the Union Army.  But I really do not fully understand what would motivate these young men to go off and put their lives in danger for that war.  If you look especially at a man like Bernhard who left a wife and two young children at home to take on his military service, it makes you scratch your head.  It really puzzles me, but it happened.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s