|Picture of the Survivors of Wiedrich's Battery Taken at the Unveiling |
of Their Monument at Gettysburg, May, 1889.
Of the men photographed in this picture twenty-nine are now living.
Col. Wiedrich is in the center of the group.
FOR THE WEEK ENDING APRIL 16, 1899
War scarred heroes - survivors of
Weidrich’s Battery are slowly
retreating into the great unknown --
the story of Weidrich and his men.
Bent down and aged with fighting the
battles of life, .With the enemy a positive
conqueror in the end, the few remaining
war - scarred heroes who once composed
Company I, 1st New York Light Artillery,
but who are better known as members
of Weidrich’s Battery, are slowly
passing beyond the lines where retreat is
No body of men who marched to quell
the War of the Rebellion saw more hard
service than did old Michael Wiedrich
and his little band, who left Buffalo in
1861 and offered their services to fight
for their adopted country.
When the Southern part of the United
States saw fit to attempt a separation,
then it was that the echoes of those guns
which were turned against this government
upon Maj. Robert Andersons command
at Fort Sumter by the State of
South Carolina -- like the shot which at
Concord in 1775, was heard around the
world -- echoed through this country, from
the Atlantic to the Pacific, starting the
people , as does the lighting in the
clouds, and which for a period apparently
dies away but the thunder which
follows awakened the people to a realizing
sense of security and to the fact
of the determination of the south to
sever, if possible, bonds uniting them
to the North.
Loyalty was not confined to the native
born Americans ; for the German element
and other nationalities, were with
each other in offering their services to
uphold the government.
Wiedrich’s Battery was formed in August
1860, and at this time was connected
with the 65th Regiment N.Y.S. M.
It consisted of 140 men and was
officered as follows: Captain, Michael
Wiedrich; first Lieutenants, Nicholas
Salim and Dietrich Erdman; second
Lieutenants, Christopher Schmitt and Jacob
By a resolution offered on the 18th of
January, 1861, the battery offered its
services to the Governor of this state. The
offer was accepted three days later; and
although they were not then called upon,
later they were under another designation,
and noble was the duty performed.
This tender was seventy-eight days
previous to President Lincoln’s call for
Capt. Weidrich’s company Ist light
Artillery left Buffalo in October 1861
with flying colors. They were escorted
to the New York Central station by a
detachment of the Eagle Zoua___ under
Command of Adjt. Louis Kregger, and
the Tigers, Capt. J. H. Ernst. They
were a splendid looking body of men, all
hale and hearty, most of those above
medium size. Many had seen ___ve
services in Europe, and were found to be
good soldiers in America. The company
together with their band occupied tow
Soon after their arrival in Albany
they acted as an escort to the Stoneman
Cavalry regiment, which was recruited
in Chautauqua County under the immediate
supervision of George Stoneman,
a naitve of that vicinity, and was
afterwards Became famous as a cavalry
officer, and after the war was governor
In November the battery left for
Washington, accompanied by artillery
in Virginia. Their “Baptism of fire’ was
at Cross Keys, on June 8th of the following
year, in which engagement they
lost three killed and six wounded.
Up to the time of the arrival at
Chattanooga . Col. Weidrich kept a full diary
which showed that the battery had been
in action at Freeman’s Ford, near
Sulphur Spring, Waterloo Bridge. Battle
of Bull run, Battle of Chancellorsville,
Battle of Lookout Mountain, Resaca, Ga.,
Battle of Peach Tree Creek and
Subsequent to the Battle of Lookout
Mountain The Battery may be summed
up As follows:
Accompanied Gen. Sherman on his famous
march to the sea, Misson Ridge, Rocky Tree
Ridge, Fanuel Hill, Buzzards’ Roost, New
Hope Church, Ackworth Station, Kenesaw
Mountain, Gologotha Culp’s Hill, Marietta
Chattahoochi River, Peach Tree Creek,
seige of Atlanta. Milledgeville, siege of
Savanah, campaign of the Carolinas.
Salkehetchit. Battle of Bentonsville,
occupation of Goldsboro. Orangeville,
Columbia, Chesterfield, Aversboro,
Bennett’s House and surrender of Johnston.
|Col. Michael Wiedrich, Captain of the Battery,|
Died MArch 21, 1899.
The battery never seemed to miss a battle.
at Gettysburg, three men were killed and
Lieuts. Sahm and Stock and seven men were
Early in the following Februrary, Capt. Weidrich
was promoted to Lieutenant - Colonel of the
15th New York Heavy Artillery. Lieut. Sahm was
promoted as Captain of the battery, but died soon
afterward. He was succeeded by Captain Charles
In the campaign of 1862 the men were
severely tried. Second Bull Run was
their first hard fight. Lieut. Schenkelberger
and thirteen men were were wounded
out of the one hundred engaged. Five
of the six guns of the battery were disabled
and two of the carriages has to be
left on the field, but by desperate exertions
the disabled guns were rescued.
The company was so completely used up
as to necessitate their going to Washington
for recuperation and new outfit.
Although not taking a active part in
the Battle of Fredericksburg they were
there under General Bursnside, in position
on the lines of skirmishers, and eventually
fell back in good order upon Gordonsville.
At Chancellorsville the following year
the battery distinguished itself. When
Hooker was obliged to fall back, Capt.
Weidrich had to leave behind two of his
guns. At one of them all the men had
been shot down , and at the other four
horses were killed. Four men were killed
and fourteen wounded.
At no time did the battery come nearer
to being wiped out than they did upon
the night before the main fight at
Chancellorsville. Wiedrich’s Battery at this
time was attached to the 11th Army
Corps under Gen. Hooker.
On the night previous to the big fight
the lines were thrown out in a ragged
manner. Wiedrich’s Battery was placed
in the rear and to the right of the infantry
to guard against an attack from
that direction. It was known that Stonewall
Jackson was somewhere in the
neighborhood, but it was supposed that
he was going to Gordonsville, several
miles further on. Instead of doing so
however. Jackson swung around under
cover of darkness and approached the
rest of Hooker’s lines. Jackson’s men
stumbled upon at their guns and poured
grape and cannister into the rebel ranks
with telling effect. The enemy charged
the battery several times. Wiedrich was
greatly outnumbered and hampered by
the heavy timber which the enemy used
as a cover and he was finally obliged to
limber up his guns and beat a retreat. It
was here that the battery lost two of
At the Battle of Gettysburg, the battery
during the three memorable days in
July; made for itself a name for stubborn
bravery that will be appreciated more
as the years roll by. It was at Cemetery
Hill that the battery was posted after
The first day’s fight and the death of Gen.
Reynolds, and it was in Steinwehr’s
Division of Howard’s corps, with Genzy’s
Division of Slocum’s Corps, upon the
right resting Culp’s and Wolf’s
Hills, that they helped successfully to
repel Early’s division of Ewell’s Corps.
In three days fighting Jacob Kimmel.
Mathias Kussenberger and Edward
Sornborg were killed , and Lieut. Sahm,
Lieut. Stock and Privates Hartman , Alberty,
Brauner, Philip Mathias, Jacob
Weller, Jacob Willig, John Kuppel and
Andrew Zimmer were wounded.
Gettysburg was one of the turning
points in the war, and to the faithful
works performed by Wiedrich’s Battery
may be attributed some of the success of
the days following.
When Rhodes entered the fight, the
federal forces were about to give way on
the right, when a portion of the 11th
Corps. To which Wiedrich’s Battery
belonged, came to its support. By this
timely support the tide of battle was
stayed until Early’s division was
engaged. The other division of the 11th
Corps under Steinwehr was at once sent
forward to occupy Cemetery Hill at the
north of the town: here the infantry and
artillery, including Wiedrich’s did
In September of the same year Wiedrich’s
Battery was ordered to join Gen.
Rosecrans at Chattanooga, they having
proven to be one of the most serviceable
artillery organizations of the Army of
On June 10th, 1865, the Battery returned
to Buffalo after having seen as much if
not more active service and hardship
than any other organization during the
war. When the Battery reached Buffalo
it was in command of Lieut. W. L. Scott.
Capt. Winegar being on detached service.
Miller’s Band was in waiting at the station,
but no general reception was given, as it
was impossible to do so from the brief
notice given of their coming. The
members of Taylor Hose Company
No. 1 and Citizens Hook and Ladder
Company No. 2 formed an escort and
accompanied the men to Fort Porter.
The battery numbered 110 men, and in
appearance were all that their reputation
represented ---- efficient and brave.
The members of the Battery took no
active measures to keep up an organization
previous to the report of the Gettysburg
Monument Commission of this state,
but in August 1888, a call was sent out
to all old members, asking them to take
measures for the decoration of their
Monument at Gettysburg in May 1899.
By an act of the legislature an appropriation
of $1,5000 was made for a monument for each
command, regiment, or battery, who fought in
the battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863, in honor
of the surviving members and in memory of
those who met their death on the battlefield.
This was the first meeting of the battery after
the war. It was held September 20, 1888.
The out come of the gathering was that
A committee composed of Col. Michael
Wiedrich, Jacob Schenkelberger, Philip
Bachert, John Hehr and Adam Scheil
were appointed to wait upon the Common
Council to solicit an appropriation of $300
to enable the indigent members of the Battery
to be present at an unveiling of their monument
A resolution granting their request was
passed by the council, but was vetoed
when it reached the hands of Philip
Becker, then Mayor , on the grounds that
the appropriation was illegal.
Having failed to raise money in this
direction a subscription list was
circulated and in a few days the necessary
$300 were raised.
Thirty two bent, grizzled and wrinkled
men left Buffalo to visit the scenes of
former strife. Their mission was an
entirely different one than the spirit which
promoted them in 1861 - 65. On their
former visit they went to spread fire and blood
through that fair region.
They went to serve grape and cannister and
shell and solid shot to the brazen dogs
of war that growled and howled and
roared all through four years of fratricidal
strife. They went not because they loved
to see humanity mangled by shrieking
missiles, or to witness the burning
of homes and the desolation of the land,
but because from that southern country
had come tidings that the flag that stood
for all we hold dear in America
had fallen before the cannon of those
who had sworn to uphold and protect it.
Though many of that particular group
of young men were born under a foreign
flag, there rushed not to the front
in those dark days any more patriotic
little band of Americans than those who
formed Wiedrich’s Battery.
The sons of many of those men are
older today than their fathers were then.
The years that dragged so heavily during
that momentous struggle have sprung
forward since with hastening steps. History
has been made at lighting speed
and with strong bold strokes. But
nowhere upon its scroll is carved a more
worthy roster or a fairer record than
that of Wiedrich’s Battery.
It was with awe mingled with pleasure
that these thirty-two bent and worthy
veterans gathered where they once stood
serving their smoking guns.
The monument dedicated stands upon
East Cemetery Hill in the space between
the four lunettes of the Battery
and is one of the finest positions upon
this portion of the field. The material
is of granite wish cap stone, surmounted
by five cannon balls; at the corners are
pillars of polished stone. In the front
facing the west a large bronze tablet is
inserted, representing a gun in action,
surrounded by artillerymen and officers.
It above in the apex an oval bronze
with the coat of arms of this state, also
the corps’ badge. On the east side a tablet
records the casualties during the action.
The monument is about twelve feet
high and nobly reflects upon the generosity
of the State of New York.
Of the little band who marched away
from Buffalo in the hour of the country’s
need, but thirty - two are now known to
be alive. They are Philip Bachert, John
Stortz, Henry Feursbach, Christ Horn,
Francis Herman, JohnMessinger,
Frederick Smith, Andrew Siebold,
Christopher Schmitt, Adam Schell,
Philip Strang, Philip Stemler,
William Braun, Jacob Schmitt
Diedrich Erdman, Henry Klee,
Nicholas Mangoltt, Anton Zimmer,
George Baer, John Zuber, Nicholas
Stahl, George Knorr, John Horn, John
Schneider, Martin Schmitt, John Garbe,
Matt Keller, Louis Strang, George P.
Schwartz, George Schreier, George
Burckhard, Jacob Siebold and
John C. Mesmer
-Original article from the microfilm records at,
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY 14203
William Brown (Wilhelm Braun), is my
Great, Great, Great Grandfather!