Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day Memorial to "Wiedrich's Battery."

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.

Buffalo Courier


Page 1


War scarred heroes - survivors of

Weidrich’s Battery are slowly

retreating into the great unknown --

the story of Weidrich and his men.

William Brown

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


Lieut. Christopher Schmitt

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.

John Stortz

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.

Fred Smith. Sergeant

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.

Adam Schell

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


Philip Strang

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

75,000 volunteers.

John Zuber

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


John Messinger Sergeant

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

of California.

John N. Snyder

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.

Philip Stemler

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


Nicholas Mangoltt

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


Philip Bachert, Sergeant

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


John Garbe, Sergeant.

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.

Andrew Seifert.

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

their guns.

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

yeoman service.

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

the Potomac.

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

at Gettysburg.

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

Adam Seifert.

John C. Mesmer

-Original article from the microfilm records at,
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Central Library
1 Lafayette Square
Buffalo, NY  14203


William Brown (Wilhelm Braun), is my
Great, Great, Great Grandfather!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent piece on Wiedrich's Battery, our memorial for Col.Michael Wiedrich can be found at:


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