Yankee Dutchmen under Fire
Civil War Letters from the 82nd Illinois Infantry
Publication Year: 2013
The letters span nearly three years of war and include firsthand accounts of major battles: Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in the East and Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, and Kolb’s Farm in the West. The soldiers of the 82nd Illinois also describe campaigning in East Tennessee, Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and his March to the Sea, and the Carolinas campaign (including the Battle of Bentonville).
The majority of the letters originally appeared in wartime issues of German American newspapers and kept the German community informed of the regiment’s marches, camps, battles, and casualties. Lt. (later Capt.) Rudolph Müller, an idealistic and highly critical commentator, wrote twenty-one of the twenty-nine private letters to his close friend and confidant Col. Friedrich Hecker. Müller cautioned the colonel not to make his letters public because they often contained highly critical comments about commanders, fellow officers, public figures, Anglo-Americans, and American society.
Besides providing details of military life and combat, the documents reveal how the German-born writers viewed the war, American officers and enlisted men, other immigrant soldiers, and the enemy. They shed light on the ethnic dimensions of the war, including ethnic identity, ethnic pride and prejudice, and ethnic solidarity, and they reflect the overarching political climate in which the war was fought. Yankee Dutchmen under Fire is a valuable addition to Civil War studies and will also be welcomed by those interested in ethnicity and immigration.
Published by: The Kent State University Press
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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Maps and Illustrations
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Many persons and institutions have been involved in the preparation of this i owe special thanks to the newberry library, chicago, ill., for preserving on microfilm copies of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung for the civil war years and making them available to researchers. Many of the letters in this work were discovered in copies of such microfilm. The library also furnished a typed english translation ...
A Note about Translation and Editing
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The editor translated the following letters, except where noted, from German into english. The goal of the translation was to convey the meaning the letter writer intended and therefore is not an exact word-for-word translation.For clarity and the convenience of the reader, some original German sentences were divided into separate sentences in english, and some punctuation marks were ...
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H istorians and other scholars of the american civil war largely over-looked its ethnic component for many decades af_ter the war, despite the fact that 25 percent of the Union’s more than two million fighting men were born outside of the United States.one.superior Fortunately, the number of books about im-migrants, especially Germans, in the civil war has increased greatly in the last The majority of the Union’s foreign-born soldiers were Germans or irish but ...
1. Organization of the Regiment
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T he letters and newspaper articles in this chapter were written during the organization of the 82nd illinois volunteer infantry regiment. They be-gin on July 22, 1862, and end on august 19, 1862. The regiment’s first recruits signed up in June, and in mid-July groups of recruits began assembling at camp Butler near Springfield, illinois, while recruiting continued.one.superior recruiting soldiers was more dif_f_icult in the summer of 1862 than in the early days of the war when ...
2. Camp Butler
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...uni00A0A n unidentified member of the concordia Guards described his com-pany’s trip to camp Butler and the first days there in the following letter. Military necessity probably required the hungry Jews to consume the pork today i finally have time to send you a short description of our trip to Spring-field and camp Butler, and our local camp life. we lef_t chicago on the 19th of this month. on the way to Springfield we were held up for 6 hours because a freight ...
3. Off to the Seat of War
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...uni00A0T he Second hecker regiment marched from camp Butler, illinois, at 4:00 a.m. on november 3, 1862, and boarded a train at Springfield for chicago. at 9:00 p.m. on november 4, a train crammed with colonel hecker’s troops chugged out of chicago and headed east, reaching cleveland, ohio, at sunset. The train reached Dunkirk, new York, on the southeastern edge of lake erie about 7:00 a.m. on november 6, and that night the men detrained at elmira, ...
4. A New Year Begins
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T he 82nd illinois remained encamped near aquia creek, virginia, until January 20, 1863, when it joined in Maj. Gen. ambrose Burnside’s in-famous “Mud March,” which was cancelled af_ter three days due to impassable roads. The 82nd halted at hartford church until February 6, and then moved to Staf_ford court house, where it remained with its corps until the start of the on January 1, 1863, while the regiment lay at aquia creek, President abraham ...
5. The Battle of Chancellorsville
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O n april 27, 1863, Major General hooker began to launch a powerful force of more than 70,000 troops on a march that would swing behind Gen. robert e. lee’s 60,000-man army entrenched at Fredericksburg, while the First corps and Sixth corps, 40,000 troops under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, fixed lee’s force at Fredericksburg. This maneuver required the eleventh and twelf_th corps to cross the rappahannock river at Kelly’s Ford and again at the ...
6. The Battle of Gettysburg
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...uni00A0A f_ter his army’s great victory at chancellorsville, Gen. robert e. lee devised a plan to carry the war onto northern soil. lee’s main objective was to draw the army of the Potomac from the line of the rappahannock river and disrupt its plans for a summer campaign. lee intended to engage the Yankee army in battle if a favorable opportunity presented itself, because only a military victory, particularly in a northern state, of_fered the military and political gains ...
7. After Gettysburg to Chattanooga
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W ith some exceptions, the anglo-american press did not portray the retreat of the eleventh corps on July 1, 1862, in the negative manner that they did the Battle of chancellorsville. Some even praised the corps’s sol-diers for fighting bravely before being forced to retreat. German american edi-tors praised their native landsmen’s contributions to the victory at Gettysburg. as christian B. Keller states, “from their viewpoint . . . the honor of the Germans ...
8. Whiteside, Tennessee
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...uni00A0S hortly af_ter colonel hecker departed for illinois on leave, 1st lt. rudolph Müller began writing the colonel to update him about what was happen-ing in the regiment and to communicate details of battles and operations. The Born in Soest in the rhineland Province of Prussia in 1835, rudolph Müller immigrated to the United States at age seventeen and was working in a dry-goods store in Peoria, illinois, when the war broke out. By enlisting on april 25, 1861, the ...
9. The Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign
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B y early May 1864, Maj. Gen. william t. Sherman had assembled most of his nearly 110,000-man grand army in and near chattanooga and was waiting for lieutenant General Grant’s orders to move against Gen. Joseph e. Johnston’s army. The Federal force comprised Maj. Gen. George Thomas’s army of the cumberland consisting of the Fourth, Fourteenth, and twentieth corps—72,000 troops; Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson’s army of the tennes-...
10. Kolb’s Farm to Atlanta
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A s General Sherman moved his three armies toward the western and atlantic railroad in early June 1864, Joe Johnston moved his army in the same direction until the night of June 4, when he retreated southeast to pro-tect the railroad. By June 19 Johnston had fallen back to Kennesaw Mountain and established a strongly entrenched arc-shaped line, with hood’s corps shielding Marietta to the northeast, loring’s corps (formerly Polk’s) defending Kennesaw ...
11. Atlanta Is Ours
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T he 82nd illinois regiment remained behind its works on the north side of the chattahoochee river until august 25, 1864, enduring “the daily monot-ony of picket and artillery firing,” while “sharpshooters kept doing their annoying work.” on the 25th the regiment advanced to the chattahoochee Bridge and built entrenchments for its entire brigade and then encamped. news arrived on Septem-ber 2 that part of its division, including some regiments from its own brigade, had ...
12. The March to the Sea
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R ealizing that he could neither recapture atlanta nor defeat Maj. Gen. william t. Sherman’s Federal army, Gen. John Bell hood moved his army of tennessee farther into alabama on october 17, 1864, to prepare to invade tennessee. Sherman sent the Fourth and twenty-third corps north to oppose this invasion, and on november 15, 1864, commenced his famous March to the Sea (Savannah campaign) from atlanta. The victor at atlanta planned to “make ...
13. The Carolinas Campaign to Fayetteville, North Carolina
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W ith Savannah in hand, Sherman replenished his supplies by sea before launching an invasion of the carolinas with 60,000 troops. “The plan of the campaign” as historian John G. Barrett explains, “called for feints on both augusta and charleston and a march directly on columbia and thence to Golds-boro, north carolina, by way of Fayetteville on the cape Fear river. Goldsboro was chosen as the destination because that city was connected to the north car-...
14. The Final Battles
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G eneral Sherman reviewed his army on March 13 at Fayetteville and af_ter this event the twentieth corps crossed the cape Fear river on a pontoon bridge and halted four miles out toward Kyle’s landing. The march resumed on March 15 but was stalled by Brig. Gen. william B. taliaferro’s and Maj. Gen. lafayette Mclaws’s divisions of lt. Gen. william J. hardee’s corps and two di-visions of Maj. Gen. Joseph wheeler’s cavalry that blocked the old Plank road ...
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F riedrich hecker continued to engage in farming af_ter his military career ended, became an active speaker in republican circles, and wrote articles for German american newspapers. The talented orator wrote articles in favor of Ulysses S. Grant for the 1868 presidential election but did not go on the stump for him. Disappointed with Grant and his administration, “der Alte” joined the new liberal republican Party, whose aim was to prevent Grant’s re-nomination and ...
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Yankee Dutchmen under Fire is based on letters written by soldiers of the 82nd illinois vol-unteer infantry regiment. in addition, many books, articles, essays, and public documents vol. 5 of Illinois and J. N. Reece, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, 9 vols. (Springfield, ill.: Phillips Bros., 1900–1902), provides brief but important data about the military service of the of_f_icers and enlisted men of the 82nd illinois volunteer infantry regi-...
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Civil War in the North
Series Editor Byline: Lesley Gordon