Officers of the 74th

Bret Coulson provided the biographical information below on the officers of the 74th.  The information that is just limited to death dates and burial location comes from the 74th Tombstone Inscription site.  You might want to spend a brief moment reading his demographic notes on the ethnic origins of the officers.


Schimmelfennig von der Oye, Brig. Gen. Alexander Ferdinand

Born July 20, 1824, in Bromberg, in the Prussian province of Posen.  An ensign in the Prussian army at the age of seventeen, Schimmelfennig served with the 29th Infantry Regiment "von Horn" and the 16th Infantry Regiment "Freiherr von Sparr."  When Schimmelfennig was transferred to the 16th, which was stationed in Cologne, he was exposed to the most radical German political thought.  The headquarters of the Communist League was located there, and Karl Marx's (1818-1883) influential Neue Rheinische Zeitung was published there as well.  He served with distinction during the Schleswig-Holstein War of March-August 1848.  Highly nationalistic, Schimmelfennig supported the March 1848 revolution that established a National Parliament at Frankfurt.  He was seriously disillusioned by the armistice [Treaty of Malmo, September 1848] that left the German minority in Schleswig-Holstein under Danish rule, resigning his commission on October 7, 1848.


In May 1849, the National Parliament issued a call to arms to fight Prussian opposition to German unification -- a call that Schimmelfennig found irresistible.  Nationalist provisional governments were quickly established in the Palatinate (Bavarian Pfalz) and Baden, but were crushed elsewhere.  The provisional government of the Palatinate placed its defense in the hands of a military commission comprised of four former Prussian army officers, including Schimmelfennig (and Fritz Anneke who later commanded the 35th Wisconsin Regiment).  When the Prussian army invaded the Palatinate in June 1849, Schimmelfennig attempted to stop Prussian Crown Prince Wilhelm's (later the Emperor of Germany) advance guard in a narrow defile near the village of Rinnthal in the Annweiler Valley.  With a mixed battalion of former Bavarian soldiers and scythe-armed peasant militia, Schimmelfennig erected a barricade across the road.  A platoon of riflemen under Friedrich Engels was dispatched to cover Schimmelfennig's flank in the hills above.  Having a decisive firepower edge with their new Dreyse "needleguns," however, the Prussian infantry quickly dispersed Engel's men and seized the high ground on the flanks, and then proceeded to overwhelm Schimmelfennig's barricade on the road in the valley.  As the defenses collapsed Schimmelfennig was wounded twice, including a severe bullet wound to the knee.  Rescued by August Willich, Schimmelfennig remained with the revolutionary army until its final retreat in July 1849 into Switzerland.  According to his friend M. L. Gritzner, Schimmelfennig "acquired celebrity in the battles of Anweiler, Bischweier, and Rastatt."


Charged with armed rebellion and high treason, Schimmelfennig was tried in absentia and sentenced to death. In exile in Switzerland, Schimmelfennig became acquainted with Carl Schurz, who sought Schimmelfennig's instruction in the military sciences. Forced to leave Switzerland, Schimmelfennig and Schurz then sought refuge in Paris and later in London. In London, Schimmelfennig continued his association with prominent democrats and communists such as Gottfried Kinkel, Carl Schurz and August Willich, and became "busily engaged in intrigues against" Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In fact, Schimmelfennig and Willich seized control of the Executive Committee of the Communist League from Marx and his allies, a move that split the communist movement for several years. In 1850 Schimmelfennig undertook a secret, dangerous, and ultimately unsuccessful mission to Germany to raise funds for a revolutionary government in exile, a mission that Marx and Engels actively sought to thwart. Indeed, Marx and Engels actively sought to ruin Schimmelfennig's personal finances, including writing harsh critiques of Schimmelfennig's 1854 book on a theoretical Russo-Turkish War. 


By 1854 he had made his way to the United States where he eventually became a civilian engineer working for the War Department. When the Civil War broke out, Schimmelfennig wrote a letter which was published in the April 19, 1861, edition of the Baltimore Wecker calling upon Germans to serve in the Union Army.  With Karl Schurz, he actively attempted to raise an all-German cavalry regiment, but Schimmelfennig's participation ended in June when President Lincoln appointed Schurz as his Minister to Spain.  Schimmelfennig then attempted to raise an all-German infantry regiment in Philadelphia, a project that was well underway when he fell seriously ill with small pox.  As he lay ill in hospital many of his men joined other regiments and his project almost failed.  His friend Gritzner, however, organized a campaign to save Schimmelfennig's command, and with the help of another Forty-Eighter -- Joseph Abel of Pittsburgh -- were successful in raising the 1st German Regiment, later known as the 74th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment.


The 74th Pennsylvania fought at the battles of Cross Keys, Freeman's Ford, 2nd Manassas (2nd Bull Run), Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the siege of Charleston, South Carolina.  After Freeman's Ford, Schimmelfennig was promoted to Brigadier General and commanded a brigade.  Schimmelfennig also had the honor of accepting the surrender of the city of Charleston, where the Civil War had begun four years earlier.  Shortly thereafter, however, Schimmelfennig died from illnesses he contracted while serving in the unhealthy swamps and marshes of South Carolina.


Fellow Forty-Eighter Max Joseph Becker described Schimmelfennig as "short and lithe of stature, blonde and fair, aggressive, combative, a little haughty, but genial, and quite dashing, the very picture and ideal of the typical sub-lieutenant of the Prussian army.  His silky, cream-colored mustache was curled up defiantly at the both ends, and he carried his dimpled chin high up in the air like a boy with a chip on his shoulder."



Anderwerth, Captain Jacob.

A member of Company B, he died on 29 Sep 1908 and is buried in St. Luke’s Cemetery in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.


Bollstetter, Captain Charles

A former member of the Wuerttemberg Army, having served in that army for seven years, he also had taught at the Wuerttemberg Military Academy.  He served with the regiment as a Captain with Company E until 1863.


Dittrich, Captain A. Robert. 

A member of Company F, he died on 29 Mar 1909 and is buried in Section 39 of the Allegheny Cemetery in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.


Ekert, Lieutenant George

Born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Ekert was regimental color sergeant until the Battle of Chancellorsville where he "received [his] sword for saving [the] flag and was promoted to Lieutenant."


Freyhold, Lieutenant Colonel Edward

Artist and cartographer, Freyhold began his career in the United States with the U.S. Coast Survey and then took an assignment in the Office of Explorations and Surveys of the War Department. Freyhold accompanied an exploration of possible railroad routes between Fort Laramie and the Great Salt Lake. Working with Lieutenant Gouverneur Warren of the Topographical Engineers, in 1858 Freyhold produced a general map of the possible routes for a Pacific railroad.  According to Carl I. Wheat (Mapping the American West, 1540-1857: A Preliminary Study), Freyhold "was an unrivaled expert [in drawing topography]...  His penned originals are almost unbelievably delicate, and must be examined with a powerful magnifying glass to be appreciated."  Schimmelfennig tapped his friend and colleague Freyhold in July 1861 to be the 74th’s first Lieutenant Colonel.   Ill health cut short his army career, however, and Freyhold resigned his commission in early 1862. He thereafter resumed his map making career with the Army Corps of Engineers and worked from 1862 until 1877.


Gift, 1st Lieutenant Aaron Gift.  See bio here.


Krauseneck, 1st Lieutenant Heinrich "Henry" Thomas

Born March 24, 1826, near Tiefenpolz, Bavaria.  Krauseneck was the grandson of General Wilhelm von Krauseneck, Chief of the Prussian Great General Staff from 1830-1848. A career soldier, Krauseneck was an infantry officer in the 10th Infantry Regiment "Konig" of the Bavarian army from 1848-1856, remaining loyal to the Bavarian King during the revolutionary events of 1848-49. He then served as a Lieutenant in the 6th Regiment of Light Infantry of the British German Legion in 1856-1857. After the U.S. Civil War Krauseneck served in the Emperor Maximilian's army in Mexico (1865-1867) until he was captured at Queretaro with the Emperor.  Rejoining the Bavarian army, he served in the  5th Jaeger Battalion (1868-1876). In October 1861 Schimmelfennig accepted Krauseneck's offer to raise a company for the regiment. Despite his failure to raise the proposed company, Schimmelfennig appointed Krauseneck 1st Lieutenant of Company D. After assuming command of the regiment at Gettysburg, Krauseneck appears to have suffered a mental breakdown for which he was court-martialed, found guilty of misbehavior in the presence of the enemy, and forced to resign his commission on May 24, 1864. His case and sentence was personally reviewed and approved by President Lincoln, but was later overturned on appeal. 


Lefstrom, Captain John Henry.

A member of Company E, he died on 5 Jan 1910 and is buried in the Union Dale Cemetery, GAR section, in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.

Meckelberg, 2nd Lt. Henry

A member of Company B, he died on 14 Mar 1890 and is buried in the GAR section of the Allegheny Cemetery in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.

von Mitzel, Alexander Theobald

Born in 1835 in Berlin, von Mitzel served as a junior officer in the Prussian army. Immigrating to the United States, von Mitzel settled in Baltimore. He was one of the first men recruited by Schimmelfennig.  Somewhat unlucky, von Mitzel was captured at both Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. After Chancellorsville, von Mitzel was interned at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, until his parole ten days later.  After his capture at Gettysburg, von Mitzel participated in the February 9, 1864, mass escape of 109 Union officers (with 2nd Lieutenant Edgar Schroeders, Company D, and Captain Francis Irsch of the 45th New York) from Libby Prison and successfully reached Federal lines.

Vonmoss, 1st Lt. John

Promoted from the rank of Sergeant, Lt. Vonmoss’ biography is available via this link.


Niedart, Captain Charles

He is buried in the Voegtly Cemetery in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.


Neumeyer, 2nd Lieutenant Joseph

Born on October 24, 1838, to a family of German immigrants in Birmingham [Pittsburgh], Neumeyer was one of the first wave of volunteers after the surrender of the Fort Sumter, joining Company B the "Union Cadets" of the 13th Pennsylvania, a 90-day regiment [mustered into service at Camp Curtin (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) on April 25, 1861].  The 13th was part of Major General Robert Patterson's command at Hagerstown, Maryland, and was the first Union unit to cross the Potomac at Williamsport in July 1861.  Although the 13th's term of service expired on July 25, the men of the regiment were asked to voluntarily remain in service to help maintain order at Camp Curtin, which they did until August 6 when the regiment was mustered out.  Returning to Pittsburgh, Neumeyer reenlisted at his first opportunity on August 20 with the 74th Pennsylvania. 


Ross, Christian

In September of 1861, Christian Ross, a resident of Birmingham area, south of the Monongahela, in Pittsburgh, enrolled as a sergeant of Company F of the 74th Infantry.  He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on July 6, 1862 and to 1st Lieutenant on February 10, 1863.  He resigned on March 26 of the same year.  The next year, when the 5th Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery was being recruited, a company of that regiment was recruited in the Birmingham area.  Christian Ross became its Captain, serving from September 8, 1864 until the regiment was mustered out on June 30, 1865.  Ross was a member of the United German Evangelical Protestant Church of Birmingham (now the Birmingham United Church of Christ).  He later left Pittsburgh and died in New Jersey.  [Source:  Ruth Bucher, Soldiers and Sailors Monument of Pittsburgh]


Schleiter, Major Gustav A.

Born October 3, 1839, in Neustadt, Hanover. Schleiter arrived in Baltimore aboard the ship Favorite on December 8, 1852. Settling in Coal Spring, New York, he joined the crew of a whaleship for five years.  Schleiter enlisted in Company I in August 1861, but became seriously ill the following winter. Disabled by rheumatoid arthritis and partially blind in one eye, he was promoted to quartermaster and later served as an aide to Schimmelfennig during the latter's service as a brigade commander. Schleiter became a prominent businessman in Pittsburgh after the war.  His grave denote’s his pride in his service. (Link will take you to a site maintained by Tom & Nancy McAdams)

Schroeders, 1st Lieutenant Edgar

Schroeders served as an officer of engineers for four years in the Prussian army before emigrating to the United States in 1861.  Captured at Gettysburg, Schroeders participated in the February 9, 1864, mass escape of 109 Union officers (with Alexander von Mitzel and Captain Francis Irsch of the 45th New York) from Libby Prison, but he and Irsch were quickly recaptured.  Remained a prisoner until paroled on March 1, 1865.


Waggoner, Captain John N.

A member of Company D, he died on 28 Sep 1893 and is buried in the Union Dale Cemetery in Allegheny County.  See the 74th Tombstone Inscription site for more details.