Whether by voluntary enlistment or draft, the Civil War that began in April 1861 took fathers and sons away for years — and sometimes forever.
Michael Kennedy of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, was in the first wave of men to enlist after President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to defend the Union. The son of Sylvester and Mary Kennedy joined the 16th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment at Camp Randall in Madison on November 21, 1861. The regiment mustered into service on January 31, 1862 and left the state on March 13 en route to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. After several days encampment along the Tennessee River, the 16th Wisconsin was attached to the Sixth Division, Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Brigadier Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss.
Early on April 6, Capt. Edward Saxe of the 16th Wisconsin’s Company A was ordered to make an advance toward the Confederate line. Within a short distance, an enemy volley killed Saxe and Sgt. John Williams. Thus opened the deadly Battle of Shiloh. The Battle of Shiloh went down in the annals of war as one of the bloodiest ever fought. It was a turning point for the Union. For much of the day, a desperate battle raged back and forth between Union and Confederate forces.
“The rebel hordes were coming on in front and flank, rolling up great columns like the waves of the ocean,” wrote Pvt. David G. James. Companies were moved in and out as ammunition and supplies ran short. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant told Gen. Prentiss if he could hold his position until sundown the army would be safe. Prentiss and his troops held until 5:30 p.m., when they were surrounded and more than 1,000 men taken prisoner. April 6 closed “at that time the bloodiest battle ever fought on the American continent,” James wrote. Prentiss’ Sixth Division suffered 236 killed and 928 wounded, in addition to the 1,008 captured.
At some point in wild battle, Kennedy was seriously wounded and captured by Confederate forces. Union troops were not able to recover bodies or make a full accounting of the missing until April 7, 1862. Kennedy was held prisoner at Corinth, Mississippi, where he died from his wounds on April 26, 1862. He was 20 years old.
We don’t know how much the captivity contributed to Kennedy’s death. Confederate prison camps were notorious for squalid conditions and severe mistreatment of Union soldiers. Kennedy was one of 39 soldiers from the 16th Wisconsin who later died from wounds sustained in the Battle of Shiloh. Overall, the 16th Wisconsin suffered 62 dead and 189 wounded in the battle. Kennedy is buried at Sacred Hearts Cemetery.
In every community you will find inspiring stories of courage, faith and perseverance. And so it was the case when I researched the 1863 founding of my hometown parish, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The project lasted several months, and turned up many fascinating stories from the mission-territory days of Wisconsin in the mid-1800s.
Full confession (pun intended): I served as an altar boy for years at Sacred Hearts in the 1970s, and graduated in spring 1978 from the fine Sacred Hearts School. The current church, the third edifice in parish history, has some of the most stunning stained-glass windows you will find outside of a cathedral. That’s what initially drew me to the history of Sacred Hearts.
So what did I learn?
The church was founded during the second expansion of Catholicism in Wisconsin (the first being black-robed Jesuit missionaries who explored the territory in the 1600s). Much of the area at the time was untamed wilderness, now being colonized by immigrants from Ireland, Germany and other parts of Europe.
The early missionary priests rode circuits hundreds of miles long, often saying Mass in private homes or rustic buildings with no roof. Father Martin Kundig, an indefatigable traveler and founder of many Catholic parishes in Michigan and Wisconsin, had an uplifting experience in 1843. The faithful gathered in a private home for Mass overloaded the floor, and everyone except Father Kundig crashed into the cellar. The people reached up and supported the priest, standing on a narrow plank, so he could finish saying Mass.
These pioneers led often difficult lives. The John Sprengel family lost three children to diphtheria within one week in 1882. Emerand Aschenbrucker lost his first wife during the birth of their daughter, Anna, in February 1867. Nicholas Mosel lost his wife to typhoid fever at age 54. The church brought comfort to these grieving families, offering the sacraments and a reverent burial for the departed.
The Civil War affected every aspect of life during Sacred Hearts’ early years. Two young parishioners died during their wartime service, including one who was wounded in the 1862 Battle of Shiloh and died in a Confederate prison camp. Another died on a furlough in 1864. He was just 15. A third was wounded in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in June 1864.
When you set out to research a topic, you never know just what you will find. I found a very fascinating story in the “Catholic Pioneers on the Prairie,” which is what I titled the 28-page e-book that grew out of my research. I invite you to read the whole thing at Catholic Pioneers. View it online or download the e-book as a PDF file.
It would be easy to say that Julius Rudolph Hannemann lived his life with a boom. There were likely many in Washington, D.C. in the 1870s and 1880s who wished he hadn’t created so many of them. As president of the district artillery corps, Maj. Hannemann provided the ceremonial explosive huzzahs at civic events from decoration day to the inauguration of presidents.
Although Hannemann had a distinguished record of service with Union Army units during the Civil War, one senses just a bit of resentment at the noise created by his artillery men. Hannemann commanded the artillery for Decoration Day at Arlington National Cemetery one year. A local newspaper quipped, “All persons residing in the vicinity are advised to have their lives insured.” The article ran under the headline: “The Poisoned Major to the Front.” Another article said he “has broken millions of panes of glass, the peace of the capital, more often than can be computed, by firing cannon.”
On New Year’s Eve 1875, his corps fired a 37-volley salute to the new year in Judiciary Square. According to one news account, “the ammunition for this purpose having been furnished by the War Department.” On September 18, 1880, a platoon fired a 200-gun salute to commemorate the Republican victory in Maine, according to a front-page article in the The Evening Star. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes approved Hannemann’s promotion from second lieutenant to captain. Hannemann was later promoted to major.
Hannemann was struck with apoplexy (possibly a stroke) at the inauguration of President James A. Garfield in early March 1881. It was this condition that eventually took his life on the morning of January 28, 1885. He was just 43 years old. “His death had been expected for some time,” wrote the The Evening Critic. “A well-known and efficient militia officer and a prominent member of the G.A.R. passes to that bourne where military parades are unknown and the weary are at rest.”
Hannemann was born in Prussia in 1842 to a military family. Upon emigrating to the United States, he volunteered for duty in the Civil War on May 17, 1861. He served with the 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, known as the “Garibaldi Guard.” He started as a private, but by March 1865, he was a 2nd lieutenant with the 7th New York Infantry Regiment. In June of that year, he was named adjutant of the 7th.
We don’t know of any link between Julius Rudolph Hannemann and the Hanneman family that came from Pomerania to Wisconsin in the 1860s. The major seems to have come from an area in the Kingdom of Saxony, south and west of Pomerania.
The photograph is very poignant. A frail man, sitting in the afternoon sun on the front porch steps. He looks haggard and tired, maybe ill. This image is the last known photograph taken of Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman, who was known around Wisconsin Rapids as Charles or “Chas” Hanneman. The photo likely dates to 1931 or 1932, when he suffered from prostate cancer that eventually took his life.
Charles Hanneman came to America in late November 1882 with his parents, Christian and Amanda Hanneman. He was just 15 when the family made its way from Stettin, Pomerania to Portage County, Wisconsin. Charles, his three brothers and two sisters settled on a 105-acre farm in the northwest corner of the Town of Grant, near the tiny hamlet of Kellner.
Charles worked on the Hanneman farm for a time. His brothers would stay in farming (maps from that period show many Hanneman farms in Portage County), but eventually Charles left farming and found work in one of the area’s many sawmills.
At some point in his early 20s, Charles made the acquaintance of Rosine Ostermann, the eldest daughter of John and Mina Ostermann of the Town of Grand Rapids. They had many things in common. Both grew up on the family farm. Rosie’s parents were from Germany (Saxony and Prussia), and his were from Pomerania. Rosie’s grandfather George Ostermann was one of the pioneers of Portage County, listed on the earliest tax roll of the Town of Grant in 1864.
On April 2, 1891, Charles and Rosie were married atSt. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kellner in a divine service performed by A.G. Grimm. The witnesses were Charles’ father, Christian, and his brother, William. The bride’s attendants were her sister, Elsie Ostermann, and Emma Pribbernow. The groomsmen were cousins August Saeger and Herman Hanneman.
The young couple came to know heartache early in their marriage. Their firstborn, referred in the records only as “C.H. Hanneman,” died in infancy in 1892. They went on to have four sons: Arthur John (1893), Frank Herman Albert (1895), Wilbert George (1899), and our own Carl Henry Frank (1901).
Work in the sawmill must have been erratic, or Charles left that occupation for a time. In 1900, U.S. Census records show the family living and working on the farm of Charles’ brother, William Hanneman.
By 1905, Charles moved his family to the second ward in the city of Grand Rapids. He initially did manual labor for the city of Grand Rapids,possibly working on construction of the water and sewer works. The financial statements for the city in December 1907 show Charles worked 135 hours that month and earned 17.5 cents per hourfor a paycheck of $23.63.
By 1910 the family was living at 1774 Baker Street in Grand Rapids. The U.S. Census that year lists Charles as a laborer at a box factory. That may have referred to Consolidated Water, Power & Paper Co., where he later worked until his retirement, or the nearby Badger Box company.
On March 31, 1918, tragedy struck the Hanneman home when Rosine died suddenly at age 48. Her death notice, which ran on page 1 of the Daily Leader, said she was fine during the day but fell ill and died at 11 p.m. We know that she had diabetes, and that may have contributed to her death. Carl was 16 when his mother died.
Charles remarried in August 1919 and lived out his remaining years in his home at 1751 Baker Street. He became ill with prostate cancer in 1931 and was hospitalized numerous times in Wausau for surgery and treatments. He died at home on Oct. 11, 1932. He was 65. His death made front-page news in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
FAMILY LINE: Karl Frederick Christian Hanneman >> Carl F. Hanneman >> Donn, David & Lavonne Hanneman
Rosine Bertha Henrietta (Osterman) Hanneman (1870-1918), Frank Herman Albert Hanneman (1895-1947), Arthur James Hanneman (1893-1965), Carl Henry Frank Hanneman (1901-1982), Wilbert George Hanneman (1899-1987) and Carl Frederick Christian (Chas) Hanneman (1866-1932).
It is the only known photograph showing six of the seven children of Christian and Amanda Hanneman, pioneers of Portage and Wood counties in Wisconsin. The undated photo was probably taken around 1915 at a family event. Left to right are: William Friedrich Johann Hanneman (1856-1939) Bertha Auguste Ernestine (Hanneman) Bartelt (1860-1945) Albert Friedrich O. Hanneman (1863-1932) Herman Charles Hanneman (1864-1945) Carl Friedrich Christian Hanneman (“Chas,” 1866-1932) Ernestine Wilhelmine Caroline (Hanneman) Timm (1870-1930)
Hand tinted photograph of Chas Hanneman, location unknown.
Left to right: Christian Hanneman, Chas Hanneman, Carl Hanneman, David D. Hanneman.
Leaving the family homeland to make a trans-Atlantic trip and emigrate to America would be an intimidating prospect under the best circumstances. When Michael Friedrich Ferdinand Hannemann brought his pregnant wife Mina and infant son Albert aboard the ship John Bertram in Hamburg, Germany in April 1863, he likely had no idea the horror they would face during 46 days at sea.
Fred Hannemann, as he was known to family and friends, was not the first in the family to leave Pomerania for Wisconsin. At least two sisters were already in central Wisconsin, so Fred may have heard stories from them about their travels to the American Midwest. But that likely would not have prepared him for the life-threatening conditions the 336 passengers faced en route to New York. One of the middle children of Matthias and Maria Caroline Hannemann of Meesow, Kreis Regenwalde, Pomerania, Fred was among at least eight children in the clan who would come to America between 1861 and 1882.
The John Bertram was a 1,060-ton clipper ship built in just 90 days in Boston in 1850 and placed into service in January 1851. At 180 feet long, the ship was initially employed to shuttle cargo from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco. It was later sold and pressed into service moving emigrants and cargo from Europe to America. Between 1860 and 1869, nearly 2,100 people were carried from Europe and elsewhere to America aboard the John Bertram.
About 10 days into the journey, the John Bertram encountered a violent gale that ripped at the sails and caused the ship to pitch up and down in the massive ocean swells. The winds raged at the ship for 48 hours, tossing drinking water casks overboard and destroying the storm sails. Conditions below deck were likely horrific, with the violent rocking causing seasickness and injuries. On deck, conditions were worse. Four crewmen were lost overboard and eight others were disabled. Once the storm passed, the ship was leaking badly, making it difficult to keep under sail. Mina Hanneman no doubt had to struggle to care for young Albert Hannemann, 1, in the chaos. The former Johanna Wilhelmine Florentine Glebke was nearly seven months pregnant during the voyage.
On May 4, still three weeks from docking in New York, the John Bertram hit dense fog and became trapped in a massive ice floe. For four days, the ship was surrounded by ice that scraped the planks of the hull and ripped at the cutwater. Four other ships in the area became snared in the ice. Eventually the clipper broke free, but had to steer 3 degrees to the east in order to escape the ice fields.
The trip took its toll. Eight infants died during the trip, although two babies were born. Along with the crewmen who were washed overboard, 12 people lost their lives. Thankfully, Fred, Mina and Albert Hannemann made it safely to Castle Garden in New York. Once they reached the Town of Grand Rapids in Wood County, Wis., they settled into farming. Eventually, seven children were born into the home, as yet another branch of the Hannemann family tree took root in central Wisconsin.
His death was given only passing notice in the Wisconsin State Journal, the state’s official newspaper. “May he rest in peace,” the brief item from April 9, 1864 read. So it was the unwritten that was truly remarkable in the all-too-brief life of James Moore, soldier of the Wisconsin 12th Infantry Regiment in the Civil War.
The son of Irish immigrants who settled to farming in the Town of Sun Prairie, Moore was just 14 when he enlisted in Company I of the 12th Infantry Regiment in late September 1862. Moore and Lemuel C. Neal of Sun Prairie enlisted together at Camp Randall on September 29, 1862. Moore was a boy who went to fight in a man’s war — a theme that would be repeated, most especially in the “war to end all wars,” World War I. His youth, just five months past his 14th birthday, seems quite remarkable for an infantry private. The sacrifice of his very young life in the fight to save the republic should always be remembered.
Moore saw combat and the horrors of America’s bloodiest war, although the 12th Infantry Regiment did not take part in the most famous battles of the Civil War. These men rebuilt and guarded key railroad lines, supported the battle of Vicksburg and took part in General Sherman’s Meridian Expedition in February 1864. That month they marched 416 miles, aiding in the capture and destruction of Jackson, Brandon and Decatur as they proceeded to Meridian. “A shell exploded in the ranks of Company I, killing Eugene Baldwin and W.H. Murray, wounding O. Lind, J.W. Dean, John Thorp and George Everett,” read the account in the 1866 Military History of Wisconsin.
Shortly after the Meridian campaign, Moore was among some 700 men in the regiment sent home to Wisconsin on a 30-day furlough. After rolling into Madison via rail at 5 a.m. on March 21, the men ate a hearty supper at the Railroad Restaurant and then marched to their quarters at Camp Randall. The next day they were welcomed by Wisconsin’s newly minted governor, James Taylor Lewis. The Wisconsin State Journal published a chronicle of their service, noting the regiment had marched more than 2,000 miles to earn itself the nickname “the Marching 12th.”
The newspaper asked the community to be patient with these and other young soldiers, home from the stress of war with full bellies and money in their pockets. “Brave boys, they are going back, and the voice that now makes the night hideous with bawdy songs will utter its last accent in a victorious cheer upon some future battlefield,” the paper wrote. “Yes, they are going back, and he who is now a ‘drunken soldier’ will bear the dear old flag in triumph, amid the whistling bullets and screaming shell, to plant it on the battlements of the enemy.”
The soldiers of the 12th were discharged to their homes on Thursday, March 31. It is a safe assumption that Pvt. Moore was ill when he reached his family farm in the Town of Sun Prairie. He took to bed. His death on Monday, April 4 came before he had any chance to enjoy the well-deserved furlough. We don’t know what disease or illness claimed his life, or if he was exposed to it in battle, on the train ride home or at Camp Randall. His funeral Mass was held at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church, which his father helped to build just a year before. His parents and two sisters had the sad duty of burying young James just as Wisconsin shook off the winter of 1864.
James Moore was born in Ohio on April 15, 1848, the only son of Mathew Moore and the former Catharine O’Neill. His parents emigrated from Ireland and spent some time in Ohio before settling on a 37-acre farm on the western edge of the Town of Sun Prairie in May 1850. Mathew and Catharine carried the loss of their son with them every day. Around 1875, the family left the farm and moved into the village of Sun Prairie, where Mathew died on April 28, 1891. Mrs. Moore died on Feb. 22, 1907 at age 93. Their daughters, Margaret Moore and Sara (Moore) Flavin, are buried near their parents — and their soldier brother — at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Cemetery in Sun Prairie.
Moore was among the more than 224,500 Union soldiers who died of disease, exposure or other non-battle causes in the Civil War. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the state sent more than 91,000 boys and men in 56 regiments to fight in the War of the Rebellion (1861-1865). More than 12,000 died, including nearly 8,500 from disease.
His compatriot Lemuel C. Neal survived the war and went on to live a long, productive life. The son of Thomas Neal and the former Olive Dolley, Lemuel was one of nine children in the Neal farmhouse when he left home to enlist in the fall of 1862. He mustered out of service on May 31, 1865 and returned to Sun Prairie. His mother fell ill that fall and died on October 29 at age 45. The family left Wisconsin for Iowa, and eventually Lemuel settled in the Town of Turtle River, North Dakota. He married the former Ellen Forest and started a family. He kept moving west, later settling at Lewiston, Idaho. In 1896, he was awarded a patent for a clothespin by the U.S. patent office.
Neal again moved west, settling in Oceanside, California before eventually moving to Santa Ana. Neal and Ellen had two sons and two daughters. Ellen died in 1920. Neal remarried in February 1921, taking Clara Skelton Jones as his bride. Neal was hospitalized at the U.S. veterans hospital in Sawtelle, California in 1922, suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure. At the time, records listed his occupation as a merchant. He died at that same hospital on February 13, 1936. He was 91.
For years, family genealogists have searched in vain for the emigration records of Matthias Hannemann, the earliest known ancestor of the Hanneman family of central Wisconsin. Over the years, the registers of hundreds of immigrant ships were searched, covering tens of thousands of names belonging to people who came through ports in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans. But no Matthias.
All of that changed several nights ago. During a routine search of newly transcribed records from the Port of Hamburg, Germany, I found Matthias’ name. He and his second wife, Caroline, traveled with their son, William, daughter Justina Louisa Henrietta Saeger and her family. They were among 474 passengers aboard the SS Hyram when it sailed from Hamburg on April 19, 1866. Matthias is listed on the register as a schwiegervater, or father-in-law, referring to his son-in-law, John Saeger.
It was a long journey aboard the segelschiff, or sailing ship. The ship docked at Grosse Isle near Québec on the St. Lawrence Seaway on June 4, 1866. Grosse Isle served as a quarantine station for ships destined for the Port of Québec in Canada, to prevent the spread of disease. Grosse Isle was the site of tragedy in 1847, when more than 5,000 Irish immigrants escaping the famine in their homeland died from typhus and other diseases upon reaching Canada. A large Irish cemetery and two monuments bear witness to those sad days.
Eight passengers on the Hyram died during the journey in 1866. Two children were born onboard ship. Once the 10 members of the Hannemann and Saeger families disembarked, they likely continued traveling by boat along the St. Lawrence River, across Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. From Detroit, they might have traveled by rail to Chicago and then Milwaukee on their way to tiny Kellner, Wis.
The Hyram’s ship registry is among the earliest documentary evidence of the Hannemann family’s exodus from Pomerania to Wisconsin. We know at least two of Matthias’ other children arrived in America in 1861, but their travel records have not been found. The earliest emigration record from this family is that of Michael Friedrich Ferdinand Hannemann, who arrived aboard the ship John Bertram in May 1863 with his wife, Wilhelmina and infant son, August.