Like Grass before the Scythe: The Life and Death of Sgt William Remmel 121st NY Infantry

By William Remmel

Uncommonly articulate letters from a tender German-American soldier with the Union forces.
During a clash that observed dying stopover at many families within the land, this can be the tale of a tender recruit’s devotion to relations and kingdom. William Remmel’s letters disguise greater than complete years of carrier within the 121st manhattan Infantry Regiment throughout the Civil warfare, from August 1862 to October of 1864. they supply info on army and social background within the japanese theater of operations and at the adventure of the homefront in upstate manhattan between a principally immigrant, working-class kin and neighborhood. like all different soldier in another conflict, Remmel’s reports are either common and certain. they're common in his adventure of boredom, privation, pain, and eventually, obliteration. His situations have been idiosyncratic in that he was once an immigrant boy, severe, considerate, articulate, who represents a constituency of one.
Sergeant Remmel’s unit (which was once for a time commanded by way of Emory Upton, a major determine within the post-war military) was once a part of the sixth Corps, military of the Potomac. He used to be a German immigrant who had settled along with his mom and dad and relations in some distance upstate ny. the writer wrote in English and it appears his mom and dad answered in German. maybe this cultural distinction led Remmel to be relatively cautious in his writing and to give an explanation for occasions with strange precision.
In addition to the real fabric on an immigrant family’s adventure, Remmel additionally bargains with the query of slavery, affliction and health center care (when he was once wounded), the matter of difficult war/total warfare, in addition to the campaigns of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. He disappears, MIA, on the conflict of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. His kinfolk believed he died as a POW at Andersonville legal, and so they spent a great deal of effort and time vainly attempting to ascertain his fate.

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Sixty seven There at the moment are brothers out of our relatives within the military fighting, as i do know i've been, for a central authority and nation that i admire and [for] which i'm prepared to conflict one other 12 months. i'm keen to conflict one other yr for while, if I reside, i'm hoping to work out this bloody conflict closed and an honorable peace declared. How chuffed you'd be if you happen to may see Charley and William go back domestic jointly in the subsequent year, no matter if I may still hold with me 2 extra scars than now are upon my limbs. And even if we won't pass domestic jointly, i'm hoping, whether it is God’s Will, we are going to all meet back on the expensive domestic i like loads.

Yet i'm going to write not more at the present, so stable evening to you all. could this find you all good back. out of your faraway son, Wm. Remmel Camp of the 121st Regiment close to Hazel River, Va. February 1st, 1864 My pricey mom and dad, I once again take pen in hand to write down a number of traces to you. i'd have written you prior to, yet I had written Charley two times and given him all of the information, so i assumed that it'd be pointless to jot down you. there's yet little information from this military at the moment, of an army personality. every thing is quiet on the entrance.

26 we don't anticipate to stay for much longer in our cozy iciness tents, for we have a good paintings prior to us once the elements will enable it to be carried via. it's the bloody paintings of destroying Lee’s military, so as to reason an ocean [of ] blood to be spilled on each side. all of us are conscious of this and we all know that millions must lay down their lives within the subsequent conflict to be fought, but this doesn't make us falter just for a second, for we're certain to win and win we are going to. enable the fee be what it could actually.

Eleven. Morgan, Centennial historical past of Newport, 14, 19–22; James Logan Morgan, ed. , Di- Notes to Pages 134–135 / 169 rectories of the cities and Villages of Jackson County, Arkansas, June 1880 (Newport, Ark. : James Logan Morgan, 1973), three; Remmel, “Harmon L. Remmel,” 10–11. 12. built to deal with the casualties from the 1864 spring offensives, the depot medical institution at urban aspect, Virginia, used to be positioned on the junction of the James and Appomattox rivers with entry to railroad strains for evacuating sufferers to hospitals within the North.

His humans don't need to fear approximately him. Charley Tomkins is usually in poor health and has been risky, yet is improving. the entire different boys, i think, are good. Jake Pram, who lived close to the South schoolhouse, shot himself within the hand approximately 2 weeks in the past whereas the regiment was once out on wooden. His hand needed to be taken off. he'll quickly go back domestic. 18 approximately one week in the past I had the excitement of seeing Alphonzo Casler, who had simply come from domestic. the lads that observed him have been all chuffed to fulfill him and a hearty strong shake we had too.

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