AUGUST ERNEST JOSEPH NITSCHKE, a merchant of Appleton, Wis., and
a son of the Republic by adoption, was born Dec. 13, 1841, in Parchwitz,
Province of Silesia, Prussia. He was little more than an infant when his
parents removed from the Fatherland to America. He was brought up in Milwaukee
where his parents located and passed the remainder of their lives. His
Father, Ernest Nitschke, was a shoe-maker by trade, and had served in the
war of his country according to law. His wife, before marriage, Hermina
Perlewitz, was the daughter of a Prussia who was a soldier in the French
and German war, and was with the Allies before Paris in the great seize
of the French capital. The son grew to manhood under the influences which
made him one of the bravest soldiers in the suppression of the rebellion.
Mr. Nitschke was 19 years of age when enlistments for the war of the rebellion began in Wisconsin. Two days after the proclamation of the President was issued calling for 75,000 troops, April 17th, he enrolled as a private in Company H, 1st Wisconsin Infantry. The term was for three months, and his company was commanded by William George. The regiment left the State June 9, 1861, and, on arrival at Allatoona, orders were found for the command to proceed to Chambersburg. July 2nd the regiment led the advance of General Patterson across the Potomac, and on that day the Wisconsin soldiers had the first taste of rebel powder. Falling Waters is the name of the skirmish, and it was the only action in which the three months organization of the First Wisconsin was involved. Preparations for battle were several times made, and the regiment performed considerable guard duty Until August 12th, when orders were issued for return to Wisconsin to be mustered out.
In August, 1862, a call for 300,000 more men was issued, and it was determined to raise a German regiment. Mr. Nitschke enlisted Aug. 16, 1862, in the 26th Wisconsin, (Col. Jacobs) and William George, his old captain, was placed at the head of Company A in the new organization. He enrolled for three years, or during the war, and was mustered in Sept. 17th. October 6th, one of the finest regiments in the service went to Washington to be connected with the Army of the Potomac. It was assigned to the 11th Army Corps, and was a part of the history of a division of the army which made an unparalleled record in history, and won the admiration of the civilized world.
Following is the line of motion in the army of which Mr. Nitschke was a part. On starting for the army under McClellan, then making a forward movement in November, the first night was passed on the first field of Bull Run. Thoroughfare Gap was reached the next day and finally Gainesville, where a stay of some days was made and the command returned to Centerville. Marching from there to Falmouth in a bitter storm, camping at Stafford Court House, picketing in the rear of the advancing Corps and marching to Beriah Church in the abbreviated story of the time until the regiment went into winter quarters at that place. In a month they were ordered to abandon their comfortable huts and returned to Stafford C. H. In April preparations for active service were made, and on the 27th the regiment started for what proved the disastrous field of Chancellorsville. The first of July, Mr. Nitschke was again in battle at Gettysburg, and there the reduction of the regiment became so great that the command was condensed into five companies, which did guard duty until September, when organization was resumed and the regiment transferred to the Department of the West, and Mr. Nitschke was in the skirmish at Wauhatchee. November 23-4-5 he was in the fight at Chattanooga, where Hooker, sent from the Army of the Potomac to assist in raising the siege at Chattanooga, won never dying fame through the charge up the heights of Lookout Mountain and fought the battle above the clouds. The German regiment was in the reserve at the base of the mountain and fought bravely at Mission Ridge. In the battle of Lookout Mountain, a movement was made by the regiment to protect Sherman's left wing, whence they went into the fight at Mission Ridge. The winter was passed in making ready to carry out the joint plans of Grant and Sherman, and April 26th was again in readiness for active operations. In May, the battle of Resaca, Ga., was fought, and on the 27th Mr. Nitschke received a severe wound in the head A bullet struck him in the frontal bone above the eyes and the dressing it and extraction of bone splinters necessitated the removal of about half a cup-full of the brains. The depression still remaining is deep enough for the insertion of the length of an egg.
On the formation of his company he was constituted a Corporal. Later, he was made Sergeant, and at the date of his wound he was acting as Orderly. After the fight at Resaca he remained a week at the field hospital and went thence to Bridgeport, Ala., where he stayed until the latter part of July and came to Milwaukee on a furlough. From the hospital there he was transferred, at his own request, to the Veteran Reserve Corps, 4th Regiment, Company E, through General Order No. 53, his connection therewith dating Feb. 11, 1864. June 24, he was discharged at Milwaukee in accordance with an order from the War Department, issued June 17th. He held the position of Sergeant.
He returned from the war to Milwaukee and engaged in the business in which he had previously been interested -- that of furniture repairing, but found that his wound which had been a year healing incapacitated him entirely for that kind of work. Oct. 23,1865, he removed permanently to Appleton, where he establish himself in trade, and has since operated as a dealer in groceries and dry goods, realizing satisfactory results from his efforts and investments.
May 18, 1867, he was married to Mary Ostertag. (See sketch of Sebastian Ostertag.) Their children are -- Metta Helena Josephine, Oscar William, Olivia Amanda, Adelia Maria Agnes, and Walter Valentine. Arthur Sebastian Christian died at the age of three years. Telma Sophia was less than three years old when she died.
After the preparation of the above personal narration, and previous to publication, the family circle has been again sundered by death. The oldest daughter died at 18 from injuries caused by a fall on the ice, and the youngest daughter, aged four years, died of diphtheria, the decease of both occurring in 1888.
Soldier's and Citizen's Album of Biographical Records, Grand Army Publishing Co. 1888 (Wisconsin Edition) pg 305, 306