Letters from Major Henry Baetz



                                                                                                    Camp near Brooks Station, Va. June 5. 1863

My dear Sweetheart

        A few moments ago, our chaplain [who never sermonizes, though] and momentary regimental postmaster, Dr. Velle, pleased me with your dear letter of 29 last month, and as just now I have absolutely nothing to do I will answer it immediately. I find it quite natural that Manitowoc once again hoisted the flags in vain upon the news of a victory in Vicksburg having been trumpeted forth to all the world. The preponderant part of the people of this place are throughout loyal and every news about a victory of our arms is being greeted by the patriots here with enthusiasm and cheers. Pity only that the brave and faithful folk is being deceived so often. But often one believes something that one has desired since long with all one's heart's yearning to have come true before it has become a fait accompli - an established unalterable fact As with the fall of that fortress. We too rejoiced at its supposed fall, we too drank to the glorious victory and we too were bitterly disappointed. The cause of my hangover on Whit Monday would have deserved a better justification. But next time I will be more prudent arid no more tie one on with joy about achieved triumphs if these triumphs are not beyond any doubt we have endured so many a disastrous blow that in the end one cannot believe anything that aims to a success of our armies. Fortuna seems to be with the wrong side in this war. May the devil get them, along with their idol Jeff Davis and his whole riff-raff of treacherous, freedom-suppressing gangs.
        For three days now we are under marching order again, and yesterday and today we have been remaining under arms from 4 to 6 o'clock in the morning to be prepared for a possible attack of the enemy. At 3'2 o'clock in the morning already the camp is being alerted, and then the whole regiment is marching out and draws up in the camp in battle-array. Up to now, these precautionary regulations have proven unnecessary, and this game will supposedly not repeat itself tomorrow. As, nevertheless, we have been given order this afternoon to keep ready so as to be able to march off from here upon a notice of only one hour, it might in the end be possible that we will be leaving our present camp tomorrow. Where we will be going to in that case, we of course do not know, and I do not like to indulge in speculations about that in this letter.
        Colonel Jacobs is firmly determined to resign service. He is still lying ill in Washington and wrote me again the day before yesterday to push forward from here his release, fully giving me his authorization to deliver some sort of resignation (the draft of which he had signed beforehand) that should be accepted. With Krzyzanowski and Schurz I have dealt completely with all means of persuasion and achieved nothing. I do not know what Jacobs will be doing now, but under no circumstances he will be returning to the regiment This matter Is very disagreeable for me, as - will indeed he not return - also my resignation will not be brought about without great difficulties. Had he have stayed, it would have been quite easy for me to get away. But it will and must be achieved in spite of all this. When I do not want any more, no God even will force me into it
        My good, true horse is being in its last gasps. It has been ill for 8 days now, and probably I will soon have to deliver the funeral oration for it. The poor animal seems to have an inflammation in its bowels, and as we are in want here of all necessary means for healing, it will be lost without hope for rescue if heaven does not do a miracle, and unfortunately the time of divine wonders is far beyond our age. Dies it, the government will have to compensate me with $125.00 for it. For the present, I ride our pack-horse - a true hack, to my honor, but good enough for the field service.
        Eblinger has not yet written to me, whereas I received a letter from Nordin on behalf of Frau Pizzola in which I am being requested to dispatch by all means all effects of Piz. to his wife and under no circumstances sell anything thereof. For, under the existing laws it is the Majors duty in cases of such kind, to draw up an inventory of the objects left behind and to sell those for the benefit of the government or of the possible heirs. But I never had the intention to do this, as I had promised Pizzola to send his effects to his wife in case I should survive him. Also from Stove I received a letter yesterday and have I given him a detailed report on the financial matters of Pizzola as far as we had to take note thereof officially. He still owes his company $ 137.00 which have to be deducted from his 2-monthly salary of about $248.00. Besides, Kolb still has a claim of about $ 60 - 70 Dollar against him; he wants to present a. testified account and has asked me to forward it to his wife in the next future. Tell Kati that I still have to place to account with her $ 50.00 from the side of her husband. He had, as you will know, given me $ 100.00 at the time of the recruiting, whereof I have paid partially to himself and partially to others for him about $ 50.00, and regarding the rest I will have to confer with Koch first, from whom Pizzola, as he had told me then [on 22. August or roundabout that time] had borrowed money, without knowing whether Koch had notified me or had debited himself with it I have forgotten to question Koch about this. That Piz. still owes Kolb more than $ 60.00 is correct I could see it from the book and have heard it from Pizzola himself, namely on the day before our marching off from Stafford (27 April). I had then made a payment to Kolb, in connection with which Piz. told me that he would still have to wait concerning his claim against him. At that time, Piz. wanted to send money to his wife. Did he do it? If not, he still must have had money in the battle and it then would have in any case fallen into possession of the rebels. It was so that he received at the time of the payment of the regiment (end of April) $ 70.00 for two absent members of his company, and it Is probable that he had sent this money partially to his wife and partially used it for other purposes. Possible would also be that he still had part of it in his bag when he died. Also, he owes the company for the Co. Fund $ 67.00, which make, together with the above $ 70.00, the said $ 137.00. Kolb wanted his claim to be delivered to the Paymaster General and also to have it deducted by him from Pizzola's outstanding salary, but I succeeded to talk him out of this demand as otherwise there would have hardly been anything left for his wife. You may tell her all this.
        Just now I am hearing again some music very well known to me: The booming of the cannons. There is quite a roar, and everybody is running to pack up. Anyway, I will have a few moments of time to write my letter before we decamp, should we indeed decamp.

9'o'clock in the evening.

        Everything is packed and we are ready to go. The music of the cannons lasted one hour, and now all is quiet It came from the Rappahannock 7-8 miles from here, and probably near United States - or Banks Ford, where, as I believe, the 1st or 5. army corps was going to cross the river in order to undertake a reconnoitering on yonder side of the river in Ford. They believe that the enemy has thrown troops of their army in Fredericksburg into Vicksburg, and Hooker intends to obtain reliable information as to that. Is it true, we probably will march on. The 2. army corps (Couch) is to cross the river tomorrow. But don't be alarmed now, it won't be much. News from headquarters through Merrick of Milwaukee, who, just coming from Howard, paid me a visit. The enemy had retreated from Fredericksburg this morning, but had reappeared there during the afternoon. Couch will not be crossing the river, and we will stay here for the present. It is said that the cannon booming comes from our own guns.
        “They wanted to feel the Enemy" as they put it here. Great boast, small roast. Do not believe the newspapers when they drivel about "Grand Movements' of our army, there is little prospect to it. In Washington, of course panic and fear prevails again, and everybody here is laughing at it Lee will not attack us here and, apart from some small demonstrations, we shall not annoy him very much. It will happen as I wrote you formerly. Our task will be to defend Washington. Should Lee cross the Rappahannock he will cross it in the direction of Culpepper and march through the Shenandoah Valley to the upper Potomac in order to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania. It would this, by the way, be a very risky maneuver and I do not yet believe in it. Should I against my expectation have to go into the line of battle again, then I wished your dream would come true. I would be glad to go home with a light wound, if else I could not come through unharmed. Nevertheless, I am not afraid and hope that all will turn out well Friend Rover is hem, he just crouched to me when it roared soundly. He will go back again on Sunday. I conclude for tonight and may have to report some more tomorrow morning.
        June 6, 10' o'clock in the morning. Up to now, nothing has happened. The booming of the cannons did not repeat, and calmness prevails at the Rappahannock. So, all is well, except the coffee which tastes very bad this morning, albeit the pound costs only - 43 c here. Your kind offer to keep the last bottle of raspberry syrup until my forthcoming return is gratefully accepted.
        Give my regards to friend Klingholz and tell him that some lines from his hand would be welcome.
        I admit that it will be difficult for me in the beginning to pursue a profitable business in Manitowoc, but I hope to be able to acquire without great effort at least as much as is needed for our livelihood. But no doubt I will find something to employ my time usefully. You will be in the possession of my pictures by this time, I have sent them by Greve. Please excuse the ink stains on my letter. I am writing in front of the tent in the open, arid the wind has thrown it round. - Apropos, Stove wrote that he is commissioned to raise the outstanding salary of Piz. for his wife and also to pursue her night to a pension.
        Ask her if I shall settle for her the claim of Kolb. I will enclose it in my next letter. Please ask H Koch whether he has an account against Pizzola. And if so, how much he has to claim.
        Give my regards to him at the same time.
        Adieu for now,

                                                                warmest regards to you and Mama,

                                                                                    yours,

                                                                                                    Henry
        


                                                                                            Madison, May 17, 1870

Dear Emma,

        Thursday evening shortly before my departure to Chicago I had the pleasure to receive your dear letter (without date), from which I learned with regret that your condition has little improved yet. I believe too that for the present rest and just light moderate movement will be the best for you and will you hence do good by not going to Two Rivers for the time being, because the riding is too big a strain which you must avoid in your present state. Concerning the length of your stay in Manitowoc you will follow entirely your own judgment. I will not enjoin any restrictions to you in this respect, although time will be hinging very heavy on my hands. Moreover, it is now so fine and pleasant here that I am heartily sorry that we cannot make small walks together in the shadow of the anew exuberantly green trees which adorn the streets everywhere.
        I went off from here on Thursday evening 9'2 o'clock and arrived at 5'2 o'clock the next following morning in Chicago and lodged in the Sherman House. I made my journey in the sleeping carriage, however, could enjoy of no healthy sleep, as the heavy shaking and rocking, in connection with the big noise which the driving indefatigably makes, allows no restful sleep.
        Through H. Dicks I had Gustav and Jessie invited for Friday to the Opera Stradella, and both called for me to the same at the Sherman House. After termination of the performance I accompanied them to the vicinity of the Gymnasium at North Clark Street, where we polished off some Barley Juice in one of the numerous beer parlors and then parted to go to see our respective quarters for the night. Sunday evening I was together with Gustav alone, and Saturday morning we met in the photographic establishment of Kiehlholz, who had asked us to meet him them on Saturday for portraying my physiognomy. It is the same Kiehlholz who had visited me in Man. a few years ago and who at that time had lived in Minnesota. After my task with him was finished we drove to Lincoln Park where we drank some glasses of Soda Water, looked at the beautiful, ingenious pleasure grounds and then drove back for Lunch. The Park is laid out most beautifully and will you have the pleasure to see it during the month of July, as we will at that time have to make a little excursion together to Chicago to be present at Gustav's wedding. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon I called for Gustav, drank in his bachelors' Inn two big cups of the best coffee which R Schlick - one of his roommates - had brewed and to begin with we betook ourselves with Jessie to the Gymnasium, where the 'Great Western Band" gave one of their usual Sunday-Afternoon-Concerts - 4 glasses of beer a person, and for Dinner Gustav was my guest at the Sherman House, which I then did not leave anymore, but seeked out my bed at 9 o'clock already, tired out. The next morning 10 o'clock I went off again and arrived here at 4'2 o'clock; finding Lieschen and Bischoff in full occupation at white-washing and cleaning, which to my great pleasure is finished by this time.
        That Gustav has been without an occupation for longer time is an invention, he has lost all in all only 4 weeks, during which time the work in Vogler's factory had been suspended Jessie is with a family Malzacher, where she stands by the mistress at the accomplishment of the housework. The only reason for their not having married as yet is that Gustav could not, up to now, save the means for the first purchases for it. Starting from the opinion that it would be more pleasant and better for both to marry and to also establish an own household for themselves, I have offered him a loan of $200.00, which he has accepted after some reluctance. They will now make the necessary purchases step by step, and as soon as we can go to Chicago. The wedding is to take place - in about six weeks. Both, as Gustav told me, have been very happy because of this offer, and I am heartily glad that I am able to help them a bit.
            Both of them wish that Mother would go to Chicago with us, as well as Emit Father and Max will probably not be able to get away.
            I here enclose Jessie's picture for you, she seems to have lost a bit of weight. Regrettably I have not been able to visit Frau Dicks, and she will certainly be offended with me for this. By the way, I have, commissioned Gustav to excuse me with her. I went to see H. Dicks himself in the establishment in which he is employed. Except of Floersheim, I met nobody of other acquaintances, not having especially tried to meet any, as that is very burdensome in Chicago.
            Yesterday evening I have been at the "Wedding Party” of H Scribner and Fraulein Reynolds - a daughter of Colonel Thos. Reynolds - to whom we had been invited once last winter, however, could not appear. My old friend John Reynolds, a nephew of the first, brought an invitation to our house on Thursday and regretted very much that you are absent. He invited so urgently that I had to promise him to be back from Chicago early enough to attend the reception ceremonies in the evening. The wedding took place at 8 o'clock in the Catholic Church (at our street) and the 'Reception' began at 9 o'clock and ended at 11 o'clock. At night, the young couple departed by train for Montana Territory. The most striking at this ceremony was the nuisance of the excessively long trains, amidst which one could move about only with greatest difficulty. It is this an abominable fashion which I hate so profoundly as the Welsh Cock a Red Cloth. Would I have the power, I would have had the weaning of those most miserable of all dresses prohibited by police and have cut off each train, same as Peter the Great had let shear off the beards of his Old Russians in former times.
        During my stay in Chicago I made it my mission to study the fashions, for what purpose I took up my post under the balcony of the Sherman House and examined critically the ladies passing by, and I am glad to be able to say that I remarked trains only very seldom. Most of the ladies wore moderately short suits - comfortable and becoming, and looked rather pretty in them. Certainly it is only the cocottes endowed with big feet who even advocate that ugliness and sweep trotters and floor gratuitously. Fie upon this aping of a dead race. As you have no cause to cover your feet with a train, I do hope to not having made too much allowance for this disgusting appendage when refitting your wardrobe.
        For this evening, we are invited at President Chadbourn's; they will be leaving Madison in the next future. However, I will riot be going, as the sight of those trains would set me up in arms again- I will stay in my office and rather go on chatting with you by writing---
        It is six o'clock and – and will I henceforth betake myself to dinner. Just received letters from you and father, many thanks.
        After having filled my "paunch' with flour pancakes and potato salad and reoccupied my desk chair in the office, also fit a cigar, I go on, and that in shirt sleeves, as it is terribly hot Before I forget; let me dutifully give you notice that I have sent off the stuff which remained from the opera coat to Tavers this noon, -
        Your condition, dear Emma, worries me quite a bit and if I could have had foreseen that your indisposition would have increased due to our trip to Milwaukee, we would under no circumstances have undertaken it. Although you will have with mother the most attentive and loving care, I would rather have it if you were here and I could be near you. Yet this cannot be changed now, and although mother has to bear another burden by this, I am comforted by the conviction that she will gladly submit herself to the trouble. Do write me as often as you can, be it only a couple of lines, so that at least I know how you are.
        Father writes me that the Fence is ready and turned out well. I will write him in a few days and at the same time send in the interest receipt, as I have today conferred with Guido about this. Probably he had been embarrassed to tell me about it, until Papa wrote him in this matter and he then could not but mention it - Do not trouble about postponing the visit to Two Rivers until you are all well again.
        Concerning ours don't you worry now, we am getting along quite well and are thanks to God all well - only has Emil a slight headache this evening, which in any case is an effect of the unbearable heat. We do need here a good rain and tonight after going to bed, we shall pray to our dear Lord quite devoutly for this heavenly manna. Instead of others emaciating in this African heat, I perceive with alarm and horror that I put on weight, wherefore I will henceforth eat only half my fill, even if it will not avail. The best remedy will possibly be to fret day in day out quite profoundly, but I fear that even this will not help much, as otherwise I should weigh hardly 90 pounds, as God knows I did not fall short of vexation and excitement during the last winter, even if I did show off little thereof –
        To take Chicago up again: I am sending you a pianoforte arrangement from which you can see action of the opera. The choir and orchestra were excellent, whereas I was not quite satisfied with the singer of the Stradella. Herr Schulz possesses a well sounding, pure tenor voice which, however, is lacking in volume and substance for such a part. Also, his performance was not much worth. Leonore could have been better, too. Frau Huck sings and performs definitely better, could, however, not be induced to accept the part as I have been whispered to, because she be in - very tender, interesting circumstances.
        There will soon be a brewer more. –
        The big Caesar - I do not mean that great Roman hero Julius Caesar who fell under the daggers of his former friends - but Caesar Kemper - has paid several visits to Frau Glimmer. Who dares to draw wrong conclusions? It certainly not Caesar and an old widow! Caesar and Cleopatra- hero and model of feminine beauty! - Caesar and Frau Glimmer: oh well, that is simply ridiculous!
        There have arrived several bazaars which I, however, will keep here, as you can probably borrow the paper if necessary in Manitowoc.
        I advise anybody who is going to Chicago to keep away, if possible, from the river there. How human beings can live near this most abominable of all rivers without being overtaken by its poisonous miasma like by a pestilence, is impossible for me to understand. A thick, sluggish, kind of sintered mass with a blue-green cover which taints the air for miles around and makes breathing difficult for those nearby - a cloacae in which everything deposits that is rotten, stinking and life poisoning but I will not spoil your appetite. - Happy he who lives far away from this stagnant plague spot to which many a person has already fallen victim.
        And now good night, my sweet dear Emma. Give the parents and little Max the warmest regards from all of us, same as we all greet you from all our hearts and wish you a quick recovery.

                                                                                        Yours forever,

                                                                                                    Henry.