Corporal Henry van Eweyk , Company A.


        Henry van Eweyk (Hendricus van Eeuwijk on birth register) was born in Hertogenbosch, Noord Brabant, Netherlands on October 22, 1840. He had one sister, Maria Helena. A document shows Henry was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church April 14, 1853 at Kerk Krijtberg, Amsterdam. The family immigrated to the United States in July 1854 through the port of New York and settled in Wisconsin. They adopted the van Ewyck spelling of their name and later it evolved into van Eweyk.
        The 1859 & 1860 Milwaukee City Directory lists Henry as a painter and his mother a seamstress. What happened to his father is not known. Later Henry is listed as a sign and house painter but he was also a talented artist. Two oil paintings are known to exist at the present time. One is a pastoral scene and the other is a self-portrait.
        A year after the Civil War began, in August of 1862, President Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 soldiers and authorized Major General Franz Sigel to raise a dozen regiments of German troops. From the Milwaukee area the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed, locally known as "The Sigel Regiment." Henry van Eweyk, at age 21, was among the first men of Milwaukee to enlist for duty. His enlistment date was August 21. On September 1st he and Marie Caroline Wedemeyer were married in a Catholic ceremony in Milwaukee and on September 17th he was mustered into the army.
        The Time Line below was created from copies of muster rolls and papers provided by the military archives, papers handed down in the family and chronological movement of troops described by James S. Pula in his book The Sigel Regiment, A History of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 1862-1865. The Sigel Regiment gives profound insight into the daily lives of soldiers during this time period.

TIME LINE - Henry's duty years with Wisconsin Volunteers during Civil War

1862

August 21
Enlisted as Private in Co. A, 26th Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

Sept. 17
Mustered in for 3 years, Milwaukee, WI.

Oct. 7
Departed for duty by train. Traveled through Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Dunkirk & Elmira, NY, Harrisburg, PA, arriving Baltimore Oct. 9. On to Washington Oct. 10.

Oct. 15
Marched to Fairfax Court House, encamped for training and maneuvers.

Sept. 17 - Oct. 30
Muster Roll - listed Henry present

Nov. - Dec.
Muster Roll - listed "Was left sick at Hospital Fairfax, VA, Nov. 1, 1862 and has deserted from there." A Muster and Descriptive Roll states "departed from regt Nov. 4/63 as a deserter." List of Deserters notes "deserted with John Ritchie and was said to be in Canada."

1863

Jan. & Feb.
Whereabouts unknown. Was absent from Regt 4 mos., 4 days. Sent to Regt Mar. 3.

Apr. 4
Special Muster Roll - Returned from desertion at Stafford Court House, VA.

Mar. - Apr.
Muster Roll - lists Henry present with remarks: "left hospital Fairfax. Reported at hospital Washington Nov. 5 ("62). Refused his reception, went to Lima, Oh. and rep. at Columbus, Oh. March 28, '63."

May - June
Muster Roll – Present

May 2
Battle of Chancellorsville, VA.

July - Aug.
Muster Roll - present

July 1,2 & 3
Battle of Gettysburg, PA.

Sept. - Oct.
Muster Roll - absent, sick. (Do not know when Henry returned to active duty)

Sept. 15
Promoted to Corporal

Sept. 23
Regt. ordered to Chattanooga, TN.

Oct. 7 - Dec. 4
Chattanooga and Knoxville Campaigns

Nov. - Dec.
Muster roll - present

1864

Jan. - Feb.
Muster Roll – present

Mar. - Apr.
Muster Roll – present

May - June
Muster Roll – present

May 2
Wisconsin 26th Regt. struck camp and started marching south under William T. Sherman's command.

June 22
Kennesaw Mountain Battle

July 20
Battle of Peach Tree Creek (just north of Atlanta). Henry wounded - flesh wound on right side.

July - Aug.
Muster Roll - Absent wounded

Sept. - Oct.
Muster Roll - Absent, sick.

Nov. - Dec.
Muster Roll - Absent, sick.

1865

Jan. - Feb.
Muster Roll - Absent, sick.

Feb. 15
Transferred to Co. A, 23rd Volunteer Reserve Corp. (VRC) at Camp Reno, Milwaukee, WI.

Mar. 1
Discharged from VRC to take promotion to 1st Lieutenant of Co. E, 45th Regt., Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, as per document signed by Gov. of Wisconsin, James T. Lewis. Another Sate of Wisconsin document dated Feb. 27 states he is commissioned "to Capt. of Co. D 45th Wis. Vols. Co. D is full and is entitled to a Captain. The Company will be sent to the front in a few days and it is highly desirable that Van Eweyk should be discharged immediately (from VRC) so he may be mustered-in and go with his company."

Mar. 3
Muster-in Roll - Captain, Co. D, 45th Regt., Wisconsin Vol. Infantry.

Apr. 30
Muster Roll – present

May - June
Muster Roll – present

July 17
Mustered-Out - with Co. D, 45th Regt., Wisconsin Volunteers.

        A physical description of Henry on official documents state he had blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, height of 5 ft. 7 in., and of slight build.
        The 26th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers held its 25th reunion in 1887. Henry was listed on the committee to organize this event. Henry was also among the survivors who traveled to Gettysburg for the July 1, 1888 dedication of their monument to the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.
        After the war Henry and Maria Caroline had five sons - Arthur H., Henry O., William J., Charles W. and Alfred O., before their only daughter Ella was born.
        According to a newspaper obituary-clipping Henry "was a member of the Robert Chivas Post G.A.R., the Athletic Club Milwaukee, the Hermannsons of Aurora Lodge, the Order of the Free Masons, and the singing group Liedertafel. He also was co-owner of the well known painters company Van Eweyk and Schmidt."
    Henry died April 26, 1891 from complications of diabetes. Bright's Disease was also mentioned as cause of death.
        The men's choir of the Liedertafel sang at his funeral. Pallbearers were all comrades from the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. An old friend and member of the Liedertafel gave a moving commemorative address saying "Friend Eweyk is not dead. Only a man who is forgotten is dead. But he who is remembered in people's hearts lives on forever." Burial was at Union Cemetery in Milwaukee.

**Author's note: His granddaughter recalled Henry saying "his war wounds never healed." If this is the case, he probably was diabetic during the war. A soldier's diet was erratic and the daily life strenuous. Onset of diabetes may have been the cause of his being absent from active duty for long periods of time.

Obituary

Milwaukee (German) Newspaper 1891

Translation below:

HEINRICH VAN EWEYK

One of the most popular German Citizens here has died

        Yesterday Mr. Heinrich Van Eweyk, one of the old German settlers here, died after a lengthy illness at the age of 50 years and 5 month. He was perceived as one of the most honored and popular citizens of Milwaukee.
        Mr. Van Eweyk had been ill for the last 9 months. He had diabetes and later filed with fluids (dropsy) and suffered from bad kidneys. The deceased left behind a bereft widow, five grown sons including Arthur, who presently resides in Berlin where he is pursuing a career in music, and one daughter.
        At age 19 Mr. Van Eweyk joined the 26th Wisconsin Regiment when the country was called to arms to free the slaves. Later he transferred to the 45th Regiment. He returned from the war with the rank of captain, honored and esteemed by both his superiors and his men.
        The deceased was a member of the “Robert Chivas Post, G.A.R", the Athletic Club "Milwaukee”, the Hermannsons of Aurora Lodge, the Order of the Free Masons, and the singing group "Liedertafel”. He also was co-owner of the well-known painters company Van Eweyk and Schmidt. The funeral will be on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock beginning at the residence at the corner of Harmon and Second Streets.

*Please note: age given for when Henry joined 26th Wl Regt. is incorrect, should have been 21.

LAID TO REST

        Yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock a solemn funeral procession began at the residence at 679 Second Street. The remains of W. Henry Van Eweyk, who died on Sunday night, were laid to rest at Union Cemetery. The large number of mourners at the funeral shows the love and affection of friends the deceased enjoyed during his lifetime. At the home, as well as at the gravesite, a moving commemorative address was delivered by Mr. D. C. Luening. The men's choir of the “Milwaukee Liederkranz" of which Mr. Van Eweyk had been a member for years, sang at the site where the deceased was put to rest. Their selection was the Consecration Choir by Mozart and the Gravesite Hymn by Kuschbert. The pallbearers were: Mr. Phil. Schlosser, Chas. F. Trapschuh, Wm. A. Koch, Frank M. Fiess, Robert Lasche, and Ferd. Scholz, all of them old comrades from Co. A of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment. All of the one-time apprentices of Mr. Van Eweyk formed an honor guard. There were many beautiful wreaths, bouquets, and arrangements.

Information given by Marjorie Liikala