Major Henry Baetz


Henry Baetz is now living retired in a pleasant home on Highland boulevard in the city of Milwaukee, after an active career, in which he devoted his energies to the service of his adopted country and state, not the least of which services was as a valiant soldier and commander in the days of the Civil war. He was born in the Grand Duchy of Hessen, Germany, July 27, 1830, and is the son of Adam and Gertrude (Nies) Baetz, both of whom were born in the same country and province as their son. The father was a wagon maker by trade, but died while the subject of this review was quite young, the mother surviving to the advanced age of ninety-seven years. To these parents were born a large family of children, of whom Henry was the third born, and two brothers and two sisters of the last-named are still living, they and their mother having migrated to America over fifty years ago. Henry Baetz received his education in the excellent common schools of his native country, and in early manhood served the government in the capacity of court clerk. He migrated to the United States in 1853, locating first at Two Rivers, Wis., where be became a clerk in a mercantile establishment. One year later, in 1854, he removed to Kewaunee, and in 1856 changed his residence to Manitowoc, where he became a notary public, a land agent, and clerk in the office of the register of deeds of Manitowoc county. He also became prominently identified with public affairs, holding successively the positions of town clerk, treasurer, and president of the village of Manitowoc, and other local offices, and was twice elected register of deeds of the county, holding the last named position at the beginning of the Civil war. He had served two years in the military service of Germany prior to his migration to America, and when the call to arms was sounded in 1861 he promptly decided that it was his duty to give to his adopted country the benefit of his experience, in the support of the Union. Accordingly in the summer of 1862 he raised a company, which was mustered into the service as Company F of the Twenty-sixth Wisconsin infantry, and being commissioned captain of the company he accompanied it to the front, participating in all of its arduous service. On Feb. 5, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of major. The organization was a German regiment, organized at Camp Sigel, Milwaukee, and was mustered the service on September 17, 1862, leaving the state on October 6. It joined the Eleventh corps at Fairfax Court House, Va., was attached to the Second brigade, Third division, Joined the movement toward the Rappahannock in December, went into camp at Stafford Court House and then was on drill guard and picket duty until the following April. In May, 1863, it participated at Chancellorsville, being posted on a ridge in an open field with its right wholly uncovered, where it and the One Hundred and Nineteenth New York, both under fire for the first time, were savagely attacked by superior numbers. The men fought like veterans until both flanks were doubled tip, and only fell back when destruction or capture was inevitable. The regiment was engaged at Gettysburg, the Eleventh corps being under the temporary command of General Schurz. Ewell's corps, far out numbering Schurz's command, bore down upon it with terrible fury forcing it back, although the men fought like demons for every inch, until a point was reached where the line could be reformed. On the second day the regiment became hotly engaged and was compelled to fall back which it did in good order, contesting the way as on the previous day, and later acted as rear-guard in the retreat to Cemetery Hill. Its losses during the battle were 210 in killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing, and among the severely wounded was Major Baetz, to whom this review is dedicated. On account of the severe injuries received at Gettysburg, on a surgeon's certificate of disability, he resigned his commission, was horribly discharged, and returned to his home at Manitowoc. As soon as the condition of his health permitted he resumed the threads of civil life, but was not destined long to follow occupation of a private nature. In 1866 he was elected treasurer of Manitowoc county, and re-elected in 1868. About this time also he became largely interested in newspaper business. In 1869 he was elected to the position of treasurer of the state of Wisconsin, and two years later was re-elected to the same position, filling the office in a very creditable manner four years. Upon retiring from office he returned to Manitowoc, and a year later, in 1875, he removed to the city of Milwaukee, where he engaged in newspaper work. In 1878 he was elected by the common council city librarian of Milwaukee, being the-first to fill that position, and this he resigned to accept the office of secretary of the State Board of Immigration, in 1880. Three years later, in 1883, he resigned the last-named position to enter & employ of the Philip Best, now the Pabst Brewing Company, with whom he was associated for the ensuing twenty-one years. After being with that firm some time he obtained a financial interest in the Pabst Mine, near Ironwood, Mich., being made secretary and general agent of the same, and he lived at the mine three years, so engaged. He then disposed of his mining interests and returned to Milwaukee, accepting the position of general purchased for the Pabst Brewing Company. In 1904 he retired from the activities of business life and now resides with his wife in his pleasant home on Highland boulevard, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent and industrious; life. Major Baetz was married on August 27, 1858, to Miss Emma Lindemann, a native of Germany, who, with her mother and two brothers, came to America in 1853, and whose father, A. G. Lindemann, a prominent merchant in the Fatherland, together with one son, had come to Manitowoc county several years before. To this union there was born one son, Oscar, who died at the tender age of five months. Major Baetz gives an unswerving allegiance to the men and measures of the Republican party, with which organization he has been prominently identified from the beginning, and his fraternal associations are with the Masonic order, having been a member of Tracy lodge, No. 107, of Manitowoc now defunct. Other organizations with which Major Baetz is identified are the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters: the Wisconsin Archeological Society; the Milwaukee Musical Society, and the Old Settlers' Club of Milwaukee County. He has been president of the Deutscher Club, and for a period of nine years served in a like capacity for the "Deutsche Gesellschaft von Milwaukee," an incorporated society to aid and assist immigrants from Germany and other European countries, on their arrival in Milwaukee.

Memoirs of Milwaukee County Vol2, 1909 pg. 778-780 (ARC) F 587 .M6 W33 v.2 Milwaukee Archive UWM

(Photo from Germania)