#22 in a series
Charles Theodore Blumenrother; Civil War
By Paul A. Roales
Some time ago I picked up 3 Civil War theamed postcards written by the same person at the flea market. I bought them because one of the cards mentioned the Civil War battle at Lookout Mountain in its writing. From that message it appeared that the author of the postcards had been in that battle. So I started my research. First off I had to determine who wrote the cards. They were only signed with the initials C.T.B., but the return address was Bandon, Oregon and the date was 8/17/08. So I found a web page listing Civil War veterans buried in Bandon, Oregon. Only one name matched these initials...Charles Theodore Blumenrother. A little research on Blumenrother revealed that he was was living in Bandon in 1908 and he had been the Drummer of Co. H. 68th NY Vol. Inf. Also the 68th. NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment DID fight at the battle of Lookout Mountain, so I believe he is the person who sent these postcards.
Most of the information on Charles in this article was taken from records provided by the Bandon Historical Museum. Many records show Charles Theodore Blumenrother being born in New York, but the family Bible in the Bandon Museum shows his birth in Ferdinandshoff, County Falkenberg, Prussia on June 8th 1846. There also exists a naturalization record from New York City stating he was born in Prussia and became a naturalized citizen on Oct. 23, 1867. His parents (Thomas J.G. and Pauline R.W. (Menda) Blumenrother) were both born in Germany. They had 12 children. His father died in Central America while participating in the Walker expedition when Charles was nine years old.
He enlisted in Co. H, 6th. Regt., New York Militia Vol. Inf. on April 19th, 1861 when he was still 14 years old. After serving faithfully in that unit he was mustered out at Ft. Schuyler, NY on July 28, 1861. He reenlisted on the same day in Co. H, 68th Regt NY Vol. Inf. . He was discharged on Dec. 31, 1863 on account of reenlistment as a Veteran Volunteer in the same company and regiment at Raccoon Ridge, Lookout Vally, Tenn. He was finally mustered out and discharged at Ft. Schuyler NY on Dec. 4, 1865. "A continuous service of 4 years, 7 months and 15 days in the field and at the front".
The 68th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was initially assigned to the defenses of Washington, D.C. Later, the 68th was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley and fought at the Battle of Cross Keys. The men of the 68th were then reassigned to central Virginia and found themselves in the thick of the fighting at Second Bull Run. After returning to the nation's capital, the regiment fought in Chancellorsville and was routed by Confederate forces. At Gettysburg, they saw battle on two of the three days and took heavy losses. The regiment was then transferred to the west and participated in the Chattanooga Campaign. The 68th fought in the battles of Wauhatchie and Missionary Ridge, assisting in the Union victories there. The regiment marched to relieve the siege of Knoxville, and then spent the last year of the war on occupation duty in Tennessee and Georgia, before being disbanded in November 1865.
Here is how Charles described his capture and war injury at Chancelorsville, Va. in his afidavit of service: "We remained there, at least I did, having been left for dead on the field by our boys until I came to about 9 or 10 o'clock AM Sunday morning May 3rd, 1963. I found myself a helpless prisoner of war. I was a prisoner for a time in Libby and the balance of the time at the Pemberton Building Prison across the street from Libby Prison. Was wounded in left wrist, shell wound left backside of the head, and bayonet wound through lobe of right lung breaking off a piece of lower rib near the breast bone. The bone was removed at Libby Prison by two Rebel surgeons, it was taken out about 5 inches below the wound on the right side. After I was taken prisoner we were taken (marched) to Richmond and it rained most of the time and I had no medical treatment only such as I could give myself. I took cold in my wound on my head, a fracture of the skull by a piece of shell which settled in both of my eyes and I was stoneblind on both eyes for 10 days. My left eye came out, or rather was cured, but my right eye became totally blind and remained so up to the present time and can never be cured. We were paroled about the middle of June."
At the Battle of Lookout Mountain, the 68th was held in reserve on the first day, November 24. The battle continued the next day and a part of Howard's XI Corps, including the 68th, was shifted to the far left of the Union lines to reinforce Sherman's attack on Missionary Ridge. There, the 68th skirmished with the enemy, but was unable to advance. The Confederates were forced to retreat, however, as Maj. Gen. George Thomas's troops' assault on their center sent Bragg's army into retreat from the ridge. This is the battle discussd on the postcard I have.
After the Civil War he worked the lithographic trade until 1877, then moved to Colorado to engage in prospecting and mining until 1881, then 3 years homesteading in Nebraska, then he moved to Cheyenne and quickly to Oregon to take up another homestead in Coos county in June, 1885, settling on Butte Creek, fourteen miles south of Bandon. He afterwards settled in Bandon, where he was engaged in the real estate and loan business buying and selling mortgages and bonds. In 1870 he married Emelia L. M. Meier, who was born in Prussia on Aug. 8, 1850, and they had four children. He died on March 15, 1937 at the Veterans Hospital in Roseburg, Oregon following a long period of ill health. He was buried in Bandon, Oregon.
Here are the other two postcards written by Blumenrother. Click on them to enlarge.
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