Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 26, 1862A Letter from Fritz Anneke
Camp Murphy, Indiana,
February 20, 1862.
To the Editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung: A news item which appeared in yesterday's issue of your newspaper forces me to write about myself in the press, although I do not like to do so. The item referred to reads: "Colonel Fritz Anneke and the artillery corps which he trained well at Indianapolis will now leave for the battlefield." If this were correct, I would have no reason to bring my name before the public. Unfortunately, however, the statement is only partially correct, and it occurs to me that I owe it to myself, my friends, my acquaintances, and perhaps to the German citizens of the United States to make an explanation in regard to the true status of affairs. My "artillery corps," as you call it--it is actually ten batteries of six guns each--has gone to the battlefield; I, however, am detained here. And now I 2shall proceed to explain this fact.
Nobody could have had a greater desire to participate in this War against the Rebels, than I. It so happened that I was in Switzerland when hostilities began, and did not have the necessary financial means to come to the United States immediately. Several attempts to obtain these means from our ambassadors in Europe were in vain. During the first part of September a good friend finally persuaded Professor Kinkel to advance the money to me from the German "Revolution Loan". Without hesitating a moment I left my family at Zurich and hastened to the United States with the sole intention of fighting for the cause of freedom in our beloved adopted country. On landing in New York I was informed that the Governor of Wisconsin had appointed me commander of an artillery regiment which was to be organized. I hastened to Wisconsin without stopping to visit friends and relatives whom I had not seen in years. The Governor of Wisconsin sent me to Washington to confer with the Secretary of War about equipment for my regiment, and after spending three weeks there I 3accomplished nothing save that I obtained an order to the Governor of Wisconsin to send my regiment to Louisville, Kentucky. This order was not carried out, however, because Governor Randall declared that he would not permit any troops to leave his state until they had been fully clothed and paid; and there could be no thought of complying with this demand. The number of my men increased to eleven hundred; but week after week passed without any better prospect of leading my regiment to the battlefield. Much time elapsed before the necessary uniforms were provided, and there was no thought of equip-ping us with cannon, horses, etc. Meanwhile, I received letters and telegrams which had been circling the country for weeks, requesting that I assume the command over the artillery forces of the state of Indiana. After a lengthy correspondence in regard to the matter, I finally decided to accept the offer because what I had heretofore heard about military preparations in Indiana led me to believe that I would be able to enter active service and see action more quickly through the authorities of that state than through those of Wisconsin.4
Upon my arrival in Indianapolis I found that the Governor's original plan to organize the artillery of this state was altered, inasmuch as I did not receive command of all the artillery forces, but only the four which have been sent to Kentucky and eight others, still to be organized, which have been designated as the "Second Artillery Regiment". Since I could not begin carrying out plans to establish the eight batteries, I went to Kentucky, with the permission of the Governor, to inspect the four batteries sent there from Indiana, and to give them the instructions and additional training I knew they needed. General Buell, the commanding officer of the army corps told me that he could not allow me to exercise any authority whatsoever over the batteries which were attached to his army corps, because I had not yet been enrolled in the service of the United States, and that I could not be enrolled until my regiment had twelve complete batteries.
So I was obliged to return to Indianapolis without having attained my object, and confine my activity to organization. I encountered many difficulties.5
Aside from the fact that recruiting proceeded very slowly, since the state had already sent five per cent of its elligible men to the battlefields, I found it hard to acquire,the necessary artillery equipment, which, as you undoubtedly know, is very composite. In order to remove these difficulties, which I had foreseen, I selected the capitol city of the state as a place to establish a training camp, where I intended to concentrate the batteries and give them a thorough practical military education. Governor Morton promised repeatedly that no battery should be sent to the battlefield unless I had declared the unit ready for service. A four-week thorough training might have been sufficient to enable the men to render the most necessary services. However, I was not given sufficient time nor opportunity to give them even that much training. The batteries were ordered to the front just when they were prepared to receive and benefit by thorough instruction. There was no reason to send them to Kentucky, and evidently it was done merely to remove them from my supervision. After they had been idle in Camp Louisville for several weeks, they were sent to Cairo. Eight days thereafter three more 6batteries were ordered to Louisville--in such haste that one might have thought that the entire Rebel Army was approaching Louisville. Two of these batteries had neither horses nor cannon; and today, after two weeks, they are still idle at camp. The authorities, it is said, intend to equip them with twenty-four-pounders. The third battery is still in camp near Jeffersonville, on this side of the Ohio. Late one evening, two weeks ago, I received orders to send the last battery which I had in camp to Cairo immediately. This contingent left the next morning. It had only forty horses, instead of one hundred and ten, because a few weeks before orders had come from Washington that no more horses be bought here, and I had received no answer to my letters and telegrams requesting the horses necessary for my regiment. Today the Commander of the battery stationed at Cairo informed me that he cannot get any horses there, but must procure them from Indiana.
While all batteries, excepting two which I have just begun to train, have been taken from me before they were sufficiently instructed and drilled; while ten 7batteries of my regiment (about fifteen hundred men) are with the army on the battlefield; I am forced to remain here in camp. They are forcing me to remain here, although I have asked repeatedly to be sent to the front with my batteries, although I have received promise over promise that my request would be granted, although there is a great lack of experienced artillery officers, although there is not one single experienced artillepman in the batteries comprising my regiment, although all officers, lieutenants, and men of my regiment, about seven-eights of which consist of native Americans, request that I instruct and lead them, and have voiced their complete confidence in me. Governor Morton has assured me that nobody, not excluding myself, takes a greater interest in the adjustment of my personal position than he; on this he has given me his word of honor. A week ago he informed me that the Assistant Secretary of War, Colonel Scott, had promised him that my case should be taken care of immediately. I am awaiting the fulfillment of this promise daily. So far I have had no further news. I cannot understand what reason there can be for treating me thus. It is a strange procedure, indeed. First 8it was said that I would have to have twelve batteries in order to be eligible for service in the United States Army. Now there is a rumor that the War Ministry or the High Command of the Army does not want to have any staff--officers in artillery regiments--which consists of volunteers.
You will admit that the treatment which I have received is enough to make anybody impatient. I have told Governor Morton that I promised the soldiers of my regiment that I would lead them in battle as a colonel, or, if that were not possible, as a gunner, and that I was convinced that they would accept my advice or execute my orders.
I J, I G, III D, III H, IV
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