Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Vandemark, James

Brethschneider, Robert, 1819-1877.

This collections is available online.

Brethschneider was a resident of Niles, Mich. He had served twelve years in the artillery of Prussia of which corps he was an officer for seven years. During the Civil War he served in Company E, 2nd Michigan Infantry, as captain, April 17 to December 14, 1861, when he resigned because of ill health. He re-entered service in Company K, 12th Michigan Infantry, as captain, and again resigned because of ill health September 3, 1862. He fought in the battle of Blackburn's Ford July 18 and Bull Run July 21, 1861.

Three letters written in July 1861 and one in November 1861 are chiefly love letters to his wife. But he also speculates on possible offensives and the end of the war; then writes of the casualties after the battles,saying: "It is sad to see thousands slaughtered through the ignorance of their leaders, but the Americans have to learn and pay for it. All our fancy officers here are sick or not worth the powder it would take to shoot them." However, he expresses a very high opinion of himself and his worth as an officer. The letters are written in German, and the collection contains the originals and translations, as well as his commission, dated April 25, 1861 and application for invalid corps dated June 23, 1863.

The collection also includes a letter from Colonel Francis Quinn of the12th Michigan Infantry (May 2, 1862) and affidavits of James Vandemark and Robert Hardy, also of the 12th Infantry (June 4, 1862) relating to the Battle of Shiloh.

This collection is available on microfilm for interlibrary loan.