Tuesday, February 5, 2008
General George Washington Deitzler Fighting General From Pine Grove.
General George Washington Deitzler…
As students of the American Civil War and the men and women who served from Schuylkill County we are well aware of General James Nagle, Mexican War veteran, Washington Artillerist, First Defender, 48th P.V.I. If you want to discuss this man you need to get with John Hoptak, he will fill you in on his service. We also had General George C. Wynkoop, from the famous Wynkoop family. Commissioned on April 19, 1861 as a Brigadier General. In charge of the 1st, 2nd,3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiments early in the war. Although his career as a General was short lived, being mustered out on August 1, 1861, he is best known for his service as the fighting fearless Colonel Of the famed 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Old George C. is one of my favorites from the war. He is buried along with his son Nicolas in the Presbyterian cemetery n Pottsville. I actually have transcribed his letters to his wife which at some point I will post here. Then there is General Benjamin Christ another one of my favorites. He served as a private in the 5th Pennsylvania a three months regiment in 1861. Christ worked his way up to Lt. Col. in the same regiment. On return Christ reentered the service and was commissioned Colonel of the 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was recommended and brevetted Brigadier General by General Burnsides. General Christ during his service was wounded three times. And also we have General Joshua K. Sigfried, who served in the 6th P.V.I. and later helped organize the famous 48th P.V.I. After the actions of the 48th at Petersburg, he was brevetted a Brigadier General by President Lincoln for his gallantry in action. If you want more on General Sigfried visit John Hoptak’s Blog on the 48th Pa. Oh yea almost forgot General Henry Pleasants also, 48th P.V.I. Architect of the Petersburg Mine. See John’s 48th Blog also.
Now for the subject of this post Brigadier General George Washington Deitzler? Who the heck was he? Well in all my Civil War research, all of my reading the news from the Miners Journal 1859-1865, all the studying of the regiments, soldiers of Schuylkill County, I am embarrassed to say I never heard of General Deitzler. Now my main excuse is he left Schuylkill County in 1855! Ok that will take away my embarrassment. All fun aside this man was INTERESTING!
The other day I was googling books and I came across a book entitled The National Cyclopedia of American Biography and came across George Washington Deitzler. soldier, statesman. He was born at Pine Grove,- Schuylkill county, Pa.,
Nov. 30, 1826. He received the ordinary education to be obtained at the district schools
of his time, and in February, 1855, removed to Kansas. He allied himself with the Emigration aid society of Boston, and took an active interest in politics, and in promoting the interests and aims of the free-state party. He was a co- worker with Amos A. Lawrence, EH Thayer, and Charles Robinson, und belonged to the conservative wing of the free-state party, as opposed by James H. Lane and John Brown, radicals. He was delegated by his companions to go to Boston and procure rifles for the protection of the settlers against the active opposition of the pro-slavery advocates. He obtained an order from the Aid society in Boston, and with it obtained a quantity of Sharp s rifles, which he had boxed and marked "books," and carried with him back to Kansas. (These rifles wee known as Beecher’s Bibles. They were sent to Kansas by H, W, Beecher an abolitionist who had Deitzler deliver them. Abolitionists believed rifles possessed more moral value than a hundred bibles.)This was early in April, 1855, and before John Brown had reached Kansas, and before his sons, who came there early in the spring, had in their possession any arms save two squirrel-guns and a revolver. Deitzler made Lawrence his headquarters, and was active in supporting the efforts of the free-state party in securing a territorial government and a constitution for the projected state. In the spring of 1856, in one of the various movements made by the pro-slavery party to provoke the free-state party to collision with the Federal forces under Col. E. V. Sumner, stationed in the state to maintain order, the sheriff was shot by some unknown party, and the shooting charged to the free-state party. The district court, in the second week in May, 1856, indicted for treason Deitzler, together with ex-Gov. Leeder, George W. Brown, George V. Smith, Henry H. Williams, James H. Lane, S. N. Wood, Gains Jenkins and Charles Robinson. On May 21st they were arrested and imprisoned; Reeder, however, escaped in disguise, and for some reason that history may in the future disclose, Lane and Wood were missing from the roll of prisoners who were placed in the custody of the U. S. officers. On Sept. 10th they were released, and returned to Lawrence, where they were received with an ovation. In 1857 Deitzler was elected to the Kansas house of representatives, and was chosen speaker. He was re-elected in 1859. At the beginning of the civil war he was appointed Indian agent by President Lincoln. His name did not come to the senate for confirmation until Lane had taken his seat as a senator from Kansas, and he opposed the confirmation of the appointment, and the president withdrew it. Deitzler raised the 1st regiment Kansas volunteers, and was made it’s colonel, and fought so bravely at the battle of Wilson's creek, where he commanded the 3d brigade, composed of the 1st Iowa, 1st and 3d Kansas volunteers, and 200 mounted home-guards, that he was made brigadier-general Nov. 29, 1862. He was afterward unable to do field duty on account of ill- health, and resigned his commission Aug. 22, 1863, and in 1864 was made major-general of the Kansas state militia. He was mayor of Lawrence, and treasurer of the University of Kansas. At one time he engaged in business as an Indian trader, James H. Lane being a silent partner in the concern. The antagonism between him and Lane arose from some facts known by Deitzler, growing out of the partnership, that, if exposed, would disgrace Lane. After Lane’s suicide, Deitzler, under the date of May 31, 1884, wrote from Oro Blanco, Arizona Territory, proposing to give to the world these facts, but he met his death from injuries sustained by being thrown from a carriage before he had carried out this purpose. He died near Tucson Arizona, April 11, 1884.
During the Battle of Wilson’s Creek fought on August 10, 1861, near Springfield Missouri between Union forces and the Missouri State Guard. This was the first major battle of the war west of the Mississippi River, sometimes it is referred to as “The Bull Run of the West.” The Union had 258 men KIA, 873 WIA, 186 MIA and the CSA Missouri Guard lost 279 KIA, 951 WIA. The battle was actually won by the Missouri Guard but they were not able to purse the retreating Union forces. During the battle Deitzler was shot in the front of his right leg just above the knee, the bullet struck the bone causing great pain and blood loss. He was carried from the field to Springfield Missouri, and then to Rolla where the bullet was removed eight months after he was wounded. The ball was flattened against the bone. When the wound healed it left his joint very weak. He was then deemed unfit for duty. From Medical Histories of the Union Generals. Jack D. Welsh.
Before the war Deitzler married Anna Maria Reinhart in Lebanon, they had two children. He remarried in 1865 in Lawrence, Kansas to Anna Maria Neill from Virginia, they had five children together.