Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri (soon to be Light!) Artillery

Given the twists and turns of the regiment’s history, you can probably see why I consider the 2nd Missouri Artillery Regiment a store of those “lesser known” stories from the Civil War.  But our focus with the summaries is what was reported and the context from which those reports were written.  That said, we consult the 2nd Missouri’s summary for the third quarter of 1863, officially ending in September:

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Keep in mind, given the time line in the previous post, what was happening behind the scenes of this summary.  Special Orders No. 219, issued on August 13, directed the muster out of those deemed to have enlisted under the “Reserve Corps” and the reorganization of the regiment.  Also, under that order, a board reviewed all officers of the regiment to determine who would be retained.  Colonel Henry Almstedt resigned on August 27. The first round of muster-outs came in September.  Many of the released officers have a muster out date of September 28.

The start of the reorganization was a new commander.  Nelson Cole came over from the 1st Missouri Artillery, to accept a Lieutenant-Colonel’s position, with date of rank from October 2.  Under Special Orders No 261, issued September 24, Batteries E, L, and M were consolidated into Battery E.  Batteries A and B were concentrated at St. Louis, but was to be organized into a new battery.  Batteries C and D in Cape Girardeau, and likewise reorganized into a new battery.  Other batteries were regrouped geographically, with detachments of D and E around Little Rock, Arkansas; and other batteries   So let’s see how this matches (or not) with the summary given:

  • Battery A: Filing, in July 1864, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri with “infantry stores.”  This battery was the consolidation of the old Batteries C and D.  Captain John E. Strodtman was appointed commander, transferred over from the old Battery G.  (His cards indicate an alias of Emil Strodtman, who appears on the rolls of Battery D, but pending full reconciliation I must consider these two different men for now).   The battery served as heavy artillery in the Cape Girardeau defenses, part of the District of St. Louis.
  • Battery B:  A December return has this battery at New Madrid, Missouri reporting only infantry stores.  Captain John J. Sutter remained in command.  The posting, as heavy artillery, was part of the extended District of St. Louis.
  • Battery C:  An April 1864 return has this battery at Helena, Arkansas with one 6-pdr field gun and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. This data does not match with the known battery history at all.  The new Battery C was formed from the old batteries H and I.  Captain Frederick W. Fuchs, Company I, commanded the new battery.  This new battery was stationed at Cape Girardeau, alongside Battery A, as heavy artillery.  The return from Helena with field guns does not match any of the known history of this battery.
  • Battery D: A timely October 20 return places this battery at Cape Girardeau sitting on “infantry stores.”  This may be partially accurate.  The battery name transferred to St. Louis, concurrent to the regiment reorganization, and reformed with a consolidation of old Batteries A, F, G, and K.  Captain Charles Schareff (formerly of Battery I) was appointed commander at the end of September.  The battery later equipped for the field and sent forward to support the cavalry operating in Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas (raising the possibility Battery C’s return above was actually Battery D’s… reflecting confusion with the reorganization).
  • Battery E: No return.  This battery was, as of the end of September, reorganized from parts of old Batteries E, L, and M, under Captain Gustave Stange (old Battery M).  The battery was assigned to 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas.  On “paper” this battery was reorganized in St. Louis.  I would offer the men and equipment remained at Little Rock, with the new battery being organized by orders issued in St. Louis.  The battery reported four 12-pdr Mountain howitzers (see below).
  • Battery F: Indicated at Iuka, Mississippi as of October 25, with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  With the regimental reorganization, Captain Clemens Landgraeber’s First Missouri Flying Artillery transferred into the regiment.  The battery supported First Division, Fifteenth Corps and was en-route with other reinforcements sent to Chattanooga.
  • Battery G: A July 1864 return date places the battery at St. Louis.  There is an illegible notation for the battery.  Remaining men in the battery were mostly transferred to Battery A.  The battery reformed on November 15, stationed at Fort No. 3, in St. Louis, “equipped with 3-inch brass guns” according to the State Adjutant-General. Lieutenant William T. Arthur transferred from Battery F, 1st Missouri for a captaincy and command of the new Battery G, 2nd Missouri.
  • Battery H: No return. Most of old Battery H transferred to new Battery C.  A new Battery H formed out of men (new and old enlistments) at Springfield, Missouri on December 4, 1863, under command of Captain William C. Montgomery (formerly of the Missouri State Cavalry).
  • Battery I: A March 1864 return has this battery at Cape Girardeau with infantry stores.  Battery I was also reformed (recreated, may be the more applicable word) in Springfield Missouri.  It’s organization date was December 28, so beyond the scope of this quarter’s summary.  Captain Stephen H. Julian would command.  Julian had previously served with the Missouri State Militia batteries.
  • Battery K: Reporting from Little Rock, Arkansas with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch rifles.  Here again we catch the regiment in the state of reorganization.  This is the old Battery K, at that time part of the 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas and under Lieutenant Thaddeus S. Clarkson, a former officer on Brigadier-General John Davidson’s staff, and not actually a regimental officer.  However, that old Battery K was broken up, with most of its men transferred to the new Battery D.  A new Battery K was formed in January at Springfield, Missouri with Captain William P. Davis (briefly… but that is for the story ahead) in command.
  • Battery L: No return.  Most of the old Battery L folded into the new Battery E.  A new Battery L formed at Sedalia, Missouri and was formerly the 1st Battery, Missouri State Militia in January.  So we will see them accounted for under the “miscellaneous” portion of Missouri’s returns in this quarter.
  • Battery M: A January 1864 return has this battery at Little Rock, with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers. I would contend this was actually  Captain Gustave Stange’s old Battery M, reorganized into the new Battery E (above).  The new Battery M was organized at Fort No. 2, St. Louis, on February 15, 1864, and thus escapes our summary for this (and next) quarter.  Captain Napoleon Boardman would command this battery.
  • Quartermaster:  “Stores in charge” at St. Louis.  No doubt with all the reorganization ongoing, the regimental quartermaster was likely busy processing the turn in of government equipment from the many men mustering out.  And at the same time, he would need to account for equipment staying with the men, but moving over to new battery designations.  Certainly a job for a perfectionist.

Thus what we see in this section of the summary is a little of the “old” mixed with the “new.”  Of the four batteries reporting field artillery on hand, two were clearly the old batteries, with entries not yet reflecting the reorganization.  A third was a formerly independent battery transferred into the regiment.  The fourth eludes exact identification, but is likely one of the old batteries, prior to reorganization.  These reorganizations would continue through the next two quarters.  And beyond that, the heavy batteries were afterwards re-equipped as light batteries, completing the transformation of the regiment in late 1864.

Another point to make is the nature of the service.  The 2nd Missouri had not been thrust into major campaigns, up to this time of the war.  Other than the batteries, or portions thereof, in Little Rock and the “Flying Artillery” with the Fifteenth Corps, none of these were involved in active campaigns.  Duty with the 2nd Missouri was still “safe” for the third quarter.

That said, we have four batteries worth of ammunition to account for, starting with the smoothbores:

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Four batteries:

  • Battery C: 59 shot, 114 case, and 91 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery F: 240 shell, and 64 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 330 case for mountain howitzers (likely a transcription error, and should be under the field howitzer column).
  • Battery K: 62 shell, 10 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery M: 2 shell, 73 case, and 46 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Not many, but a few, rifles on hand.  And Hotchkiss for those 3-inch rifles reported:

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  • Battery K: 321 canister, 193 percussion shell, 124 fuse shell, and 188 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over to the James columns:

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  • Battery C: 80 shot, 150 shell, and 70 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

And more in that caliber under the Schenkl columns:

0268_2_Snip_MO2

  • Battery C: 40 Schenkl case for 3.80-inch rifles.

We then turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery F: Twelve (?) Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers, and eighty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Fifty-five Army revolvers, Thirty-nine Navy revolvers and thirty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Seventeen Army revolvers, sixty-four Navy revolvers, sixty-seven cavalry sabers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Quartermaster: Sixteen Army revolvers and sixteen cavalry sabers.

The report of small arms looks suspicious to me.  We don’t usually see a mix of revolver calibers.  Usually the battery was issued one or the other.  Where there are a mix reported, the quantities of one of the two is usually short.  Here we see substantial quantities.   Almost as if a column was transposed. But without the original returns, it would be impossible to determine where that error might be… if in error at all.

Though I would point out the quartermaster line has a nice even sixteen and sixteen.  As if sixteen officers turned in their pistols and sabers before mustering out.  Perhaps?

We are not done with Missouri for this quarter.  There are nine lines below the 2nd Missouri for militia batteries, independent batteries, and artillery sections in the other arms.

 

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A Brief History of the 2nd Missouri Artillery

The story of the 2nd Missouri Artillery is very much atypical, when considered beside other artillery formations raised during the Civil War.  Yet, that atypical unit history is somewhat a typical for Missouri regiments.  I’ve discussed some aspects of the 2nd Missouri’s history in previous posts (see here, here, here, here, and here).  But let’s go into a few more of those particulars, just so you see how “atypical” this unit was.

The 2nd Missouri Artillery’s origins lay in those confrontational days in May 1861.  Missouri was teetering on the verge of secession and a young Army captain named Nathaniel Lyon moved to prevent such.  In order to put a force on the streets of St. Louis, Lyon acted, not with direct authority at that moment in time, to muster a force of Missouri militia into Federal service for a period of three months.  Lyon later received full backing, and a brigadier-general’s star, in these efforts.  The militia mustered by Lyon were designated the “United States Reserve Corps” and, under terms of enlistment, were limited to duty in St. Louis… though later stretched a bit to include locations in eastern Missouri.  This Reserve Corp consisted of five infantry regiments and one cavalry company.

By late July, when these units were nearing muster out, Lyon’s adjutant, Major John M. Schofield, issued Special Orders No. 19, in which allowed the three month Reserve Corps to muster out, but be replaced by units raised with three-year enlistments.  That is, provided no other “emergencies” arose that required those militia to remain in service.

But before those orders could be applied, Lyon had met his end at Wilson’s Creek and there was just such an “emergency” to deal with.  Lyon’s replacement, Major-General John C. Fremont, expanded the Reserve Corps, retaining the five regiments of infantry and adding two squadrons of cavalry and two batteries of light artillery, under orders issued on August 12, 1861.  This expansion used the authorities granted under Special Orders No. 19 to enlist men for three years.  Under Fremont’s organization, or lack thereof, several formations were raised under designations of “Home Guards” or “Reserve Corps.” By late October, Fremont expanded these reserves again to include the First Reserve Corps Artillery – twelve companies of heavy artillery and three batteries of light artillery.   And it is those fifteen “Reserve Corps” artillery companies/batteries which eventually became the 2nd Missouri Artillery.

When Fremont was relieved of command on November 2, he left behind a bureaucratic mess.  Major-General George B. McClellan charged Major-General Henry Halleck with cleaning that up.  Instructions sent on November 11 read in part:

In assigning you to command the Department of the Missouri, it is probably unnecessary for me to state that I have intrusted to you a duty which requires the utmost tact and decision.  You have not merely the ordinary duties of a military commander to perform, but the far more difficult task of reducing chaos to order.

And who better to assign to that task than Halleck? McClellan went on to instruct Halleck to examine all unit musters to identify “any illegal, unusual, or improper organizations….” And in those cases, Halleck offered legal, three-year enlistments as a means of retaining the formations.  Simple solution, right?

But Halleck had a problem for which there was no simple solution.  The men of this “Reserve Corps” and the Home Guards had enlisted with several stipulations and guarantees.  One of which was service only in the state (or in some cases within St. Louis).  Furthermore, the authority of the U.S. officers was somewhat limited over these state formations.  By mid-December, Halleck decided the best way to resolve this was simply pay off the troops for the time in service, and go about recruiting new three-year regiments.

However, hindering Halleck’s attempt to clear out this “chaos” was the paymaster’s refusal to pay troops who had not been properly mustered, and for whom rolls were incomplete. And at the same time, subordinate commanders were reluctant to simply release these able body men, as they might not reenlist.

Finally, on January 17, 1862, Halleck found a compromise and issued General Orders No. 22, which read in part:

Organizations which have been mustered into the United States service under the title of “Reserve Corps,” or other designations, are regularly in the military service of the United States, and are to be paid and supplied the same as any other troops.  It is not the intention to require the service of such troops out of this State, except in cases of emergency, but they must do the same duty as other troops, and any refusal on their part to obey orders will be punished to the full extent of the law…

Concurrent with that order, the infantry regiments (which were actually designated by numbered “Reserve Corps” on the books) were consolidated into volunteer regiments.  This led to mutinies and desertions throughout the first half of 1862.  Commanders rated the units as “useless” for the duties required.  The story of the infantry and cavalry “Reserve Corps” falls out of our scope here.  So the short version is that on September 1, 1862, Schofield (now a Brigadier-General and in charge of the District of Missouri) issued Special Orders No. 98 directing the muster out of all Reserve Corps regiments.

But the artillery of the Reserve Corps was a different story.  Under Halleck’s early attempts to bring order, the Reserve Corps artillery was redesignated the 2nd Missouri Artillery Regiment (orders dated November 20, 1861).  Colonel Henry Almstedt was appointed commander. Furthermore a mustering officer had processed the artillery troops into formal, legal, three-year terms.  Indeed, around that time some 320 men who didn’t wish to remain as three-year volunteers opted to muster out.  By January 1862, most of the regiment’s batteries were considered organized and were actually drawing in more recruits (all new three-year enlistments).

In the fall of 1862, hearing the infantry and cavalry were being mustered out, the artillerists also asked for their pay-out.  But instead of mustering out, those batteries, now the 2nd Missouri Artillery and considered a volunteer regiment, were to be retained.  In General Orders No. 21, issued on November 29 by Major-General Samuel Curtis (replacing Halleck in command of the Department of the Missouri), the Second was defined under a different enlistment status:

The Second Missouri Artillery was first enrolled as Home Guards, but with their own consent they were afterwards regularly mustered in as three-year volunteers… and the matter was fully explained in German and English.

But now, seeing how the other Reserves had been treated, all the artillerists were clamoring for their release.  General Schofield, commanding the subordinate District of Missouri, added to this:

The Second Missouri Artillery was reorganized and became volunteers soon after Major-General Halleck assumed command of the department.  Therefore it is not to be considered as belonging to the Reserve Corps.  But even were this not the case, that regiment would be retained in service, since their services are needed in the position for which they were originally enlisted, and there are no other troops which can be used to replace them.  Therefore the Second Missouri Artillery will not be mustered out of service.

The logic of this and other statements was lost on the rank and file.  The problem festered through the winter.  On March 30, 1863, Brigadier-General J. W. Davidson, commanding the St. Louis District, complained about the 2nd Missouri:

A detachment of this regiment at Pilot Knob serving with a battery is in mutiny.  Another serving with a battery at Benton Barracks was recently in mutiny.  Another serving as heavy artillery at Cape Girardeau was recently in mutiny.  A detachment serving with the Twenty-second Iowa Volunteers by department orders left that regiment and is, I am informed, in this city, thus deserting their station.  This calls for a decision upon the difference between the officers and men as to what the regiment is, whether as volunteers or Reserve Corps.

In reaction to the mutinies and other troubles, Curtis convened a board of inquiry in April.  That board concluded the regiment’s original muster, in the summer of 1861, had been illegal.  Furthermore, the change of status to three-year enlistments was invalid.  The board recommended that the regiment be reorganized, should the command deem it necessary to retain the 2nd Missouri in service.  And Curtis agreed with that suggestion.

Curtis then punted this up to his boss in Washington… who just happened to be Halleck at that time of the war.  On May 15, Halleck responded, “This regiment was remustered as volunteers for three years or the war, while I commanded the department, and under the supervision of a staff officer…. There could have been no possible misunderstanding on this subject, and General Curtis was wrong in again reviewing the question.” Halleck concluded by offering a few “hard” solutions:

Those men who were unfit for service should have been discharged and the regiment filled up or its organization reduced.  The men had no claim whatever for a discharge on the ground of improper enlistment.

And now the regiment should be filled up, if possible, and if not, its organization should be reduced.

While all this correspondence was passing between St. Louis and Washington, the war situation put another spin on the 2nd Missouri’s problems.  The spring of 1863 was full of activity on all fronts and Missouri was no exception.  In April, Brigadier-General John S. Marmaduke raided through southeast Missouri (I’ve written on Chalk Bluff, which occurred at the end of that raid).  Marmaduke threatened several points and put up a scare that St. Louis would be attacked.  And while preparing the city’s defenses, Curtis went so far as to promise the 2nd Missouri Artillery that “… if they would do their duty as soldiers till the trouble was over they should be mustered out.”

Promises made, but the bureaucracy still had to be appeased. Through the early summer the men remained in the regiment and were none too happy about it. Not until July 27 did Schofield formally request a disposition on the matter, adding the sharp assessment that the 2nd Missouri “.. is a disgrace to the service, as well as utterly useless.”  With that, official authorization came on August 3 to muster out the men from the original “Reserve Corps” enlistments.  But that was not to apply to men who’d volunteered directly into the 2nd Missouri starting in 1862.  To cover the process involved, Schofield issued Special Orders No. 219 on August 13.  After covering administrative details, the last paragraphs, dictating the unit’s disposition, read:

The Second Missouri Artillery Volunteers will be reorganized and recruited to its maximum as rapidly as practicable.

For this purpose a military board will be appointed to examine the capacity, qualifications, propriety of conduct, and efficiency of all the commissioned officers of the regiment, and to consolidate the men remaining in the regiment after the muster out hereby ordered into the proper number of full companies.  Upon the report of this board the commanding general will order the muster out of such officers as shall not be found fitted for their positions.

This order cleared the way to finally, and permanently, resolving the issues caused by Fremont’s hasty organization, Halleck’s blunt approach to reconciliation to regulations, and Curtis’s somewhat tone-def management…. if I may be so bold.

In short order, the regiment was reduced to a battalion.  Captain Nelson Cole, who was then on staff as the Artillery Chief for the district, transferred out of Battery E, 1st Missouri to accept a Lieutenant-Colonel’s position in the Second Missouri.  Cole’s date of rank was October 2, 1863.  And that date might be considered the start of the reorganization of the regiment.

Enough men remained to form five companies of heavy artillery.  The First Flying Battery, originally Pfenninghausen’s and later Landgraeber’s Battery, an independent formation, transferred in to become Battery F.  The 1st Missouri State Militia Battery (also known as Thurber’s or Waschman’s Battery) became Battery L.  And new enlistments began to fill in the rest of the ranks. Not until February was the regiment completely reorganized to full strength.  At which time, Cole was promoted to Colonel.

From that point forward to the end of the war, the 2nd Missouri Artillery had a less contentious and administratively conventional history.  In 1864, most of the heavy artillery companies were reequipped as field artillery.  These batteries would see field service in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia.  One battery served in the Atlanta Campaign.  Most of the others saw service repelling Price from Missouri in the fall months of 1864.  The field grade officers, including Cole, served in several key staff positions, providing a cadre of artillery chiefs. As many of those three-year enlistments remained at the close of the war, the regiment was only slowly mustered out.  Some batteries saw service on the Powder River Expedition of 1865, under a column commanded by Cole.

We might say that despite its unconventional origin and mutinous reputation, the 2nd Missouri matured into a very proper organization by the end of the war.

Sources: Aside from the Official Records and other common sources, material for this post comes from “Missouri troops in service during the civil war : Letter from the Secretary of war, in response to the Senate resolution passed on June 14, 1902”, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902. 

“Conduct unbecoming” in Tony’s Saloon: Captain Michael Laux of the 2nd Missouri Artillery

Yesterday I gave you a bit of a teaser in the administrative section discussing the 2nd Missouri Artillery.  At the end of June, 1863, Captain Michael Laux, commander of Battery A, was under arrest and awaiting a hearing.  On the muster rolls, Laux’s status is simply – “Absent” and “Under arrest since February 27, 1863.”

Military things being what they were, when an officer is placed under arrest we are conditioned to expect some epic episode worthy of note… documented, of course, with a court marshal or other formal proceeding.  While there were all sorts of reasons for arrests, generally these fit into two broad categories – disobedience (not obeying orders) and misconduct.  And displays of misconduct more often than not are influenced by consumption of alcoholic beverages.  The case of Michael Laux fit into that latter category.

Laux was an immigrant, listed on the 1860 census as a carpenter originally from Bavaria, specifically the Rheinpfalz region.  At age 37, he lived in St. Louis with his wife Sibilla, aged 34.  They had two daughters, Margaretha and Mary, both born in Missouri and aged eight and six, respectively.

According to service records, Laux first joined the 1st US Reserve Infantry, Missouri Troops – a short enlistment early war formation – as a private.  He was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Missouri Artillery on September 26, 1861 and assigned to Battery A. The regimental book had Laux at five feet, 10 inches tall, with dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair.

Battery A’s service was mostly around St. Louis.  And it’s the winter of 1862 that we want to focus upon.  On February 5th of that year, Laux had… well… an incident:

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Transcription:

Headquarters, 2nd Mo. Art’y

St. Louis, Feb’y 1862

Charges and specifications against Capt. Michael Laux, Camp A, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Charge. Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

Specification. In this that on Wednesday, the 5th day of February, he went into Tony’s Beer saloon, being drunk, and ordered the proprietor to shut up the saloon and also ordered the guests to leave, assuming the authority of the Provost Marshall and saying that he was acting under such authority – and that after he had ejected the guests from the place he himself remained to drink beer for over half an hour, thereby forcing the proprietor to act against the rules established by the Provost Marshall.  During all this time he having demeaned himself toward the proprietor as well as the guests in a very ungentlemanly manner. When he left the Beer saloon he went into the oyster saloon attached to Tony’s Beer saloon and there repeated the same treatment towards the proprietor and guests.

Henry Almstedt

Col., Commanding, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Witnesses:

Captain F. Johnson, Comdg. Fort No. 4.

Theodore Kanfuian (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Dr. F. Tunghans (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Anton Niederwieser, Proprietor of Tony’s Tivoli.

Of the witnesses, those from Seinberger’s Hotel appear to be guests at the bar.  With the name, Niederwiser, we can trace the location of the incident to Tony Niederwiser’s Beer Garden and Billard Saloon, at 17 South 4th Street, between Market and Walnut Streets (according to the 1863 St. Louis City Directory).

No indication from the records what prompted Laux’s behavior.  He was taken into custody two days after the incident.  He was apparently released back to duty within a couple of weeks.  Then in May he was granted a furlough, then returned to duties.  Battery A was detached for service at Rolla, Missouri in July 1862, with Laux in command.  The battery returned to St. Louis in late January 1863.  Then on February 27, Laux was under arrest again.  It is not clear if this arrest was due to a new charge or related to the earlier incident.  But what is clear, Laux was in jail.

This time Laux remained in custody at least through September.  In July he was removed from the battery rolls.  In late September, his enlistment was up and, like others in the 2nd Missouri, was eligible for discharge.  In Laux’s case, it appears formal charges were never brought forward.  Instead, Laux was released, on September 28, 1863, to a board established to adjudicate those men from the 2nd Missouri then leaving service.  But Laux was not discharged, the department indicated there were accounts to settle.  This added insult to injury, as Laux was still formally IN the service but not being paid for being in service (since his term had run out).

In November, he wrote to the commander of the 2nd Missouri Artillery (which had essentially reformed), Colonel Nelson Cole:

It is now two months since I am waiting for the adjustment of my accounts by the Ordnance Department.  I am thereby in a bad situation.  Not discharged from the service yet, I am nevertheless restrained from accepting a citizen’s employment.  I would therefore most respectfully ask you to have me mustered out of the service at once, like my brother officers, who were under the same circumstances mustered out. …

Finally, on December 5, 1863, by orders of Major-General John Schofield, Laux was “honorably mustered out of service” with the proviso that his final pay would be held until all accounts were settled…. you know, the old “we’ll send you a check in the mail” routine.  Thus ended Laux’s military service.  He appears on the draft rolls for 1863, listed as a carpenter living on Carondelet Avenue (matching an 1864 city directory listing).

Post-war, Laux moved to 915 Shenandoah Street.  The 1870 census found him with his wife Sevilla, but now with two boys and a young girl – Jacob (9), Henry (6), and Phillipine (4).  Clearly Michael and Sevilla maintained a prosperous home.  What of Margaretha and Mary?  With both of age by 1870 (you know they married young back then), it is no big surprise to see them out of the house.  The oldest, Margaretha, died in Nevada in 1927.  But Mary is a mystery to me.

Laux applied, and received, a pension in 1887.  He was still at the Shenandoah Street address when he died of endocarditis on October 29, 1894.  Sevilla survived him and worked as a housekeeper until her death in April 1900.

Laux may have avoided major battles and thus lacks celebratory events in his service record.  There is little evidence for us to evaluate Laux’s ability or qualities.  Yet, there was honor attached to his service, even if clouded.  The weighty question is, what prompted the incident of February 5, 1863?