The Civil War was fought by Americans from across the existing states, as well as recent immigrants to the country, doing their part alongside those born here. A new item available on Ohio Memory is the scrapbook of German immigrant Charles Engle, containing his letters home to his parents from throughout his service during the war. The letters are in German, accompanied by an English translation done in 2014, and show the day-to-day life of a member of the 82nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry from 1861 to 1864 as well as his concerns about life back home and his family.
Charles Engle was born in Naussua, Germany, in 1841 and came to the United States with his family around the age of six. The family lived in New York for a year, before moving on to Vermillion Township in Erie County, Ohio. At age twenty, Engle enlisted with the 82nd OVI. The 82nd OVI participated in well-known engagements in the Civil War, including the Second Battle of Bull Run, and the Battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Kennesaw Mountain, all of which took place while Engle served. Engle was captured at the Gettysburg, later being part of a prisoner exchange, and was wounded at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia. Both of these incidents are relayed to his family in Engle’s letters in this scrapbook.
The scrapbook also contains newspaper clippings by or about Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield, military figures Robert Ingersoll and General Emerson Opdyke, as well as Engle himself. After the Civil War, Engle became a correspondent for the Ashland Times-Gazette, reporting on goings-on in Mifflin, and continued in this role until shortly before his death. The clipping about Engle comes from this paper and portrays a man that was very important in his community.
Also available with the scrapbook is an English translation of Engle’s letters that was done in 2014. This translation allows the collection to be accessible to a wider audience who want to know about Ohio experiences in the Civil War, rather than being available just to those who can read German. This translation is broken down by letter and occasionally includes footnotes. Included with the translation are a copy of the newspaper clipping about Engle with some additional information added alongside, as well as a copy of a cabinet card photo of Engle, seen at right.
Thanks to Bronwyn Benson, Quality Control Technician for the Ohio Digital Newspaper Program, for this week’s post!