Johann Jakob BeckGetting involved in the American Civil War
Johann Jakob Beck (1833-1864), a farmer from Unterbrüden, Rems-Murr-Kreis, emigrated to North America in 1853. Initially he stayed with David Beck, his elder brother, in Pittsburgh for a while. Then he spent some time on a farm as a farm hand, before he went to live with Caroline Maier, his sister, in Richland Grove, Illinois, in 1861. In 1862 Jakob Beck joined the Army of the Union as a Territorial Forces-Train-Soldier. As a member of the Waterhouse Battery Beck was fatally wounded on June 10, 1864. The accompagnying photo shows Beck in uniform in 1864, April 21. This picture, together with some of his and his sister's letters, was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by his mother Marie Agnes. The Ministery of Foreign Affairs gave legal assistance to the heirs of the Württemberg soldiers who had died in the American Civil War. It ensured that the pay the soldiers were entitled to was handed over to their relatives.
Johann Jakob Beck is one example of the many emigrants who joined the American Civil War. Especially the emigrants of the 48revolution committed themselves to the ideals of a democratic America and fought as soldiers of the Union against the system of slavery.
A letter from his sister Caroline written in 1864, July 20 (extract):
Unfortunately there are no good news about Jacob as fate treated him unkindly. I must tell you that Jakob has probably died. On July, 10th he was engaged in a battle where he was shot in the back, as his comrades wrote to me. He dismounted his horse and was lying down under a tree. He must have been in dreadful pain. His comrades carried him to their camp on a stretcher, then they found an ambulance for him. He had already lost his voice and was close to dying by that time. At the same moment the soldiers got order to flee and to leave everything behind except the horses which meant leaving the wounded in the hands of the enemy. So one does't know if he is dead or not, but his comrades consider him so, as the confederates probably didn't take care of him but of their own wounded soldiers at first.