Saturday, September 5, 2020

Booknotes: An Immigrant Story

New Arrival:
An Immigrant Story by Kenneth E. Burchett (Amity America, 2020).

Published back in 2012, Kenneth Burchett's The Battle of Carthage, Missouri: First Trans-Mississippi Conflict of the Civil War highlighted in part the indispensable roles German immigrant soldiers played in securing most of Missouri for the Union by the summer of 1861. Since then, nineteenth-century German immigration to Missouri has remained a focus of the author's research and writing. In this vein is his latest book, An Immigrant Story.

From the description: "Over the course of four decades until his death in 1866, Henry Schaumann was a laborer, craftsman, mechanic, and housewright, a person who built and repaired houses. He knew life as a husband, father, and citizen at different times in two countries. ... Little is known of his youth, except that he was born in Hildesheim, Germany, and spent time at Clauen, near Peine, a small village not far from Hildesheim."

Like tens of thousands of other German immigrants to the United States, Schaumann sought opportunity out west, eventually settling in Missouri. His Civil War service was comparatively brief. In October 1861, Schaumann enlisted in the Union Army as a private in Company A of the First Missouri artillery regiment. A year later, he suffered an accidental injury that led to a discharge and one-half disability pension.

Part Two of the book is a detailed chronology of the pension cases of Shaumann and his widow. Extensively annotated, the text is supported by a number of transcribed documents along with a multitude of maps, photos, and other illustrations. In addition to being an immigrant story, the volume shines light upon the frequent struggles of Civil War veterans and their families to obtain federal pensions for injuries and wounds suffered during military service.


  1. Just curious, is there is a map showing the Camp Jackson affair?

    1. I don't see one in there.

      If memory serves, the best Camp Jackson map I've seen published anywhere is in Winters's guidebook to Civil War St. Louis.


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