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Wildermuth Family Letters

Identifier: MS-3360

  • Staff Only

John, Henry, and Eli Wildermuth wrote many of these 22 letters while serving with the Union Army during the Civil War. John speaks mostly of the battles on the Western front, discussing the siege of Vicksburg in 1862 and describing the city of Memphis, where he was hospitalized in 1863. Henry speaks primarily of the Eastern front, including the siege of Savannah in 1864. Eli writes of the devastation in Alabama and how his only desire is to return home after witnessing the atrocities of war and the conditions in Camp Randall, where he was stationed in 1865. Throughout the letters all three frequently recall the things they love most of all about Wisconsin, including the leaves turning yellow and sledding through the snow at Christmas time. Two of the later letters were written by officers Wm. H Bennet and James H. Clifton telling the Wildermuths of the deaths of their sons John and Henry, respectively.


  • 1862 September 17-1865 May 20

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0.3 Linear Feet


This collection houses 22 letters written between various members of the Wildermuth family during the Civil War. Brothers John, Henry, and Eli Wildermuth wrote much of this correspondence while serving in the Union Army and discuss such topics as life in the South, the battles they have experienced, their living conditions, and their desire to return home to Wisconsin.

Biographical/Historical Note

REM famhist on ancestry

David Clinton Wildermuth (1803-1889) married Anna Newkirk (1814-1907) in Fairfield County, Ohio on 1831 November 15. They moved to Illinois in 1835 and again to Fayetteville, Wisconsin in 1845. The couple had ten children: Francis O. (1832-1850), Edwin Carpenter (1834-1925), Eli Mozart (1836-1925), Clarissa Ann (Wildermuth) Berry (1839-1920), Henry C. (1842-1835), John William (1844-), Cordelia (Wildermuth) Stout (1848-1926), David (1849-1850), Louisa Olive (Wildermuth) Carpenter (1850-1895), and Daniel Raymond.

David Wildermuth began his life as a Methodist but converted to the early Church of Latter-Day Saints and later to the Reformed Church of Latter-Day Saints. Although Anna (Newkirk) Wildermuth remained a Methodist until her death, many of their children also converted. Their faith was important to them, and many express their desire to be better Christians and live more harmoniously with their faith in their writings.

Edwin Carpenter Wildermuth married Julia Ann Reagles on May 1, 1860 and the couple had several children:

Lorain E. (1861-1865) Myrtle L. (1862-1865) Loretta (Wildermuth) Norwood (1866- Ada (Wildermuth) Beely (1869- Grace (Wildermuth) Gordon (1873-1934). Frank Leonard (1877-1877) Birdie (1883- Florence (1886-

Edwin Wildermuth was drafted into Company D of the 11th Wisconsin Infantry on 1865 February 28 and mustered out with his unit on 1865 September 4. The family later moved to Oakdale, Nebraska, where Edwin Wildermuth died on 1925 October 15.

Eli Mozart Wildermuth was born on 22 November 1836 in Coles County, Illinois. Eli fought with the Union during the Civil War, but his regiment is unknown and the details of his duties are uncertain. After the war, he became deeply involved with the Reformed Church of Latter-Day Saints. Eli Wildermuth was married three times: to Angeline Ryma, to Cynthia Pamela Shumway, and to Jane Cooper. He had eight children before his death on 1925 September 14 in Plano, Illinois.

Henry C. Wildermuth was born on 1842 April 16 in Illinois. During the Civil War, he served with Company G of the 16th Wisconsin Infantry. Henry Wildermuth died of disease near Beaufort, South Carolina on 1865 January 30.

John William Wildermuth was born on 1844 July 13 in Illinois. During the Civil War, John fought with the 25th Wisconsin Infantry, which left Wisconsin on 1862 September 14 and fought throughout the South for the duration of the war. John fell ill in 1863 and was hospitalized for some time in Memphis, Tennessee. After spending much of the winter in the hospital, John determined he was well enough to fight and rejoined his regiment in battle. He died shortly after in Decatur, Alabama from a relapse of his illness.


This collection consists of three folders.

Acquisition Note

Special Collection purchased these letters in 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA