Herman Kabisius Survives Gettysburg – The Ohio River Takes; The Story

Herman Kabisius was born November 15, 1816 in Central Germany, in a state now known as Thuringia. He was the fourth child of August and Wilhelmine (Schnepp). As a teenager he served an apprenticeship in a bookbinder and purse maker workshop. In 1843 he opened his own business and also married Karoline Frenzel. Within a few years they had five children together.

Sometime after 1843 Herman’s bookbinder instructor emigrated to America. This may have played a part in his future as we’ll see.

As his family grew hard times began to fall upon Herman. By 1851 gains in business were no longer able to sustain the family and tensions grew between Herman and Karoline. Herman soon attracted attention by drinking, harassing other clients, and leaving without paying. The picture painted here is not pretty, but on the other hand Herman would have thought at length about his former instructor’s success. Considering himself equally qualified to be successful he eventually could see no option then to emigrate to America and start anew.

In 1852 Herman boarded ship, possibly from Hamburg, for the trip across the Atlantic. Karoline and their now four living children did not accompany him, but he made promises to send money for their passage. Those were promises he never kept.

In America Herman supposedly lived in South Carolina, possibly Charleston, and Baltimore, Maryland. Did he work in his trained occupation? That is unknown. Until 1861 the story of Herman Kabisius’s life, some described here, is mostly a story held and passed on by his family’s descendants. The primary source and also co-author for this writing is a lovely lady, Ute (oo-tay) Gruenewald, who lives in Spain. She is descended from Herman. As far as records in America, Herman’s story begins in August, 1861.

The 68th New York Infantry roster – Kabisius, Herman – Age 35 years. Enlisted, August 8, 1861, at New York City, to serve three years; mustered in a private, Co. E, August 10, 1861; discharged, August 22, 1864 at Nashville, Tenn. Herman was, in truth, forty-five years old when he volunteered.

The 68th, otherwise known as the 2nd German Rifles, was composed of members from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. During their three years the 68th served in the Virginia campaign, fought at Chancellorsville, and at Gettysburg fought in the defense of Cemetery Hill. After Gettysburg they moved west to Tennessee and among other duties patrolled to protect the Nashville to Chattanooga Railroad.

In November of 1864 the 68th N.Y. was ordered to Savannah, Georgia. By that time Herman’s three years had been served and he was discharged in August. Apparently he decided to join the continuing fight, first with the 174th Ohio. On October 2nd he signed up to serve with them.

The 174th Ohio Infantry – This regiment was organized at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio from Aug. 18 to Sept. 21, 1864, to serve for one year. It was ordered to Nashville, Tenn., and to report to Gen. W. T. Sherman. It reached Nashville on Sept. 26. and was immediately ordered to proceed to Murfreesboro, where it remained until Oct. 27.

Based on the above information regarding Herman’s discharge and signing up with the 174th he stayed in Nashville after mustering out of the N.Y. 68th. He signed up with the 174th there shortly after they arrived. He may have even proceeded to Murfreesboro with them.

Two events now intersected with Herman’s life. General John Bell Hood’s army was on the march north after the Confederate’s losses at Atlanta. Hood’s grand plan was to recapture Nashville, move on to Cincinnati, and finally east to join General Lee. In Cincinnati, at Camp Dennison, a new regiment was being organized, filled, and trained. It was to be called the 183rd Ohio Infantry. Desperate to complete the regiment’s companies men were transferred from other regiments locally, in Columbus, and obviously elsewhere. Herman Kabisius was transferred from the 174th, first traveling north to Cincinnati by ship, then by rail to the 183rd Ohio at Camp Dennison. He arrived to join them on October 24th.

If Herman were to write home, or to a friend, he might say “I have arrived at Camp Dennison just to the north side of Cincinnati. The days are long and boring with much marching to and fro and learning to use our rifles, which I already know well. The food is good and they treat us well. New recruits come every day, many of them are Germans from Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati. Fact is some just arrived from the old country.” The large German contingent that made up the 183rd may have been comforting to him.

On November 19, 1864, the 183rd Ohio boarded a steamer at Cincinnati which was headed for Louisville. From there the regiment would then travel by rail to Nashville. The 183rd Roster reads; Kabisius, Herman, age 40 “drowned November 19, 1864 in the Ohio River, by falling overboard from steamer Prima Donna.”

Herman had just turned 48 years old when he disappeared into the murky waters of the Ohio.

SteamboatCivil War era Steamer



August (Augustus) (A.G.) Hatry

Fact; Lt. Col. August G. Hatry enlisted on November 10, 1864 as a Major in the 183rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On November 18th he was commissioned into Field & Staff. Then on December 21, 1864, following the battles of Franklin and Nashville, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel. He was discharged on the first Day of April in 1865.

Fact; this is his photo ( source http://battleoffranklin.wordpress.com ):


As a historian I know that.

As a Genealogist I try to make connections and tell stories so that his ancestors can know better the man behind the historical facts. My searches found no connection of August, or Augustus, A.G. Hatry to Ohio other than the 183rd service record. Expanding on the search I find Augustus Gottfried Hatry in Find-A-Grave buried in Allegany County Pennsylvania. He is about the right age; born in 1840 in Bavaria. Augustus died Jan. 18, 1898. His death record reads “August.” He was married to Louise (Schleiter) who received a veteran’s pension filed in 1898. A Veterans’ Pension for Augustus’s service in the 18th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry……..

Hatry Homewood Cem Allegany county pa
(source: Peter Schultz and Todd Walker; Find-A-Grave)

Connections? Absolutely.

Augustus Gottfried Hatry, born in 1840 died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1898. He had volunteered for duty with the Kentucky 18th Company F. The detailed roster for this unit is not available, but at some point, be it from the beginning or the end of his service, he is a 2nd Lieutenant.

The Kentucky 18th Infantry Regiment was organized at large.
Mustered in February 8, 1862.
Regiment lost during service,
5 Officers and 85 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded,
1 Officer and 152 Enlisted men by disease.
243 lives lost throughout conflict.

The Regiments duties keep them in Kentucky and Tennessee until August of 1863:

Duty guarding Covington & Lexington Railroad. Headquarters at Falmouth, Ky., till April 16, 1862, and at Lexington, Ky., till August 20, 1862. Affairs in Owen County June 20 and 23. Operations in Kentucky against Morgan July 4-28. Action at Cynthiana July 17. Paris July 19. Mt. Sterling, Ky.. July 29. Moved to Richmond, Ky., August 20. Battle of Richmond, Ky., August 30. Regiment mostly captured; those not captured retreat to Louisville, Ky.; thence moved to Covington, Ky., September 28; thence to Paris, Ky., and duty there until December 5. Moved to Lexington, Ky.; thence to Louisville, Ky., January 27, 1863, and to Nashville, Tenn., February 2. Moved to Carthage and duty there till June 2. Moved to Murfreesboro, Tenn., June 2-7. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 23-July 7. Hoover’s Gap June 24-26. Occupation of Tullahoma July 1. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16.

In mid-August 1863 they moved on to duty and the battles in Northern Georgia:

Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Catlett’s Gap, Pigeon Mountain, September 15-18. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21. Rossville Gap September 21. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 22-November 23. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29. Brown’s Ferry October 27. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Orchard Knob November 23-24. Mission Ridge November 25. Duty at Chattanooga till January, 1864.

Two, possibly, significant events took place next. In January, 1864 the unit was Veteranized – meaning that veterans were able to re-enlist. Also, the regiment joined operations against Confederate General Hood after their activities at Atlanta were done. Did Hatry re-enlist and stay with his regiment?

Regiment Veteranize January 5, and Veterans on leave till March. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., March 12; thence march to Ringgold, Ga., March 22-May 7. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September. Assigned May 10 to post duty at Ringgold, Ga. Relieved September 25 and moved to Atlanta, Ga. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama October 3-26, 1864.

At this point, without detailed roster records, there are many possible starts, stops and changes that could hold the truths of Augustus Hatry’s service. However, if Augustus Hatry of the 18th KY re-enlisted in, or was moved to the 183rd O.V.I. in November, 1864, he likely did so in one of two ways; He left his regiment in January, returned home and then was recruited into the 183rd in Cincinnati, or he was moved into the 183rd by Army Commanders during Hood’s operations in Alabama. Either way, it is known that the 183rd was in need of veteran leadership when they were organized, and A.G. certainly filled that need.

During the months of November and December, 1864 the 183rd participated in the fights to protect Nashville from Hood’s invasion. After Hood’s Army was driven back into Alabama where it disbanded, the 183rd Ohio followed the 18th KY a couple months later to;

The 18th KY – March to the sea November 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Fayetteville, N. C., March 11. Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Non-Veterans mustered out April 4, 1865. Advance on Raleigh, N. C., April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett’s House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 30. Grand Review May 24. Moved to Louisville, Ky., June. Mustered out July 18, 1865.

It is interesting to note that August G. Hatry mustered out of the 183rd in April, rather than July with the rest of the regiment.

The pursuit of truths continues.