Posted By Norman Gasbarro on September 13, 2016
Christian Lauer, a 34 year old blacksmith and German immigrant from Tremont, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, enrolled in the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company B, as a Private, at Pottsville, on 10 June 1864. At the time he joined the regiment, he left a wife, Sarah Isabella [Harden] Lauer, and four minor children at their home in Tremont. Unfortunately, he did not return from the war. On 6 June 1864, at White House, Virginia, during the Battle of Cold Harbor, he was seriously wounded and taken from the field to a hospital, where he contracted typho-malarial fever and died some time between 8 June 1864 and 10 June 1864, with the latter date given as the actual date of death in most of the records.
The Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card, shown above from the Pennsylvania Archives, confirms the information about his enrollment, service and death. In addition, personal information is included such as his brown hair, dark complexion, grey eyes, and height of 5 foot, 7 1/2 inches.
On 19 July 1864, the widow Sarah Lauer, applied for pension benefits, which the Pension Index Card (above, from Ancestry.com) shows.
In applying for benefits, Sarah Lauer had to show that she was legally married to Christian Lauer.
In order to prove her marriage, she presented a signed statement (above from Fold3), that both she and her husband were from Tremont, and that they got married in Pottsville on 12 September 1852.
The names and birth dates of the surviving minor children were verified in several places in the pension application, one page of which is shown above (from Fold3). The surviving children were:
- Mary Elizabeth Lauer, born 18 May 1854, Tremont.
- John Adam Lauer, born 21 May 1856, Tremont.
- George C. Lauer, born 31 Aug 1860, Tremont.
- Francis C. “Frank” Lauer, born 13 Sep 1862, Tremont.
In the “fog of war,” it is sometimes difficult to make an accurate claim as to how and when a soldier died. In the case of Christian Lauer, there are several sworn statements that are included in the pension application file. These statements narrow the time of death to a several day period in June 1864 and also give several causes of death – from fever to gunshot wounds to the effects of an exploding shell.
Click on any document below to enlarge.
From Page 25: “… and that he died, 10 June 1864, of wounds received in action…. The Surgeon General reports he died 8 June 1864 of Typhoid fever.”
From Page 35: “… reported died 10 June 1864 at White House, Virginia, of wounds receive in action, 6 June 1864.”
There are 37 pages in the pension application file. All 37 pages are available on Fold3, or can be obtained from the National Archives.
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