NEW ULM — The Schilling brothers’ eight letters penned in 1862 evince an extraordinary time in American history as well as a painful part of New Ulm’s past.
The Brown County Historical Society Museum has acquired the documents from descendants of Louis and August Schilling, Union soldiers from New Ulm who sent letters from Civil War battlefields to family members back home who were caught in their own battles with Indians.
The letters, written in archaic German script by the immigrant brothers and yet to be fully translated, show that their concern for the welfare of New Ulm kin appeared to override the peril of having to fight in some of the war’s bloodiest battles.
"From Camp Corinth (Mississippi) May 22, 1862: “They have 160,000 troops and approximately 700 cannons. The weather is great, the nights are cool. The peach trees are brimming with fruit.”
June 26: “The camp site is nice, the water quite good … there are no mosquitoes yet … Uncle Sam won’t provide beer, which is a shame, because it’s currently warm enough to drink a good portion.”