German-Americans in Ohio joined Union effort

If you look through the Erie County phone book, it’s hard to turn a page without coming across at least one if not multiple Germanic surnames.
May 19, 2013


Special to the Register 

Excerpt: By the time war broke out in 1861, multiple waves of German immigrants had arrived in the Great Lakes region. 

Unfortunately, the U.S. was not always welcoming to new immigrants. Germans were easy targets because, unlike British immigrants, they spoke a different language.

Another point of contention for those from the southern German states was their faith. While north German immigrants were Protestant and often viewed as hardworking additions to the community, the U.S. was harshly anti-Catholic at that time, and German and Irish Catholics alike felt that rage on multiple occasions. 

Two well-known examples of this were the Hoboken riots in 1851 and the 1855 riots in Louisville.

The Louisville riots on Aug. 6, 1855, were especially brutal. Protestant mobs attacked Irish and German Catholic neighborhoods. The exact death toll has never been documented but is thought to have been between 20 and 100.

Along with the violence, more than 100 businesses, private homes and tenements were vandalized, looted or burned. Despite this anger, Germans would volunteer to fight for their adopted country in overwhelming numbers. 

More German-Americans would fight for the North than any other immigrant group. Many of these men joined normal state volunteer units composed of multiple immigrant groups as well as native born Americans. Some in areas with large German populations joined regiments entirely or mostly comprised of German immigrants and officers.

Some, such as the 9th Ohio Infantry from Cincinnati, even gave all orders and commands in German, as that language was more comfortable to them.

Another such regiment was the 107th Ohio Infantry. Most of this regiment was composed of German-American immigrants, although a few Stark County companies of native born Americans were included.

Companies F and H were filled by men from Erie and Huron counties. The regiment was organized at Camp Taylor in Cleveland under the command of Col. Seraphim Meyer, a resident of Canton.

The regiment’s first service was September 1862 in support of the Union Army of the Ohio’s successful thwarting of a Confederate invasion of Kentucky that had reached Covington, directly across from Cincinnati.

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The Big Dog's back

Yesterday's Protestant mobs = today's Tea party/right wingnuts.


That comment reminds me of one of the Simpsons episodes when Homer has a choice to go to protestant heaven, where everyone is prim and proper, no alcohol, or the Irish-Italian catholic heaven where every one is drinking and dancing and having a good old time.

Erie County Resident

Gestern protestantischen Mobs = heutigen liberalen Idioten wie Big Dog.
Wenn die Liberalen nicht gefällt angreifen!


The Big Dog,
When I grow up....I don't want to be anything like you.



Sehr interassant!

xdefiance's picture



They built most of Northern America too. Northern values were shaped by Germans.

Woody Hayes

Ohio 55th was also formed out of Norwalk, they were at the end of the "fish hook" at the Battle of Gettysburg.

AJ Oliver

Thanks to Mr. Koch for all these interesting articles. The "Free State of Bavaria", which takes in southern Germany, is home to some of the most advanced tech companies in the world such as BMW. They have a great school system (at least through HS) along with an apprenticeship program that teaches kids all sorts of skills. About half the kids take calculus in high school. They respect labor rights - McDonalds has to play by very different rules in Bavaria than they do here - including providing decent pay, paid sick days, paid vacations from the git-go, and health care. Many Bavarians take great pride in the fact that their dialect is totally incomprehensible to Germans from the north, especially Prussians. The beer is excellent, although I'd stack up the Great Lakes brews from Cleveland against any German beer.

Erie County Resident

I see pooch is posting his usual racist anti-Semitism type rants.
He must have a key assigned to spew that when he hits it.

Erie County Resident

Very informative article Mr. Koch.
An educational piece for our younger readers that have never heard these bits of history.