November 13, 2012

August Bauschke and His Brother John Fought Together

In honor of our Veterans, I want to share another story from my ancestors.  This young immigrant fought under Custer!

August Bauschke (Boss-key) came to America from Germany with his family when he was 12 years old in 1857.    They came into New York Harbor, where they would have come through Ellis Island as they began their new life in America.  His parents had a large family of mostly boys.  His dad was a blacksmith by trade, but farmed in their new hometown Benton Harbor, Michigan until he could set up a blacksmith shop.  

As the Civil war developed, August and his older brother John wanted to enlist.  The 7th regiment of the Michigan Cavalry was organized in Grand Rapids, Michigan in October of 1862.  John age 20 and August age 18 volunteered!  They were probably good with horses because of their dad’s work shoeing horses.  With their Regiment, they rode to Washington DC where they joined the Michigan Brigade.  First they participated in some of the early skirmishes with the Gettysburg Campaign, then they were sent to help Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer in the Battle of Hanover in Pennsylvania in June 1863.  A few days later, they participated in the Battle of Hunterstown.  

At the Battle of Gettysburg, August and John were posted on their horses along the Hanover road on July 3rd.  For several days, small skirmishes broke out among dismounted soldiers, while August and John’s regiment remained mounted.  Most memorably, they charged into the center of the battlefield with Custer shouting, “Come on, you Wolverines!”  The Confederates retreated, although smaller skirmishes continued to break out.  

John and August performed patrol and scouting duty as part of their regiment through the end of 1863, engaging in skirmishes during the Bristoe Campaign and the Mine Run Campaign.

In early 1864, the Michigan Brigade launched a daring raid against the Confederate Capitol at Richmond, Virginia.  They wanted to free Union POW’s, cut off supplies, and cause serious confusion at the enemy headquarters.  They did sever the rail lines, but failed to free their comrades or enter the city of Richmond.  

Later they fought in the Battle of Haw’s Shop in May and the Battle at Trevilian Station in June.  They rode through Washington DC to the Shenandoah Valley to help a besieged Union group.  As they entered Winchester, Virginia, in August 1864, skirmishes broke out.  August was compelled to dismount and was shot in the thigh.  His injury took him out of the action completely.

In a statement describing what happened, August shared the story, which was written as follows.
In the line of his duty as a soldier near a place called Winchester in the State of Virginia during the month of August 1864 while dismounted … in action on the skirmish line he received a musket wound in the right leg the ball passing entirely through the thigh of his leg, disabling him entirely at the time and from which wound he received he has not entirely recovered… He received hospital treatment as follows.  First in Field Hospital for 3 days, Second in the General Hospital at Baltimore, Third was then sent home on a furlough.  

August’s records show that he was out of active duty convalescing over a period of 8 months before he was eventually discharged with John on 24 June 1865.  In their military records, both August and John were listed as POW’s.  I wish I could find out when they were captured and how they got back to their Regiment.  Both survived the war and went home, married and raised families.

This surgeon's report dated April 1, 1908, one of many in August's file, shows the musket wound to the thigh more than 40 years after the injury.  A 'cicatrix' is a badly healed scar that creates tough tissue. 
I don’t have much information on John, but records show that August never fully recovered from his gunshot wound to his thigh.  August’s wound became infected with gangrene, then scabbed badly with tough tissue where supple muscle should have been.  He spent the rest of his life walking with a cane or crutches and fighting for a proper pension from the government.  He ended up living at the Grand Rapids Soldiers’ Home for over a decade when he was unable to care for himself anymore.

I’m so glad that these two brothers supported each other as they served in the Cavalry.  Perhaps they were prisoners together when they had been captured.  Even more, perhaps they worked together to get away.  We should always stick close to our siblings, as they should be our best friends.  

I honor and recognize this immigrant who fought for our freedoms, coming home wounded and disabled.  He gave up his future life for our country.

Historical Data Systems.  American Civil War Regiments.  “Regimental History Michigan 7th Cavalry.”  Provo, UT. USA: Operations, 1999.
“Michigan Brigade.”  Wikipedia. 12 May 2012: n. pag. Web. 12 Nov 2012.
National Archives and Records Administration Records on August Bauschke, Pension Record #382785

1 comment:

  1. Hi Melanie, I read the story with great interest....I've been researching the Baushke family for many years I am related to them. I'd love to chat with you and share what I know, and learn more from name is Mike Balow, I can be reached at