My 2g-grandfather, John Brenner, was born in Adelshofen, Baden, on 10 February, 1836. He arrived in the United States on the William Tell, 19 October 1854. 6½ years later John’s newly adopted country was engaged in Civil War. On April 15th, President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops to respond to the attack on Fort Sumpter. John Brenner was one of those who responded.
Dana Bode, great grandson of John Brenner and my first cousin once removed, gathered data about John Brenner’s Civil War military service: 1) a photo copy of a discharge certificate for John Brenner’s service in the 19th Ohio Volunteer Militia (OVM), dated 29 August 1861; 2) a photo copy of a certificate from the Ohio Adjutant General’s Office indicating John Brenner’s service in the 11th Ohio Volunteer Militia (OVM), dated 8 July 1950; 3) a photo copy of a discharge certificate for John Brenner’s service in the 44th Battalion of the Ohio National Guard (ONG), dated 1 May 1866; 4) a copy of a letter in John’s own hand, dated 10 November 1900; and 6) John Brenner’s pension records. These resources are now in my possession. To them I have added the 1890 Census (Veterans Schedule) for Mahoning County, Ohio. And a copy to John Brenner’s Pension Index Card. Let me first review the information contained in these sources:
John Brenner; Private; Company B, 19th Regiment, OVM; enlisted: 27 April 1861; discharged: 29 August 1861, “Expiration of term of Enlistment;” age 25. The certificate is dated 29 August 1861. (Note: no data is given in spaces for date / state of birth, height, complexion, eyes, hair, occupation at time of enrollment.)
2. 44th ONG Discharge Certificate
John Brenner; Private; D Company, 44th Reg’t, ONG; age 28; residing in Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio; enlistment date: 23 July 1863 for 5 years; honorably discharged, “having been mustered into U.S. Service in May, 1864, under the call for ‘one hundred days men,’ and honorably discharged therefrom.” The certificate is dated 1 May 1866.
3. 11th OVM (Certificate indicating records held by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Office)
John Brenner; Corporal; Company C, 11th Regiment, OVM; enlisted: 2 September 1862; “was mustered into the United States service as such for the period of 1 month;” “mustered out with the Company” 2 October 1862. “Born 4-15-1843. Died: 9-28-1909. Buried: Belmont Park Cem. Liberty Twp., Ohio Grave #1 Block # Elm-B. Lot #3-23.” The certificate is dated July 8, 1950.
4. John Brenner’s Letter (10 November 1900)
Enlisted in 19th OVI, April 1861; discharged 29 August 1861, a Private. Enlisted in ONG, 23 July 1863 for 5 years; discharged 1 May 1866, a Corporal. Enlisted in “regular volunteer service,” 2 May 1864; discharged 27 August, 1864, a 2nd Corporal
5. Pension Records and Pension Index Card
D Company, 155th Ohio Infantry; B Company, 19th Ohio Infantry. Invalid application #958168 filed by John Brenner on 20 November 1890; Widow’s application # 928351 filed by Catharine Brenner on 7 October 1909.
6. 1890 Census (Veterans Schedule)
John Brenner. Private, Company B, 19th OVM; enlisted 27 April 1861; discharged 29 August 1861; 4 months and 2 days service. 2nd Corporal, Company D, 155th ONG; enlisted 2 May 1864; discharged 27 August 1864; 3 months and 25 days service.
On first glance, it would seem that my 2g-grandfather, John Brenner, served in 4 separate units during the Civil War: in 1861, the 19th OVI for 4 months and 2 days; in 1862, the 11th OVM for 1 month; in 1864, the 155th OVI for 3 months and 25 days; and in 1863-66, the 44th ONG for 2 years, 9 months, and 8 days. (Note: the service dates for the 155th OVI were during the term of service in the 44th ONG.)
OR DID HE?
Some inconsistencies and/or conflicts arose as I looked more closely at the data:
- John Brenner’s letter does not indicate any 1862 service in the 11th Ohio Volunteer Militia. It was this omission that prompted my further investigation into John Brenner’s Civil War service record.
- The data indicates that John Brenner was a Private in 1861, a Corporal in 1862, a Private in 1863, a 2nd Corporal in 1864, and finally discharged as a Corporal in 1866. That he would be a Corporal in 1862, but a Private again in 1863, is certainly possible, but it raises questions.
- The information provided by the Ohio Adjutant General’s Office in 1950 indicated that John Brenner was Born in 1843 and died in 1909 (and was buried in Belmont Park Cemetery). My 2g-grandfather did die on 9 September 1909 and, while initially buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, his grave was eventually moved to Belmont Park Cemetery in the Elm section.
Further investigation revealed the following:
- “In early May, 1864, the 92nd Regiment of the Ohio National Guard and the 44th Battalion (Mahoning County) were consolidated to form the 155th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/155th_Ohio_Infantry).
- The “Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Vol. 1-12″ (online database at Ancestry.com) lists a John Brenner in the 19th OVI, the 11th OVM, and the 155th OVI.
- My 2g-grandfather’s service in the 155th OVI was confirmed by an affidavit (in his pension file) given by Leander D. Robinson. Robinson testified as a witness to the injury John Brenner’s incurred while serving in the 155th OVI. “My knowledge of the above was derived being present with the Campany at the time, observing his symptoms and hearing his complaints.”
- John wife, Catharine, and his oldest son, Judson, are included in the papers of the Pension File.
- A review of the Ohio Death Index for 1909 has only one John Brenner listed as dying on 28 September 1909. That surely was my 2g-grandfather.
- The 1870 Census records for West Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, shows a John Brenner (son of Michael and Gertrude Brenner), age 27, born in Pennsylvania. His age is consistent with the 15 April 1843 birth date given on the 11th OVM Certificate from the Ohio Adjutant General’s Office.
- The 11th OVM was recruited in four southwestern Ohio counties (Hamilton, Montgomery, Miami, and Clinton) and one northeastern Ohio county (Columbiana). [Horton, Hoshua H. A History of the Eleventh Regiment (Ohio Volunteer Infantry). Dayton: W. J. Shuey, 1866. Online in Google Books]
The data regarding the service of my 2g-grandfather, John Brenner, in the 19th Regiment Ohio Voluntary Infantry, the 44th Regiment Ohio National Guard, and 155th Regiment Ohio Voluntary Infantry seems rather conclusive. His participation in the 11th OVM is questionable. It is more likely that the John Brenner who served in the 11th OVM is the same 27 year old John Brenner who was enumerated in 1870 as residing in Columbiana County, Ohio, with his parents (Michael and Gertrude Brenner). Since my 2g-grandfather was originally buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Youngstown, Ohio, but his grave was later removed to Belmont Park Cemetery by his son, Judson, I would guess that the information concerning the removal of his grave to Belmont Park Cemetery was at some later point forwarded to the Ohio Adjutant General’s Office and added to the wrong John Brenner file. This would explain the inconsistencies recorded on the 1950 certificate regarding the John Brenner who served in the 11th OVM.
My one last task pertaining to this investigation is to correspond with the Office of the Adjutant General of the State of Ohio and suggest that their information regarding two different John Brenners may have been mixed together.