Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Charles & William Issermoyer
William & Charles Issermoyer
Charles Issermoyer and his younger brother, William Issermoyer, were mustered into Company D, One Hundred fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry regiment on October 7, 1862 under the surname, 'Isemoyer'. The 153rd PVI was a nine month company raised in Northampton County although the Issermoyer brothers were from Lehigh County. Charles entered with the rank of Corporal and William as a Private. The regiment proceeded to Washington D.C. and was then ordered to duty with the Eleventh Corps, the First Brigade, First Division.
On the 9th of December, upon the eve of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the brigade was ordered forward and reached Stafford Court House after an exhausting march. The unit did not participate in the fighting at Fredericksburg. It was later ordered to Potomac Creek Bridge where it settled into winter-quarters. On February 21, 1863 Corporal Charles Issermoyer was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
It was not until early May of 1863 that the 153rd would be engaged in battle. At that time, the regiment was on the Chancellorsville battle-ground. The 153rd was positioned on the extreme right of the Union line when the Rebel forces attacked. General Lee determined that the right flank of the Union line was weak and, splitting his forces into two groups against a superior force, he had General Jackson charge the right flank.
The One Hundred and Fifty-third was the first unit to be struck. With the steadiness of veterans, the regiment returned fire with deadly effect. The enemy was then coming in on both flanks and it would be certain destruction to stand longer and accordingly the unit was ordered to retire. Broken and disorganized by this overwhelming blow by the enemy, the brigade retired rapidly. The Union forces were able to regroup and the battle continued for on the next day (May 3,1863). The loss for the One Hundred Fifty-third was nineteen men killed, three officers, and fifty-three men wounded and thirty-three taken prisoner.
One of those taken prisoner, on May 3rd, was Sergeant Charles Issermoyer. He was transported to Richmond, Virginia and imprisoned in Libby Prison in that city where he remained until exchanged. This prison was primarily used for Union officers but enlisted men would come to Libby Prison and then be transferred elsewhere or would be exchanged.
From the Richmond Enquirer, 5/12/1862, p. 1, c. 6
PRISONERS OF WAR. – Up to yesterday morning there were in the Government prisons, in this city, the following captives: Prisoners of war, 918; disloyal citizens, 196; Confederate soldiers, 22; deserter from the Federals, 10; negroes, 16 – Total, 1,157. Of the foregoing, 860 privates were paroled and sent down the river last night, by the steamer Northampton, to Newport News, to be exchanged for an equivalent number of our men in the hands of the enemy. The departing Yankees were under the charge of Major Warner and Lieut. Turner, of the Confederate States Army, and did not appear sorry to go.
It is believed that Sergeant Charles Issermoyer was among those exchanged on May 12, 1863. Is it not odd that a Union soldier that enlisted in Northampton County was transported to Newport News to be exchanged on a steamer named 'Northampton'?
The Eleventh Corps, to which the 153rd was attached, arrived at Emmittsburg on the 30th of June. At eight o'clock on the following morning, it was put in motion towards Gettysburg, moving at a rapid rate to the sound of the enemy's guns. The Corps engaged the enemy which was already in heavy force, advancing on all sides. It was losing fearfully and had no hope of gaining any advantage, when Colonel Von Gilsa, unwilling to sacrifice his men needlessly ordered them back. In this brief engagement, the 153 rd regiment lost one officer, and thirty-two men killed, eight officers, and ninety-three men wounded, and eighty-two missing and prisoners. The Corps was soon after ordered to retreat through the town, and take position on Cemetery Hill.
On July 2nd at about four in the afternoon, a perfect storm of shot and shell was poured upon the Eleventh Corps, inflicting merciless slaughter. Shot and shell were poured into them from the artillery crowning the hill, along with showers of bullets from the well poised muskets of the Confederate infantry. The Corps was pushed by the Rebels to the point that they were compelled to retire on their first line of defenses, but even then the enemy followed, while the more daring were already within the Union lines and were now resolutely advancing toward the Union pieces.
The foremost one had already reached a piece, when, throwing himself over the muzzle of the cannon, he called out the the by standing gunners: "I take command of this gun." 'Du sollst sic haben,'* was the curt reply of the sturdy German, who, at that very moment, was in the act of firing. A second later, and the soul of the daring rebel had "taken its flight." With a desperate persistence, the enemy struggled for the mastery; but in vain. His bravest had already fallen. The Union lines were being rapidly reinforced, and seeing no hope of holding ground, the Confederate troops sullenly retired.
Among those captured and taken prisoner was Pvt. William Issermoyer. He was captured on July 1st, the first day of battle. However, he had returned to his company prior to it being mustered out of service.
The battle of Gettysburg ended the hard fighting for the 153rd regiment. Although it's term of enlistment had expired, and it had asked for its release; their request was denied and the regiment continued to move with the Corps in pursuit of the rebel forces. Finally on the 14th, orders for the discharge of the regiment were received, it moved by Frederick City and Baltimore, to Harrisburg, where on July 24, 1863, the regiment was mustered out of service.
On taking leave of the regiment, upon its departure from his brigade, Colonel Von Gilsa said: "I am an old soldier, but never did I know soldiers, who, with greater alacrity and more good will, endeavored to fulfill their duties. In the battle of Chancellorsville you, like veterans, stood your ground against fearful odds, and, although surrounded on three sides, you did not retreat until by me commanded to do so. In the three days battle at Gettysburg, your behavior put many an old soldier to the blush, and you are justly entitled to a great share of the glory which my brigade has won for itself, by repulsing the two dreaded Tiger Brigades of Jackson. In the name of your comrades of the First Brigade, and myself, I now bid you farewell."
In 1910, Charles Issermoyer was living at 139 North Lumber Street in the 4th ward in Allentown, Pennsylvania with his second wife, Sarah. He was 67 years of age and his wife was 54 years of age. They had been married five years. Charles Issermoyer was born in Pennsylvania, but both of his parents were born in Germany. He was a shoemaker and owned his own shop. In the house with them was Martin A. Johnson, 24; Annie Johnson, 21; and Milton R. Johnson, their son who was less than one month of age. Martin was born in Denmark but came to the U. S. as a child in 1890. He and Annie had been married one year. He was employed as a Ribbon Weaver in a silk mill. He is listed as a son-in-law and Annie as a daughter. Sarah gave birth to three children and only one was living in 1910, so it can be presumed that this was Sarah's daughter by a previous marriage.
Charles and William were the sons of Lewis Issermoyer, born 22 Feb 1798, died 8 Oct 1861, and Hannah Issermoyer, born 16 Oct 1808, died 13 March 1866.
Charles Issermoyer was born on June 26, 1843 and died on April 20, 1911, at age 68 years, 8 months and 26 days. His first wife and the mother of his children was Eliza A., who died on 19 July 1903. Charles and Eliza had at least three children. Two died in infancy: Laura A., born 10 July 1869, died 12 Feb 1872 and Lillie E., born 14 March 1872 and died 18 Feb 1873. Charles, Eliza, Laura and Lillie as well as Charles' parents, Lewis and Hannah are buried in the family plot in Union and West End Cemetery. It is believed that the third child was a boy.
* "You should not have!"
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