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Reminiscences About August Kleinschmidt

August Kleinschmidt immigrated to the United States with his father, Nicholas in 1854. He worked as a wagoneer in St. Louis, Mo, and on April 8, 1861 he enlisted in Company G, 24th regiment of the Illinois Volunteer infantry for a duration of three years. He was a private in the army. After he was discharged in 1964, he went home to Sigourney, Iowa. He married Laurette Seeber in 1866 and moved to Blunt South Dakota in 1882 where they raised their family on land granted to him for his service. He had 10 children, of which Albert Frank was the eighth. August died relatively early in life and left his widow, Laurette, to raise his minor children alone.

The story goes that he died while walking home from a cattle roundup after his horse bolted. After his death Laurette received a small pension from the government as a result of August's military service for the North. A document found in 2002, (which was effective 7-13-1890), showed she was to receive $12/month plus $2/month for each minor child until they reached age 16. (Ernest, John, Albert Frank, Edward, and Oscar). When Laurette reached age 70, in 1916, her pension was increased to $20/month. It was increased again in 1917 to $25/month and to $30/ month in 1920.

Another story about August was found in a letter written to "Uncle" Frank and "Aunt" Lillie and signed Ray and Rose - written from Custer, South Dakota, dated 1954. This letter was written by Rose who is the daughter of Tillie Kleinschmidt and grand daughter of August Kleinschmidt.

Here I am quoting exactly as written to Frank and Lillie ----

Bryon Ellerbrock could recall a story often told in the family. One of your Father's army friends
came to see him in Iowa, after the war was over, I believe your folks were married.

The company was camped in Tennessee, and just laying around waiting orders, and talking. They
were kidding your father about leaving Germany and coming to this country because he didn't
want to go into the army there, then right after he came here he enlisted. He said that every
one else where he was had "joined up" , so he thought he might as well, he couldn't get any
work any way. Just a few hours after he left, a group of "Johnnie Rebs" came looking for him
and would have compelled him to join.

Both the boys had lice, and were scratching and picking them. Your father tried to pick them off,
and the other fellow laughed, told him it couldn't be done, that to get rid of them he would have to
boil his clothes. Your father said, "I can do that," and he fixed up the camp fire, got a huge kettle
of water, stripped off all his clothes and ducked them in. No sooner were they boiling than the
bugle sounded orders to march. There was only one thing to do, get the clothes cool enough to
handle, wring them as dry as possible and put them on --- Pvt. Kleinschmidt got into his wet
clothes, and both of them "fell in".

The officer, walking up and down the lines stopped besides them.
"Pvt. Kleinschmidt, what happened?" he bellowed.
Kleinschmidt snapped to attention and saluted. "Captain, I boiled my lice, sir," he answered.
The captain returned his salute and started on down the line.

A soldier riding an unwilling broken down horse which he urged to all possible speed was shouting,
"Corporal of the guard, Lee's surrendered, we go to Nashville and get our money then we can go home."