This is the text of a handwritten memorandum by John Zetteler. He wrote it in 1865 after returning home from the Civil War.
John Zetteler was the grandfather of Emery John Schilling, He was also the grandfather of Margaret Zettler, whose name later became Joanne Perez, our Joanne.
John Zetteler was great-grandfather of Don Schilling.
The words are all his, including misspelled words. Paragraphs were added for readability. The original is in the possession of Don Schilling.
With thanks to Don Shilling for sharing this historical document.
Milwaukee Sept. 22nd, 1865
Memmorandom of W. John Zetteler
My name is Wynand John Zetteler. I was born in Holland and came to this country with my parents when I was three years old. I grew up to be a stout boy and learnt the shoemaking trade. While I was to work at my trade the rebellion broke out. I was 17 years old then so I and my brother, one year older than myselve enlisted in Comp. C. 24th Regt. Wis. Vol. Inft. [Company C, 24th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry].
We enlisted on the 12th day of August, 1862 and on the 8th of October our regiment was in the first battle called Perryville. The 2nd battle was Stone River. The 3rd was Chickamauga. The 4th was Mission Ridge. That day I was just 19 years old. After the Battle our Core (4 Corps) was ordered to Knoxville where Gen. Burnside was surrounded. We got to Knoxville but Longstreet smelt a rat and left before we got there. We went 60 miles beyond Knoxville where a brisk skirmish took place at Danridge.
From there we went to Loudon Tenn. where we laid till the Spring campaign commenced. I was with the regt on the whole campaign till I got wounded. Battle of Dalton, Rocky Face Ridge, Dallas, Racacku & Kenassaw Mountain.
On the 24th of June the 4th corp made a charge. I got through the charge all right and we were drawing rations. When the order came, 24th on Picket. We went on Picket. My relief had to stand from one o’clock till daylight. I stood about an hour when a ball struck me in the back, passed through my side and lodged in my elbow. I was taken back to the Field Hospital where I had the ball cut out of my arm. I thought I was all right then. But the Doctor told me afterwards that he didn’t want to amputate my arm for he didn’t think I would live.
From the Field Hospital I was transferred to Chattanooga in box cars. I’ll never forget that ride. I thought it would shake me to pieces. We got to Chattanooga in the hospital where I laid a month before I had my arm taken off.
The Doctor would come to me every day and say, “John, that arm must be amputated.” But I wouldn’t let him do it. At last, on the 27th of July, just a month from the day I got wounded he came to me and said, “If you don’t have that arm off today, tomorrow will be too late.” So I said, “Well then, take it off.”
They carried me out doors and commenced butchering. I never thought I could stand it. I was nothing but skin and bones and besides that, I had a hole in my back from the ball. One hole I had cut in to get two pieces of the ball out and two big bed sores besides my arm and side where the ball came out.
After I had my arm taken off, I gained pretty fast. But now the trouble was I couldn’t get enough to eat (as is often the case in the army). Still I got stronger. When I got so I could walk I was transferred to Nashville. There I got more grub and I picked up well in them ten days I was there, so I could go home.
I got home on the 19th of October, 1864. I took my folks by surprise. And now, I am just as fat and healthy as I ever was.
Written with my left hand this 22nd day of Sept ’65
Wynand John Zetteler late Corporal
Company C 24th Regt. Wis. Vol. Inft.
1st Brigade 2nd Division 4th Army Corp.
Army of the Cumberland
….. (8 lines of what looks like penmanship practice follows).