Alternate Given Names: Heinrich, Henry. Alternate Spellings of Surname: Zeppenfeld, Zeppenfeldt, Zeppenfelt, Zeppenfield
Born on 6 February 1842 in the Westphalia region of the Kingdom of Prussia in what is now northwestern Germany, Heinrich Zeppenfeld was a son of Anna Maria (Braun) Zeppenfeld (1800-1883) and Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld (1801-1861), natives of the Kingdom of Prussia who were born, respectively, on 7 February 1800 and 3 May 1801.
* Note: Known throughout his later life as “Engel Zeppenfeld,” Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld (1801-1861), was a son of Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld and Maria Johanneta Birkenstauz, and was christened at the Evangelical Lutheran church in the village of Neuenkirchen in Prussia’s Westphalia region on 10 May 1801. His formative years were spent in a region under siege, beginning with the Napoleonic Wars, which commenced before he was even born and ended the year he turned 15, and the resulting strife and uncertainty as both his homeland and religion were reshaped under the German Confederation initiated in 1815 and the Prussian Union of Churches, which began to take hold two years later.
At the age of five, Heinrich Zeppenfeld, his older brother, Friedrich, and their parents emigrated from Germany in search of a better life in America. Departing from Bremen, Germany sometime around the Spring of 1847, they sailed aboard the Kepler – destined for “Sommerville,” according to the ship’s manifest, and disembarked in Maryland’s in June of that same year.
A 17-year-old day laborer in 1860, Heinrich Zeppenfeld resided with his parents (aged 59 and 58, respectively) in the Borough of Allentown’s 5th Ward in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. His name was anglicized to “Henry” in the federal census record of that year. His father supported the trio on the wages of a day laborer, and was reported by the census taker to have amassed real estate and personal holdings of $2,600.
Also residing at the home that year were Henry’s older brother, Frederick Zeppenfeld (aged 25), a native of Prussia, who was born on 7 February 1835 and christened as Friedrich Wilhelm Zeppenfeld at the same church where his father had been baptized – the Evangelical Lutheran church in Neuenkirchen, Westphalia, Prussia, and his Pennsylvania-born wife, Mary (aged 26), and their Pennsylvania-born children, Anna M. (aged 3), and Charles (aged 1). Frederick also helped to support the household on his wages as a day laborer.
* Note: The Zeppenfeld brothers also had a sister, Henriette Catharine Zeppenfeld, who was born in Prussia’s Westphalia region, and christened there on 12 February 1837 – at the same church where they were baptized – the Evangelical Lutheran church in the village of Neunkirchen.
Sadly, a week before Christmas in 1861, family patriarch Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld was gone. After passing away on 17 December that year, he was interred at the Union-West End Cemetery in Allentown. His death was reported in the Christmas Day edition of that city’s German language newspaper, Der Lecha Caunty Patriot.
Lehigh County probate records documented that the administrators for Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld’s will were his widow, Anna M. Zeppenfeld, and his surviving son, Frederick Zeppenfeld. Probate was conducted from 10 January 1862 through 1 January 1866.
Civil War Veterans’ Card File
At the age of 18, Heinrich Zeppenfeld became an early responder to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers to help preserve America’s union. After enrolling for Civil War military service at Allentown in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on 13 September 1861, he the officially mustered in for duty at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Dauphin County on 18 September 1861 as a Private with Company G of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Military records at the time noted that his given name was “Henry,” and described him as being a 5’10” musician and resident of Lehigh County who had dark hair, gray eyes and a fair complexion who was a resident of Lehigh County.
* Note: The initial recruitment for members to fill Company G was conducted in Allentown, Lehigh County – the hometown of the regiment’s founder, Colonel Tilghman H. Good. Company G was led by Captain Charles Mickley, a Mayflower descendant and native of Mickleys near Lehigh County’s Whitehall Township.
Following a brief light infantry training period at Camp Curtin, Private Henry Zeppenfeld and his company were sent by train with the 47th Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. where, beginning 21 September, they were stationed at “Camp Kalorama” on the Kalorama Heights near Georgetown, about two miles from the White House. Henry Wharton, a Musician with the regiment’s C Company, penned an update the next day to his hometown newspaper, the Sunbury American:
After a tedious ride we have, at last, safely arrived at the City of ‘magnificent distances.’ We left Harrisburg on Friday last at 1 o’clock A.M. and reached this camp yesterday (Saturday) at 4 P.M., as tired and worn out a sett [sic] of mortals as can possibly exist. On arriving at Washington we were marched to the ‘Soldiers Retreat,’ a building purposely erected for the benefit of the soldier, where every comfort is extended to him and the wants of the ‘inner man’ supplied.
After partaking of refreshments we were ordered into line and marched, about three miles, to this camp. So tired were the men, that on marching out, some gave out, and had to leave the ranks, but J. Boulton Young, our ‘little Zouave,’ stood it bravely, and acted like a veteran. So small a drummer is scarcely seen in the army, and on the march through Washington he was twice the recipient of three cheers.
We were reviewed by Gen. McClellan yesterday [21 September 1861] without our knowing it. All along the march we noticed a considerable number of officers, both mounted and on foot; the horse of one of the officers was so beautiful that he was noticed by the whole regiment, in fact, so wrapt [sic] up were they in the horse, the rider wasn’t noticed, and the boys were considerably mortified this morning on dis-covering they had missed the sight of, and the neglect of not saluting the soldier next in command to Gen. Scott.
Col. Good, who has command of our regiment, is an excellent man and a splendid soldier. He is a man of very few words, and is continually attending to his duties and the wants of the Regiment.
…. Our Regiment will now be put to hard work; such as drilling and the usual business of camp life, and the boys expect and hope an occasional ‘pop’ at the enemy.
As a unit of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Company G became part of the federal service when the regiment officially mustered into the U.S. Army on 24 September. Three days later, the 47th was assigned to Brigadier-General Isaac Stevens’ 3rd Brigade, which also included the 33rd, 49th and 79th New York regiments. By that afternoon, the regiment was on the move again. Ordered onward by Brigadier-General Silas Casey, the Mississippi rifle-armed 47th Pennsylvania infantrymen marched behind their regimental band until reaching Camp Lyon, Maryland on the Potomac River’s eastern shore. At 5 p.m., they joined the 46th Pennsylvania in moving double-quick (165 steps per minute using 33-inch steps) across the “Chain Bridge” marked on federal maps, and continued on for roughly another mile before being ordered to make camp.
The next morning, they broke camp and moved again. Marching toward Falls Church, Virginia, they arrived at Camp Advance around dusk. There, about two miles from the bridge they had crossed a day earlier, they re-pitched their tents in a deep ravine near a new federal fort under construction (Fort Ethan Allen). They had completed a roughly eight-mile trek, were situated fairly close to General W. F. Smith’s headquarters, and were now part of the massive Army of the Potomac. Under Smith’s leadership, their regiment and brigade would help to defend the nation’s capital from the time of their September arrival through late January when the men of the 47th Pennsylvania would be shipped south.
Once again, Company C Musician Henry Wharton recapped the regiment’s activities, noting, via his 29 September letter home to the Sunbury American, that the 47th had changed camps three times in three days:
On Friday last we left Camp Kalorama, and the same night encamped about one mile from the Chain Bridge on the opposite side of the Potomac from Washington. The next morning, Saturday, we were ordered to this Camp [Camp Advance near Fort Ethan Allen, Virginia], one and a half miles from the one we occupied the night previous. I should have mentioned that we halted on a high hill (on our march here) at the Chain Bridge, called Camp Lyon, but were immediately ordered on this side of the river. On the route from Kalorama we were for two hours exposed to the hardest rain I ever experienced. Whew, it was a whopper; but the fellows stood it well – not a murmur – and they waited in their wet clothes until nine o’clock at night for their supper. Our Camp adjoins that of the N.Y. 79th (Highlanders.)….
We had not been in this Camp more than six hours before our boys were supplied with twenty rounds of ball and cartridge, and ordered to march and meet the enemy; they were out all night and got back to Camp at nine o’clock this morning, without having a fight. They are now in their tents taking a snooze preparatory to another march this morning…. I don’t know how long the boys will be gone, but the orders are to cook two days’ rations and take it with them in their haversacks….
There was a nice little affair came off at Lavensville [sic], a few miles from here on Wednesday last; our troops surprised a party of rebels (much larger than our own.) killing ten, took a Major prisoner, and captured a large number of horses, sheep and cattle, besides a large quantity of corn and potatoes, and about ninety six tons of hay. A very nice day’s work. The boys are well, in fact, there is no sickness of any consequence at all in our Regiment….
Sometime during this phase of duty, as part of the 3rd Brigade, the 47th Pennsylvanians were moved to a site they initially christened “Camp Big Chestnut” for the large chestnut tree located within their lodging’s boundaries. The site would eventually become known to the Keystone Staters as “Camp Griffin,” and was located roughly 10 miles from Washington, D.C.
On 11 October 1861, Private Henry Zeppenfeld and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians engaged in a Grand Review at Bailey’s Cross Roads. In a letter home around this time, C Company Captain John Peter Shindel Gobin reported that companies D, A, C, F and I (the 47th Pennsylvania’s right wing) were ordered to picket duty after the left wing companies (B, G, K, E, and H) had been forced to return to camp by Confederate troops. In his letter of 13 October, Henry Wharton described their duties, as well as their new home:
The location of our camp is fine and the scenery would be splendid if the view was not obstructed by heavy thickets of pine and innumerable chesnut [sic] trees. The country around us is excellent for the Rebel scouts to display their bravery; that is, to lurk in the dense woods and pick off one of our unsuspecting pickets. Last night, however, they (the Rebels) calculated wide of their mark; some of the New York 33d boys were out on picket; some fourteen or fifteen shots were exchanged, when our side succeeded in bringing to the dust, (or rather mud,) an officer and two privates of the enemy’s mounted pickets. The officer was shot by a Lieutenant in Company H [?], of the 33d.
Our own boys have seen hard service since we have been on the ‘sacred soil.’ One day and night on picket, next day working on entrenchments at the Fort, (Ethan Allen.) another on guard, next on march and so on continually, but the hardest was on picket from last Thursday morning ‘till Saturday morning – all the time four miles from camp, and both of the nights the rain poured in torrents, so much so that their clothes were completely saturated with the rain. They stood it nobly – not one complaining; but from the size of their haversacks on their return, it is no wonder that they were satisfied and are so eager to go again tomorrow. I heard one of them say ‘there was such nice cabbage, sweet and Irish potatoes, turnips, &c., out where their duty called them, and then there was a likelihood of a Rebel sheep or young porker advancing over our lines and then he could take them as ‘contraband’ and have them for his own use.’ When they were out they saw about a dozen of the Rebel cavalry and would have had a bout with them, had it not been for…unlucky circumstance – one of the men caught the hammer of his rifle in the strap of his knapsack and caused his gun to fire; the Rebels heard the report and scampered in quick time….
On Friday morning, 22 October, the 47th then engaged in a Divisional Review, described by historian Lewis Schmidt as massing “about 10,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, and twenty pieces of artillery all in one big open field.” In late October, according to Schmidt, the men from Companies B, G and H woke at 3 a.m., assembled a day’s worth of rations, marched four miles from camp, and took over picket duties from the 49th New York:
Company B was stationed in the vicinity of a Mrs. Jackson’s house, with Capt. Kacy’s Company H on guard around the house. The men of Company B had erected a hut made of fence rails gathered around an oak tree, in front of which was the house and property, including a persimmon tree whose fruit supplied them with a snack. Behind the house was the woods were the Rebels had been fired on last Wednesday morning while they were chopping wood there.
In his letter of 17 November, Henry Wharton revealed still more details about life at Camp Griffin:
This morning our brigade was out for inspection; arms, accoutrements [sic], clothing, knapsacks, etc, all were out through a thorough examination, and if I must say it myself, our company stood best, A No. 1, for cleanliness. We have a new commander to our Brigade, Brigadier General Brannen [sic], of the U.S. Army, and if looks are any criterion, I think he is a strict disciplinarian and one who will be as able to get his men out of danger as he is willing to lead them to battle….
The boys have plenty of work to do, such as piquet [sic] duty, standing guard, wood-chopping, police duty and day drill; but then they have the most substantial food; our rations consist of fresh beef (three times a week) pickled pork, pickled beef, smoked pork, fresh bread, daily, which is baked by our own bakers, the Quartermaster having procured portable ovens for that purpose, potatoes, split peas, beans, occasionally molasses and plenty of good coffee, so you see Uncle Sam supplies us plentifully….
A few nights ago our Company was out on piquet [sic]; it was a terrible night, raining very hard the whole night, and what made it worse, the boys had to stand well to their work and dare not leave to look for shelter. Some of them consider they are well paid for their exposure, as they captured two ancient muskets belonging to Secessia. One of them is of English manufacture, and the other has the Virginia militia mark on it. They are both in a dilapidated condition, but the boys hold them in high estimation as they are trophies from the enemy, and besides they were taken from the house of Mrs. Stewart, sister to the rebel Jackson who assassinated the lamented Ellsworth at Alexandria. The honorable lady, Mrs. Stewart, is now a prisoner at Washington and her house is the headquarters of the command of the piquets [sic]….
Since the success of the secret expedition, we have all kinds of rumors in camp. One is that our Brigade will be sent to the relief of Gen. Sherman, in South Carolina. The boys all desire it and the news in the ‘Press’ is correct, that a large force is to be sent there, I think their wish will be gratified….
On 21 November, the 47th participated in a morning divisional headquarters review under the watchful eyes of Colonel Good, followed by brigade and division drills all afternoon. According to Schmidt, “each man was supplied with ten blank cartridges.” Afterward, “Gen. Smith requested Gen. Brannan to inform Col. Good that the 47th was the best regiment in the whole division.”
As a reward – and in preparation for bigger things to come, Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan obtained brand new Springfield rifles for every member of the 47th Pennsylvania.
Next ordered to move from their Virginia encampment back to Maryland, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers left Camp Griffin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 January 1862. Marching through deep mud with their equipment for three miles in order to reach the railroad station at Falls Church, they were sent by rail to Alexandria, and then sailed the Potomac via the steamship City of Richmond to the Washington Arsenal. While there, they were reequipped before being marched off for dinner and rest at the Soldiers’ Retreat in Washington, D.C. The next afternoon, the 47th Pennsylvanians hopped rail cars on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and headed for Annapolis, Maryland. Arriving around 10 p.m., they were assigned quarters in barracks at the Naval Academy. They then spent that Friday through Monday (24-27 January 1862) loading their equipment and other supplies onto the steamship Oriental.
As the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers commenced boarding the Oriental during the afternoon of 7 January, they were ferried to the big steamship by smaller steamers with the officers boarding last. Per the directive of Brigadier-General Brannan, they then departed for the Deep South at 4 p.m., and made their way toward Florida which, despite its secession from the Union, remained strategically important to the Union due to the presence of Forts Taylor and Jefferson in Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
In early February 1862, Company G and their fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers arrived in Key West, where they were assigned to garrison Fort Taylor. During the weekend of Friday, 14 February, the regiment made its presence known as it paraded through the streets of the city. That Sunday, a number of the men from the regiment then mingled with locals at area church services.
Drilling daily in heavy artillery tactics and other military strategies, they felled trees, built new roads and helped to strengthen the facility’s fortifications.
From mid-June through July, the 47th was ordered to Hilton Head, South Carolina where the men made camp before being housed in the Department of the South’s Beaufort District. Picket duties north of the 3rd Brigade’s camp were commonly rotated among the regiments present there at the time, putting soldiers at increased risk from sniper fire. According to historian Samuel P. Bates, the men of the 47th “received the highest commendation from Generals Hunter and Brannan” for their “attention to duty, discipline and soldierly bearing.”
Sometime during this phase of duty, Private Henry Zeppenfeld fell ill with typhoid fever. Confined to the Union Army’s General Hospital No. 2 at Beaufort, South Carolina, he died there on 10 September 1862.
Initially interred near the hospital, his remains were subsequently exhumed by Allentown, Pennsylvania undertaker, Paul Balliet, with those of other fallen Pennsylvania soldiers, and returned to the Lehigh Valley for burial on the soil of his adopted homeland. His remains were ultimately re-interred at the Union-West End Cemetery, the same cemetery in his adopted hometown of Allentown where his father had been laid to rest barely a year earlier.
According to regimental historian Lewis Schmidt, the remains of the “former baker from Allentown who had been born in Prussia” were “returned home on November 29, 1862, on the transport Delaware by undertaker Paul Balliett of Allentown,” and “were buried in the Union West End Cemetery on Sunday November 30.”
In its 3 December 1862 edition Der Lecha Caunty Patriot reported that Allentown undertaker Paul Balliet had traveled to South Carolina to retrieve Private Zeppenfeld’s remains and those of several other 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. A very rough translation of that notice reads as follows:
Mr. Paul Balliet, an Allentown undertaker and some others from our towns here, arrived last Saturday after a 14-day trip to Beaufort, South Carolina to bring back the bodies of Henry A. Blumer, Aaron Fink, Henry Zeppenfeld, and Capt. George Junker, and return the bodies of these aforementioned men to their relatives….
His mother then filed for, and was awarded, a U.S. Civil War Mother’s Pension on 17 April 1866. The file for the paperwork she completed for her application is available on Fold3.
What Happened to the Surviving Zeppenfeld Family Members?
In 1870, family matriarch Anna Maria Zeppenfeld continued to make her home in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, residing at the home of her surviving son, Fred Zeppenfeld, and his wife, Mary, and their children, Anna (aged 14), Louisa (aged 5), and Emma (aged 3). Described by the federal census taker that year as a laborer who still did not read or write English, Fred Zeppenfeld had already amassed personal and real estate holdings valued at $5,200, a tidy sum during that era. Also residing at the home at this time was 17-year-old Frederick Zeppenfeld, who was most likely Fred Zeppenfeld’s oldest child.
According to mentions of the family in The Allentown Democrat and other late 19th century Pennsylvania newspapers, the Zeppenfelds continued to reside in Allentown during the early 1880s. Before the decade was out, however, they had lost their matriarch. On 28 August 1883, more than 20 years after the untimely passing of half of her family, Anna Maria (Braun) Zeppenfeld was finally reunited with her husband and baker-soldier son.
1. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.
2. Block, Matthew. Remembering the 200th Anniversary of the Forced Union of Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Prussia. St. Louis, Missouri: International Lutheran Council, 5 October 2017.
3. Friedrich Wilhelm Zeppenfeld, Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld, and Anna Zeppenfeld, in Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 (Westfalen, Prussia, 22 Feb 1835). Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, FHL microfilm 594,902.
4. Gestörben (death of Engel Zeppenfeld). Allentown, Pennsylvania: Der Lecha Caunty Patriot, 25 December 1861.
5. Henriette Catharine Zepienfeld, Johannes Engel Zepienfeld, and Anna Zepienfeld, in Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 (Westfalen, Prussia, 12 February 1837). Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, FHL microfilm 594,902.
6. Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld (son), Johannes Engel Zeppenfeld (father), and Maria Johanneta Birkenstauz, in Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898 (Westfalen, Prussia, 10 May 1801). Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, FHL microfilm 594,902.
7. Johannes Zeppenfeld, Anna Maria Zeppenfeld, Engel Zeppenfeld, Frederick Zeppenfeld, and Heinrich Zeppenfeld, in Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests, in Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004 (Record Group 85), in Records of the U.S. Customs Service (Record Group 36, NAI Number: 2655153). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, June 1847.
8. Maria Zeppenfield and Engel Zeppenfelt, in Salem United Church of Christ Records, in Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records (Reel 583). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 28 August 1883.
9. Results of the Congress of Vienna. London, England: Encyclopaedia Britannica, retrieved online 1 November 2017.
10. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Self-published, 1986.
11. U.S. Census. Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania: 1860, 1870.
12. Zeppenfeldt, Henry and Maria, in U.S. Civil War Pension Index. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1866.
13. Zeppenfelt, Henrich, in Pennsylvania Veterans’ Burial Cards (Record of Burial Place of Veteran). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Department of Military Affairs, 1862.
14. Zeppenfeld, Henry Frederick and Frederick Zeppenfeldt, in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
15. Zurückgefehrt, in Der Lecha Caunty Patriot. Allentown, Pennsylvania: 3 December 1862.
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