Sponheimer, Lewis (Private and Musician)

Moravian Church, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.

Born on 9 March 1830 in Upper Milford Township near Emmaus, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Lewis Sponheimer was the son of Lehigh County native, Maria (Daubert) Sponheimer. His Pennsylvania death certificate indicates that his father was Lehigh County native Lewis Sponheimer; however, his death entry in the Emmaus Moravian Church ledger (made by the Rev. A. E. Abel, the pastor who officiated at his funeral) indicates that his father was Ludwig Sponheimer, and that his parents were unmarried at the time of his birth.

According to his obituary, Lewis Sponheimer spent his formative years on a farm. He married Pennsylvania native, Catharine Hilderbeitel (born 30 June 1843; died 29 January 1916) in 1855. Together, they had the following children:

  • George Sponheimer, who was born circa 1862, and was a resident of South Allentown at the time of his father’s death;
  • Twins Francis J. Sponheimer (born 1870) and Joseph E. Sponheimer (1870-1939), who were both residents of Emmaus at the time of their father’s death;
  • William D. Sponheimer, who was born circa 1875, and was a resident of Allentown at the time of his father’s death;
  • Henry E. Sponheimer, who was born circa 1876, and preceded his parents in death; and
  • Mrs. James Mosser, who later resided in Republic, Pennsylvania.

At the dawn of the Civil War, Lewis Sponheimer supported his growing family on the wages of a shoemaker in Allentown, Lehigh County.

Civil War Military Service — 104th Pennsylvania Volunteers

On 23 September 1861, Lewis Sponheimer enrolled for military duty as a Musician with the 104th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Known more commonly as the “Ringgold Regiment,” the 104th Pennsylvania was founded by Colonel William Watts Hart (“W. W. H.”) Davis, a Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania native who had worked his way up in the U.S. Army’s ranks during the Mexican War to be appointed as Captain of Company E with the 1st Massachusetts Infantry, and who had then performed his Three Months’ Service in the opening days of the Civil War as the founder and Captain of Company I of the 25th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry. (Davis also then later went on to be honored by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for his “meritorious services during the operations against Charlestown, South Carolina.”)

Initially stationed and trained in Pennsylvania, Lewis Sponheimer and his fellow 104th Pennsylvanians were transported on 6 November 1861 to Washington, D.C. Upon arrival, they made camp near Georgetown. Responsibilities during the early days for the regiment included the transport of Union supplies, picket duty, and skirmishing.

On 2 March 1862, the 104th Pennsylvania joined with other Union troops to serve as the escort for the funeral of General Frederick W. Lander, a former aide-de-camp of General George B. McClellan who went on to distinguish himself as a division commander with the Army of the Potomac. That same month, the 104th Pennsylvania was attached to Brigadier-General Silas Casey’s Division. [During Lewis Sponheimer’s tenure, the 104th Pennsylvania was attached to the Army of the Potomac’s 4th Army Corps, 3rd Division, 1st Brigade (until June 1862).]

Camp and military duty sites included Fortress Monroe, Hampton, Yorktown Four Corners, Bottom’s Bridge at the Chickahominy River, Seven Pines, Savage Station, and Fair Oaks.

On 11 August 1862, Lewis Sponheimer was honorably discharged with his fellow musicians as part of the federal government’s elimination of military bands, viewed at that time as an unnecessary expense in light of projections for a longer and more costly war than was initially anticipated by Union Army leaders.

Civil War Military Service — 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers

At the age of 32, Lewis Sponheimer re-enrolled for service at Allentown, Pennsylvania on 21 October 1862 with Major William H. Gausler, and mustered in as a Private with Company A of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Dauphin County on 29 October 1862. He then connected with his regiment from a recruiting depot in Beaufort, South Carolina on 18 November 1862.


Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida, Harper's Weekly, 1864 (public domain).

Rendering of Fort Taylor, Key West, Florida (Harper’s Weekly, 1864, public domain).

Lewis Sponheimer and the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers spent much of 1863 garrisoning federal installations in Florida as part of the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps, Department of the South. The  soldiers of A Company joined with those from Companies B, C, E, G, and I in guarding Key West’s Fort Taylor while Companies D, F, H, and K garrisoned Fort Jefferson, the Union’s outpost in the Dry Tortugas off the coast of Florida.

During this phase of duty, men from the 47th Pennsylvania were assigned to fell trees, build roads and continue strengthening the fortifications of their respective facilities. In addition, they were also sent out on skirmishes.


Blockhouse, Fort Myers (circa 1850s), FloridaStateArchivesIn early January 1864, the 47th was ordered to further extend the reach of the Union Army. Company A’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Graeffe and a group of men from A Company were assigned to special duty involving raids on area cattle herds in order to provide food for the Union’s growing troop presence across Florida. Their travels took them as far north as Fort Myers (see illustration of the fort’s blockhouse at left).

Abandoned in 1858 following the U.S. government’s third war with the Seminole Indians, the fort was ordered to be reoccupied by General D. P. Woodbury, Commanding Officer, U.S. Department of the Gulf, District of Key West and the Tortugas. He hoped the fort’s revitalization would facilitate the Union’s Gulf Coast blockade while also offering shelter for pro-Union supporters and those fleeing Rebel troops, including Confederate Army deserters and escaped slaves. According to historian Lewis Schmidt:

Capt. Richard A. Graeffe, accompanied by Assistant Surgeon William F. Reiber, commanded the main portion of Company A which boarded ship on Monday, January 4 and sailed the following day, Tuesday, for Fort Myers, on the Caloosahatchee River fifteen air miles southeast of Charlotte Harbor. The company was transported on board the Army quartermaster schooner Matchless, after having embarked the day before, and was accompanied by the steamer U.S.S. Honduras commanded by Lt. Harris, and with Gen. Woodbury aboard. Lt. Harris was directed to tow the Matchless if necessary.

Punta Rassa was probably the location where the troops disembarked, and was located on the tip of the southwest delta of the Caloosahatchee River … near what is now the mainland or eastern end of the Sanibel Causeway… Fort Myers was established further up the Caloosahatchee at a location less vulnerable to storms and hurricanes. In 1864, the Army built a long wharf and a barracks 100 feet long and 50 feet wide at Punta Rassa, and used it as an embarkation point for shipping north as many as 4400 Florida cattle….

Capt. Graeffe and company were disembarked on the evening of January 7, and Gen. Woodbury ordered the company to occupy Fort Myers on the south side of the Caloosahatchee, about 12 miles from its mouth and 150 miles from Key West. Shortly after, [a detachment of men from the 47th Pennsylvania’s A Company stationed on Useppa Island] was also ordered to proceed to Fort Myers and join the main body of Company A, the entire command under direct orders of the General who was in the area…. Gen. Woodbury returned to Key West on the Honduras prior to January 19, and the command was left in charge of Capt. Graeffe who dispatched various patrols in search of refugees for enlistment and for activities involving Confederate cattle shipments.

Company A’s muster roll provides the following account of the expedition under command of Capt. Graeffe: ‘The company left Key West Fla Jany 4. 64 enroute to Fort Meyers Coloosahatche River [sic] Fla. were joined by a detachment of the U.S. 2nd Fla Rangers at Punta Rossa Fla took possession of Fort Myers Jan 10. Captured a Rebel Indian Agent and two other men.’

A draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared in 2010 for the Everglades National Park partially documents the time of Richard Graeffe and the men under his Florida command this way:

A small contingent of 20 men and two officers from the Pennsylvania 47th Regiment, led by Captain Henry Crain of the 2nd Regiment of Florida, arrived at the fort on January 7, 1864. A short time later, the party was joined by another small detachment of the 47th under the command of Captain Richard A. Graeffe. Over a short period, increasing reinforcements of the fort led to increasing cattle raids throughout the region. A Union force so far into Confederate land did not go well with Confederate loyalists. The fact that so many men stationed at the post were black soldiers from the newly created U.S. Colored Troops was particularly aggravating. The raids were so antagonizing that the Confederates created a Cattle Guard Battalion called the “Cow Cavalry” to repulse Union raiders. The unit remained a primary threat to the Union soldiers carrying out raids and reconnaissance missions from Brooksville to as far south as Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers.

Early on, according to Schmidt, Captain Graeffe sent the following report to Woodbury:

“At my arrival hier [sic] I divided my forces in three detachment, viz one at the Hospital one into the old guardhouse and one into the Comissary [sic] building, the Florida Rangers I quartered into one of the old Company quarters, I set all parties to work after placing the proper pickets and guards at the Hospital i have build [sic] and now nearly finished a two story loghouse of hewn and square logs  12 inches through seventeen by twenty-two fifteen feet high with a cupola onto the roof of six feet high and at right angle with two lines of picket fences seven feet high. i shall throw up a half a bastion around it as soon as completed. around the old guardhouse i have thrown up a bastion seven feet through at the foot and three feet on the top nine feet high from the bottom of the ditch and five on the inside. I also build [sic] a loghouse sixteen by eighteen of two storys [sic] Southeast of the Commissary building with a bastion around it at right angles with a picket fence each bastion has the distance you recomandet [sic] from the loghouses 20 feet on the sides and 20 to the salient angle, i caused to be dug a well close to bl. houses and inside of the bastions at each Station inside they are all comfortable fitted up with stationary bunks for the men without interfering with the defence [sic] of the work outside of the Bastions and inside the picket fense i have erected small kitchens and messrooms for each station, i am building now a guardhouse build [sic] of square hewn logs sixteen by sixteen two storys high the lower room to be used for the guard and the upper one as a prison, the building to be used for defence [sic] (in case of attack) by the Rangers each work is within view and supporting distance from the other; Capt. Crane with a detachment of his men repaired the wharf, which is in good condition now and fit for use, the bakehouse i got repaired, and the fourth day hier [sic] we had already very good fresh bread; the parade ground is in a good condition had all the weeds mowed off being to [sic] green to burn. i intend to fit up a schoolroom and church as soon as possible.”

Muster rolls for Company A from this period noted that “a detachment of 25 men crossed over to the north west side of the river” on 16 January and “scoured the country till up to Fort Thompson a distance of 50 miles,” where they “encountered a Rebel Picket who retreated after exchanging shots.” Making their way back, they swam across the river, and reached the fort on 23 January. Meanwhile, while that group was still away, Captain Graeffe ordered a smaller detachment of eight men to head out on 17 January in search of cattle. Finding only a few, they instead took possession of four barrels of Confederate turpentine, which were later disposed of by other Union troops.

Graeffe’s men also captured three Confederate sympathizers at the fort, including a blockade runner and spy named Griffin and an Indian interpreter and agent named Lewis. Charged with multiple offenses against the United States, they were transported to Key West, where they were kept under guard by the Provost Marshal—Major William Gausler, third-in-command of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

This phase of duty lasted until sometime in February of 1864. The detachment of the 47th which served under Graeffe at Fort Myers is labeled as the Florida Rangers in several publications, including The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Robert N. Scott, et. al. (1891). Several of Graeffe’s hand drawn sketches of Fort Myers were published in 2000 in Images of America: Fort Myers by Gregg Tuner and Stan Mulford.

Meanwhile, all of the other companies of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry had already left on the regiment’s history-making journey to Louisiana. Boarding yet another steamer—the Charles Thomas—on 25 February 1864, the men from Companies B, C, D, I, and K of the 47th Pennsylvania headed for Algiers, Louisiana (across the river from New Orleans), followed on 1 March by other members of the regiment from Companies E, F, G, and H who had been stationed at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Upon the second group’s arrival, the now almost fully reconstituted regiment moved by train on 28 February to Brashear City before heading to Franklin by steamer through the Bayou Teche. There, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry joined the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division of the Department of the Gulf’s 19th Army Corps, and became the only Pennsylvania regiment to serve in the Red River Campaign of Union General Nathaniel P. Banks.

Unable to reach Louisiana until 23 March, the men from Company A were effectively placed on a different type of detached duty in New Orleans while they awaited transport to enable them to catch up with the main part of their regiment. Charged with guarding and overseeing the transport of 245 Confederate prisoners, they were finally able to board the Ohio Belle on 7 April, and reached Alexandria with those prisoners on 9 April.

But they had missed the two bloodiest combat engagements that the 47th Pennsylvania would endure during the Red River Campaign—the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads/Mansfield on 8 April and the Battle of Pleasant Hill on 9 April. According to Schmidt, Company A was soon ordered to return the Confederate prisoners to New Orleans, and officially ended their detached duty on 27 April when they rejoined the main regiment’s encampment at Alexandria.

This means that the men from Company A also missed a third combat engagement—the Battle of Cane River (also known as “the Affair at Monett’s Ferry”), which took place on 23 April.

From late April through mid-May 1864, the fully reassembled 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers and their fellow brigade members helped to build “Bailey’s Dam” near Alexandria, enabling federal gunboats to successfully navigate the fluctuating water levels of the Red River. Beginning 13 May, A Company moved with the majority of the 47th from Simmsport across the Atchafalaya to Morganza, and then to New Orleans on 20 June. That 4th of July, they received orders to return to the East Coast for further duty.

Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Still able and willing to fight after their time in Bayou country, the soldiers of Company A and the members of the 47th Pennsylvania’s Companies C, D, E, F, H, and I steamed for the Washington, D.C. area aboard the McClellan beginning 7 July 1864.

Following their arrival in Virginia and a memorable encounter with President Abraham Lincoln, they then joined Major-General David Hunter’s forces at Snicker’s Gap in mid-July 1864. There, they engaged in the Battle of Cool Spring and, once again, assisted in defending Washington, D.C. while also helping to drive Confederate troops from Maryland.

As summer waned, according to Schmidt, military records of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers documented that, on 31 August 1864, Lewis Sponheimer was paid $16 for his service with the 47th’s Regimental Band No. 2:

[The] 47th was paid this date by a Major Eaton. Various members of the band were paid by the 47th’s Council of Administration effective through this date, generally for a three to four month period. The men and accounts are as follows: Anthony B. Bush, $157.50; Eugene Walters [sic] and John Rupp, each $100; David Gackenback [sic], $52.50 Henry Kern and George Frederick, each $60; Henry Tool, $30; and Lewis Sponheimer, Harrison Handwerk, Edwin Dreisbach, Daniel Dachradt [sic] and William Heckman, each $16.”

Attached to the Middle Military Division, Army of the Shenandoah from August through November of 1864, Lewis Sponheimer and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians were about to engage in their regiment’s greatest moments of valor.

Battles of Opequan and Fisher’s Hill — September 1864

Together with other regiments under the command of Union Major-General Philip Sheridan and Brigadier-General William H. Emory, commander of the 19th Corps, the members of Company A and their fellow 47th Pennsylvanians helped to inflict heavy casualties on Lieutenant-General Jubal Early’s Confederate forces at Opequan (also spelled as “Opequon”). The battle, also known as “Third Winchester,” is still considered by many historians to be one of the most important during Sheridan’s 1864 campaign; the Union’s victory helped to ensure the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln.

Image of the victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress: LC-DIG-pga-01855 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1753 (color film copy transparency).

Image of the victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.

The 47th Pennsylvania’s march toward destiny began at 2 a.m. on 19 September 1864 as the regiment left camp and joined up with others in the Union’s 19th Corps. After advancing slowly from Berryville toward Winchester, the 19th Corps became bogged down for several hours by the massive movement of Union troops and their supply wagons, enabling Early’s men to dig in. Finally reaching the Opequan Creek, Sheridan’s men came face to face with the Confederate forces commanded by Early. The fighting, which began in earnest at noon, was long and brutal. The Union’s left flank (6th Corps) took a beating from Rebel artillery stationed on high ground. Meanwhile, the 47th Pennsylvania and their fellow 19th Corps members were directed by Brigadier-General Emory to attack and pursue Major-General John B. Gordon’s Confederate forces. Some success was achieved, but many Union casualties ensued when another Confederate artillery group opened fire as Union troops tried to cross a clearing.

As a nearly fatal gap began to appear between the 6th and 19th Corps, Sheridan sent in units commanded by Brigadier-Generals David A. Russell and Emory Upton. Russell, hit twice—once in the chest, was mortally wounded. The 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers opened their lines long enough to enable Union cavalry forces led by William Woods Averell and the foot soldiers of General George Crook to charge the Confederates’ left flank.

The 19th Corps, with the 47th in the thick of the fighting, then began whittling away and pushing the Confederates steadily back. Early’s men ultimately retreated in the face of the valor displayed by the “blue jackets.” Leaving 2,500 wounded behind, the Confederate Army retreated to Fisher’s Hill (21-22 September), eight miles south of Winchester, and then to Waynesboro, following a successful early morning flanking attack by Sheridan’s Union men which outnumbered Early’s three to one.

Sent out on skirmishing parties afterward, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania finally made camp at Cedar Creek. Moving forward, they would continue to distinguish themselves in battle, but they would do so without two respected commanders: Colonel Tilghman Good and his second in command, Lieutenant-Colonel George W. Alexander, who mustered out on 23-24 September upon the expiration of their respective terms of service. Fortunately, Good and Alexander were replaced by others equally admired both for their temperament and the front line experience they had gained while directly leading men in battle: John Peter Shindel Gobin, Charles W. Abbott and Levi Stuber.

Battle of Cedar Creek — October 1864

It was during 1864 that Major-General Philip Sheridan began the first of the Union’s true “scorched earth” campaigns, starving the enemy into submission by destroying Virginia’s crop-production infrastructure. Viewed through today’s lens of history as inhumane, the strategy claimed many innocents—civilians whose lives were cut short by their inability to find food. This same strategy, however, certainly contributed to the further turning of the war’s tide in the Union’s favor. Successful throughout most of their engagement with Union forces at Cedar Creek, Early’s Confederate troops—weakened by hunger—peeled off in ever growing numbers to forage for food, thus enabling the 47th Pennsylvania and others under Sheridan’s command to rally and win the day.

From a military standpoint, it was another impressive, but heartrending day. During the morning of 19 October 1864, Early launched a surprise attack directly on Sheridan’s Cedar Creek-encamped forces. Early’s men were able to capture Union weapons while freeing a number of Confederates who had been taken prisoner during previous battles—all while pushing seven Union divisions back. According to historian Samuel P. Bates:

When the Army of West Virginia, under Crook, was surprised and driven from its works, the Second Brigade, with the Forty-seventh on the right, was thrown into the breach to arrest the retreat…. Scarcely was it in position before the enemy came suddenly upon it, under the cover of fog. The right of the regiment was thrown back until it was almost a semi-circle. The brigade, only fifteen hundred strong, was contending against Gordon’s entire division, and was forced to retire, but, in comparative good order, exposed, as it was, to raking fire. Repeatedly forming, as it was pushed back, and making a stand at every available point, it finally succeeded in checking the enemy’s onset, when General Sheridan suddenly appeared upon the field, who ‘met his crest-fallen, shattered battalions, without a word of reproach, but joyously swinging his cap, shouted to the stragglers, as he rode rapidly past them – ‘Face the other way, boys! We are going back to our camp! We are going to lick them out of their boots!’

The Union’s counterattack stomped Early’s forces into submission, and the men of the 47th were commended for their heroism by General Stephen Thomas who, in 1892, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his own “distinguished conduct in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter, in which the advance of the enemy was checked” that day. Bates described the 47th’s actions thusly:

When the final grand charge was made, the regiment moved at nearly right angles with the rebel front. The brigade charged gallantly, and the entire line, making a left wheel, came down on his flank, while engaging the Sixth Corps, when he went ‘whirling up the valley’ in confusion. In the pursuit to Fisher’s Hill, the regiment led, and upon its arrival was placed on the skirmish line, where it remained until twelve o’clock noon of the following day. The army was attacked at early dawn, and no respite was given to take food until the pursuit was ended.

But, it was costly; casualties for the 47th were particularly high. Privates Samuel E. Bridinger (a blacksmith from Easton), Thomas J. Bower (an Easton shoemaker) and Lawrence Gatence were killed in action. Private William S. Keen, a recent enlistee, died from fever a few weeks later. The regimental chaplain, William Rodrock, suffered a near miss as a bullet pierced his cap.

Following these major engagements, the 47th was ordered to Camp Russell near Winchester from November through most of December before taking up outpost and railroad guarding duties at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia five days before Christmas.


Matthew Brady's photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Matthew Brady’s photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (U.S. Library of Congress, public domain).

Assigned in February 1865 to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah, the men of the 47th were ordered to move, via Winchester and Kernstown, back to Washington, D.C. where, on 19 April, they helped to defend the nation’s capital following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Making camp near Fort Stevens, they received new uniforms and were resupplied.

Letters home and newspaper interviews with survivors of the 47th Pennsylvania in later years confirm that at least one 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer was given the high honor of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral train while others may have guarded the Lincoln assassination conspirators during their imprisonment or trial.

As part of Dwight’s Division of the 2nd Brigade, Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps, they participated in the Union’s Grand Review on 23-24 May. Captain Levi Stuber of Company I was also promoted to the rank of Major with the regiment’s central command staff during this time of turbulence.

Ruins seen from the Circular Church, Charleston, SC, 1865. Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

Ruins seen from the Circular Church, Charleston, SC, 1865.
Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (111-B-4667, public domain).

On their final swing through the South, the 47th served in Savannah, Georgia from 31 May to 4 June, again as part of Dwight’s Division, but this time with the 3rd Brigade, Department of the South. Relieving the 165th New York in July, they were housed in a mansion formerly owned by the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury. But, once again, typhoid and other diseases stalked the men of the 47th. Many who died during this phase were initially interred in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery before their remains were later exhumed and reinterred at the Beaufort National Cemetery.

Finally, on 28 October 1865, Lewis Sponheimer was honorably discharged, once again. This time, it was due to the expiration of his three-year term of service with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Return to Civilian Life

After receiving his discharge at Charleston, South Carolina, Lewis Sponheimer made the long trip home to his family in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. By 1880, he and his family were residing in Upper Milford Township, where he was employed as an ore contractor.

Although life was better than it had been during the Civil War, it was not entirely free from pain and fear for the Sponheimer family. In November 1896, editions of The Allentown Democrat and The Allentown Leader both reported that Lewis and Catharine’s youngest son, William, was partially blinded, temporarily, when a chestnut burr fell from a tree and struck one of his eyes.

By 1900, Lewis Sponheimer and his wife were living at home alone with a servant. In August 1909, The Allentown Leader reported that Lewis was one of the final two surviving members of the Emmaus Band.

That fame was short lived, however. Just three months later, on 13 November 1909, Lewis Sponheimer suffered an episode of cerebral apoplexy. He died of general debility five days later (Thursday, 18 November 1909) at his home in Emmaus, Lehigh County. He was 79 years, eight months and nine days old. His son, Joseph E. Sponheimer, was the informant on his death certificate.

His funeral was held at his home at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 23 November 1909 with formal services officiated by the Rev. A. E. Abel at the Moravian Church, and he was buried with full military honors that same afternoon in the Moravian Cemetery in Emmaus. Members of Allentown’s E.B. Young Post No. 87, G.A.R., served as his pallbearers. The funeral arrangements were handled by Ritter & Sell of Emmaus.

In addition to his aforementioned wife and children, Lewis Sponheimer was survived by two stepbrothers, William Ritter (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and Willoughby Ritter (Emmaus, Pennsylvania).


1. The Allentown Democrat. Allentown, Pennsylvania: November 1896.

2. The Allentown Leader. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Various Dates:

  • “Died at Emaus [sic]” (obituary of Lewis Sponheimer). Allentown: The Allentown Leader, 19 November 1909.
  • “Funeral of Veteran: Lewis Sponheimer: Buried at Emaus [sic] with Military Honors.” Allentown: The Allentown Leader, 23 November 1909.
  • “Hurt by a Chestnut Burr.” Allentown: The Allentown Leader, 5 November 1896.

3. Baptismal and Burial Records, in “Records of the Moravian Church, Emmaus, Pennsylvania,” in Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1828-1900.

4. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, vol. 1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.

5. Civil War Muster Rolls, in Records of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (Record Group 19, Series 19.11). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

6. Civil War Veterans’ Card File. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.

7. Death Certificate (Lewis Sponheimer). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Vital Statistics.

8. “Florida’s Role in the Civil War,” in Florida Memory. Tallahassee, Florida: State Archives of Florida.

9. Pennsylvania Veteran’s Burial Index Card (Lewis Sponheimer). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

10. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Self-published.

11. “Tamiami Trail Modifications: Next Steps,” in Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Washington, D.C. and Everglades National Park, Florida: U.S. National Park Service, 2010.

12. U.S. Census (1880, 1900). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

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