Age: 20, credited to Poultney, VT
Unit(s): 7th VT INF
Service: enl 12/2/61, m/i 2/12/62, Pvt, Co. I, 7th VT INF, reen 2/15/64, m/o 3/14/66
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 07/17/1844, Ostheim, Hesse, Germany
Burial: Mettowee Valley Cemetery, Middle Granville, NY
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 92694485
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 8/2/1890, VT; widow Mary F., 8/20/1927, NY
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
2nd Great Granduncle of Dave Bohrer, Endwell, NY
3rd Great Granduncle of Jennifer Bohrer, Olean, NY
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Mettowee Valley Cemetery, Middle Granville
Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.
With sunrise an hour away, on May 29, 1847, Daniel and Margaret Merling and their four children, George, 12, Margaret, 10, John, 10, and Charles, 7, joined a group of townspeople at 3 a.m. in the then Prussian city of Ostheim and departed for America.
While part of the group settled in Ontario, Canada, the Merlings chose Poultney, Vermont as their home.
Within 15 years, the three brothers would be fighting to preserve the union of their new country, and one of them, George, would make the ultimate sacrifice, losing his life July 3, 1863, in the Battle of Gettysburg.
The brothers' reasons for enlisting have not survived. They could have included patriotism, opposition to slavery, adventure, or economics.
John was the first of the brothers to volunteer. While working as a miner a continent away in California, he enlisted for three years on Oct. 9, 1861, in Los Angeles as a private with the 1st California volunteers, Company B.
Charles, who preferred the German spelling of the family name, Mehrling, was not far behind, enrolling Dec. 2, 1861, at Poultney with the 7th Regiment Vermont volunteers, Co. I.
George, who seemed to have the most to lose of the three Merling brothers, enrolled on Sept. 3, 1862, at Castleton and was sworn into the 14th Vermont, Co. F, led by Capt. Joseph Jennings, on Oct. 21, 1862, at Brattleboro for nine months.
George, around 26 years old, was the only Merling brother who was married at the time of his enlistment. He worked as a molder and lived with his wife of three years, Margaret, 2-year-old daughter Theresa Maria, and 4-month-old daughter Regina "Elizabeth" on Grove Street in Poultney, only a stone's throw from the Poultney River.
In a memoir, "Life in Camp," by J.C. Williams, a soldier in the 14th Vermont Co. B, published in 1864, "The second battle of Bull Run had aroused loyal people of the North to action." A call went out for 300,000 "nine-month men,' with Vermont assigned a quota of 4,898, which quickly was filled and formed into five regiments, Williams wrote.
The regiment departed Vermont on Oct. 23, 1862 and eventually encamped Nov. 3 near Hamilton Creek, Virginia, about eight miles from Camp Vermont, according to company records.
The company remained in camps around northern Virginia through the winter and spring of 1863 before marching toward Gettysburg in late June.
Co. B arrived at the scene of the Gettysburg battle around 4 p.m. after seven consecutive days of marching but did not engage in battle on that first day, according to Williams.
The 14th Vermont participated in the battle on July 2, but the battle intensified on July 3 and the regiment was at the forefront of defending Cemetery Hill in what became known as Pickett's Charge.
Another Williams, John H. Williams, a Welsh immigrant and a member of Merling's Co. F, wrote a description of the day's events and noted Merling's death in the "Diary of John H. Williams, Private Co. F., of Fair Haven, Vt." held in the collections of the Vermont Historical Society.
" ...The Rebel batteries opened fire on us at 5 a.m. We moved closer to them and laid on the ground. They turned their fire to the right and left and there was heavy fighting for some time. In the Afternoon they turned their fire on us as a brigade. The Shells, grape, and canisters fell in showers on us. Finally, their infantry came forward. We fell on them. They fell back. They came forward again and we repulsed them causing them to skedaddle. We killed many, took colors, and captured hundreds of prisoners. Lt Bosworth was badly wounded. Merling was killed. Lt Hamilton Mortally Wounded and Many others killed and wounded. It was a fierce battle..."
Merling was buried with other Vermont casualties in a common grave at Gettysburg, just two weeks before the company was mustered out on July 17, 1863, at Brattleboro, Vt.
Margaret Merling filed for a pension on Sept. 25, 1866, in Schenectady, swearing she had not remarried.
She never would, raising the couple's two daughters on her own. They remained in Poultney into the 1870s before moving to Troy, N.Y. Her widow's pension was initially granted at $12.
Margaret suffered more loss on Christmas Eve 1884 when their daughter Theresa died at age 24. Theresa was buried on Dec. 27, 1884, at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Schenectady. A memorial to her father was erected at that cemetery, but he remains buried at Gettysburg.
Margaret lived to age 68, dying March 20, 1908, at the home of her daughter Elizabeth in Troy and is buried in Schenectady.
Elizabeth married a prominent Troy beverage bottler, Philip J. Ramroth, and raised three daughters, a son, and a stepson before dying Aug. 2, 1946, at age 84, never knowing her father.
Charles served in western campaign
Charles stood not quite 5-foot-7 with blue eyes and light hair, according to his pension application. He and the 7th Vermont infantry departed March 10, 1862, from Rutland for New York City before sailing for the Gulf of Mexico.
The regiment participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge, the first siege of Vicksburg, the Mobile campaign, and the siege of Spanish Fort along with other duties in the Gulf.
Charles Mehrling was present except from Aug. 7-31 when stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana he was sent to the Marine Hospital in New Orleans for treatment of chronic diarrhea and bronchitis. His pension application indicated he never recovered fully from the diarrhea or rheumatism that resulted from an axe wound to his left knee. He was granted an increase in his pension to $90 due to the maladies.
Pension records indicated Charles was discharged Feb. 14, 1864, at Barrancas, Florida, but noted he also served as a private for Capt. C.H. Sheldon in Co. I, 7th Vermont Volunteers and was discharged April 6, 1866, at Brattleboro, Vermont.
Charles, who died at age 83, lived the longest of the brothers and remained closest to the family's Poultney home. After the war, he worked as a farmer, mason, and carpenter, first in Poultney, then Rutland and North Platt, Nebraska before settling across the New York border in Granville.
He had two daughters with his first wife, Betsy Wray of Poultney, before her death in 1879 and nine children with his second wife, Mary Preston, of East Pittsford, Vermont.
Charles was active in the G.A.R., with post the H.E. Howard Post in Granville until his death, Aug. 19, 1927. He is buried in Mettawee Valley Cemetery, Granville.
John served in New Mexico
John Merling stood 5-foot-11 and also had blue eyes and light hair, according to his pension application.
He trained at Camp Latham in Los Angeles and then Co. B was sent to drive the Confederate Army from the New Mexico territory.
Co. B was led by Capt. Valentine Dresher and the volunteers built Fort Cummings, which was named for Maj. Joseph Cummings, who was killed by Navajo Indians, according to the Luna County, N.M., Historical Society. The site was chosen to protect Cooke's Spring, which was vital to early travel, according to the society's website.
John was promoted to corporal during his time there.
John's pension application claimed he suffered from rheumatism and eye disease caused by extreme exposure in the fall and winter of 1862-1863 at Ft. Mesilla, New Mexico while on duty as an Indian scout. John claimed hard marching in heat and then rain injured his left ankle and caused rheumatism, however, his disability claim was denied. Inspectors said enough proof was not provided.
John mustered out Nov. 3, 1864, at Fort Craig, N.M., according to his pension records.
After the war, John returned to Poultney and married Mary Elizabeth Peppler on Nov. 22, 1866, in Granville. They remained in Poultney until the birth of their first son, George Peppler Merling, in 1868.
From there, John moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and worked for a railroad and then to Las Animas, Colorado, where he worked as a rancher until 1876 when they settled near Ridgway and Ouray, Colorado.
John and Mary Elizabeth had seven more children and owned their own ranch that grew to more than 150 acres.
He died on Dec. 30, 1923, following Mary Elizabeth's death on Feb. 3, 1901.
Their son John Daniel lost the ranch in a poker game, according to his descendants.
The parents of the three soldier brothers, Daniel and Anna Margaret Merling had one more son, Henry, born in 1849, too young to serve during the Civil War. The parents lived out their lives in Poultney, Anna Margaret dying April 6, 1880, and Daniel dying Nov. 10, 1898. They are buried in Poultney Cemetery.
Daughter Margaret married Charles Rial and is also buried in Poultney Cemetery. Brother Henry married Rosa Kamer, and they also remained in Vermont.
Submitted by David Bohrer, great-great-grandson of George Merling; great-grandson of Regina "Elizabeth" Merling and Philip J. Ramroth; grandson of Bertha Ramroth and Anthony Bohrer; and son of Herman Bohrer and Millicent Fallon.