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J. Roemer

J. Roemer

Federal (USV)


Jacob Roemer

(1818 - 1896)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Battery Commander

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: 2nd New York Artillery, Battery L

Before Antietam

Roemer had served in the German Cavalry but "purchasing his discharge" emigrated to New York City in 1839, making his home in Flushing in 1842. He enlisted in the Hamilton light artillery (Flushing Guards, Flushing Battery) - a New York militia unit - in 1845 as a private, entered Federal war service with them as Lieutenant in June 1861, and was commissioned Captain after the battery's reorganization in the Spring of 1862.

The Captain and his battery first saw action at Cedar Mountain on 9 August, then were engaged at Second Manassas at the end of the month, where Roemer was wounded.

On the Campaign

Roemer in command at Antietam, the battery supported the attack on the Lower ("Burnside's") Bridge on the 17th, reporting two men wounded and three horses killed in action.

The rest of the War

After Fredericksburg, the battery and the rest of the Ninth Corps followed Burnside to the Western Theater, with service at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi in July 1863, and significant combat experience at Knoxville in November, about which the following anecdote appears in a post-war account:

On the night before the attack it was found that but little available ammunition, except some shells that had been buried by the rebels and dug up by our forces, could be found; and that these had corroded, so that but few exploded. Captain Roemer called for a volunteer to assist him in boring out the fuses of these shells, a work fraught with great danger. Sergeant Kauffman, of the 46th N.Y., immediately consented to help, saying that if the captain could afford to risk his life he could. Taking their ammunition box they crept close under the shelter of the ramparts to avoid the chance of a flying shot, and were busily engaged when a shell from a rebel battery struck the rampart and exploded, covering them with dirt and destroying the ammunition box, containing twelve shells, which, fortunately for the garrison, did not explode. The sergeant mildly remonstrated:
"Captain, if you keep on you'll blow us all up."
"Never mind," said the captain. "Better be blown up here than go to Richmond."
"All right, captain, just as you say,"
... It was this incident of coolness and self sacrifice that had reached the ear of the commanding general [Burnside]...

In February 1864 the battery survivors got their veteran furlough in New York, and were then reorganized and refitted as the 34th N.Y. Independent Battery, Light Artillery. They rejoined their old Corps at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, and fought at Spottsylvania Courthouse in May, where Roemer was wounded on the 12th. He was brevetted Major for that action.

The battery with Roemer served the rest of the year and into early 1865 in the Petersburg Campaign, with notable action at Cold Harbor and Fort McGilvery.

The unit fired its last rounds of the War on Roemer's birthday, April 3rd, 1865 as Petersburg fell, and was ordered to Alexandria Virginia, thence New York for discharge from service in June.

After the War

After the War, Major Roemer was a successful boot and shoe dealer in Flushing, which had also been his pre-war occupation. His family published his memoir, "Reminiscences of the war of the rebellion 1861-1865" at Flushing in 1897.

References & notes

Unit information, biographical detail and Roemer's face, above, are from the History of Queen's County1. His own summary of life and service is found in the 1867 report of the New York State Bureau of Military Statistics, online from GoogleBooks. His brief obituary was published in the New York Times of 17 July 1896.


04/03/1818; Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany


07/16/1896; Flushing, NY


1   Munsell, W.W. & Co., History of Queen's County (New York), New York: W.W. Munsell & Co., 1882, pp. 74-143  [AotW citation 832]