Baron von Steinwehr

Brigadier General Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich, Baron von Steinwehr


  • Pre-War life
    • Born 25 September 1822 at Blankenburg in the Duchy of Brunswick (in German, Braunschweig, and now part of Lower Saxony) into a noble family with a tradition of military careers.
    • Spent one semester at Göttingen, and then attended the Brunswick military academy.
    • Became a lieutenant in the Duke of Brunswick's service.
    • In 1847, he took a leave of absence from the ducal service and came to America. He tried to get a comission in the U.S. regular army to serve in the Mexican War, but failed to do so. Instead he became an officer in an Alabama volunteer regiment.
    • Got an appointment to the Coast Survey in Mobile Bay, Alabama, and also helped to set the new Mexican boundary line.
    • Married an Alabama girl and became an American citizen.
    • In 1849, he took his wife back to Brunswick.
    • 1854- Returned to U.S and settled as a farmer in Wellingford, Connecticut
  • War Time Career
    • Appointed colonel of the 29th New York Infantry in 1861. This unit became part of Blenker's brigade.
    • Was in reserve at First Bull Run
    • Commissioned a Brigadier General 12 October, 1861
    • Assigned command of the 2nd brigade of Blenker's Division. (He was apparently not at the Battle of Cross Keys, and thus does not appear on the roster shown on Blenker's page)
    • Assigned command of the 2nd Division in Sigel's Corps under Pope (This corps would become the XI Corps).
    • Commanded his division at the battle of Second Bull Run but served in Sigel's headquarters. One of his brigades lost 400 men in this battle.
    • Commanded his division during the XI Corps's disaster at the Battle of Chancellorsville. His division was the furthest from the left, and thus the furthest from the start of Jackson's attack. He helped with what resistence was given by having earthworks constructed that would be used by Bushbeck's brigade.
    • Commanded his division at the Battle of Gettysburg. His men helped to strengthen the position on Cemetery Ridge and held it while other units were retreating to there on July 1. (This fact is probably the main reason why the road that many of these troops took back to cemetary ridge is now called Steinwehr Avenue, and is one of the main streets in modern Gettysburg.)
    • His Division was semt west with the XI Corps. It heped to clear the Tennessee River. He commanded his division at the Battles of Wauhatchie and Chattanooga.
    • He was demoted to command a brigade in the XIV Corps when the XI and XII Corps were combined to form the XX Corps. Apparently he declined that assignment.
    • Resigned 3 July 1865.
  • Post War Life
    • Became a geographer and a cartographer. Tought at Yale and worked for the federal government as such.
    • Lived in New Haven (Connecticut), Washington D.C., Cincinnati (Ohio), and Buffalo (New York) successively.
    • Died on 25 February 1877.

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951).
Waner, Ezra. Generals in Blue: The Lives of Union Commanders (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964).