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Michael Adler Papers - MS 1092

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory

Introduction

The Michael Adler Papers consists of seventeen letters from the American Civil War along with other related materials. The donation and transfer of these records to the Center for Archival Collections was arranged through the cooperation of Marilyn Jacoby of Rossford, Ohio, in April 2008. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was completed by Stephen W. Badenhop, Archival Assistant, in June 2008.

Biographical Sketch

John Michael Adler (1841-1886), was born on December 13, 1841, in Canton, Stark County, Ohio. He was the son of Jacob Adler, a native of Bavaria, Germany, and Elizabeth, a native of the state of Maryland. His father worked as a laborer in Canton and made an unsuccessful bid for township supervisor in 1845. Around 1860 Michael began apprenticing as a blacksmith under the auspice of Christian Wagner and was probably still engaging in that role when the Civil War broke out in April 1861.

Michael enlisted on July 20, 1861, in Company D, 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; a company comprised of men from Huron, Richland and Stark Counties. The regiment was organized in July 1861 by Colonel Thomas H. Ford and mustered into service on August 27, 1861, at Camp Bartley, Ohio. In September 1862 the regiment was sent to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, where after a brief fight and being surrounded it surrendered after losing 150 men. The regiment was paroled but was exchanged in January 1863 and once again resumed the fight, participating in the Vicksburg campaign. During this time Michael began working his way through the ranks becoming a Corporal, Sergeant, 1st Sergeant and finally 2nd Lieutenant on May 18, 1865. In the spring of 1864 the regiment went on furlough and Michael was once again reunited with his long-time girlfriend Catherine E. Reeves. After returning to service the regiment joined Sherman's Army and fought in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. The 32nd then participated in the Grand Review through Washington D.C. before being mustered out of service on July 20, 1865, in Louisville, Kentucky.

After the war Michael returned to Canton and married his beloved Kate. He once again took up the blacksmith trade, and by 1870 had become a superintendent of bridge construction in the Canton area. He joined the Knights Templar organization on December 6, 1878, and eventually became an Arch Mason. Michael and Kate had three children Edith, born c.1866, Estella, born c.1869, and William, born c.1871. Michael died in Canton on May 7, 1886, at the age of 44 years, 4 months and 24 days.

Scope and Content

The Michael Adler Papers consist of seventeen letters from the American Civil War along with related literary and printed materials. The letters were written by Michael Adler, from 1863 to 1865, to his girlfriend and future wife Catherine E. Reeves of Canton, Ohio. The letters begin in August 1863 discussing Michael's illness with Ague or Typhoid Fever along with other men in his regiment, the 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Letters from 1863 talk about the Ohio gubernatorial election and the despised candidacy of Copperhead Clement L. Vallandigham, Copperheads in general and the re-enlistment of the regiment.

Subsequent letters from 1864 and 1865 discuss the Atlanta Campaign, Sherman's March to the Sea, the pursuit of Johnson's Army through the Carolinas and preparations for the Grand Review of the Army through Washington D.C. An interesting letter from August 22, 1864, describes in detail the siege of Atlanta. Most of the content of the letters, however, deals with Michael's yearning desire to once again see his girlfriend and future wife Kate, to whom the letters are all addressed. The twenty-three year old Michael talks about how the war has aged him, writing "…if you should see me walking around now you would think me fifty years old." He also bitterly complains about the lack and the low quality of food after the war has ended. Additional letters mention the troubles brewing over U.S.-Mexican relations and the possibility of armed intervention, but claiming he would rather resign than go "abroad;" writing four years of war "is enough to satisfy the most ambitious of men."

Other materials consist of a memorial resolution passed by the Canton Commandery of the Knights Templar in remembrance of Michael Adler after his death in May 1886. Also included is a ten dollar Confederates States of America bank note printed in Richmond, Virginia, in 1864.

Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE - MICHAEL ADLER TO CATHERINE E. REEVES
1863-1865
Arranged chronologically
Personal correspondence from Sergeant/Lieutenant Michael Adler to future wife Catherine E. Reeves during the Civil War relating personal and war related news

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

MEMORIAL RESOLUTION
1886
Memorial resolution passed by the Canton Commandery of the Knights Templar in remembrance of Michael Adler after his death

PRINTED MATERIAL

CONFEDERATE NOTE
1864
Ten dollar Confederate States of America note printed in Richmond, Virginia

Inventory

Box 1

Folder 1
  1. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 28 August 1863
  2. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 14 October 1863
Folder 2
  1. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 8 January 1864
  2. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 17 January 1864
  3. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 24 January 1864
  4. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 30 January 1864
  5. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 6 May 1864
  6. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 14 May 1864
  7. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 25 May 1864
  8. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 7 June 1864
  9. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 22 August 1864
  10. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 18 September 1864
Folder 3
  1. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 1 April 1865
  2. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 20 May 1865
  3. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 4 June 1865
  4. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 14 June 1865
  5. Michael Adler to Catherine E. Reeves, 19 June 1865
Folder 4
  1. Canton Commandery, No. 38, Knights Templar, Memorial Resolution, 25 May 1886
Folder 5
  1. Confederate States of America, Ten Dollar Note, 17 February 1864

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