By the death of Gov. Harvey, Edward Salomon becomes Governor of the State. Though but recently a private citizen, and until the present year entirely inexperienced in the duties of public office, he has acquitted himself as the presiding officer of the Senate in a manner fully justifying the expectations of those who urged his election. We believe he possesses every qualification for satisfactorily discharging the duties of the responsible position to which he is called. He has a firmness of character, clearness of perception, solid, practical good sense, and a character for integrity that has never been questioned. We believe that he will prove a judicious, economical and popular Governor.
Mr. Salomon is a German by birth. He has, however, resided most of his life in this country, is a thorough master of our language, and as a successful and accomplished lawyer is fully conversant with American Institutions and modes of business.
reprinted by Milwaukee Sentinel
April 30, 1862
With that background, you can understand why the following letter, which is being so kindly shared with us by the erudite Mr. Kennedy of The Wisconsin State Historical Society, was written in 19th Century German to the Governor, and why we owe a debt of thanks to Ms. Patricia Reaves for the colloquial translation.
Camp near Sharperstown
Maryland, September 25, 1862
Most Honorable Sir!
In the hope that you will not consider it improper that I
take the liberty and address a few lines to you and notify you about my well-being, which,
after the heated days, which I have survived is a miracle.
I was in the battle of the 28th of August near Gainesville, Virginia, as well as in the battle of the 30th at Bull's Run, where I, due to a lack of officers, served through the entire battle as an aide de camp; I was in the battle of South Mountain near Middletown, Maryland, September 14th, as well, and in the heated battle of the 17th of Sept., but luckily I came away from all of it alright, but I have to complain of the bitter loss of 23 men from my company, who through death and injury disappeared from by rows. I can and must honestly admit to you, and can witness along with the rest of our brave regiment, that my company remained courageous and fought like veterans and rendered honor to you and the German name.
There are only a few officers in the regiment who have participated in all the battles, and who also withstood the 8 days under fire at the Rappahannock. The following did participate, through Capt. G. Otis, Lt. Thom, Lt. Spoerry and my measly self Capt. John Stahel are the only ones who have survived, a portion of the others earlier were wounded or fell and others were presumably left behind.
Concerning the battle of the 17th of September., it was Col. Fairchild, who was unwell for several days, was unable to lead us into battle on the aforementioned day due to illness and thus we had to, because of a lack of field officers, take ----- with Col. Allen, who is an excellent officer, though, and who is not lacking in courage and decisiveness, in the morning at the break of day around 5 o'clock, while we had stood through the night in ------ arms, we left in closed columns, at which point the enemy greeted us immediately with a few shells and we felt it necessary to form our battle lines, which happened right away, and we immediately marched toward the enemy with high spirits, whom we encountered before us in battle formation after approximately a quarter mile's march. I counted no fewer than 18 different enemy colors at once opposing our brigade, at the same time a murderous storm opened up on both sides, and we all fought like veterans. It did not take long before Col. Allen was wounded in the arm, and as the next in rank, Capt. G.B. Ely took over the command of the regiment, but soon he too was wounded and I was as the next in rank Commander of the regiment and I led it also, following the order of the General, who ordered us to retreat from battle and was in command of same until about five o'clock that evening, until Col. Fairchild felt somewhat better and came and took command again. In the morning we went into battle with 151 men, and lost through death and injury 91 men of the 151.
Concerning the Lenier Captain Stelle, Stevens is actually Lenier. He was nevertheless presumably back in Washington, and thus did not take part in the battle of the 12th and 17th, but has rejoined the regiment since the 19th of Sept.
In now wish with this to politely inquire about your well wishes, in which I believe I have proven and retained myself sufficiently, and believe to have developed myself to such a degree to -------any other officer on the side, and possess enough experience and knowledge to dress any higher position. Because I was already a soldier in my homeland, Switzerland. And I may point out to you that since I have not failed to carry out any duty, which only few can truly say.
Now I wish to politely inform you that our General has issued the order that all promotions should be brought through Leniers and good behavior.
But now I fear that my higher officers would never give me justice as a German in an American regiment, and would promote an American under my rank, if I could not count on your honorable well wishes! I believe I do not need to mention this to you, because without a doubt, you have received enough of such evidence, and I can only note to you, that you probably already have seen enough of the good behavior in the newspaper, but all knowingly did not mention that it was a German company which was so brave, had it been Americans, then they would not only have written Company K, in the Second Wisconsin Regiment.
Now honored Sir!
There is a position of Major still open in our regiment up to this time, if it has not been filled, before my few lines come into your worthy possession, if it has been filled, I would like to ask you politely and request, at any occasion, to think benevolently about promoting me and to do me justice, which would probably, without your benevolence! never happen.
In the hope that these lines find you in the best of health and in the hope that you do not hold my forwardness and confidence in you against me and that you might think of me occasionally with good will.
Greeting you respectfully your submissive servant.
Capt. Co. K 2nd Regt. Wisc. Vol.
That the Governor is much obliged for the outstanding life of the late actions in which, as he learns from other sources, Capt. Stahel his officers and men behave themselves nobly.
The com of major had already been forwarded to Capt. Stevens.
On October 3, 1862, John Stahel resigned and was honorably discharged.