John F. Ballier papers
Held at: German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library [Contact Us]611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Born in Aurich, county of Vaihingen, in what was then the Kingdom of Württemberg, John Ballier trained as a baker. In 1838 he emigrated with his wife to the United States. Upon settling in Philadelphia, he established a bakery. Later he joined the militia as a member of the Washington Light Infantry Company, with which he saw battle in Mexico in 1846-1847. After retiring from the baking business in 1852, Ballier served as Captain of the night-watch in the Philadelphia Mint from 1852 to 1861.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, Ballier formed the 21st Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers for three months' service, holding the rank of Colonel. When, at the expiration of that term, he was ordered to recruit a regiment for three years' service, he organized the 98th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Fighting with the 98th in the Battle of Fort Stevens, Washington, D. C., 12 July 1864, he was wounded (for the second time in the war) and was visited afterwards by President Lincoln, who conferred upon him the rank of Brevet Brigadier General.
Ballier returned permanently to Philadelphia in December 1865, and purchased a hotel at 4th Street and Fairmount Avenue. Subsequently he served as Day Inspector of the Philadelphia Custom House, 1866-1867; as City Commissioner, 1867-1870; and as Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, from 1869 until his retirement in 1876.
Ballier was a co-founder of the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein in 1873. He was also a member of the German Hospital of the City of Philadelphia, and the German Society of Pennsylvania.
The collection comprises primarily records related to the Civil War service of John F. Ballier, including correspondence, guard reports, muster rolls, military orders, and other papers related to the 21st and the 98th Regiments of Pennsylvania Volunteers, which Ballier commanded. Muster rolls are for companies under Christoph Meyer, Henry de Crauzat, Dennis Mullen, and Frank Baker. Included are documents and a photograph pertaining to the erection of the soldiers' monument for the 98th Regiment in Battleground National Cemetery, Washington, D. C., in 1891.
Other papers of Ballier include a handwritten journal that he kept in 1864, concerning the activities of his regiment; documents from 1864 to 1865 relating to the two times that he was wounded in battle, the review of his case by medical officers, and his honorable discharge; and a handwritten copy of a resolution of the National Guard of Pennsylvania, Third Regiment, acknowledging Ballier's retirement in 1876.
An item of special significance is a large personal scrapbook assembled by Ballier, containing correspondence, memorabilia, ephemera, and clippings related to his Civil War service as well as to other events throughout his life. Many items reflect activities of an array of German-American societies in Philadelphia. Ballier was revered figure in the German-American community of Philadelphia, and served as chief marshal at major events such as the Humboldt anniversary celebration of 1869, and the Friedens-Fest, or Peace Celebration, commemorating the end of the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. As a founding member and long-time Vice President of the Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein, he was also a central figure in the activities of that society, including the annual folk festival; and, in 1861, the ceremony for the unveiling of the statue of Schiller that the society erected in Fairmount Park.
Also included in the collection are records of discharges and payments to veterans of various regiments in Pennsylvania and in other states; and a volume entitled Pennsylvania Militia Legion cashbook.
Some documents in the collection pertain to individual soldiers in various regiments, and convey biographical information, including a volunteer enlistment form for Louis Sterne; and discharge certificates for the following 17 soldiers: Louis Advenna, Christian Auer, Christian Damian, Christian Eberle, John Eitel, Ferdinand Ensinger, Leopold Fogle, George Grau, Frederick Leiser, John Lindner, Kasle Mai, Cornelius Roth, Henry Schmitt, Christoph Storz, John Walter, Edward Walters, and William Wannewetsch.
Gift of John F. Ballier, 1892.
- Pennsylvania. Militia.
- Pennsylvania. National Guard.
- United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 98th (1861-1865).
- Unites States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 21st (1861).
- German Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
- German Americans--Societies, etc
- Soldiers' monuments--Washington (D.C.)
- Soldiers--Pennsylvania--History--19th century--Sources
- Veterans--Pennsylvania--Societies, etc
- German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the German Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
Handwritten copies of letters sent and received. Five leaves in large bound letter book, with remaining pages blank. 1 leaf (handwritten report) laid in
1 leaf, signed by Sterne and by William Goehrig, examining surgeon (Folder 2)
Handwritten, 7 leaves (Folder 3)
Marked "True copy"; evidently produced by the Medical Directors Office. The memos concern Ballier's being examined at that time for his condition, in view of a gunshot wound of the right ankle received 3 May 1864 as well as a gunshot wound of the right thigh received 12 July 1864 (in the Battle of Fort Stevens). Copies of these memos are included Ballier's own narrative of 18 January 1865, above (Folder 4)
Printed flyer. Date from Ballier's dating of same flyer in his scrapbook (Folder 5)
2 items: Agreement with P. Reinhalter & Co., Philadephia, for construction, 15 February 1891, 1 leaf; and receipt for work done, 15 July 1891, 1 leaf (Folder 5)
1 leaf + preservation photocopy. Acknowledges receipt of the monument in the Battle Ground, Washington, DC, erected by the surviving veterans of the 98th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Condition note: brittle and in fragments; most of text discernible on photocopy (Folder 6)
2 leaves. Concerns the resignation of John F. Ballier. Signed by Hugh Rodgers, President; and Thomas Flurey, Secretary
2 leaves (bifolium). Portrait of Ballier (drawing) on cover. Condition: soiled. See other copies of same flyer in Ballier scrapbook. Probably produced around the time of Ballier's 70th birthday
2 leaves. Includes inventory list
Approximately 100 leaves. Includes numerous documents from Ballier's service in the Civil War, including correspondence, military orders and newspaper clippings, as well as memorabilia going back to his apprenticeship as a baker in Aurich (Vaihingen), Württemberg, and related to his activities in Philadelphia during the rest of his life, including significant German-American festivities such as the Humboldt centennial in 1869, the Friedensfest in 1871, and the unveiling of the Schiller statue in Fairmount Park in 1886. Included is a manuscript note in the hand of Abraham Lincoln, dated 25 March 1863, addressed to Pennsylvania Governor A. G. Curtin, concerning Ballier's being allowed to resume his commission. Note: in need of consevation treatment; spine missing and most pages detached
Over a hundred individual general orders or circulars issued by the War Department, Washington; Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, Washington; Head Quarters, Department of Pennsylvania; Headquarters, Pennsylvania Militia; or similar entities. See also one circular to the Pennsylvania Volunteers in Folder 1