Louis Bergmann

Louis Bergmann

Camp Lawton

Louis Bergmann was born in Alsace-Lorraine, Germany in 1842. His family came to Palatine Township and settled in the Algonquin and Roselle Roads area. At age 20 Louis enlisted in the 113th Illinois Volunteer Infantry at the Methodist Church in August of 1862. By the spring of 1864, his regiment was located at Corinth, Mississippi. General Grant wanted his army to destroy the train tracks running south of Corinth. In June, about 8,000 troops were headed toward Guntown, Mississippi where they met Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest’s command, about 1/10 that size. Forrest was well-known as a battle strategist and Federal troops were attacked from both the front and the sides at Brice’s Crossroads. After fierce fighting through the day, Union troops began a retreat and many men were killed or captured. Louis Bergmann and two others from his company were taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville. In the late summer a new prison camp was built to alleviate the terrible overcrowding and health conditions. Camp Lawton in Millen, Georgia, was the place where Bergmann was marched along with hundreds of others. The compound was 42 acres with a 15 foot wooden fence, several brick ovens, and a stream running through it. No barracks were provided and the prisoners made their own lean-tos with scavenged material and blankets they had brought with them. The rations were inadequate, there was poor medical care, and the men were exposed to cold nights and rain as October passed. Bergmann died there on October 29, 1864. Burials were made in the fields downstream from the camp. The prisoners were evacuated in November as General Sherman was marching to Atlanta and the camp was abandoned. At least 725 Union prisoners died there in the few months of its existence. A few years after the war, the dead were exhumed and reburied at Beaufort National Cemetery, in South Carolina. The Bergmann family has records of the grave’s location at the cemetery. — Connie Rawa

About David Hammer

I'm a volunteer for the Palatine Historical Society.
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