Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Petmecky mss., 1861-1862 and 1949, consist of letters, 1861-1862, of Karl Petmecky, 1835?- , to his father, T. A. Petmecky, his sisters, and brothers in Wiesbaden, Germany.

After immigrating from Germany Karl Petmecky worked on an uncle's farm in Iowa before his enlistment in the service on August 12, 1861, at Davenport, Iowa. He was mustered into Company A, 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, as a bugler, was later promoted to musician, and was discharged, October 3, 1864, when his company was mustered out. His letters relate to his life in America before joining the army, his army service, and news of family and friends. He was a brother of Hermann Petmecky, grandfather of Mrs. Frances (Petmecky) Smith of Solberry, Indiana.

The collection contains a letter of March 4, 1949, from Edward F. Witsell, Office of the Adjutant general, Washington, D.C., to Mrs. Frances (Petmecky) Smith in regard to the appearance of the names Karl Petmecky and Charles Petmecky on the rolls of his office.

These letters have been used in the preparation of Marjorie Jean Smith's "Like a Voice From the Past: Countians Read German Letters From Civil War Soldier Relative." Bloomington Daily Herald, Jan. 29, 1949, p. 7, cols. 1-5. In this article portions of the English translation of Karl Petmecky's letter of May 12, 1862, to his father, sisters, and brothers in Germany are printed.

Collection size: 6 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.