Philip Rohrbecker - 6 January 1817 to 23 June 1864
“My grandmothers’ grandfather”
By Paul H.
INTRO: While this is not “Navy” related, it was provided by one of our Hugh Purvis shipmates, Paul H. It is a bit history that impacts Paul’s family’s life and provides a little information about 1800 immigrants who ended serving our country in one of the saddest stories from our Civil War.
My grandmothers’ grandfather was Philip Rohrbecker, born 6 January 1817 in Viernheim, Germany. He emigrated to New York City on 13 August 1852. Wanting to be a citizen of this fine country, he joined the U.S. Army during the Civil War and was assigned to the all-German 46th regiment out of New York City, called the “Fremont Rifle Regiment.” This regiment was mustered into the U.S. Army Service between 29 July and 16 September 1861, for a 3 year term of enlistment. The regiment left on 16 September 1861, 800 strong, for Washington DC, where it was assigned to the 1st. Brigade of Sherman's division, then quartered at Annapolis.
Early in November
1861, they were assigned to the Department
South, seeing action at Ft. Pulaski (GA), Secessionville
(SC), Sulphur Springs,
Bull Run & Antietam. In June 1863 they joined Gen.
Vicksburg. After the fall of Vicksburg they were ordered to Knoxville,
During a battle at Campbells Station, two men were killed and
missing. One of the men missing in action was Phillip Rohrbecker. That
was 13 November
1863. Phillip was captured and sent to the Andersonville
Civil War Prison,
suffered sorrowful and deplorable conditions, until he died on 23 June
He was a Private in Company B, with interment in grave #2354.
Rosa (he spoke both English & German.)
My family and I visited Andersonville a few years back. It is located in Plains, Georgia, and a new POW (all POW’s) center there is now open to the public. There is still an area where the original walls are still there, and what is very interesting is the Providence Spring, which became known as "the miracle at Andersonville." The story is, the only water available to the prisoners was a stream that flowed through the walls that came from upstream, that was used by the southerners to wash, go to the bathroom etc. before it got to the battered union prisoners, most who felt forgotten, and for many of them, it made the difference between life and death!
The story tell that, in 1864, on a hot night during a thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning struck the base of a tree and cool spring water came bubbling out and through the compound. I was there and I drank out of it as it still flows this very day! They call it the divine flow from that low sand hill in western Georgia, Amen! I found this info. interesting!
(You can obtain more information by going online to the Andersonville website)
Paul H. - SN, 2nd. Div. 1957-60