Company A, 72nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Here is a short bio of Martin, who was my great-grand uncle, and the text of the letter from his commanding officer. This information comes from the National Archives Pension Files. His surviving parents consecutively petitioned the Government for Pension enitlement.
Martin Heberlein [aka "Haberlin"], was born in the vicinity of Nuremberg, Germany in 1834. He emigrated in July of 1844 to America with his parents and sisters, and settled with them in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enrolled in the Union Army on the 28th day of July, 1862, at Chicago, Illinois, for a term of 3 years. He was wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg and subsequently died while serving as a Corporal in Col A, 72nd Regiment, Illinois Volunteers. This letter was sent to his father, John Heberlein, by Martin's commanding officer in explanation of the manner of his death:
Head Quarters 72nd Illinois Inft.
Oct. 31st 1863
Mr. John Heberlein:
Your letter [of] the 19th was received this morning. This is the first word I have had from you or else I should have most certainly written you before. Your son, Martin, was one of the very best men in the Regt. When I was in command of "Co. A" I always found him prompt to do his duty. No one have I missed more than Martin - Being a Pittsburgher myself, we had many talks about the old place and often spoke about our going there after the war [is] over. The particulars of his death are these ---
On the 22nd of May, our Regt. was ordered to advance and charge on the Rebel works. "Co. A" was [to?] advance [---] up to within a short distance of their works where we laid down to wait for the other Regiments to take their positions. While there four of "Co. A"'s [men] were shot, two of them killed and two mortally wounded ---one of the latter was Martin. He was carried to the rear and then to the Hospital. He lived three days---did not think he would die, not even to the last. He was wounded in the groin. On that day the Regt. in twenty minutes lost eighty men out of three hundred and fifty, so you must know that we had a hard time of it.
Capt. Batchelor of Co. A. says he will forward Martin's effects immediately.
As you say, your son gave up his life in a good cause---many more of us must yet die before this wicked Rebellion is [-----].
My kind regards to your wife,
Joseph Stockton Lt. Col,. 72nd Illinois Inft.
Transcribed from a copy of the original document by Laura Cutshall