2nd Lt. Herman Tuerk, 12th MO Infy USV
(1842 Germany-1907 Germany)
Original Member of the Missouri Commandery of MOLLUS


MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.327
Original Photo from the MO Commandery of MOLLUS Photograph collection
Located at the Missouri State Historical Society Library and Archives, St. Louis, MO

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Herman Tuerk was born September 20, 1842 in Bostock, Germany.

After the incipient revolution of 1848 in Germany had been crushed with an iron hand, most of the leaders who escaped fled to this contry and a large emigration of German people set in to the United States, particularly to St. Louis. Missouri was a slave State, and a large portion of the native population sympathized with secession when the South raised the standard of rebellion, but those of German birth were intesely loyal to the Union. It is a remarkable fact that of the ten regiments tendered in response to President Lincoln's first call for troops, four regiments being the quota from Missouri, eight of them were distinctively German, besides Backof's Battalion of three companies, and Voerster's and Nagel's independent companies. The service of the three months men in Missouri was not a picnic. Within ninety days they captured Camp Jackson, participated in the battles of Wilson's Creek, Carthage, Dug Springs, Dry Fork, Boonville, Mexico, Fulton, Blue Mills, and Brunswick. Of the 110,000 men furnished to the armies of teh Union from Missouri during that great war, at least 20,000 of them were of German birth.

The record of Herman Tuerk's service is given in his own modest language: "I enlisted for the three months' service in April, 1861, at St. Louis in Co.G 4th MO Infy (3 months), and was made Orderly Sergeant. For a time I acted as Sergeant-Major of the regiment, but being a short time before the expiration of service I did not receive the appointment. I again took service for the war as 2nd Lt. 12th MO Infy to rank from August 15, 1861. I fought at Camp Jackson, Bentonville, Leetown, and Pea Ridge, when, while acting as 1st Lt. of Co.B, I lost both eyes bya gunshot wound on the 8th of March, 1862. I was discharged for disability August 13th, 1862, receiving commendatory papers from Generals Curtis, Sigel, Blair, and Osterhaus to President Lincoln and the US Congress. These were presented through the kindness of Senators Henderson, Trumbull, Foster, and Washburn of the House of Representatives, and a special pension act was passed in my behalf, and signed after an audience with our most noble and lamented President Lincoln, whose most kind and consoling words will ever be memorable to me."

Having made the supreme sacrifice for the land of his adoption, young Tuerk returned to Germany and took up his abode at Lubeck. He subsequently married a cultured English lady, who tenderly cared for him, read stories of the great war to him and acted as his amanuensis to the end, which came March 1st, 1907. Some years after his return to Germany, he was commissioned as Major on the staff of the Governor of Illinois. He was elected a comrade of the Frank P. Blair Post #1 GAR of St. Louis, MO and mustered by Major Starkloff, US Consul at Bremen. Herman died March 1, 1907 in Lubeck, Germany.

2nd Lt. Herman Tuerk, 12th MO Infy USV was elected a Companion the MO Commandery in 1890, Insignia #8275. He was kindly remembered by his Companions of Missouri, and several of them made the journey to Lubeck to grasp his hand and recall the scenes of yore.

Along about 1893, a bill was introduced in Congress to withdraw pensions from all who had taken theri residence out of the United States. In dismay poor Herman wrote his Commandery of the calamity which threatened. A statement of the cruel injustice to this man was at once sent to the author of the bill, with the emphatic declaration that a man who had given his eyes for the preservation of the nation had a right to live where pleased. Nothing more was heard of the bill. His memory is held in loving remembrance by his Companions in arms.

Sources:
1) MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.327, 02Jun1900
2) Membership Records of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS

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