Search billions of records on
Johann and Catherina Zacher
Abstracts of Information
from Pension Application
for Service in the Civil War

The following material is extracted by me (Allan Zacher III) in June 1997 from the information available from the National Archives with the following information:

Pension Claim: 284 642 by Catherine Zacher
Case Number: 318 292

Synopsis and Analysis

Catherine Zacher was Widowed when John Zacher died on 22 Feb 1871 of "Rheumatism" of "the heart and legs". In this case was described as severe swelling of the legs, trouble breathing and had to sit upright to breath. Naturally, I assumed he died of heart failure. Pretty hard to make this into a war related injury. But, then I did the math. He was about 41 years old. So he probably did die of a war accquired illness, perhaps a parasite picked up from sleeping in cold wet muddy ditches in the battlefields.

The following are abstracts of the depositions and over 100 pages of depositions, affidavits and related documents and letters which were filed with the National Archives in accordance with the government's policy of never throwing away anything. You can obtain these records to either have your own copy or verify what is contained herein.

Perhaps the reader won't have realized this until this point, these records are all hand written and therefore present a challange to extract. Hail the 20th Century and typewriters and computers. In case you're wondering, these and related records will NEVER be converted to computerized text, there is just too much and it is too hard to make out (even for a computer). (Although, they say, "never say NEVER".)


Johann Zacher
Muster Roll 145th Regiment, Company G, New York Volunteers
Aged 32 years old on 11 Sept 1862 (therefore, born about 1830)
5 feet 11 inches tall
Complexion: Dark Eyes: Grey Hair: Brown Occup.: Mason
Where Born: Prussia

Enlisted on 23 July 1862, pvt., 3rd Corporal Sep 1862, by May & June 1863 was 5th Corporal, with the NY 145th Infantry. That unit was disbanded 9 December 1863, it is not clear why. Originally I thought it was decimated with too few men to make a regiment, but the death roll does not show overwhelming loss. High loses are alluded to by one of the deponents, however The 145th fought at several significant battles: THE BATTLE OF CHANCELLORSVILLE, MAY 1-3 1863, and in THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN, JULY 1863 .

Mustered into Co. F 146 N.Y. Volunteers in Aug 1864 and was there until discharge 16 July 1865 as a pvt. (note drop in rank)THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE AFFIDAVITS AND DEPOSITIONS SUPPORTING CATHERINE ZACHER'S PENSION CLAIM

In part of her support for the need for pension support, Catherine Zacher needed to prove several things:

1) that she was legally and lawfully married to John Zacher
2) that John Zacher did fight in the "War of the Rebellion" as it was then called
3) that she had minor children (under 16) to support
4) that John Zacher died as a result of illness contracted during his service

The following document was filed by Catherine on 4 Aug 1884 indicating the surviving children under 16 at the time John died.

Name Born on will be 16 years old on

John Casper 8 Sep 1855 8 Sep 1871

George Victor 25 Feb 1858 25 Feb 1874

Charles 10 Apr 1863 10 Apr 1879

*EDWARD 18 Jan 1865 18 Jan 1881

Gilbert 2 Jan 1867 2 Jan 1883

August 22 Feb 1870? Agust died 25 Feb 1872

*Edward is the author's (ANZ III) great grandfather.

Catherine Zacher States in an affidavit dated 21 July6 1890 that she was born on 5 July 1829 in Germany and arrived in New York in July 1851. She was single and her maiden name was Catherine Baeder.

Mary Phillips (married name) states that she was John Zacher's sister and is age 53 on the date of the deposition, 15 May 1888.

Louis Lauber states that he knew the family well since moving to Peru, IL (La Salle Co.) and was called to make the funeral arraingements on 22 Feb 1871. He states. . . "when he died I was immediately called as an undertaker and found his limbs in a swollen condition. When I arrived the deceased was still sitting at the table."

Charles V. Roback of Salisbury, NY states in an affidavit dated28 June 1890
" I know that John Zacher had Rheumatism, for on the march from Five Forks to Appamattox he complained of it at different times and I also knoww that on the march back coming through the City of Richmond he fell down and had to be conveyed back to camp and also that while we were in camp at Alexandria waiting to be mustered out he complained [of] Rheumatism at different times."

Affidavit from W. H. Von Kuren of Angelo, Monroe Co., Wisconsin. Aged 44 in June 1890
" John Zacher joined Co. F. 146 on or about the first of Aug 1864 and was a member of the same company and on the last of Aug or first of Sept 1864 we had a raid on the Weldon R.R . It was in a rain storm and the mud was deep and John Zacher caught cold and Rheumatism and in my opinion that is what caused his death.

Affidavit, Catherine Zacher 7 October 1890
" That she is also unable to furnish full medical evidence showing the continuance of her late husbands disability from his discharge until his death for the reason that the soldier was too poor to employ physicians and generally treated himself with patent medicines and home remedies."

Deposition from Jacob Kohn (or Kohr) 8 Sept 1895
" He was a stone and brick mason by trade (can't make out the rest of the deposition)."

Deposition from Mary Phillips 8 Sep 1895
" The Clamaints husband, John Zacher, was my brother. . . . . when he came to Peru Ill. from New York City in the fall of 1865. I saw him frequently while he lived here until his death, 1865 to 1871. He was a mason and brick layer."

Deposition, Catherine Zacher 8 Nov 1895 This is a very long deposition and probably contains substantial detail about their lives. I have reviewed it a number of times and have a great deal of difficulty making out the writing. :( .

" At the date of our marriage we lived in Buffalo, NY and lived there 7 or 8 years then moved to New York City where Mr. Zacher enlisted in the army. After his discharge form (can't read) we came to Peru, La Salle, Co. ILL. and lived here until he died"

Deposition from Charles V. Roback 1896. This is VERY interesting:

" I remember a member of the same Co. & Reg't (146 Co. F, NY Volunteers) by the name of John Zacher. He joind the Co. after I did. He had been, as I understand, in some other Reg't before he joined us and was made a Corporal. For some reason or other he was afterwards reduced in rank.

" I remember that when we were coming through Richmond, VA on our way home that he was overcome by the heat and fell down and he and others were sent down to Alexandria, VA by boat. I recollect seeing him there . He appeared to be all right again so far as the effects of the heat, but while we were there he conplained a good deal of rheumatism.

" He was reduced [in rank] for some breach of discipline."

Deposition of William H. Van Kuren 28 July 1896 (52 y/o)
" . . . I was in the service from May 1861 until after the Battle of Antitum. I recall John Zacher as a member of Co. F 146, NY Inf'ty. He joinned us near Petersburg either in June or July 1864. We were badly cut up in the midsummer. . . (can't read). We were so badly reduced that I believe the two Reg'ts . . (can't read). . ."

Depositions continued in 1897. There is one from Gilbert Zacher in which it states he is 30 years old that year and his occupation is a clerk.

Lewis Lauber states the funeral expenses for buring John Zacher were:

Coffin - $6.00. (something else, can't read) - $2.00
Hauling - $3.00
Grave - $3.00

Lewis also states he buried the child, (Agust) on 26 Feb 1873
Small Coffin - $3.00 Wagon - $5.00


Statement that Catharine Zacher was recieving $8 a month plus $12 per month for the time the children were under age.

This statement noted the claimant had to pay a fee of $25. Which was paid.

This statement was stamped in large block letters, diagonally accross the record:


This is the last entry and is dated sometime in 1906. Apparently Catharine recieved her pension in March 1886 until death with some or all of the amount due for the early years when the children were under the age of majority (16 in those days).