Julius Carl Faenger

Julius Carl Faenger, also known as “Finger,” “Fonger,” “Fanger” or “Faehger,” was born November 23, 1826 in Berlin, Prussia.

Julius’ parents were both born in Prussia. In any case, Julius eventually left Prussia and immigrated to the United States, possibly around 1856, and eventually settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1857.

He married Neu Darmstadt native Margaret or Margarette Schaefer (1830-1907), on March 11, 1858, at the First German Evangelical Lutheran church of Immanuel in Grand Rapids.

The following year, in October of 1859 he joined the Grand Rapids Rifles, commanded by Captain Chris. Kusterer. (The GRR or “German Rifles” would serve as the nucleus for Company C of the Third Michigan infantry.) By 1860 Julius was working as a currier and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

Julius was 34 years old and still residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as First Sergeant in Company C on May 13, 1861. Julius was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company E on October 26, 1862, at Edward’s Ferry, Maryland, commissioned as of April 26, replacing Lieutenant Byron Hess. Julius was transferred back to Company C by Regimental order No. 6 in January of 1863, and was on a leave of absence granted from Third Corps headquarters beginning March 22, 1863; he remained absent through April of 1863.

Julius eventually returned to the regiment and was shot by a minie ball in the left elbow on November 20, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia. He was admitted from the Regimental hospital on December 4 to Third Division hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, with a “gunshot wound of left elbow joint with fracture of radius.” According to hospital records, his “arm remained swollen & painful for some time. Poultices were applied giving much relief. Afterwards cold water dressings were applied & passive motion made as soon as expedient, but considerable stiffness of the joint resulted notwithstanding.” By the first of February 1864, his wounds were “entirely healed up,” and he was given a furlough for 30 days from February 8, 1864. Julius probably returned home to Grand Rapids. In any case, he returned to the hospital in Alexandria on March 9, and remained hospitalized until he was transferred to a hospital in Washington, DC, on April 27. He resigned his commission on May 28, 1864, at Washington, DC, on account of his wounds.

After his discharge Julius returned to Grand Rapids where he spent the remainder of his life. In 1865-66 he was keeping a saloon at no. 76 Canal Street, and in 1868-69 he was living on the north side of Coldbrook, near the railroad. In 1870 he was working as a laborer (and owned $8000 in real estate) and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward, and by 1880 he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife in the Fourth Ward. He was living in Grand Rapids at 288 Ottawa Street in the Fourth Ward in 1888, 1889, in 1890 and 1894.

Julius was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association as well as Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids, and a member of the German Lutheran (now Immanuel Lutheran) church at the corner of Division and Michigan Streets. He received pension no. 42,851, drawing $11.25 per month in 1883 for a wounded left arm, and provided affidavits in the pension applications of former Third Michigan soldier Mathias Baeker and the widow of Jacob Stegg, former Band-member of the Old Third. He was also a member of the German Veterans’ Association.

On September 16, 1890, the Grand Rapids Democrat reported that

A score or so of German veterans of the late war met in the reading room of the Bridge Street House last evening for the purpose of making arrangements for a turn out on German day, October 6. Julius Fenger acted as chairman of the meeting and Julius Caesar as secretary. The following were appointed a general committee of arrangements: August Schmidt [formerly in Company C], Henry Schnabel, Julius Rathman, Julius Fenger [formerly of Company C], Ely Koehler, A. Rash, Frank Muhlenberg [formerly in Company C], Gustav Landau, Julius Caesar. Ward committees will also be appointed. The intention is to take part in the parade on German day. None but actual veterans of the war of the rebellion and native Germans will be permitted to take part in the parade, and these will be provided with special badges and will march under the United States flag. This is intended as an emphatic declaration of loyalty and patriotism of German citizens. There are about 200 German vets in the city. Veterans from out of town will also be invited to participate. The headquarters of the German Brigade will be at the Bridge Street House. Another meeting will be held next Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock at Arbeiter Hall to further perfect arrangements.

On Wednesday June 22, 1904, Julius died of septic uremia at his home at 288 Ottawa Street in Grand Rapids. The funeral services were held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday June 25, at his home (by Stein & Alt undertakers), and at 2:00 p.m. at the German Lutheran church. He was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: section D lot no. 95.