Peter Wagner

Peter Wagner was born in 1844 in Nassau, Germany, the son of Christian (b. 1814) and Margarethe (b. 1824).

Prussian-born Christian and Margarethe were married in Germany and left Europe and immigrated to the United States sometime between 1844 and 1859 when they were living in Michigan. Peter’s family eventually settled in Detroit, Wayne County and by 1860 they were both living in Detroit, Seventh Ward. That same year there was one “Peter Wagoner,” age 17, a farm laborer living with and/or working for for the Slick family in Alpine, Kent County, on the western side of the state.

In any case, Peter was 17 years old and residing in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company C on May 15, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.) He was discharged for disability (cause unknown, but quite possibly consumption) on October 21, 1861.

Peter’s sister Margaretta would marry Andrew Kirschman, another member of Company C, in 1864.

Peter returned to Michigan and was probably living in Byron, Kent County when he reentered the service on December 30, 1861, as a private, for three years, in Company F, Fourteenth Michigan infantry and was mustered in on January 7, 1862.

He was mustered out of the service with the regiment on July 18, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.

After the regiment was disbanded in Detroit on July 29 Peter probably returned to his home in western Michigan. (There was one Peter Wagner, age 29, who enlisted in Company I, reorganized Third Michigan infantry, on February 20, 1865, at Grand Rapids, for one year, and was mustered the same day. He was discharged at the expiration of his term of service on February 16, 1866, at San Antonio, Texas.)

In 1878 he applied for a pension (no. 248277), but the certificate was never granted.

Peter may have been living in Detroit in 1880 (there was a 36-year-old Prussian-born baker named Peter Wagner living with his brother John B. Wagner in Detroit in 1880). He was probably living in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he was admitted to the Central Branch National Military Home in Dayton, Ohio, sometime before late 1883. (The Michigan Soldiers’ Home was not opened in Grand Rapids until 1885.)

He may very likely have been suffering from consumption and in fact he died from phythisis pulmonaria (consumption) at Dayton on December 25, 1883. Peter was buried that same day in Dayton National Cemetery: section D, row 14, grave 21. His father was living in Grand Rapids when Peter died.