Fidele Bail

Fidele Bail was born 1832 in Württemberg, Germany.

In the mid- to late-1850s several Bail brothers emigrated from Württemberg to the United States, and at least three settled in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. Fidele’s younger brother August (1837-1915) immigrated to America in 1854 and eventually settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but had moved to Muskegon, Michigan, by the time he applied for citizenship in 1860. Two younger brothers John and Pius also settled in Muskegon, the latter arriving in the United States in 1856.

In 1860 Fidele (listed as “Fetal”) was probably working as a day laborer and living with his younger brother August at the Nicholas Kemp boarding house in Muskegon. Also staying at the same boarding house, and indeed listed as living next door to the Bail brothers was George Bodendorfer, his wife and young daughter and George’s younger brother William. (Both the Bodendorfer brothers would also join the Third Michigan Infantry.)

Fidele stood 5’6” with gray eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 32-year-old unmarried shoemaker possibly living with his brother August in Muskegon, Muskegon County, when he enlisted in Company C on January 19, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day, crediting Muskegon with the enlistment for the bounty money. (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.)

Fidele joined the Regiment at Camp Bullock, Virginia, near Brandy Station on February 10, 1864, and was shot in the left side of his chest on May 5 at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was sent to Washington, DC, and admitted on May 17 to Finley Hospital, diagnosed with a gunshot “wound of apex of left lung. The ball entered at the anterior end of clavicle and emerged at inf. angle of clavicle.” Upon admission to the hospital he listed his nearest relative as August Bail of Muskegon.

Fidele died the following day, on May 18, 1864, in Finley Hospital, from a gunshot wound to the left lung, and was buried the same day in Arlington National Cemetery, section 27, grave 169.

No pension seems to be available.