Rev. Frederick W. Bogen, a Fightin’ Lutheran Chaplain

Conflict: Civil War

Naturalization Index Card for Frederick Bogen

Naturalization Index Card for Frederick Bogen

Chaplains served in many different capacities during the Civil War—some as gentle pastors, ministering to the sick and wounded, and some who saw the fight as a Holy War to be waged on the battlefield.

According to his index card entry found in NARA publication M1674, roll 10, Frederick W. Bogen became an American citizen on 2 October 1856 in the Superior Court of the County of New York.

It was quite fitting that he did considering how he was more or less directly responsible for enticing countless German-speaking immigrants to leave Europe for America by the publication of his book, The German in America, or, Advice and instruction for German emigrants in the United States of America, in 1851. This work, printed conversely on odd and even pages in both German and English, not only guided the prospective émigré on how to proceed but even helped one learn how to read the English language and gave lessons on American patriotism with a translation of the Constitution and the life of George Washington, for example.

Bogen traveled a great deal between Europe and the United States, especially during the 1860’s. His application from 1860 for a passport shows that he was 46 years old, stood 5’ 9” tall, with gray eyes, dark brown hair, and a ruddy complexion.

Physical description of Frederick Borgen from an 1860 passport application

It appears from his application for a passport in 1863 that during the first few years of the Civil War the Rev. Bogen, a practicing Lutheran preacher who once filled a pulpit in Boston, served as Chaplain of the 41st Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry, also known as DeKalb’s Regiment and comprised largely of German speaking soldiers.

Examination of Bogen’s Compiled Military Service Record and his pension application file held at the National Archives shows that he was indeed a fightin’ preacher. He claims in his pension to have been wounded in the right leg below the knee at the Battle of Cross Keys on 8 June 1862, the minie ball extracted on the field. His other and more serious injury was a gunshot wound below the left ankle at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on 2 May 1863; a minie ball grievously injured his foot. He rejoined his unit on 22 June 1863 and was with it at the Battle of Gettysburg in July.

Monument to the 41st New York Infantry at the foot of East Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg

His situation failed to improve, and he eventually resigned in December 1863, being unfit to carry out his duties because of the wound to his foot and general debility from hard service.

Portion of Frederick Bogen's pension application detailing his disability

This is when he again traveled to Europe.

After he returned from Europe in 1865, he attempted to acquire a position as a Chaplain with the 74th Reg’t United States Colored Troops (Infantry) by application to the Secretary of War.

Letter from Frederick Bogen to the Secretary of War, page 1

This attempt was unsuccessful, but he was able to gain employment with the United States Treasury, where he was a clerk for nearly a decade. He received a pension for almost fifteen years. He died on 4 May 1885 and is buried under a soldier’s stone in Togus National Cemetery (Chelsea, Kennebec County, Maine) on the grounds currently occupied by the VA’s Medical and Regional Office Center.

NARA M1674, roll 10, The Soundex index to naturalization petitions filed in federal, state, and local courts in New York City, et al, 1792-1906 :

The German in America, or, Advice and instruction for German emigrants in the United States of America; also, a reader for beginners in the English and German languages. Boston: B.H. Greene; New York: Koch; Philadelphia: J. Weik, 1851.

NARA M1372, roll 84, Passport Applications 1785-1905 :

CMSR of Fred W. Bogen, 41st Reg’t New York Volunteer Infantry, (NARA RG94, entry 519 CMSR, Civil War, New York).

Pension case-file of Fred W. Bogen, Chaplain, 41st Reg’t New York Volunteer Infantry, (NARA RG15, Civil War pension, certificate #97990).

National Gravesite Locator

Togus National Cemetery