Lieutenant August Schlapp

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

The Schlapp family immigrated to America from Germany, ending their search for a home in Iowa in July of 1857. When the war broke out, August and his brother Henry quickly enlisted in the Fremont Hussars, which would become Company F of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

Prior to the war, August had worked as a farm-hand. However, during this critical time in American history, the quality of his classical German education served him well. Along with his brother, he rose rapidly through the ranks. Sergeant Henry Schlapp finished the war as a senior noncommissioned officer. Being four years older, it was natural that August's career progression began before that of his brother. He was promoted to Eighth Corporal in October of 1861, just a month after the company was formed. He was promoted to Third Corporal in January of 1863 and Company Commissary Sergeant in May of that year. After the regiment consolidated with the Fifth Iowa Infantry, he was promoted to First Sergeant of Company F. He served in that position of trust until November of 1864 when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Although not mustered as an officer, he served in that role until the war's end, when he mustered out with his companions on August 11, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

Schlapp was one of the men who was part of an amazing episode in the regiment's history. The Official Roster entry says "taken prisoner May 5, 1862, Lockridge's Mill, Tennessee. Returned to Company June 10, 1862." However, the story did not end there. The men had been paroled by the Confederates, but were not properly exchanged. Nevertheless they were coerced by their commander to reenter the fray. This was contrary to laws of war, and the men knew it. Some disobeyed the order, but most acquiesced when they witness the punishment of their friends. Schlapp's entry in the 1888 Portrait and Biograhical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa describes the event this way, stating he "was captured near Mayfield, Ky., in 1862, held a prisoner for two weeks and discharged on parole. The parole was not respected by his superior officers, and, with others of his comrades, he was forced to return to active duty."

Following the war, on October 13, 1866, he married Lina Krusin in Burlington, Iowa. Three of their children survived, Carl, Ernest and Anna. He became a successful grocer and a pillar of his community.

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