DISCARDED PIPE FOUND
No one knows exactly when, but sometime later, the daughter of Christian Saalman
visited the prison site after it had been declared a national cemetery, to find
and view the grave. At that time a cemetery caretaker helped her find the gravesite,
and told her that he had found something that would probably be of interest to her
- a pipe with the name of Christian Saalman carved on the stem.
It became one of her prized possessions and remained in the family until about a
year ago when Mary Wise, a great-granddaughter of Christian Saalman residing in
California, brought the pipe back to Andersonville where it will remain on display
in the museum.
Mr. and Mrs. Estel Saalman stopped at Andersonville Prison on the way from Florida
this spring to again view the gravesite of his great-grandfather and to see the
old pipe, which may be nearly 150 years old.
SAALMAN FLED GERMANY
Christian Saalman was born in Germany and fled from his native land to the United
States, settling in Perry County, Indiana. And here's the story as told to me by
Estel Saalman, about his ancestor's flight to the U.S.
Saalman family in Germany, during the time of the kings, had been appointed by the
ruling king as "Tenthers" the title being handed down through successive generation.
A Tenther was one who collected a tax, or a tenth, from all the subjects, either
in money or other types of property, including livestock.
Christian Saalman did not believe it was a fair means of taxation, and so when it
became his turn to assume the job as the Tenther, he decided he would leave Germany
and come to America. Had he remained, he would probably have been severly punished
Christian Saalman was a carpenter in Germany. Very likely, either he made the pipe
or it was made by the artisan carvers and wood-workers in the Black Forest region.
The birthdate of Christian Saalman is not known [It is now: 25 Jan 1829, in Hoym,
Anhalt-Sachsen, Germany. ed.], but he died July 25, 1864. He was a member of Co.
D 35th Indiana Infantry. His gravesite is No. 4229, Section F, at Andersonville.
Readers may remember that Providence Spring at Andersonville Prison was the central
theme of the May 4, 1978 article. When the spring gushed forth after the Christian
soldiers prayed to God for water, Christian Saalman asked to be carried to the spring,
that he might have a refreshing drink before dying. His wish was granted and shortly
thereafter he was carried to a knoll just above the spring where he died.
The fateful part of this whole story is that had Christitan Saalman not been involved
in an act of kindness he perhaps wouldn't have been imprisoned at Andersonville
and this story would never appeared in print.
The story, according to Estel Saalman, is that the Union forces were engaged in
battle at Chicamaugua and forced to retreat. Saalman and several of his army buddies
fell behind as the lines retreated, and came across several other Union soldiers
who had been wounded. They begged not to be left behind, so they helped evacuate
them from the danger zone and found their way to a house where they could get water
for those wounded.
As they approached the house, several Confederate soldiers took them captive and
they were taken to Andersonville Prison. Estel Saalman said that Henry DeVillez,
mentioned soldier earlier, lived to be an elderly man in Perry County, Indiana,
and revealed to him many of the incidents recounted.
The accompanying photo shows Estel Saalman standing in just about the same spot
where his great grand-father died, holding the treasured pipe, which may be viewed
by anyone visiting the prison.
I'll tell you the Reinhard story another issue.