Why I Am Writing This Journal

My life changed on September 11, 2010 when I attended a Krueger family reunion in Leonard, North Dakota.

If you had asked me before that event who my great grandfather was, I would have answered, “I don’t know.” I’m not sure I could have even told you how many great grandfathers I had (everyone has at least four). I might have told you the last name of at least one of them was named Krueger, but I could not have told you his first name, much less where he was born, lived and died.

All that changed when one of my father’s cousins, Charlotte Carlson, brought his picture and other information about him to that reunion. I had no idea that a portrait of this man, who was born in 1854, even existed. She brought not only his picture, but also a portrait of his wife, my great grandmother. And portraits of her parents, my great great grandparents as well.

I was hooked!

A couple of years later, my brother-in-law, Robert Massey, asked me if I had any civil war ancestors. I replied, “I don’t know, but my mother has a picture of someone in a civil war uniform.” It turned out that picture was the photograph of John Lance.

I did not know anything about John Lance. After a little research, I found that he not only fought in the civil war, but was wounded during the Battle of Atlanta. His brother-in-law, Jefferson Phillips, was killed at the Battle of Shiloh, leaving seven children without a father.

I was hooked again! I wanted to know as much as I could about John Lance and the men he fought with during those four years.

I wanted to know more about John Lance, the men of Company F, the 40th Illinois Infantry, and the civil war. This journal will tell of Great Grandpa Lance’s experiences, some real (like his court martial) and some fictional (based on the experiences of other soldiers).

As I stated in my opening essay about John Lance, this journal is a tribute not only to my Great Grandpa Lance, but also to Jefferson Phillips and the men of Company F. My hope is that it will also help their descendants (and mine) know, understand and love their ancestors.

David Krueger, August 28, 2020.

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