Adam Marty was a member of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. After the war he became Commander of the Minnesota Department of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Marty was born in Switzerland on August 2, 1837. When Marty was two, his father immigrated to the United States, settling in Stillwater. Marty's mother died when he was six. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in Switzerland until the family immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri. They moved to Stillwater when Marty was twelve. Marty lived with his father for a time, but they had a strained relationship as Marty grew older.
Before the Civil War, Marty worked as a farmhand for local land owner Henry Jackman. At the age of eighteen he began an apprenticeship under Mort Webster, a Stillwater carriage painter. When news of the outbreak of the Civil War reached Stillwater, Marty enlisted in a local militia unit called the Stillwater Guards. Three of Marty's cousins also enlisted, including Samuel Bloomer. Marty and Bloomer were close and remained so throughout the war years and beyond. On April 29, 1861, Marty and his fellow guards marched to Fort Snelling and were enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The Stillwater Guards became Company B of the regiment.
As a member of the First Minnesota, Marty fought in early Civil War battles such as Bull Run, Balls Bluff, and the the Peninsula Campaign. The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, had a particularly strong impact on him. During the battle Marty's cousin and closest friend, Samuel Bloomer was shot through the leg while carrying the regimental colors. Bloomer's leg required amputation, and he eventually returned home to Stillwater and then served in the Invalid Corps.
Though Marty no longer had Bloomer by his side, the cousins began a rich correspondence for the remainder of the war. Marty continued to serve with the First Minnesota through the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. His Civil War service culminated with that of his regiment, during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. On July 2, 1863 the First Minnesota was ordered to charge a numerically superior Confederate force in order to protect the Union line. The First Minnesota took the highest casualties of any regiment during the war: eighty-two percent. Company B entered the battle with thirty-six men, by the end of the charge only six remained standing. Marty was among the wounded. A musket ball tore a large hole in his right thigh.
After being wounded Marty was sent to South Street Hospital in Philadelphia. He was bedridden for several agonizing months. Eventually he healed enough to get out and socialize, making friends and attending cultural events. In April of 1864 Marty traveled home to Minnesota and was mustered out with the rest of the First Minnesota Volunteers on May 5, 1864.
After the war Marty returned to Stillwater and worked as a carriage painter. He had no lasting physical limitations from his war service. He married Ottilie Hoffman in 1869, but she died in childbirth in 1870 along with the couple's daughter. In 1884 he married Augusta Burrow. They had four children: Carl, Raymond, Arline, and Milton. In 1872 Marty was a charter member of the Stillwater Fire Department. He was appointed deputy sheriff in 1882. In 1890, he was elected sheriff of Washington County, serving two terms.
Marty was also deeply involved in the Grand Army of the Republic. He joined Stillwater's Muller Post in 1875 and served as post commander for six terms. In 1881, Marty was elected Commander of the statewide organization. Together he and Bloomer rejuvenated the GAR in Minnesota. Marty also helped form the "Last Man's Club" in 1887 for members of Company B. It was the first of its kind in the nation. The members created an annual reunion on the anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run. As members passed away their chair would be draped in black.
After 1910, Marty moved to St. Paul. His wife died in 1922 and Marty then moved in with his daughter. He died at her home February 7, 1923 and was buried in Fairview Cemetery in Stillwater.
Adam Marty Papers, 1861–1919
Manuscript Collection, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul
Description: Original and typescript copies of correspondence.
Samuel Bloomer Papers, 1861–1920
Manuscript Collection, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul
Description: Bloomers diaries and correspondence.
St. Croix Valley Old Settlers' Association Records, 1877–1922
Association Records, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul
Description: Records of organization of people who had settled the St. Croix River Valley prior to 1860.
DeCarlo, Peter. "Freely Bleed and Even Die: The Story of a Civil War Soldier." BA Thesis, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, 2009.
Goodman, Robert and Peter DeCarlo. In Their Own Words: The Civil War as Seen by Washington County Soldiers. Stillwater, Minnesota: Washington County Historical Society, 2011.
First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Adam Marty.
On April 29, 1861 Marty joins the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment with his cousin Samuel Bloomer.
Adam Marty is born in Switzerland.
Marty immigrates to the United States.
Apprentices as a carriage painter in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Enlists in the Stillwater Guards.
Enlists in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Campaigns with the First Minnesota, fighting in every engagement.
Marty is wounded during the First Minnesota's heroic charge during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Marty recovers from his leg wound at South Street Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Musters out with the rest of the First Minnesota Volunteers at Fort Snelling.
Marries Ottilie Hoffman, who dies shortly thereafter in childbirth.
Marty becomes a charter member of Stillwater's first fire department.
Joins Grand Army of the Republic and serves his first of six terms as Stillwater's Muller Post commander.
Marty is elected commander of Minnesota Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. He rejuvenates the organization in Minnesota with Samuel Bloomer's help.
Marty is appointed deputy sheriff in Washington County, Minnesota.
He marries his second wife, Augusta Burrow.
Marty is elected sheriff of Washington County, Minnesota.
His wife Augusta dies and Marty moves in with his daughter Arline Blanch at her St. Paul home.
Adam Marty dies.
It is discovered that Marty's grave in Fairview Cemetery has no headstone. In October of 1994, a new head stone is dedicated.