Oscar Von Holleben
2nd Foot Guards, Prussian Army
Second Lieutenant, 2nd Class
47th Infantry Regiment, Austrian Army
Co. I, 29th New York
Co. G, 52nd New York
Von Holleben was born July 22, 1838 in Torgau, Prussia. He joined the 2nd Foot Guards of the Prussian Army, garrisoned in Berlin, as a Second Lieutenant in 1854. In 1859 he left Prussia and joined the Austrian Army as a Second Lieutenant, 2nd Class, in the 47th Infantry Regiment. He was garrisoned in Marburg, which is today Maribor in Slovenia.
In 1862 he left the Austrian Army and went to the US. Von Holleben arrived in New York City on the SS Bremen on January 7, 1863 and enlisted in the 29th NY. He was described as being 5 foot 9 inches, with blue eyes, brown hair and a healthy complexion and gave no occupation, though he listed himself as a Lieutenant when he came to the US. Mustering in as a Private in Co. I on January 26, 1863 in New York City, he was promoted to Corporal on February 1, and then promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Co. E, 52nd NY on May 2, 1863.
After several more months of service in the ranks, Von Holleben was mustered in as the Second Lieutenant of Co. G on September 30, 1863. Promotions to First Lieutenant on October 23, 1863 and Captain on December 13, 1863 followed. He resigned his commission on April 12, 1864.
What Von Holleben did after he left the 52nd is unknown. A roster of officers from the 52nd with addresses from 1866 states he was living in Rochester, New York. A list of officers of the 2nd Foot Guards says he died April 18, 1867 in Yokohama, Japan.
Von Holleben served in the 29th NY with Richard Von Loeben, who was probably another foreign officer. He enlisted under the name of Ralph Lary on the same day and in the same company as Von Holleben. He mustered out of the 29th for promotion to Second Lieutenant in the 52nd NY, but never reported for duty and never served in the 52nd. On his enlistment with the 29th, he said he was born in Dresden, Saxony, gave his age as 26, with blue eyes, light hair, a fair complexion, 6 feet tall and a soldier by occupation. A Richard Loeben who gave his occupation as soldier arrived in New York City on the SS Brinssia on September 24, 1862 from Hamburg. There was a Richard Von Loeben who served as a Second and First Lieutenant in the 1st, 2nd and 13th Infantry Battalions of the Saxon Army from 1856 to 1862.
Oscar Von Holleben had this photo taken by George Rockwood at 839 Broadway, New York City. It is labeled “Capt v. Holleben, 52 NYV”. In his hands he is holding his kepi and is wearing an officers sack coat, which differs from the regulation frock coats worn by other 52nd officers in pictures. His sword is a non-regulation model as well.
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