Online Artist Archive
b. circa 1839
Louis Voelkner was born in Darmstadt, Germany and emigrated from there to the United States, where he settled in St. Louis Missouri.
When the Civil War broke out, Voelkner enlisted in Battery F of the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery and rose to the rank of captain. In April 1866, he re-enlisted for a three year term. He was assigned to Company A of the 31st Infantry Regiment, which was sent to the Dakota Territory. Arriving first at Fort Sully, the regiment moved to Fort Totten (near Devils Lake) and was consolidated with the 22nd Infantry Regiment.
Voelkner spent much of his spare time making sketches of military life and surrounding landscapes. His drawing of Fort Totten was later used by an artist name Conger to make an oil painting of the fort. Also, one of his pencil drawings of a Metchif dance was used on the cover of a record album entitled Turtle Mountain Music, which was produced by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.
Voelkner apparently developed a taste for military life because he spent the rest of his life in and out of the Army. He re-enlisted for a five year term in November 1869 and was assigned to the General Service Regiment of Cavalry at the St. Louis Arsenal. He was discharged in 1874 and re-enlisted in August 1877. This time, he was assigned to the 3rd Regiment of Cavalry and sent to Arizona. He was discharged again in 1882. He re-enlisted again in October 1884 for a five year term and was stationed at the St. Louis Powder Depot. In October 1889, he re-enlisted for a fifth and final time.
- Ben Nemenoff
State Historical Society of North Dakota