I don't know of its connection to Pitners in the U.S., but there is an interesting book of the collected letters from Ernst Pitner of Austria (1838-1896?) edited by one of his descendants and entitled "Maximillian's Lieutenant" (U. of New Mexico Press, 1993).
This is an account of Ernst Pitner, a young Austrian officer who accompanied Maximillian in his rather misguided attempt to become emperor of Mexico in the 1864. Ernst returned to Austria after the execution of Maximillian.
The book makes reference to Ernst's family from Vienna including a half-brother Franz (b. 1826) "a well-known painter", and cousin Max (1833-1911), a naval officer. Perhaps there's a connection between these Pitners and your family - you may be able to find out more family history from the book's editor, Gordon Etherington-Smith.
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