THE CIVIL WAR
Eight Months and Two Weeks in Secession

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Admin/Biog History Joseph Arnold was the son of Frederick and Margaret (Mack) Arnold, both from Bavaria, Frederick came to America in 1835 and married Margaret several years later, 1843 family moved to Milwaukee, WI, and in 1851 to Oshkosh. Frederick was employed as a soap and candle maker in 1857. Joseph was employed as a butcher according to the 1860 census. Joseph went to Milwaukee in April 1861 and enlisted in Company H, 1st Wisconsin Infantry (Three Months Regiment). He served in Virginia and saw action at the Battle of Falling Waters. he mustered out of service on August 15, 1861. Joseph reenlisted in Fond du Lac on Augst 15, 1862, as a sergeant in Company E, 26th Wisconsin Infantry (Seigel Regiment). He fought in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (where he was captured on July 1, 1863) and was a prisoner of war at Belle Isle near Richmond, Virginia until March 7, 1864. He participated in the Atlanta Campaign, March to the Sea, and the March Through the Carolinas. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on February 11, 1865 and commanded the company as senior officer and briefly commanded Company H. He musterd out on June 13, 1865. After the war he operated a restaurant and bottled mineral water in Oshksoh. He married Matilda Moss on November 24, 1868 and raised four daughters. Arnold was active in the Grand Army of the Republic and was commander of the Phillip H. Sheridan Post #10 in Oshkosh. His widow loaned the artifacts, photographs, and archival material to the museum at an unspecified date.
Classification Archives
Collection Joseph Arnold Collection
Dates of Accumulation 1864
Abstract Eight Months and Two Weeks in Secession written by Joseph Arnold while recooperating in a hospital following his release from a Confederate prison camp. It was written to his mother and details the event of the fighting and his capture at the Battle of Gettysburg and his movement s south.

Eight Months and Two Weeks in Secession
Dear Mother.

Having at present some leisure time I sit down to give you a short description of my life and experience in Dixie.

On the first day of July 1863 we left Emitsburg, Maryland, [and] crossed the boundaries [between] Maryland and Pennsylvania. The day was rainy and the roads were muddy. I was at that time not enjoying very good health and therefore received a pass from Dr. Von der Vaart , of our regiment, to ride in ambulance. But the ambulances were all full and I therefore kept as close to the regiment as possible. Having arrived in the suburbs of the town of Gettysburg our regiment halted. The roaring of canon, which had already begun, told us of the terrible storm that was approaching. I had by this time come up with the regiment. The regiment started again to pass through the town. I could not keep up [with] the regiment going double quick, but followed as speedily as possible. [The regiment] having arrived at the other side of the town and formed in line of battle, I had by this time caught up again.

The orders were now given for [the] advance. On we went, the enemy advancing at the same time. The conflict commenced. Closer and closer did we come to one another until we were at a distance of about 20 yards of one another. The enemy was now outflanking us on both our right and left flanks, [and] turning our flank and throwing our line into confusion. We now received orders to retreat. I being in the crowd, was knocked down, and at the same time Sergeant Major Metzel and another man fell onto me, who were wounded. I now could not easily get up, but by the time I had gotten out from under the wounded men, I was told to surrender by one of the Rebs or they would blow my brains out. Seeing that there was no use to resist, I submitted and now was a prisoner. All that could possibly walk were ordered to the rear.

While going to the rear, I asked the guard what troops were fighting us, who told me that I was taken by Early's Division, Hays 8th Brigade and the 21st Georgia Infantry Regiment. Turning the attention of the guard away from me, I took the opportunity to secret my revolver. We were now moved around from one place to another until dark, when we were turned into a field for the night, where we stayed that night. The next morning, on the second day of July, I went around the toilet to see how many acquaintances I would find among my unlucky comrades. I found Captain Domschke and Adjutant Walber of our regiment, and eight enlisted men of Company H, three of Company B, seven of Company C, four of Company I, seven of Company E including myself, six of Company F, one of Company G, three of Company H, six of Company I, and 1 of Company K. During the night I had taken my revolver into as many pieces as I could, and divided the pieces among those of my company, to prevent it from doing the rebs any good, in case they should find a part of it. I went to see Captain Domschke and Adjutant Walber, who told me that they had nothing to eat. I had some coffee left and cooked a cup of coffee for them and gave them a few pieces of hard tack, which was all I had left

All officers were now ordered together and were separated from us. We moved again from one place to another until the middle of the afternoon. We were halted towards evening [and] every regiment, what men there were of, it was drawn up in line [and] names taken and [the men] offered a parole. We asked permission to consult our officers, which was granted. I went to see Captain Domschke, who told me that we could do as we liked, that our government had notified the Rebs that the parole would not be recognized, and if we would take it we would do so on our own risk. As for him, he was going to Richmond and would advise every man that felt able to walk to Staunton, [Virginia], a distance of 170 miles, to go too. I returned and told the boys what the Captain had said. [I] told them to say according to their own mind, and that I was going to Richmond too. All agreed to go to Richmond. Some men of other regiments took the parole, but the majority did the same as we.

Evening had again come around and we now began to feel a little hungry. The Rebs shot three or four cows that they had stolen from the farmers and told us to take the hide off and use it. I went to work, skinned a beef, and took as much as myself and two other men could humanly carry, and divided it among those nine of our regiment. We had now meat enough for that day, but no salt or anything else with it. The next morning, on the 3rd, we were again shifted. Those that took the parole were separated from us [and] were paroled, drew rations, and sent away to our lines. Toward evening, the Rebs issued to everyone of us a tablespoonful of flour and on the next day, the fourth day of July we started on to Richmond. Passing their hospitals, they had made use of every barn and every tent and shelter tent they could scare up, and turned it into hospitals. Passing ahead, I saw our former brigade flag and other colors, which the Rebs had captured, from us.

The whole Rebel Army was now on a move and we were therefore taken by side roads. The heavy rain made the roads almost impassable. We had marched about eight miles when we were halted and camped for the night. [On] July 5 we started again, passing through Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Toward evening our cavalry had caught up with theirs (the enemy's rear) and was attacking the Reb's wagon train, which we could see very plain, it only being two miles from us. Our cavalry captured and destroyed 200 of the Reb's wagons. We were marched until about 11 o'clock at night and then camped for the rest of the night at Cold Springs, Pennsylvania.
[On] July 6, the weather began to be a little brighter and the roads better. The Rebs had destroyed, the night previous, a great many wagons loaded with arms and plunder that they could not get away [with] in their hasty retreat. We started again at six in the morning, passing through Waterloo and Wainesborough, Maryland. [We] marched during the day and all night, passed through Mengsburgh and halted on the road. In the morning [we were] issued rations, which consisted of 2 oz. of beef including the bones and 2 oz. of flour. This was on the morning of the 7th of July.

Thursday [July 7], we had marched three days on six spoonfuls of flour and 2 ounces of meat and Bone. After eating our short allowance, we started again. [We] passed through Hagerstown. [On] the other side of Hagerstown, some of our cavalry had been fighting the Rebs the day previous, and the bodies of our dead were still lying around, stripped of all the clothing. Some were lying on the road, but were not removed. We had to march over them. Toward evening we arrived near Williamsport, [Maryland] and camped for the night.

[On] July 8, in the morning, we started again, but only got to the river when we were ordered back again. Our cavalry had cut their pontoon bridge and the heavy rains had swelled the [Potomac] River so that they could not easily repair it. They were moving their artillery and trains back and forth as if not knowing what to do.

July 9 we crossed the [Potomac] River on a flying ferry and received our allowance of six spoonfuls of flour again.

July 10 about seven in the morning every Yankee prisoner was across and at noon we started on our march again. Arriving at Martinsburg, [Virginia] in the evening, the citizens, knowing our conditions about something to eat, brought out all they had. And were even refused or not allowed to give it to us. But some were bound that we should have it [and] threw whatever they had over to us. The Rebels, driving them back with swords and at the point of the bayonet. Yet they encouraged us to be of good spirits and offered to write home for us if we would leave our direction. We marched about two miles outside of town and camped. The citizens meanwhile gathered a load of bread, meat, and etc. together, and sent it after us, but were not allowed to give it to us themselves. The Rebs took charge of it and promised to give it to us. Long will I remember the good union citizens of Martinsburg, Virginia.

On the 11th we marched to Bunker Hill, were divided into squads, and I was put in charge of one of them. The sergeants were then called to draw the bread and meat that was left, the Rebs, taking the best of it for their own men. Each man received about three ounces of bread and three ounces of meat After rations were issued we started again and arrived near Winchester about 12 o clock at night and camped. The Rebel guard took advantage of our starving condition, bought bread from the citizens, and sold it to us for one dollar a slice or five dollars [in] Greenbacks for a loaf, which was paid and glad to be had. When one of the guard would come with a loaf of bread, he sold it to the highest bidder, and would offer [it for] five dollars. Another, anxious to get it, would offer ten dollars and sometimes a loaf would sell as high as fifteen and twenty dollars in US currency.

July 12 we went three miles south of Winchester and drew two days rations, which consisted of eight spoonfuls of flour and six ounces of meat.

On the 13th we left for camp again, passed through Newtown and Middletown and camped near Cedar Creek. Reverend Mr. Sanders and Doctor McDonald, who were captured while bringing out a load of sanitary stores for our wounded, were at that time in my squad. The Reverend and Doctor, not being used to hardships, gave out in the evening. The Rebel Cavalry threatened to cut their heads off if they would not march along and misused them dreadfully.

On the 14th we passed through Strasburg, Woodstock, Edenburg, and camped near Edenburg in the evening. We marched 26 miles. On the 15th [we] passed through Hawkinsburg, Mount Jackson, and New Market. A train of pontoons passed us, which was going to the relief of Lee's Army, but was reported captured by our men before it got there.

On the 16th [we] drew three crackers and four ounces of bacon, and arrived at Mount Crawford. In the evening [we] left Mount Crawford, passed reinforcements for Lee, passed a spring running out of a living willow, [and] camped in the evening one mile from Staunton.

On the 18th[we] left camp in the morning, passed through Staunton, and were then searched for money. [We] had our tents, rubber blankets and other articles taken from us. [We] were put in camp with nothing to shelter us from the burning sun or daily rains.

[On the 19th, we] drew rations.
On the 19th, 700 [prisoners] left for Richmond on the cars.
On the 20th, 1000 [prisoners] left for Richmond on the cars.
On the 21st, 600 [prisoners] left for Richmond on the cars.
On the 22nd, 800 [prisoners] left for Richmond on the cars.
On the 23rd, no cars went out. Weather was very hot.
Drew rations on the 25th, moved camp to near the depot.
On the 28th, reinforcements of 30 Yanks [arrived]. The officers were put in irons for breaking their gold watches and tearing [up] their greenbacks.
[On the] 29th, eight Yankees escaped during the night.
July 30th, planters come and picked out their niggers from a squad that was captured with a wagon train near Washington.
[On the] 31st, [we] were searched for money. We hid our money in buttons. I buried my revolver and the Rebs found little, except on one man who had $100.00 in his stockings.

[On] Aug 1st, [we] Drew rations. Some of the guards deserted with a squad of our men.
Aug 2 Drawed 2 days rations
[The] 11th, [we] left Staunton on [a] train of freight cars. [We] were packed in so tight that only one half that were in the car could set down at one time. I happened to get in with some lousy fellows. Therefore [I] received some lice which I could not prevent. The car, while in motion, would tip from one side to the other, like a rocking ship in a storm. We therefore had to hold on to the train [to keep] from going overboard. On our way we passed through three tunnels, passed Ivy Station and Charlottesville, and arrived in Richmond on the morning of the 5th of August 1863.
Event Civil War
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Notes Joseph Arnold was the son of Frederick and Margaret (Mack) Arnold, both from Bavaria, Frederick came to America in 1835 and married Margaret several years later, 1843 family moved to Milwaukee, WI, and in 1851 to Oshkosh. Frederick was employed as a soap and candle maker in 1857. Joseph was employed as a butcher according to the 1860 census. Joseph went to Milwaukee in April 1861 and enlisted in Company H, 1st Wisconsin Infantry (Three Months Regiment). He served in Virginia and saw action at the Battle of Falling Waters. he mustered out of service on August 15, 1861. Joseph reenlisted in Fond du Lac on Augst 15, 1862, as a sergeant in Company E, 26th Wisconsin Infantry (Seigel Regiment). He fought in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (where he was captured on July 1, 1863) and was a prisoner of war at Belle Isle near Richmond, Virginia until March 7, 1864. He participated in the Atlanta Campaign, March to the Sea, and the March Through the Carolinas. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on February 11, 1865 and commanded the company as senior officer and briefly commanded Company H. He musterd out on June 13, 1865. After the war he operated a restaurant and bottled mineral water in Oshksoh. He married Matilda Moss on November 24, 1868 and raised four daughters. Arnold was active in the Grand Army of the Republic and was commander of the Phillip H. Sheridan Post #10 in Oshkosh. His widow loaned the artifacts, photographs, and archival material to the museum at an unspecified date.
Object ID RG1.3
Object Name History
People Arnold, Joseph/
Subjects Civil War/Campaigns & battles/Camps/26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry/German-Americans/Prisoners of war/Food
Title Eight Months and Two Weeks in Secession
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009