THE CIVIL WAR
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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.
On April 16, 1861, Joseph Arnold left Oshkosh and went to Milwaukee. He enlisted in Company H, 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry as a private, to serve for three months. The regiment was organized under Colonel John C. Starkweather at Camp Scott and left for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1861. When the regiment arrived at Allatoona, Pennsylvania, they were immediately ordered to join General Patterson's command in Chambersburg. They remained there until June 16, when they left for Hagerstown, Maryland and were assigned to Colonel Abercrombie's Brigade.

On July 2, 1861, General Patterson moved his army across the Potomac River into Virginia. The 1st Wisconsin was in the vanguard and advanced as skirmishers towards Colonel Thomas J. Jackson's Confederate forces. There they participated in the Battle of Falling Waters. The regiment was sent back to Wisconsin and Arnold mustered out with the regiment on August 21, 1861. As the regiment advanced towards Martinsburg they encountered the enemy at Porterfield's Farm near the village of Falling Waters. The first six companies of the 1st Wisconsin were in skirmish order while the balance of the regiment formed the reserve. They turned the enemy's right flank and routed them from their position. They pursued the enemy for several miles and went into bivouac. Although considered a minor skirmish by the standards and scale of battles fought later in the war, this was an action of firsts for the state of Wisconsin. Here the first Wisconsin soldiers to fire a musket in anger, receive a wound, be taken prisoner and be killed on the battlefield occurred. On July 3 the army entered Martinsburg and remained there until July 15. On that date the moved to Bunker Hill. The army advanced within five miles of the enemy at Winchester on the 17th, the 1st Wisconsin in line of battle. That evening they marched into Charleston, Virginia. General Jackson eluded General Patterson's forces on July 21 and were able to participate in the 1st battle of Manassas. That same day, the 1st Wisconsin was ordered north to Harper's Ferry, Virginia. They were then ordered to the Monocacy River to guard the canal and fords in the area. On August 12, they were ordered by General Nathaniel Banks to return to Wisconsin for muster out. Joseph Arnold and the rest of the regiment were mustered out of Federal service in Milwaukee on August 21, 1861.
Classification Archives
Collection Joseph Arnold Collection
Dates of Accumulation July 20, 1861
Abstract Letter written by Joseph Arnold to his family in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Joseph was a member of the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry (3 Months Service) when he wrote this letter. He mentions the food they were eating and converstions with slaves. Many of his letters were written in German, since his parents were born in Germany and still spoke the language at home.

[Joseph Arnold letter Translated from German]

Charlestown, Virginia
July 20, 1861

God's greeting dear parents, brothers and sisters,

As you want to hear from me more often and it takes so long for letters to get there and back, I take up my pen again to send you a few lines. We left Martinsburg, [Virginia] last Monday and went to Bunker Hill where the Rebels again departed rapidly. From there we marched here to Charlestown and are now here, at the place where John Brown was hanged a few years ago. Yesterday I went to the spot where the gallows stood [and] where the others of his party were hanged. Charlestown, where we are now, is eight miles from Harper's Ferry, where we shall probably go next. People here are mostly affluent and rich, and most of them own slaves. I spoke to some of them yesterday. And asked them if they had to work hard. And they said yes, and told how good their masters are. And in the same breath that they are not allowed to speak to a white person. I am well and in good spirits. Our food is not much, I have not had any bread for a month, we have crackers, or what they have on ships "Pilot Bread", and salt meat twice a week. Fresh meat and other delicacies are hardly known.

In closing, send all of you my regards

Your son and brother

Joseph Arnold
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 RG1.5
Object Name Letter
People Arnold, Joseph
Subjects Civil War
Campaigns & battles
Camps
1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Slavery
Slaves
Military cookery
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009