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 23, 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 describes his observations of the city of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, where the Federal Arsenal had been destroyed by Confederate forces.

Harper's Ferry, July 23, 1861
Dear parents and siblings,

Yesterday, we left Charlestown, [Virginia] and came here to Harper's Ferry. When we arrived here, I went to see the arsenal, which the Secessionists burnt down. It is a large building made of brick, about 400 feet in length, and consists of a number (of buildings). Each building is specifically for casting bullets and for fabricating rifles in general. The buildings are situated in a valley below on the Potomac. Between the buildings, there is a road, which was lined with beautiful shady trees. There is a water reservoir beside the road for putting out fires in case one should break out. The magazine is along the way.

Behind the rifle factory is the arsenal, which the Union troops burnt as they were driven out. You see, they took with them as many rifles as they could and burnt the ones they did not take lest they fall into the hands of the Secessionists. When the Secessionists arrived in Harper's Ferry, they burnt down the rifle factory as well as an iron bridge, which is about a quarter of a mile in length. And they sent in six cannons, two of which are 36-pounders and about 15 feet long.

[Continued on the back side]
Maryland, July 25, 1861

Dear parents,

I began this letter in Harper's Ferry. However, we received marching orders, and I was unable to finish it. We left Harper's Ferry the day before last, again crossing the Potomac River. Two miles from the river, we met the 3rd Wisconsin Regiment with a company from Oshkosh. I talked to some acquaintances from Oshkosh. Now, we are 30 miles from Harper's Ferry, and we are going to guard the canal, the Potomac [River], and the railroad here until our time is over. Where or near which town we are at current, I do not know. Our time will be over August 17. We will then return to Wisconsin.

I have received word that the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment fought a battle near Manassas Junction, [Virginia] and it is said that many lost their lives there. I heard that 70 men from one company are said to have died. I do not know of any further news. I have received only one letter from you. Whether they did not reach me or whether you did not write, I do not know. This is the fourth letter I am writing to you. When you receive this letter, you do not need to respond to it anymore. Because by the time your letter arrives here, I may already be able to speak to you face to face. I will close now and will forever remain

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 RG1.6
Object Name Letter
People Arnold, Joseph
Subjects Civil War
Campaigns & battles
Camps
1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Title Letter
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