A Biography of Major General Peter Osterhaus
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Missouri Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Peter J. Osterhaus has long deserved more attention from historians and students of the Civil War than he has received. He was, in many ways, the best example of disinterested ethnic patriotism in the conflict. An important division commander in the Army of the Tennessee, especially during the Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns, Osterhaus contributed greatly to many...
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Peter Joseph Osterhaus, major general of Volunteers for the Union army in the American Civil War, rightly referred to himself as “an utterly unknown person—homo novus.” This remains true today, despite the fact that Osterhaus, an exiled leader from the 1848 rebellion in Germany, enjoyed a meteoric military career in America. Working as an accounting clerk in St. Louis...
Chapter 1: Before the War
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Peter Joseph Osterhaus, later so adept a military leader, was born into a decidedly unmilitary family in Rhine Province, a new province created and awarded to the kingdom of Prussia in 1815 after the defeat of Napoléon. His father, Josef Adolf Oisterhusz, was a self-made, prosperous contractor in the city of Koblenz. Oisterhusz and his wife, Eleanora Kraemer, a local butcher’s...
Chapter 2: The Trans-Mississippi Campaignsof 1861 and 1862
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Ready or not, Maj. Joseph Osterhaus and his rifle battalion left St. Louis on their first campaign on June 13. His men were clad in multicolored uniforms made or donated by various civilian volunteer groups; there were not enough shoes, blankets, or tents to go around. But at least the men of the Second Missouri began their first campaign in relative comfort, traveling the...
Chapter 3: The Vicksburg Campaign
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As Brig . Gen. Joseph Osterhaus languished in bed at home during the fall of 1862, the Union effort faltered. Toward the end of the year, Osterhaus read with dismay that the Union troops had suffered severe losses in the East, most recently at Fredericksburg, and the war effort had stalled in the West. But he was encouraged to read about the latest Federal effort now getting under...
Chapter 4: The Chattanooga Campaign
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When Osterhaus returned from leave on August 21, Grant sent him to the Big Black River to report to Fifteenth Corps commander William T. Sherman. However, the general’s next assignment was by no means assured: Sherman at that point had more generals than he had divisions, and two other generals outranked Osterhaus. Despite this, when Osterhaus asked for the...
Chapter 5: The Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea
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As soon as Brig. Gen. Peter Joseph Osterhaus had ordered a salute fired to the new year of 1864, he left Camp Proclamation on a well-deserved month’s leave. He was headed not to St. Louis to see his motherless and scattered five children, at least not right away, but to New York City and Washington, D.C. On December 28 he had received word from Germany that his plea...
Chapter 6: Mobile Bay and Reconstruction
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Soon after the Federals marched into Savannah, Joseph Osterhaus learned of “Black Jack” Logan’s imminent return to the Fifteenth Corps and spoke with Army of the Tennessee commander Oliver O. Howard about his own next assignment. Osterhaus was an excellent division commander, but he was well aware that going back to his old First Division was problematic. At this...
Epilogue: The Later Years
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In the late summer of 1866, Joseph Osterhaus left Amalie and the children at her parents’ home in Kreuznach, Germany, until the twin boys’ birth in September. By the time his wife and now eight children had joined him in Lyon later that fall, Joseph had found them a spacious apartment. Now began the process of introducing their five very American children to the differences...
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 8 illus, 7 maps
Publication Year: 2010