Joseph F. Aurandt
Born: March 01, 1843
Died: May 03, 1863 during the Battle of Chancellorsville
Click here to view a transcription of his letter
Above are scanned images of what was probably the last letter that Joseph wrote home to his family. It was found among my Grandparents papers in a hand-tooled leather case. You will note that it is dated March 28, 1863 and postmarked from Washington, DC on March 29, 1863, 1 month and 5 days from the date of his death at Chancellorsville.
It is also interesting to note that Joseph wrote this letter from "Convalescent Camp V" near Washington, DC, which was perhaps the Lee mansion (now Arlington National Cemetery) and served as a hospital camp during that time. We do not know why he was there. Perhaps recovering from illness or wounds received at Antietam where his unit was in action over six months before (September 17, 1862).
At the time of his death Joseph was serving as a Private in "B" Company of the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.
The Chancellorsville action:
Late in the afternoon of May 2, 1863 "Stonewall" Jackson launched a surprise attack on the Union right flank. The results were catastrophic with various units of the XI Corp (to which the 125th Pennsylvania was attached) trying to hold their positions in vain and being overrun. In the end the entire XI Corp was routed from their positions. That evening "Stonewall" Jackson was mortally wounded while trying to regroup his troops. It was also probably during that day that Joseph was also wounded, dying at a Confederate hospital the next day. He and "Stonewall" Jackson possibly were attended to in the same hospital which was located between where the 125th Pennsylvania fought and where Jackson was shot (accidentally by a confederate sentry).
Joseph's body was never identified and the War Department officially stated that he is probably one of the 12,802 soldiers that were reburied at the Fredericksburg Virginia National Cemetery in 1868 "Unknown but to God". The 125th PA suffered heavy casualties that day, over a third of their already reduced strength, and were moved with the rest of the XI Corp to a safer position for the rest of the battle. Although the unit's term of enlistment was for 9 months, and the regiment wasn't disbanded until May 18, 1963, less than two weeks after Joseph's death. The 125th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was formed Aug 16, 1862. It existed for only 10 months and 2 days.
The Aurandt Panorama 1550-1982 by Miriam Aurandt Harbaugh
Chancellorsville 2nd Edition by Gen. Edward J. Stackpole
Copyrights J. I. (Pete) McLallen
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Nothville, Michigan 48167
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This page was last edited on Friday, August 15, 2008 10:26 PM