Peter Osterhaus

Major General Peter J. Osterhaus

Biographical Outline

  • Pre-War Life
    • Born in Coblenz, Prussia on January 4, 1823
    • Attended military academy in Berlin
    • Served as volunteer in 29th Infantry Regiment in Prussia
    • Participated in 1848 revolutions.
    • Came to the US in 1849, and settled first in Belleville, Illinois. Later moved to Lenanon, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri.
    • In St. Louis, worked as a bookkeeper.
  • Civil War Service
    • April 1861, enlisted as a private in the 2nd Missouri regiment, but was soon promoted to major
    • Fought at Wilson's Creek
    • Became colonel of the 12th Missouri which he helped organize in December, 1861
    • Promoted to brigade commander, and later division commander
    • Led division at Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Promoted to brigadier general in June of 1862 because of his actions in this battle.
    • Commanded division of 13th Corps at siege of Arkansas Post.
    • Was wounded at Big Black River.
    • Penetrated the outer works of Vicksburg with his division on May 22, 1863.
    • Was often down with malaria and yellow fever.
    • At Chattanooga, became the hero of Missionary Ridge when his troops stormed the crest in the "battle above the clouds"
    • Promoted to major general on July 23, 1864
    • Broke through at Marietta during the battle of Kenesaw Mountain
    • Participated in Jonesboro, Peachtree Creek and battles around Atlanta.
    • September 1863- Placed in command of the 15th Corps
    • Led corps through Georgia. Led assault on Fort McAllister
    • Was in a total of 34 battles
  • Post War Life
    • Served as military governor of Mississippi
    • Served as consul at Lyons, France for 11 years.
    • Worked in the wholesale hardware business in St. Louis.
    • Returned to Germany to be consulate at Mannheim.
    • Died January 2, 1917, and was buried in Duisburg, Germany.

The name "The American Bayard" was a reference to the "fearless and blameless" knight of French legend, and was given to Osterhaus by Emil Mannhart.

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951)
Warner, Ezra. Generals in Blue: Lives of Union Commanders (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964)