The Civil War Finds Immigrant Among Union Army's Volunteers

Man enlists in Iowa regiment of volunteers during the Civil War, survives Andersonville Prison.
CAPPER's Staff
Good Old Days
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

Food for the Tree Army - FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Before the young men of America were part of the Greatest Generation many had been part of FDR's Civ...

Where The Warm Wind Blows

A special spot on my farm where the warm wind blows.

Free Is Always Good

Some of the varieties of free fruits available for the taking. All it takes is a little time, a litt...

Library Food

I can live without television but I can't live without a library card. Even when I am not looking fo...

John Jacob Kindscher, my paternal grandfather, came from Switzerland to the United States at age 11, and his family settled in Iowa. At age 18, he enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. He was a private in Co. K, 16th Regiment, Iowa Volunteers. The following is taken from his obituary.

"During his active life in the army he enjoyed good health, but he came close to death when returning with a supply of water to his comrades. On finding a wounded Confederate soldier who asked for a drink, Mr. Kindscher stopped to comply with the request. When only a few feet away, the Confederate who was wounded fired at him. This bullet struck the metal part of the U.S. belt he was wearing, which doubtless saved his life.”

A short time before entering upon the fourth year of the War, Kindscher was captured at the Battle of Wilderness while detailed by a commanding officer to procure food for his company and was sent to Andersonville Prison, where he was confined for nine months. His granddaughter, Georgia (Kindscher) Binegar, who compiled the Kindscher Genealogy, wrote the following.

“While at Andersonville, Grandfather Kindscher found a pocket knife that was in good condition. He saw a Confederate guard carrying some potatoes. He asked the guard if he might swap the knife for a good potato. Never had anything tasted as juicy and crisp. This potato seemed to revive Grandfather Kindscher and give him a new zest and incentive to live."

After nine months at Andersonville Prison, because of a break in health, Kindscher was sent home. As soon as he was physically able, he reenlisted, but the war ended before he reached the front.

Barbara (Kindscher) Cowgill
Silver Creek, Nebraska

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!