Gustave Arndt

Gustave Arndt was born 1834 in Staven, Posen, Prussia.

Gustave’s parents were both born in Prussia. In any case, sometime in early 1861 Gustave immigrated to America, moving first to Milwaukee before moving east across Lake Michigan and eventually settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan.

Gustave stood 5’6” tall with a light complexion and was 27 years old, unable to speak English and living at Peter Zimmer’s boarding house in Muskegon in April when he enlisted in Company C on May 23, 1861. Gustave did not join the “Muskegon Rangers’, which would eventually join the regiment as the nucleus of Company H, rather he joined Company C which was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. (This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

For reasons unknown, Gustave was detached from the regiment, and by October of 1862 he was serving with the Quartermaster Department, and in November was a cattle guard. He was sick in the hospital at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, and in the hospital at South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from June 30, 1863, through May of 1864. It is possible that Gustave rejoined the regiment sometime in the spring of 1864 and he may have been wounded in the left side at the Wilderness, Virginia, in the first week of May 1864; he also reportedly suffered from “St. Vitus Dance”. Gustave was reportedly mustered out of service at Detroit on June 20, 1864.

Gustave returned to Muskegon after his discharge from the military and by 1871 was living in Whitehall, Muskegon County where he was variously employed in the lumber industry.

Gustave may have been married to Prussian-born Hannah (b. 1847); if so they had at least one child: Rudolf (b. 1868); also living with them were Julius (b. 1843) and Ernest Arndt (b. 1853). Next door lived Abel Palmer who also served in the Old Third during the war.

By 1870 he may have been working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Harwood, Norton Township, Muskegon County.

Gustave was married to a second (?) wife: Prussian-born Mina “Minnie” Schmidt (1854-1927) on June 24, 1871, in Whitehall, and they had at least one child, Emil (1874-1899).

By 1880 he had been rendered (so he claimed) totally unfit for any manual labor and applied for a pension from the government (no. 411143) but the certificate was never granted. That same year he was working as a tanner and living with his wife and son in Whitehall.

In June of 1882 the surgeon who examined Gustave for his pension application certified that indeed he was “totally incapacitated for obtaining his subsistence by manual labor” as a consequence of a “gunshot wound to his left side and St. Vitus dance”.

Gustave died in Whitehall, Michigan on May 25, 1885, reportedly of rheumatism, and was buried in either Whitehall or Montague cemetery: 0-4-3.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 351081) but the certificate was never granted and the claim was reportedly abandoned sometime after 1887. In 1887-88 Mina was residing at Montgomery’s Boarding House in Muskegon.