Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fiddler's Green: Joseph Rendlebock*

Joseph Rendlebock was born in Rickbinghaus, Prussia in 1823. He enlisted in Company A, Regiment of Mounted Rifles on May 22, 1851, at the age of 28. He served with the Mounted Rifles for the next five years, earning promotions to corporal, sergeant and first sergeant of the company prior to his discharge in May 1856.

A few months later, he was enlisted into Company G, 1st U.S. Cavalry at Fort Leavenworth by Lieutenant (later Confederate Major General) Robert Ransom, Jr. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’10 ½” tall, with brown hair, grey eyes and a florid complexion. Rendlebock served the majority of the rest of his career with this company.

Rendlebock was once again the first sergeant of his company when he was reenlisted at Fort Wise, Colorado Territory by Lieutenant Warren on July 13, 1861. This ended that winter, however, when he was appointed a second lieutenant in the same company of the 4th Cavalry on November 29, 1862 at Nashville, Tennessee. Sergeant Martin Murphy succeeded him as the first sergeant of Company G.

Lieutenant Rendlebock distinguished himself on several occasions during the rest of the war. He was active and mentioned in reports on the battle of Stones River in January 1863. He was brevetted first lieutenant for gallant and meritorious service in the cavalry action at Franklin, Tennessee on May 10, 1863. Leading his company’s charge, he succeeded in overrunning and capturing two guns of Freeman’s Battery. Unfortunately, the guns were spiked and lost later in the battle during a counterattack by Forrest. A few months later he was brevetted captain at McMinnville, Tennessee on October 4, 1863, again for gallant and meritorious service.

Joseph was promoted to first lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Cavalry on December 15, 1863. He continued to serve with his regiment through the remainder of the war. He was brevetted major in the regular army for gallant and meritorious services at the capture of Selma, Alabama on April 2, 1865.

After the war, Lieutenant Rendlebock accompanied the regiment to the frontier, where he served as the regimental quartermaster from August 20, 1866 to August 13, 1867. His promotion to captain freed him from this duty, and he returned to Company G as its commander that same day. He served the remainder of his career commanding his company in Texas.

Captain Joseph Rendlebock was retired on July 23, 1879 for disability incurred in the line of duty. He died ten years later, on March 13, 1889.


Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 823.

Hamersly, L. R. Record of Living Officers of the United States Army (Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1884), page 428.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Army and Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume II (New York: D. Van Nostrand Publishing, 1873), pg 328.

Muster Rolls, 4th U.S. Cavalry, NARA, M744

* Note: His last name is listed in various places as Rindlebock, Rindlebrook, Rendelbrock, Rendelbock and Rendlebrook.

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