In 1849, John Hoch emigrated from Germany to the United States. A shoemaker by trade, Hoch enlisted in Co. A, 96th Ill. Vol. Inf., in 1862, and served to the end of the war. Writing in German, he described daily routines, marching, and camp food.
Lillian Hoch Schaefer, Hoch's daughter, donated the diary, along with an English translation, to the Library in 1953.