Johann Frederick Gustavus Zehnder was born in the Swiss Canton of Aargau. At age 18, according to family lore, he immigrated to the United States.
He married a Swiss, Margaretha Hoesli, from Canton Glarus and they had six children here in America. One of which changed the family name to Sanders.
He first enlisted in the 7th PA Volunteers Regiment and served three months. Then he enlisted into the 74th. When discharged from the regiment, he had been promoted to the rank of Corporal and received the sum of $6.34 to return to Pittsburgh, PA