Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902

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Army officer and editor. He served as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War.

From the description of Papers, 1861-1902. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 18375966

American army officer.

From the description of Letter signed : St. Louis, Mo., to a Secretary Woods, 1861 Sept. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270664904

German army officer. Immigrated to the U.S., 1852. Union army officer during the Civil War and editor of German language newspapers in Baltimore, Md., and New York, N.Y.

From the description of Franz Sigel papers, 1863-1870. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980462

Union General who was born in Germany, came to the U.S. where he settled in St. Louis and taught math. After the war he moved to New York and became a journalist.

From the description of Letter, Oct. 9, 1862. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 54848376

Officer in the Union Army, journalist, and editor; resident of St. Louis, Missouri, and New York City. Born in Sinsheim, Baden, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1852.

From the description of Franz Sigel papers, 1861-1862, 1900-1901. (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 58776354

Officer in the Union army, journalist, and editor; resident of St. Louis, Missouri and New York City. Born in Sinsheim, Baden, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1852, after involvement in the Revolution of 1848.

From the description of Franz Sigel papers, 1806-1901 (bulk 1860-1862). (New York University, Group Batchload). WorldCat record id: 58781930

Brig. general in the Union Army.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Headquarters, 2nd Brig. St. Louis, Mo., to George F. Heidemann, 1861 Sept. 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270662670

  • November 18, 1824: Sigel born in Sinsheim in the Grand Duchy of Baden (modern day Germany)
  • 1843: Sigel graduated from the Military Academy at Karsruche and joined the army of the Grand Duke of Baden
  • 1848: Sigel joined the Germany revolution and resigned his military commission
  • May 1852: Sigel moved to New York after being in exile in Switzerland and England
  • 1855: Sigel established the German-American Institute in New York City with his father-in-law, Rudolf Dulon where Sigel taught mathematics, history, and languages
  • 1857: Sigel was hired as a professor at the German-American Institute in St. Louis
  • 1860: Sigel was elected director of St. Louis public schools
  • May 4, 1861: Sigel was commissioned as a colonel of the 3rd Missouri Infantry
  • August 7, 1861: Sigel was promoted to brigadier general (effective May 17)
  • Winter 1861: Sigel resigned from the Union Army in protest when his command was given to Samuel R. Curtis. This is the first of his two resignations.
  • March 7 - 8, 1862 : Sigel led a division at the Battle of Pea Ridge. This was one of Sigel's few notable military victories during the Civil War.
  • March 21, 1862: Sigel was promoted to major general of volunteers
  • Winter 1862 - February 1863 : Sigel was given command of the XI Corps in the Army of the Potomac, which was mainly made up of German immigrants who wanted to “fight mit Sigel.” Sigel was relieved by Major General Oliver O. Howard in February 1863
  • February 1864: Sigel was given command of the Department of West Virginia
  • May 15, 1864: Sigel suffered an embarrassing defeat at the Battle of New Market
  • July 8, 1864: Sigel was removed from active command
  • May 4, 1865: Sigel resigned from the Union Army for the second and final time
  • 1869: Sigel ran for New York Secretary of State only to be defeated by the Boss Tweed’s candidate
  • 1886: Sigel was appointed U.S. Pension Agent for New York, a position he held through to 1889
  • August 21, 1902: Sigel died in New York City

Franz Sigel was born on November 18, 1824 in Sinsheim in the Grand Duchy of Baden, what is now modern day Germany. His military career began upon his graduation in 1843 from the Military Academy at Karsruche when he joined the Grand Duke of Baden’s army. His time in the army was short though, because Sigel resigned his commission in order to partake in the the Revolutions of 1848 in Germany. Sigel was rather notable among the revolutionaries because he had actual military experience. After the Prussians put down the revolution, Forty-Eighters (those who had supported the revolution) fled Germany in droves. Sigel was one of those Forty-Eighters and lived in exile in Switzerland, France, and England.

At some point after the revolution, Sigel married Elsie Dulton with whom he eventually had five children, which included three sons and a daughter: Rudolph, Paul, Franz Jr., and Lulu. No information is available about the fifth child. Sigel's granddaughter, Paul’s daughter, Elsie, was a missionary among Chinese immigrants in New York City. She gained notoriety 1909 when there was extensive newspaper coverage of her sensational murder allegedly committed by one of the immigrants she had been helping.

In May 1852, Sigel, like many Forty-Eighters before him, came to the United States and settled in New York City. Sigel began building his ties with the German immigrant community when he established the German-American Institute in New York City with his father-in-law, Rudolf Duton. Sigel taught mathematics, history, and languages at the Institute. Sigel also taught at the German Turner Society, which was an institution that believed in mixing learning and exercise. During this period Sigel was also active in the 5th New York Militia. Sigel then moved to St. Louis in 1857 to become a professor at the German-American Institute there. In 1860 Sigel was elected director of St. Louis’ public schools.

Like many other Forty-Eighters, Sigel was considered a progressive who opposed slavery. When the American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, Sigel was ready to join the fray. He was commissioned as a colonel of the 3rd Missouri Infantry in the Union Army on May 4, 1861. Soon Sigel became a household name--at least in German households. In what was considered a political maneuver, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Sigel to the rank of brigadier general. The reason for this promotion most likely had something to do with the rallying cry from German immigrants-“I goes to fight mit Sigel.” (There was also a popular civil war song with that slogan for a title.) Sigel was a significant help when it came to recruiting German immigrants for the Union Army. Interestingly, there were several Civil War generals who were German Forty-Eighters including Carl Schurz, Louis Blenker, and Alexander Schimmelfennig.

Unfortunately Sigel’s recruiting successes did not carry over to the battlefield. There were some notable victories during the early years of the war, such as the Battle of Pea Ridge which took place on March 7-8, 1862. However, Sigel’s American military career was punctuated by a resignation in 1861, which he did in protest over being replaced, and numerous losses on the battlefield. Although he was removed from active command, Sigel managed to stay in Lincoln’s good graces due to his popularity with the German immigrants. On May 15, 1864, Sigel suffered an embarrassing loss at the Battle of New Market where the Confederate force had a number of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute whose average age was eighteen. Sigel continued in the Union Army without active command until his second and final resignation on May 4, 1865.

As a civilian, Sigel kept active in politics. He attempted to run for New York Secretary of State in 1869, but he was defeated by Boss Tweed’s candidate. Boss Tweed was a political machine boss. He is associated with Tammany Hall, a notorious New York political machine which was founded in 1876, devoted to Democrats, and fueled by Irish immigrants. In 1886, Sigel was appointed U.S. Pension Agent for New York and he held the position until 1889. On August 21, 1902 Sigel died in New York City.

Sources:

Stephen D. Engle, Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

“Franz Sigel,” Civil War Trust, available at http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/franz-sigel.html.

“Franz Sigel,” Encyclopedia Virginia, available at http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Sigel_Franz_1824-1902

“Gen. Franz Sigel Dead,” N.Y. Times, Aug. 22, 1902.

From the guide to the Franz Sigel Papers, 1806-1930 (Bulk 1848-1880), (@ 2011 New-York Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. [Map of Sperryville, Virginia]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks papers, 1829-1911 (bulk 1860-1880). Library of Congress
creatorOf Hedgeman, G. [Map of an area north of Sperryville and Warrenton, Virginia] / G. Hedgeman ... Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Position of the troops under Colonel Sigel's Command in the southwest of Missouri, near Arkansas, on the 2d of July, 1861. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf United States. Army of the Potomac. Corps, 11th. Map of routes and positions of the XI Corps under command of General Franz Sigel from Middeltown [sic] to Fredericksburg / Franz Kappner, Chief Engineer, Eleventh Corps. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Strategical map of the country between Fayetteville, Maysville & Cassville showing the different positions & movements of the 1st & 2d division under command of Gen. Sigel on the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th of March. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn PH 1716, Young, Brigham 1801-1877. Brigham Young photographs circa 1860-1870 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Burchard, William. Battlefield of August 29th and 30th 1862 / Wm. Burchard. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. [Map of an area between the Robertson and Rapidan Rivers near Madison, Virginia] / B[???]y ; guides Sgt. Charles Wood ; Ambrose [Lar]icks, Comp. K. First Maryl. Rgt. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Evans, Thomas D., b. 1846. Pocket diary of Thomas D. Evans, 1864. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Orlemann, L. H. Battlefield of Chancellorsville, May 2nd, 1863 / [sketched?] by L.H. Orlemann Topological Engineer, staf[f] II Brigade III Division 11 Army Corps. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn National War Committee of the Citizens of New York. National War Committee of the Citizens of New York records, 1862-1863. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Sweeny, T. W., Capt. [Map accompanying report of the Battle of Dry Fork Creek, Mo. on the 5th of July, 1861]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Rosengarten, J. G. (Joseph George), 1835-1921. The German soldier in the wars of the United States, and related letters and clippings, 1885-1886. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Defences on Maryland Hights and adjacent country. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Allen, Mary Rivers,. Collection of letters and autographs, 1846-1881. Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Perry, Josiah W. Letters, Aug. 22, 1862-Dec. 1, 1864. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
creatorOf [Plan of the Battlefield of Pea Ridge, Arkansas]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn George E. Stonebridge Photograph Collection, Bulk, 1899-1904, 1897-1918 (Bulk 1899-1904) © 2011 New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Crandell, Lewis H. Lewis H. Crandell Civil War diary, 1863 Jan 1-Dec. 25. Navarro College
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Franz Sigel papers, 1863-1870. Library of Congress
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Letter : Stafford, Va., 1862 Jan. 20. Texas Christian University
creatorOf [Southwest of Missouri, near Arkansas]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Ambrose W. Thompson Papers, 1847-1960, (bulk 1860-1882) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. [Plan of the Battlefield of Pea Ridge, Arkansas]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. 1st Division Chantilly Va. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Franz Sigel papers, 1806-1901 (bulk 1860-1862). New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Nathaniel Prentiss Banks Papers, 1829-1911, (bulk 1860-1880) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Map showing the disposition of troops of the 1st & 2d Divisions on the 7th of March between 3 & 4 p.m. and of one part of them in the night of 7th, to 8th, commanded by Gen. Sigel. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Philip Case Lockwood memorial collection of Civil War portraits and autographs, 1862-ca. 1886. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Map showing the position of our troops and the retreat of Price's & McCulloch's forces after the battle of Pea Ridge on the 8 of March. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Battle ground of June 5th 1864. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Weydemeyer, Luise. Luise Weydemeyer and family correspondence, 1849-1869. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Imboden, George W. (George William), 1836-1922. Civil War letters of George W. Imboden, 1864 May 29-Dec. 11. Navarro College
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. [Map of the Sperryville, Virginia region]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn [Missouri broadside collection]. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Letter, [ca. 1890], Trenton, N.J., to A.E. Allen. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Letter, Oct. 9, 1862. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902. Caricatures by Thomas Nast [manuscript], 1866. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Westendarp, W. [Map of an area between the Robertson and Great Run Rivers near Madison, Virginia] / W. Westendarp. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf [Plan of the Battlefield of Pea Ridge, Arkansas]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Levi P. Morton Correspondence, 1860-1912 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Map of Warrenton. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Sea, Andrew McBrayer, Collector, b. 1876. Collection, 1781-1936. The Filson Historical Society
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Sketch showing the position of the Eleventh Corps on May 2d & 5th. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Map showing part of the road from Bentonville to Sugar Creek where the rear of Gen. Sigel's command was attacked. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Letter signed : St. Louis, Mo., to a Secretary Woods, 1861 Sept. 3. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Thompson, Ambrose W. Papers of Ambrose W. Thompson, 1847-1960 (bulk 1860-1882). Library of Congress
referencedIn Whaley, Kellian Van Rensalear, 1821-1876. Papers, 1861-1879. Virginia Historical Society Library
referencedIn Letters concerning the conduct of Major Emeric Meszaros in the Battle of Pea Ridge, 1862-1863. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Papers, 1861-1902. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Ernst, George W., 26th Indiana Volunteers. Plan of the battle field of Prairie Grove Ark., Decembr. 7th 1862 / compiled & drawn by Geo. W. Ernst. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Reader, F. S. (Frank Smith), b. 1842. Diary, 1864 Mar. 10-1864 June 23. Washington & Lee University, James G. Leyburn Library
creatorOf Franz Sigel Papers, 1806-1930 (Bulk 1848-1880) @ 2011 New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Jacob Picard Collection, 1882-1992 Leo Baeck Institute.
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Autograph letter signed : Headquarters, 2nd Brig. St. Louis, Mo., to George F. Heidemann, 1861 Sept. 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part III: The Civil War: The Union, 1804-1915. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Rosengarten, J. G. (Joseph George), 1835-1921. The German allied troops in the North American war of independence, and related materials, ca. 1767-1893. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902. Franz Sigel papers, 1861-1862, 1900-1901. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Map of Harpers Ferry and Maryland Heights. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Letters concerning the conduct of Major Emeric Meszaros in the Battle of Pea Ridge, 1862-1863. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. Position at Chantilly / copy. New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Gordon, Nancy. Homassel family of Virginia notes [manuscript], [1946?]. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902,. [Map of an area near Bentonville, Arkansas]. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, A. E. person
associatedWith Allen, Mary Rivers, person
associatedWith Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894. person
associatedWith Burchard, William. person
associatedWith Burnside, Ambrose Everett, 1824-1881. person
associatedWith Butler-Gunsaulus Collection (University of Chicago. Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Butz, Caspar, 1825-1885. person
associatedWith Cesnola, Luigi Palma di, 1832-1904. person
associatedWith Crandell, Lewis H. person
associatedWith Curtis, Samuel Ryan, 1805-1866. person
correspondedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Dulon, Rudolph, 1807-1870. person
associatedWith Ernst, George W., 26th Indiana Volunteers. person
associatedWith Evans, Thomas D., b. 1846. person
associatedWith Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890. person
associatedWith Giesecke, F. person
associatedWith Halleck, H. W. (Henry Wager), 1815-1872. person
associatedWith Hedgeman, G. person
associatedWith Heidemann, George F., person
associatedWith Hunter, David, 1802-1886. person
associatedWith Imboden, George W. (George William), 1836-1922. person
associatedWith Kennedy, James M., army officer. person
correspondedWith Knapp, W. A. person
associatedWith Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 person
associatedWith Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865. person
correspondedWith Lockwood, Philip Case, 1844-1897 person
associatedWith Lyon, George G. person
associatedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Morton, Levi P. (Levi Parsons), 1824-1920 person
associatedWith Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902. person
associatedWith National War Committee of the Citizens of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Nichols, G. S., fl. 1862. person
associatedWith Orlemann, L. H. person
associatedWith Perry, Josiah W. person
associatedWith Picard, Jacob, 1883-1967 person
associatedWith Pope, John, 1822-1892. person
associatedWith Reader, F. S. (Frank Smith), b. 1842. person
associatedWith Rosengarten, J. G. (Joseph George), 1835-1921. person
associatedWith Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906. person
associatedWith Sea, Andrew McBrayer, Collector, b. 1876. person
associatedWith Siegel family. family
associatedWith Sigel, Elise Dulon. person
associatedWith Sigel, Elsie Dulon person
associatedWith Sigel Family family
associatedWith Sigel, Franz Moritz, 1788-1863. person
associatedWith Stahel, Julius, 1825-1912. person
associatedWith Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869. person
associatedWith Steinwehr, A. von (Adolph), 1822-1877. person
associatedWith Sweeny, T. W., Capt. person
associatedWith Thompson, Ambrose W. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army of the Potomac corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army of the Potomac. Corps, 11th. corporateBody
associatedWith Weber, Max, 1824-1901. person
associatedWith Westendarp, W. person
associatedWith Weydemeyer, Luise. person
associatedWith Whaley, Kellian Van Rensalear, 1821-1876. person
associatedWith Windwart, Heinrich. person
associatedWith Woods, Secretary, person
associatedWith Young, Brigham 1801-1877 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ohio
United States
United States
Missouri
United States
United States
United States
United States
Subject
German Americans--Missouri--St. Louis--History
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, German American
German Americans
Generals--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc
German American soldiers
Germans
Pea Ridge, Battle of, Ark., 1862
Germans--United States
German Americans--New York (State)--New York
Occupation
Military officers
Collector
Officers (military officers)
Generals
Publisher
Army officers
Function

Person

Birth 1824-11-18

Death 1902-08-21

English,

German

Information

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