Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Sigel, Franz

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SIGEL, Franz, soldier, b. in Sinsheim, Baden. 18 Nov., 1824. After completing his studies at the gymnasium of Bruchsal, he entered the military school at Carlsruhe, and was graduated in 1843. While a lieutenant, stationed at Mannheim, he assailed the standing army in public writings, and thus became involved in quarrels with his brother officers. Toward the close of 1847, after a duel that terminated fatally for his antagonist, he resigned. When the Baden revolution began, in February, 1848, he raised a corps of volunteers, organized the Lake district at Constance, led a body of more than 4,000 volunteers against Freiburg, and was beaten in two encounters with the royal troops. He escaped across the French border, 28 April, and made his way into Switzerland. The insurrection of May, 1849, recalled him to Baden. He was made commandant of the Lake and Upper Rhine district, then placed in charge of the army of the Neckar, met the royal forces at Heppenheim on 30 May, became minister of war, and finally succeeded to the chief command of the troops. He fought in several battles under Gen. Louis Mieroslawski, whom he succeeded, conducted the army of 15,000 men in retreat through three hostile army corps, and crossed the Rhine with the remnant into Switzerland on 11 July. While residing at Lugano he was arrested by the Federal authorities in the spring of 1851 and delivered over to the French police, who conducted him to Havre with the intention of placing him on a ship bound for the United States. He, however, went to England, lived in London and Brighton, and in May, 1852, sailed for New York. After his marriage to a daughter of Rudolf Dulon, he taught in the latter's school, at the same time translating manuals of arms into German, and conducting “Die Revue,” a military magazine, till 1858, when he was called to St. Louis, Mo., as teacher of mathematics and history in the German institute. He was elected a director of the public schools of that city, edited a military journal, and during the secession crisis defended northern principles in newspaper articles. At the beginning of the civil war he organized a regiment of infantry and a battery, which rendered efficient service at the occupation of the arsenal and the capture of Camp Jackson. In June, 1861, he was sent with his regiment and two batteries to Rolla, whence he marched to Neosho, compelled the retreat of Gen. Sterling Price into Arkansas, then turned northward in order to confront Claiborne Jackson, at Carthage sustained a long conflict on the open prairie with a force much greater than his own, and finally retreated in good order, with constant fighting, to Springfield and Mt. Vernon. He took part in the fight at Dug Springs, and after the battle of Wilson's Creek conducted the retreat of the army from Springfield toward Rolla. He was commissioned as brigadier-general, to date from 17 May, 1861. In the autumn campaign of Gen. John C. Frémont he had command of the advance-guard, and in the retreat from Springfield he commanded the rear-guard, consisting of two divisions. He took command of the right wing of the troops assembled under Gen. Samuel R. Curtis at Rolla, and gained the battle of Pea Ridge by a well-timed assault. He was thereupon made a major-general, dating from 21 March, 1862, and was ordered to the east and placed in command of the troops at Harper's Ferry. He co-operated in the movement against Gen. Thomas J. Jackson at Winchester. When Gen. John Pope was placed in command of the newly created army of Virginia, Sigel, in command of the 1st corps, took part in the engagements beginning with Cedar Creek and ending with Bull Run, where he commanded the right wing, and won in the first day's fight a decided advantage over Jackson. After the battle he covered the retreat to Centreville. His corps held the advanced position at Fairfax Court-House and Centreville. He commanded the 4th grand reserve division until that organization was abolished, when he resumed command of the 11th corps, took leave of absence on account of failing health, and was superseded by Gen. Oliver O. Howard. In June, 1863, he took command of the reserve army of Pennsylvania, and organized a corps of 10,000 men to aid in repelling Lee's invasion. In February, 1864, President Lincoln appointed him to the command of the Department and the Army of West Virginia. He fitted out an expedition that operated under Gen. George Crook in the Kanawha valley, and led a smaller one of 7,000 men through the Shenandoah valley against Lynchburg and Staunton, but was defeated by Gen. John C. Breckinridge at New Market. He was thereupon relieved, and in June, 1864, put in command of the division guarding Harper's Ferry. He repelled the attack of Gen. Jubal A. Early on Maryland Heights, but was relieved of his command soon afterward, and retired to Bethlehem, Pa., to recruit his health. He resigned his commission on 4 May, 1865, and became editor of the Baltimore “Wecker.” In September, 1867, he removed to New York city. In 1869 he was the Republican candidate for secretary of state in New York. He was appointed collector of internal revenue in May, 1871, and in October was elected register of the city of New York. After his three years' term expired he lectured, and edited a weekly paper. Since 1876 he has been an adherent of the Democratic party, and in 1886 he was appointed pension-agent in New York city. He contributed a memoir of his part in the German revolution to Friedrich Hecker's “Erhebung des Volkes in Baden für die deutsche Republic” (Basel, 1848), and while in Switzerland published a republican brochure entitled “Fürstenstaat und Volkstaat” (St. Gall, 1848), the circulation of which was forbidden in Germany, and the author was sentenced in contumaciam to four years' imprisonment. — His brother, Albert, soldier, b. in Sinsheim, Baden, 13 Nov., 1827; d. in St. Louis, Mo., 15 March, 1884, was graduated at the military academy at Carlsruhe in 1845, and served as an officer in the grand-ducal army. He was sentenced to a year's confinement in the fortress of Kislau for his sympathy with the revolutionary movement, but was liberated in time to take part in the general uprising of the army and people in 1849 in command of a regiment of volunteers. He emigrated to England, and in 1852 came to the United States. Joining the 2d New Jersey volunteers at the beginning of the civil war, he was elected captain. After taking part in the battle of Bull Run, he assisted in organizing a New York regiment, and afterward organized and commanded a regiment of Missouri cavalry militia, and was stationed for some time at Waynesville, Mo., in command of a brigade. He was made U.S. land-recorder after the war, and was appointed adjutant-general of Missouri by Gov. Gratz Brown. He was connected with the press as editorial writer and correspondent, and published a volume of German poems (St. Louis, 1863; enlarged ed., 1885).