Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/200

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ments. Some of the New York and Philadelphia organizations had, indeed, been recruited from the vicious strata of population, and were officered by the worst types of local politicians. The Irish New York regiments were notorious in this respect. It was my duty to look them up also, but I performed it reluctantly and as rarely as possible.

The regiments in which the foreign elements preponderated had a particular interest for me as a European. Of these there were four exclusively German regiments, the Seventh, Eighth, Twentieth, and Twenty-ninth New York Volunteer Infantry, and the so-called “Garibaldi Guards,” made up of Italians, Frenchmen, Hungarians, Germans, and other nationalities. The Eighth was under command of Louis Blenker, who had had some military experience not only in the rising of 1849 in Rhenish Bavaria, but also in Greece as a volunteer under King Otto. The colonel of the Twentieth was Max Weber, a former army officer in Baden, and landlord of the Hotel Constanz, at which I stopped after landing in 1853. The colonel of the “Garibaldi Guards” was D'Utassy, the romantic assumed name of a Hungarian Jew with a German patronymic. He and Blenker appeared alternately in the regulation and in the fancy foreign uniforms they had adopted for their regiments. Both were fond of parading through the streets in their gorgeous array on horse back, with mounted staffs behind them. Both bore the unmistakable stamp of adventurers. Blenker, who had been a small dairy farmer, had a rather imposing bearing and accomplished manners, and blossomed out into a great swell. D'Utassy was nothing but a swaggering pretender. It seemed amazing that such men should have been entrusted with the organization of whole regiments; but, owing to the then urgent national emergency and the inexperience of the rulers in war matters, any one with a real or well-feigned military record had not much difficulty in securing recognition.