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these Austrians lived in Wisconsin, where German colonization was carried on systematically; so it is fair to presume that the majority were Austrian Germans.
We get more enlightenment from the census of 1870, in which the natives of the Dual Monarchy appear in a trialistic arrangement: Austria (proper) 30,508, Bohemia 40,289, and Hungary 3,737. The Hungarian immigration from 1866 to 1870 was so small as to be negligible (officially reported as 79), because this was a period of revival in Hungary, when many exiles returned to their native land, taking advantage of the political amnesty announced on the re-establishment of the constitution in 1867. This small immigration was undoubtedly more than offset by the deaths and re-migrations of the decade; we can not err much, then, if we estimate the average number of Hungarians during the war at 4,000. This is hardly more than a drop in the bucket, considering that the total free population of the United States in 1860 was 27,489,461, of whom 23,353,286 were natives and 4,136,175 foreign-born. Of the latter about 1,300,000 were Germans.
It is more difficult to answer our second question: What was the number of the Hungarian soldiers in the Union Army? The original musterrolls are, for very good reasons, now practically inaccessible; and even if they were not, no complete record of the nativity of the men could be obtained from them, for the state or country of birth was not systematically required on the enlistment rolls until the Provost Marshal General's Bureau began its activity, after the war had been waged for some time. Often the place of residence was given instead of the place of birth. Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army is a very useful compilation, stating the nativity of the general and staff officers; but it refers only to officers and, as I have 12
had occasion to find out, is far from complete. The rosters published by the various states shed little light on the subject, for as a rule they contain no data as to the nativity of the men.
Shortly after the war, the U. S. Sanitary Commission started an investigation on these lines, which was under the direction of its actuary, Benj. Apthorp Gould. He was assisted by a large staff and had, to a certain extent, the co-operation of the War Department and the Adjutants-General of the various states. For more than half the enlistments he got the official figures, for nearly 300,000 men he obtained data from various commanders, and the rest he estimated in the proportions thus arrived at. His figures, while necessarily not exact, are more trustworthy than any other calculations made on the subject, and are given here for their general interest, although they contain no specific information about Hungarians. They refer only to white soldiers in the Union Army, and leave out of consideration 92,000 men from certain western states and territories.
British Americans .... 53,532
Other Foreigners 48,410
"Foreigners" not other-
These are impressive figures, but it is to be borne in mind that they do not take account of the numerous re-enlistments. As to Hungarians,
7 Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers By Benj. Apthorp Gould, New York, 1869. Page 27 their number was so small that the statistician, who deals with quantity rather than quality, did not consider them separately. We have to resort, then, to other means to make an estimate of their number. ^
Nearly one-half of the Garibaldi Guard or 39th New York Infantry8, and about one-half of the Lincoln Riflemen, incorporated later in the 24th Illinois Infantry9, were Hungarians. This makes about 400. For additional data I examined the published regimental rosters of some of the states, only one of which (Iowa) contained records of the nativity of the men. It was a rather unsatisfactory investigation, because there was nothing to go by but the names. The Hungarians being a composite race, many of them have nonHungarian names; many of the refugees, on fleeing their country, changed their names; many of the names were misprinted or had undergone more or less recognizable changes toward "Anglicisation." Nevertheless I found about a hundred Hungarian names in the regiments of Iowa, Ohio and part of Illinois. So I believe that the total number of Hungarian soldiers could not have been much above or much below 800, of whom from 80 to 100 were officers.
This is certainly a small number compared with the imposing figures above quoted. But it is about 20 per cent, of the Hungarian population, a ratio not approached by any of the other races and explainable only by the unique character of the Hungarian immigration of that period. And could anything prove more the eminent military fitness of the Hungarians than that this handful of men produced
8 Stated to me by Gen. Julius Stahel.
9 Reminiscences of an Octogenarian Hungarian Exile. By Julian Kune. Chicago, 1911. Page 93.
2 major-generals, 5 brigadier-generals, 15 colonels, 2 lieutenant-colonels, 13 majors, 12 captains, besides a number of subaltern officers and two surgeons? General Stahel commanded an army corps, General Asboth a division and a district, General Schoepf a division and a fort; while Generals Knefler, Kozlay, Mundee and Pomucz and Colonel Zsulavszky had charge of brigades.
The appended partial list contains the public records, more or less complete, of 61 officers. In compiling this list and the biographical sketches, use was made of Heitman's Register, the Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the U. S. Army, Dyer's Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, reports of the Adjutants-General of several states, and the Rebellion Record; also of various English, Hungarian and German books, memoirs, magazine and newspaper articles, and the oral or written communications of some of the participants or their descendants. No claim is made to absolute accuracy or completeness; and any correction or additional information will be gratefully received.
Since the Hungarians, few as they were, were scattered all over the country, enlisted from nearly every state and served in various armies, departments and corps, it is impossible to present their story in a continuous narrative. We must be satisfied, therefore, with individual sketches, unconnected, or but loosely connected at the best.
There was no purely Hungarian organization in the Union Army. The nearest to one were the Garibaldi Guard of New York and the Lincoln Riflemen of Chicago. The latter were organized as an independent company of Hungarians and Bohemians by Geza Mihaloczy, a former honved officer, with another Hungarian, Augustus Kovats, as his lieutenant. This was in February, 1861, more than two months before Lincoln's first call for troops; and the far-seeing Mihaloczy drilled his men night after night to be prepared when the call should come. His request to the President-elect to permit the company to be named after him was presented to Mr. Lincoln at Springfield, 111., by Julian Kune, also a honved officer, and was gladly granted. Within 48 hours from the receipt of Gov. Yates' order to send a force to Cairo, Gen. Swift left Chicago with several companies, among them the Lincoln Riflemen.
In Cairo there was much confusion at first, owing to the lack of experienced officers and the untrained condition of the troops. This was partly overcome by the energy of Gen. McClellan, who wrote10 that "the artillery, especially, made very good progress under the instruction of Col. Wagner, an Hungarian officer, whom I had sent there for that object." Col. Gustave Wagner had been a major of artillery in the Honved Army, and accompanied Governor Kossuth co Kutahia. He was the son of a heroic mother, for it was his mother who, under great personal danger, returned from Turkey to Hungary, and, in disguise and with a false passport, effected the escape of Mme. Kossuth from Hungary.
He was in charge of the expeditions to Belmont and Lucas Bend, Mo., and when he was appointed chief of ordnance on Gen. Fremont's staff, Gen. U. S. Grant wrote to Fremont that "his loss from this post will be felt." Later, he commanded the 2nd New York Artillery. William Howard Russell, war-correspondent of the London Times, spoke of
10 McClellan's Own Story. By George B. McClellan. New York IM7. Page ifi.