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him and the other Hungarians in Missouri (in his Pictures of Southern Life) as of "a fine, soldierlylooking set of men.” The soldierly looks of the Hungarians were commented on also by several other writers of the period.
In the West it was of vital importance to secure the two border states, Missouri and Kentucky, for the Union and to free the Mississippi from Confederate control. In St. Louis, independently of the volunteer regiments raised for the Federal army, several regiments of Home Guards (a literal translation of the word Honvéd) were organized "for the protection of the home and family, for the free exercise of the franchise and the supremacy of the Union,” the leading idea being “to make this body strong enough to prevent even the chance of a fight within the limits of the city.” The plan originated with three Hungarians, Anselm Albert, Robert and Roderick Rombauer, who met early in January, 1861, to form such an organization. Eventually five regiments of such Home Guards were organized in St. Louis. They not only fully accomplished their object, but sometimes volunteered to do duty outside of the city also, and were known officially as the U. S. Reserve Corps, Missouri Volunteers. The tactical development of the first regiment was attended to by Lieut.-Col. Robert J. Rombauer, and that of the second regiment by Lieut.-Col. John T. Fiala, who had also been a honvéd officer.
Anselm Albert had served in the Engineering Corps of the Honvéd Army as lieut.-colonel, after Világos followed Gen. Bem to Aleppo, and came to the United States in 1850, where he eventually settled in St. Louis. He was lieut.-colonel of the 3d Missouri Infantry, became an aide-de-camp to Gen. Frémont in the West with the rank of colonel and later his chief-of-staff in the Mountain Department,
The Rombauers are a remarkable family. Originally of Saxon stock, they settled in Hungary some 500 years ago, and gave several prominent citizens and stanch patriots to Hungary. Theodore Rombauer was director of the Hungarian Government's ammunition factory at Nagy Várad during the revolution, and, after the surrender of Gen. Görgei, had to flee for his life. Four of his sons had served the Hungarian cause, and four of his sons fought in the Union Army. They were, however, not the same four sons, for one of them, Richard, had lost his life in the battle of Vizakna, in Transylvania, and his place was taken in America by a younger brother.
Robert J. Rombauer, the oldest son, was an artillery lieutenant in the Honvéd Army. When that army was crushed by the Russians, he stayed in the country, believing, like many others, that it would be impossible for Austria to wreak vengeance on every subaltern officer. He was mistaken, however, for he was taken prisoner and pressed into the Austrian Army as a private. After ten months his devoted mother succeeded in getting his release, and the whole family was soon re-united in Iowa, whence, after an unsuccessful effort at farming, they moved to St. Louis in 1853. There, as already stated, he took a leading part in organizing the Home Guards, and, when their term expired, re-enlisted for three years, becoming colonel of the 1st U. S. Reserve Corps, Missouri Volunteers. In 1863 he published a military treatisell, and in the centennial year of St. Louis a history of the conflict in St. Louis during 1861, with a thoughtful and judicious review of the causes leading to the Civil War, as an introduction 12. He was also engaged in jour
11 The Contest. By R. J. Rombauer, St. Louis, February 1, 1863. 16-mo., 106 pp.
12 The Union Cause in St. Louis in 1861. By Robert J. Rombauer, St. Louis, 1909. 8-vo., XIV, 475 pp. The appendix contains the rosters of the St. Louis regiments.
nalism, and held several offices of trust and honor in St. Louis, as President of the Board of Assessois, member of the School Board, Commander of the Grand Army of Missouri, etc. Now, at the pa
Col. John T. Fiala triarchal age of eighty-two, he is still hale and hearty, and devotes himself to literary work.
Roderick E. Rombauer, although at that time "wretchedly poor” (as he states in his autobiography)13, managed to study law at Harvard, and returned tù St. Louis in 1858. He was a
13 The History of a Life. By Roderick E. Rombauer, St. Louis, 1903. 8-vo., 146 pp.
struggling lawyer when the Civil War broke out, and enlisted as a private in the 1st Missouri Infantry and was afterwards commissioned captain. His company took part in the capture of Camp Jackson and did some service in Southeast Missouri, when he was taken violently ill with camp fever. After his recovery he served on Gen. Frémont's staff in West Virginia for several months. In 1863, after an exciting personal canvass, he was elected judge of the Law Commissioners Court of St. Louis County, which was the beginning of a very successful judicial career, in the course of which he became judge of the Circuit Court and of the Court of Appeals. In 1897 he returned to his law practice and, although he has nearly reached four-score, is still at his desk every day. Of magnetic personality, he is a forceful and popular public speaker, a publicist of note, and recognized as one of the ablest jurists of Missouri.
Roland T. Rombauer enlisted also in St. Louis, served as sergeant in the 1st Missouri Infantry, commanded a battery in Virginia, became captain of the ist Florida Cavalry and Provost Marshal of the District of West Florida under Gen. Asbóth. After the war, he was active in politics, and was a delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1868 and a member of the Montana Legislature. He was a successful mining engineer and the author of several treatises on mining.
The youngest brother, Raphael Guido Rombauer, was sergeant in the Home Guard, and became Major of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery and an aide on Gen. Grant's staff. He was an engineer, and was at one time superintendent of the Southwest Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Later he engaged in coal-mining, and was at the head of the Rombauer Coal Company at Kirksville, Mo., when he died in 1912.
Towards the end of July, 1861, General John C. Frémont took command of the Western Department, comprising Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky, with headquarters at St. Louis. His pioneer work in the exploration of the Rocky Mountains, which gained him the title of Pathfinder, his part in the conquest of California, his romantic marriage, and his gallant fight as the first presidential candidate of the Republican Party, had made him one of the most popular men of the period. Most of his critics believe that he was not the right man for the organization and command of a whole army. Yet it is certain that in the agitation and intrigues, which lead to his temporary removal after exactly one hundred days of command, both politics and the unreasonable expectation of quick and decisive results with inadequate means, had a prominent part. He was also often criticised for appointing many foreign-born officers. Yet there was no other way open for him, for there were no militia organizations in the West, and he could get but a few West Point graduates. Most of his officers had to be selected from among “green” native civilians and the foreign-born citizens who had had military experience abroad14. Whatever his shortcomings may have been, even his severest critics admit that he was a man of charming personality, able to win and hold the devotion of his men and to fire them with enthusiasm.
14. “A shameful number of regular officers had deserted; those who remained were nearly all on duty east of the Mississippi Valley; and the difficulty of officering and rendering efficient the masses of untrained troops was a serious embarrassment. Fortunately our adopted citizens recognized that Freedom was of no nationality; and the swords that had been used in its behalf in Germany and Hungary were taken down and offered to aid in saving its very hearth-stone, as the United States had seemed to them.” Mrs. Frémont in The Story of the Guard, Page 28.