Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig


  Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig had been a Ensign in the Prussian Army prior to the Civil War. He had been wounded in battle twice during the Revolution of 1848. The revolution failed and he was able to escape to Switzerland where he was sentenced to death in abstentia. He was a Communist, although he belonged to the same faction led by August Willich. who was opposed to Karl Marx. Willich would migrate to the United States and would join the Union Army. Willich was promoted to command of a Division at Stones River where he was captured and sent to Libby Prison. As the the Union Army fled through Gettysburg Schimmelfennig made a wrong turn down a blind alley behind the Henry Garlach house at 323 Baltimore Street and hid between a barrel and a woodshed. He was forced to hide out for three days while the Confederates held the town. Schimmelfennig belonged to the Union 11th Corps which was made up primarily of German immigrants. They were the Corps that was rolled up by Stonewall Jackson's surprise attack at Chancellorsville and the Corps reputation had been tarnished. Gettysburg did nothing to help that reputation because now they were on the run again. When the press found out what happened Shimmelfennig was branded a coward. Schimmelfennig later served in Charleston and contracted an aggressive form of tuberculosis. He would die late in 1865.

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