[Marxism] General August Willich had been part of Weydemeyer's group

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Mon Mar 6 06:28:52 MST 2006

In _Joseph Weydemeyer_ , page 12 we find:

"Although banned in 1843, the _Rheinische Zeitung_ ( the paper that Marx had
edited)had sown fertile seeds among the officers and men in many a Rhineland
and Westphalian garrison. In Minden, Weydemeyer had won over many of his
fellow-officers: the success of his efforts may be gauged by the fact that
many prominent figures in the German Revolution of 1848 and later in the
American Civil War - such as Fritz Anneke, August Willich, Herman Korff, and
Friedrich von Beust- served with him in Minden where they first became
acquainted with progressive and democratic ideas. The officers at Minden
began a study circle, and Weydemeyer became so imbued with socialist ideas
that he decided to devote himself to writing and journalism. After almost
six years as a professional officer, he left the army on the ground that
"his position as a Prussian officer no longer jibed with his views."( F.A.
Sorge, "Joseph Weydemeyer" Pionier Illustrierter Volkskalender, 1897 p54)

Willich was the leader of the volunteers with whom Engels fought in Germany
in 1849.

The Franz Sigel referred to led a battle against Confederates in Missouri in

August Willich

WlLLICH, August, born in Gorzyn, in the Prussian province of Posen, in 1810;
died in St. Mary's, Mercer County, Ohio, 23 January, 1878. His father, a
captain of hussars during the Napoleonic wars, died when August was three
years old. With an elder brother, the boy found a home in the family of
Frieda rich Schleiermacher, the famous theologian, whose wife was a distant
relative. He received a military education at Potsdam and Berlin, and at
eighteen years of age was commissioned 2d lieutenant of artillery in the
Prussian army, becoming a captain in 1841. In 1846, in company with a number
of the younger and more ardent officers of his brigade, he became so imbued
with republican ideas that he tendered his resignation from the army in a
letter written in such terms that, instead of its being accepted, he was
arrested and tried by a court-martial. By some means he was acquitted, and
afterward was permitted to resign. When the great revolution of 1848
threatened the overthrow of all European monarchies, Willich, with several
former army friends, among whom were Franz Sigel, Friederich K. P. Hecker,
Louis Blenkel, and Carl Schurz, went to Baden and took an active part in the
armed attempt to revolutionize Germany. After its failure, Willich and many
of his con patriots became exiles, he escaped to Switzerland, but afterward
made his way to England, where several of his fellow-exiles had also found
refuge. Here he remained till 1853, devoting much of his time and labor to
aid in his distressed countrymen to reach the United States. He had learned
the trade of a carpenter while in England, and so earned a livelihood.
Coming to the United States in 1855, he first found employment at his trade
in the navy-yard at Brooklyn. Here his attainments in mathematics and other
scientific studies were soon discovered, and he found more congenial work in
the coast survey. In 1858 he was induced to go to Cincinnati as editor of
the "German Republican," in which work he continued till the opening of the
civil war in 1861. He enlisted, at the first call to arms, in the 1st German
(afterward 9th Ohio) regiment, which within three days mustered about 1,500
men. He was at once appointed adjutant, and, on 28 May, commissioned major.
This regiment afterward became one of the best in the service. In the autumn
of 1861 Governor Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana, who was raising a German
regiment in that state, commissioned him as its colonel. This was the 32d
Indiana infantry, famous in the Army of the Cumberland for its drill and
discipline, as well as for its gallantry in action. Willich devoted himself
to this regiment, and with such good results that, on 26 November, 1861,
three companies, deployed as skirmishers, repelled in confusion a regiment
of Texan rangers. This affair gave it a prestige that it retained to the end
of the war. On 17 July, 1862, he was appointed brigadier-general of
volunteers. At the battle of Stone River, 31 December, 1862, he was captured
almost before the action began, and was held a prisoner for several months.
He was exchanged in season to take part, at the head of his brigade, in the
battle of Chickamauga, 19 and 20 September, 1863, and from that time on he
shared in all the movements and battles of the army, including the Atlanta
campaign and the march to the sea and through the Carolinas. He was made
brevet major-general, 21 October, 1865, and was mustered out of service, 15
January, 1866. On his return to Cincinnati he was chosen county auditor,
which post he held for three years. He was visiting his old home in Germany
at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war, and at once offered his
services to the king, whom he had before attempted to dethrone. His offer
was gratefully acknowledged, but, on account of his advanced age, it was not
accepted. He found consolation, if not more congenial occupation, in
attending lectures on philosophy at Berlin. Returning to the United States,
he chose St. Mary's, Ohio, as his residence. 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright C 2001 VirtualologyTM


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