Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- July 07, 1862The Celebration of the Fourth of July
In commemorating the birth of the nation, Chicago showed greater enthusiasm this year than ever before. In the early hours of the morning, a great throng of people, among them many farmers in Sunday attire, some afoot, some riding in wagons, could be seen moving along the streets. Nearly all the stores were closed, the Stars and Stripes waved gaily from all public and many private buildings, and most business places, German places of course, were decorated with birch foliage and wreaths of flowers.
The first part of the celebration was not noticed by most residents; only a few heard the roaring of the cannon at Camp Douglas or the solemn tolling of bells.
The various divisions of the festive procession gathered at their respective meeting places before proceeding to Michigan Avenue, where the whole 2procession was formed under the direction of the marshals. The paraders then marched down Michigan Avenue, each division led by a band.
The Fourth Division, consisting entirely of Germans who came to participate in the festivities to be held in honor of General Sigel was particularly impressive. It constituted nearly three fourths of the whole procession. Along with the turners, the cavalcade of butchers attracted special attention. The vendors of meat wore white aprons, white sleeves, red sashes, and were mounted on splendid horses, with Jakob Kock, first marshall, and Wilhelm Woelffer, second marshall, at their head. The Fire Department--which unfortunately was called upon to show its ability that very afternoon--likewise attracted much attention with the brilliant display of its highly polished and beautifully decorated apparatus.
When the procession reached Washington Park, where the English Division held 3its program, the German Division separated from the throng and proceeded to Wright's Grove. A large crowd had gathered at the Grove very early, and thousands of people--men, women, and children--made merry on the green grass, in the shade of fine, large trees, eating, drinking, jesting, singing, dancing, and watching splendid demonstrations of gymnastics by the turners. We estimate the attendance at about ten thousand.
At three o'clock, the multitude gathered around the speaker's platform, on which the Sigel Committee, the marshals, and the speaker had seated themselves. Mr. Wilhelm Rapp was the first speaker. He had chosen as the theme of his address the words which John Adams wrote on July 4, 1776: "I know right well that it will require much trouble, money, and blood to maintain this Declaration of Independence and to defend the States; but I also know that the object is much more important than the means to attain it. And through all these dark clouds, I see the enchanting rays of light and 4glory." The speaker cited a number of instances to prove that the first war for American independence involved more alarming and desperate situations than the present war does, and that victory was won only because the political and military leaders during the Revolution were convinced that their cause was sacred. He also pointed out that the prospects for final victory in the present struggle are much better, not only because our resources have been greatly developed and expanded, but also because the present generation is much more devoted and much more ready to make sacrifices than were the people at the time of the Revolution. On the other hand, he said, our situation is worse, inasmuch as our political and military leaders are not equal to their task, while in the first war for liberty men arose whom the whole world still admires for their intellect.
Then the speaker compared the "achievements" of our present native [i. e., American-born] generals with the deeds of Sigel. Referring to the Revolution 5again, he drew a parallel between the bitter experiences of General Steuben, the great predecessor of Sigel, and those which Sigel himself has undergone. At the same time, he cited several instances to show that German-Americans had displayed great courage, ability, and, above all, a fervent patriotism in the first war for independence. He mentioned big-hearted Margaretha Arkularius, a German-American woman, who was Washington's loyal self-sacrificing friend, who cheered him in the dark days of the Revolution, and consoled and tended to his sick and wounded soldiers, as a shining example for present-day German-American women.
In conclusion, the speaker remarked that if our Government will rise above its indecision and corruption, it will be successful, despite the severe blows which have been dealt our cause lately, and despite the many dangers by which we are surrounded. He urged that we inscribe upon our banners the great ideal of liberty and emancipation in order to create the enthusiasm which is absolutely necessary to victory. Mr. Rapp's final words were a quotation from the speech which General Sigel made a few weeks ago from the 6balcony of Tremont House: "Even if our armed forces meet with unexpected reverses, final victory cannot be in doubt as long as the Nation fights for the great principles of liberty and emancipation."
Thereupon Doctor [E.] Schmidt was called to the stand. He admonished the people to persevere during the present crisis, recalling to their memories the words which Lord Nelson addressed to his men before the Battle of Trafalgar: "England expects every man to do his duty."
Then Mr. Heinrich Greenbaum, one of the marshals, spoke a few well-chosen words in behalf of the Sigel Fund. The Reverend Rentch was the fourth speaker. He contrasted the depravity of our present statesmen and representatives of the people with the sublime patriotism of our illustrious [German] forebears; he pointed to the crime which the Rebels committed in begging the most infamous character of all time, Louis the Fourteenth, King of France, for help against the advocates of liberty and justice, while our forefathers were 7casting off the yoke of dependency. [Translator's note: The reference is undoubtedly to some epoch in German history.] And he continued: "Only by the spirit of 1776 can we overcome this crime [of slavery] which is the worst that has ever been perpetrated. Cain wants to murder his brother Abel; he wants to be master of his brothers, and lord of the whole country; else he will bring destruction and ruin upon all. We can defeat the Southern rebels only if we are inspired by a sacred love for our fatherland and the freedom it offers to all who live within it's borders."
The speaker expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which the graduates from West Point, especially Halleck and McClellan, had conducted themselves during the war. He said: "Bull Run, Ball's Bluff, Manassas, Yorktown, Shiloh, Corinth, and Richmond are proof of the inability of the leaders who have received their military training at West Point. These men evidently lacked the right spirit and the necessary knowledge of warfare.8
Contrast with them the heros of Carthage, Pea Ridge, Island Number 10, Fort Donelson, and New Orleans. What glorious feats of arms they performed! Never has the German name gained greater glory! When all were fleeing at Bull Run and an American officer asked General Blenker and his Germans to save the capital and the country, the much-maligned man answered: 'We Germans are not in the habit of fleeing before an enemy.' And the Germans stood their ground and saved the capital. Our illustrious leaders, Sigel, Willich, Osterhaus, Annecke, and others deserve a place next to Washington in the pantheon of liberty, for they are fighting for the divine ideal, the freedom of humanity. Emancipation is the only principle which will finally defeat the Confederates. Sigel and the Union! A free path for justice, the God-given heritage of all men!"
Thunderous applause was the reward of this speaker, who considered it a sacred duty to perform his part of the program, although he had to appear on 9crutches and was unaware that his home and all that he owned was being destroyed by fire while he was making his address.
III B 3 a, I G, I J, III D, III F, IV
Secondary listingsGerman // Attitudes > War (I G) ?
German // Attitudes > Interpretation of American History (I J) ?
German // Assimilation > Participation in United States Service (III D) ?
German // Assimilation > Special Contributions to Early American Development (III F) ?
German // Representative Individuals (IV) ?
Your search criteria returned no results.