Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 06, 1862Major General Franz Sigel! (Editorial)
Since the Tuesday afternoon dispatches did not confirm the news that Franz Sigel had been appointed Major General, we sent the following telegram to our Congressman, Isaac N. Arnold:
"We published your dispatch about the appointment of Franz Sigel as Major General in an extra edition. The dispatches of the Journal do not confirm the report. Please advise us."
In answer to the above we received the following telegram from Mr. Arnold:
"Sigel was appointed Major General and the Senate confirmed the appointment."
And yesterday we received the following letter which Mr. Arnold wrote on 2Monday:
"I have just sent you a telegram stating that your favorite, heroic Franz Sigel, is now Major General Sigel. No appointment could give me more pleasure than this one. Sigel certainly deserved it as recognition of his services. Our Germans have also merited this recognition of their patriotic and noble devotion to the cause of the Union. I congratulate you!
"Isaac N. Arnold."
So Sigel is really a Major General; however it required many a hard struggle to obtain this well earned distinction for him. His deeds and those of his fellow Americans of German descent were his best and most effective intercessors. On the other hand, powerful and influential persons rose up against him.3
The nativists, especially the military nativists, seem to have actually conspired against him to prevent his appointment. No ways and means were to low nor too infamous for their purposes, and even a few days before his promotion they circulated unfavorable reports about him in Government circles at Washington. We cite this one for example: In order to deprive him of his good reputation as a European General, they spread the rumor that the General Sigel who led the Bavarian Revolutionary Army is not the Sigel who is now in America, but an uncle of the latter. This is but one of many false rumors which were disseminated. And the tactlessness of some of Sigel's friends, who published confidential private conversations and private letters of the Major General, in which he frankly voiced his opinion of his superiors, even the President, played into the hands of his enemies.
These obstacles never would have been removed by resolutions of German mass meetings or through the efforts of German deputations. There was only one way to fight these enemies successfully, only one way to enforce Sigel's claims to promotion: by having liberal minded and fair minded congressmen 4exert their influence upon the President.
The entire course of the Sigel matter shows that the procedure followed by the Illinois Staats-Zeitung was the only correct one. Representatives I.N. Arnold, Washburne, and Lovejoy of Illinois, and Representative Ashley of Ohio very willingly complied with our request that they intercede with the President in Sigel's behalf. Mr. Arnold was in constant correspondence with us in order to obtain the necessary information to refute the charges which were made against Sigel in Washington. These Representatives deserve the eternal gratitude of all German-Americans. The President, too, has earned our thanks for not permitting himself to be misled by nativistic misrepresentations, and for being just to the Germans and to their heroic champion.
And since it was so difficult to win this triumph of Sigel, it must be considered a great and enduring triumph of Germanism over Nativism. It will create a very favorable impression in Germany; and the Homestead Act and the repeal of the Massachussetts Amendment will prove to the Germans in 5the old country that the great principle of equality which was embodied in the Chicago Platform on demand of the Germans of this city, is a living and vitalizing principle, and that it will be strengthened and expanded by the present War, no matter whether hostilities continue for a long time, or whether they are terminated in a short while.
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