Franz Sigel, military commander

Franz Sigel (November 18, 1824 – August 21, 1902) was a military officer, revolutionist and German immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the Civil War. He was able recruit German-speaking immigrants to the Union armies, greatly appreciated by President Abraham Lincoln.

Sigel served in the German military for many years, he became Secretary of War and commander-in-chief of the revolutionary republican government of Baden and was wounded during battle. He immigrated to New York in 1852 along with many others from his corp.

He taught in the New York Public schools, but eventually moved to St. Louis to teach. In 1857, he became a professor at the German-American Institute in St. Louis. He was elected director of the St. Louis public schools in 1860. He was influential in the Missouri immigrant community. He attracted Germans to the Union and antislavery causes when he openly supported them in 1861.

At the end of his service in the Civil War, he turned to writing and wrote for the Baltimore Wrecker newspaper before returning to NYC to serve as an editor. He also served in many political positions in New York State as well as giving lectures, working in advertising and publishing the New York Monthly, a German-American periodical, for some years.

In NYC, you can find a statue of Mr. Sigel in Riverside Park near 106th street, a street in Williamsburg Brooklyn named for him, and Sigel Park in The Bronx.

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