Men of Principle: Gender and the German American War for the Union

TitleMen of Principle: Gender and the German American War for the Union
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHoneck, Mischa
JournalJournal of the Civil War Era
Start Page38
Date Published03/2015

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Entire families gathered at the federal arsenal in St. Louis on May 4, 1861, to hail the soldiers who were reporting for duty. German songs, toasts, and speeches filled the air, which gave the rally a distinct ethnic flavor. The atmosphere was festive, and an Anglo-American bystander would have marveled at the singing and beer-drinking that accompanied the martial spectacle. After the heavily German 3rd Missouri Infantry had received its weapons, a delegation of women, led by Josephine Weigel, unfurled the regiment flag, which they had sewed, and presented it to Franz Sigel, the commanding officer and popular veteran of the European Revolutions of 1848–49. Addressing the crowd, Weigel praised the men who had donned the uniform in defense of their adopted country. She stated, “In keeping with old German custom, we women do not want to remain mere onlookers when our men have dedicated themselves with joyful courage to the service of the Fatherland.” She then wished “shame and disgrace to the German man who does not offer everything to the Fatherland in this hour of peril.” Sigel took the colors under rapturous applause and declared that his men would never desert the flag, save through death.

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