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Sperryville in Rappahannock County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Advent of the "German" Corps

"I'm Going to Fight mit Sigel"

 
 
Advent of the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2021
1. Advent of the Marker
Inscription.  
As the Civil War grew bloodier in the summer of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 additional Union volunteers. Patriotic immigrants formed an important pool of recruits. To encourage their enlistments, a former German revolutionary, Franz Sigel, was named to head the First Corps in Gen. John Pope's new Army of Virginia. The corps contained no more than 50 percent foreign troops, taken from Gen. Louis Blenker's all-German division. The "German" leadership of Sigel and fellow ex-revolutionaries, such as Gen. Carl Schurz and Col. Alexander Schimmelfenning, as well as numerous officers with clearly "foreign" names like Col. Wladimir Krzyzanowski and Col. Gustave P. Cluseret, created a not-entirely inaccurate stereotype among native-born Americans of a corps composed of a lot of funny-talking immigrants. Reinforcing the image, German was spoken in camp and battle, beer wagons often followed the troops, and there were even German-language versions of patriotic songs.

Sigel crossed into Rappahannock County from the Luray Valley by way of Thornton Gap, arriving in Sperryville on July 10 with two divisions under Schurz

Advent of the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, May 8, 2021
2. Advent of the Marker
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and Gen. Robert C. Schenck. The corps remained in the county for a month. Schurz's division camped here, while Schenck's camped along the low ridge in the distance. Officers occupied all the buildings in the town and many of the surrounding farms. Huge bull's-eyes were placed on either side of Turkey Mountain for target practice, and drills and reviews took place in the large fields just across the Thornton River.

"I've come shust now to tells you how
I goes mit regimentals;
To schlauch dem voes of liberty
Like dem old Continentals,
Vot fight mit England long ago
To save the Yankee Eagle,
Un now I gets mine sojer clothes,
I'm going to fight mit Sigel."

1862, Lyrics: John Poole; Tune:
The Girl I Left Behind Me


 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 10, 1862.
 
Location. 38° 39.472′ N, 78° 12.965′ W. Marker is in Sperryville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is on River Lane 0.1 miles east of Water Street (County Road 1002), on the right when traveling
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east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9 River Ln, Sperryville VA 22740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rehearsals for Fame (here, next to this marker); Pope’s Army of Virginia (approx. half a mile away); Sperryville (approx. half a mile away); Sigels' Corps (approx. half a mile away); A Hint of Total War (approx. half a mile away); Sister Caroline (approx. half a mile away); Hopkins Ordinary (approx. 0.6 miles away); 48 Main Street (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sperryville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 20, 2021