Rehearsals for Fame
Notable Footprints from the German Corps
Prejudice against foreigners, poor leadership, and circumstances conspired against German-born Gen. Franz Sigel and his troops. Sigel was late to the Battle of Cedar Mountain after leaving Sperryville on August 8, 1862, because of confusing orders. Designated the Army of the Potomac's XI Corps in September, the corps (under Gen. Oliver O. Howard) bore the brunt of Stonewall Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville in May 1863, and then faced the initial wave of Confederate attacks during the first day's fighting at Gettysburg. The men became scapegoats for the rout at Chancellorsville; for a time they were called the Flying Dutchmen. Despite the stereotypes, Sigle's corps had many notable and courageous officers and soldiers who camped here in 1862.
Capt. Hubert Dilger, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, was in Sigel's corps in Sperryville in 1862. During Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville in 1863, Dilger "fought his guns until the enemy were upon him, then with one gun hauled in the road by hand he formed the rear guard and kept the enemy at bay by the rapidity of his fire and was the last man in the retreat." For his actions,
Gen. Julius Stahel was perhaps the most illustrious of the hundreds of Hungarians who served in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. Before the war, he served in the Austrian army and then fought for Hungarian independence 1848. The rebellion was crushed and Stahel fled, eventually settling in the United States in 1859. He and Louis Blenker raised the 8th New Infantry in 1861. Stahel served in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862 and 1864 and received the Medal of Honor for leading "his division into action until he was severely wounded" at the Battle of Piedmont on June 5, 1864. After the war he had a long career in the U.S. consular service.
Marie Brose "French Mary" Tepe served as a vivandière first with the 27th Pennsylvania, which camped here, and then with the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry. Vivandière, women authorized to accompany regiments and fill such roles as canteen-bearer, cook, seamstress, and nurse, occasionally also acted as soldiers. After the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Tepe received the Kearny Medal for "meritorious and distinguished" service.
Capt. Ulric Dahlgren, son of famed Adm. John Dahlgren, served in Sperryville as one of Sigel's staff officers and later as his chief of artillery. Dahlgren became one of the youngestcolonels in the Union army. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he intercepted a dispatch indicating that Gen. Robert E. Lee did not plan to attack Washington, information that contributed to the Union decision to fight at Gettysburg. Dahlgren lost a leg in a skirmish after the battle. In 1864, he led the infamous cavalry raid on Richmond that bears his name. After Dahlgren was killed, papers found on his body suggested that he planned to assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Whether the plot was real remains under debate.
Gen. Robert C. Schenck was an early opponent of slavery and supporter of Lincoln who served in the U.S. Congress from 1843 to 1851. Commissioned a brigadier general, he commanded the 1st Division under Sigel in Sperryville in 1862. A wound at the Second Battle of Manassas ended his field service, and thereafter, he was fiercely opposed to reconciliation with the South. In 1863, he won a congressional seat from Ohio, defeating the notorious Copperhead Democrat Clement Vallandigham. Schenck served until 1870, 4 years as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. As ambassador to Great Britain, Schenck, a well-known poker player (his nickname was "Poker Bob"), introduced the game to the court and wrote the first book of rules.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This
Location. 38° 39.472′ N, 78° 12.966′ W. Marker is in Sperryville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is on River Lane, 0.1 miles east of Water Street, on the right when traveling 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. Advent of the "German" Corps (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 86 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.