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

German-Americans and the Eleventh Corps

 
 
German-Americans and the Eleventh Corps Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 23, 2013
1. German-Americans and the Eleventh Corps Marker
Inscription. A large number of the soldiers who camped in and built the roads and fortifications preserved in this park were German-Americans. Most studies of ethnicity in the Civil War have focused on Irish or African-American soldiers, yet German-Americans were the largest ethnic group in federal service, enlisting in numbers beyond their proportion to the overall population. In the Army of the Potomac, these immigrant soldiers outnumbered those of Irish descent two to one. Most came from New York and Pennsylvania; smaller numbers from Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. Many participated in the early western battles of Wilsonís Creek, Carthage and Pea Ridge, where General Franz Sigel, who later briefly commanded in this area, was hailed as a hero. In the east, General Ludwig Blenker and his “German Division” were lauded for covering the Union retreat from 1st Manassas. The publicís perception of German-American soldiers, however, changed drastically after the Battle of Chancellorsville. There the 11th Corps, which contained a majority of German-speaking soldiers, under Major General Oliver Otis Howard, a West Point graduate from Maine, was flanked and decisively defeated by Stonewall Jacksonís veteran Confederate infantrymen.

After Chancellorsville, German-American soldiers became the scapegoats of the failed campaign
German-Americans and the Eleventh Corps Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 23, 2013
2. German-Americans and the Eleventh Corps Marker
even though numerous Eleventh Corps soldiers had tried to warn Union Generals Hooker, Howard, and Devens that Confederates were massing on their flank. Captain Hubert Dilger of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery I, was told at Hookerís headquarters to “tell his yarn at Eleventh Corps headquarters,” where he was also dismissed. Dejected, he returned to his battery and prepared it for action. Dr. Christian Keller of the U.S> Army War College, in a recently published book titled Chancellorsville and the Germans, stated that, “It is not an exaggeration to say the Northís German-born population net got over what happened in the Virginia woods in May of 1863.” In those woods, approximately 8,800 poorly deployed 11th Corps soldiers were attacked on their right and rear by 26,000 Confederate soldiers. In the aftermath of the Chancellorsville campaign, no single man would be blamed for the battle; instead the blame fell on an entire corps, and, by proxy, German-Americans. Many years later, Major General Darius Couch, a West Pointer and former Commander of the Army of the Potomacís Second Corps at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, wrote about the flank attack. In his summary, he noted that, “It can be emphatically stated that no Corps in the army, surprised as the Eleventh Corps was at this time, could have held its ground under similar circumstances.” Thirty years after the baffle, Captain Hubert Dilger received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Chancellorsville.

(sidebar)
“Exclusively German” 11th Corps Regiments
(21 May, 1863)

82nd Illinois
29th New York
41st New York
45th New York
54th New York
58th New York
68th New York
27th Pennsylvania
74th Pennsylvania
75th Pennsylvania
26th Wisconsin

Mixed Nationality 11th Corps Regiments
(21 May, 1863)

119th New York
107th Ohio
73rd Pennsylvania
153rd Pennsylvania
Source: OR, Series I, Vol 25, #39

(captions)
41st New York Infantry

82nd Illinois Infantry

Brig. Gen. Charles Devens, Jr.
Commander, 1st Division, XI Corps

Brig. Gen. Charles Devens, Jr.
Commander, 1st Division, XI Corps

Brig. Gen. Adolf von Steinwehr
Commander, 2nd Division, XI Corps

Maj. Gen. Carl Schurz
Commander, 3rd Division, XI Corps

Captain Hubert Dilger
1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery I
 
Erected 2013 by Stafford County.
 
Location. 38° 23.517′ N, 77° 24.511′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker can be reached from Mount Hope Church Road (County Route 677) 1.2 miles west of Brooke Road (County Route 608). Touch for map. Located in Stafford Civil War Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 Mount Hope Church Rd, Stafford VA 22554, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 11th Corps Road (a few steps from this marker); Union Battery (a few steps from this marker); Union Army Double-Track Corduroy Road (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Union Battery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sandstone Quarry (approx. ľ mile away); Quarrying the Stone (approx. 0.3 miles away); Potomac Church Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); Union Eleventh Corps Artillery (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stafford.
 
Also see . . .
1. Stafford Civil War Park. (Submitted on November 25, 2013.)
2. Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites. (Submitted on November 25, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 25, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 332 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 25, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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