Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carl Schurz

While in Oshkosh we also passed the Carl Schurz monument. We didn't stop for pictures as I knew I had some already to share. Clearly these pictures were taken during a summer visit. The monument has seen some wear so the inscription might not be too easy to read in these pictures but it does say "Our Greatest German American"

Schurz was part of the failed 1848 revolution in Germany and this is why he came to the United States. He settled in Wisconsin in 1855 and soon after entered politics as a Republican. He campaigned for Lincoln in the 1858 Senate race against Douglas. He made most of his speeches in German which raised Lincoln's popularity among Germans. At the Republican presidential convention in 1860 he led the Wisconsin delegation which voted for Seward but eventually did shift his support to Lincoln and was among the men who told Lincoln he had been nominated.

When the war began Lincoln made him ambassador to Spain and he convinced them not to support the South (although one wonders how much convincing they really needed). He returned to the states and was appointed a brigadier general in April 1862, he quickly after moved up to division command (in a corps led by Sigel) and was later promoted to major general. He fought at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being transferred west for the Chattanooga campaign. He served in the army through the end of the war, he was Slocum's chief of staff for the Army of Georgia when Johnston surrendered in North Carolina.

After the war he continued in politics and also worked in newspapers. He was editor of the Detroit Post and later was editor, and proprietor of the Western Post in St Louis. Interesting side note, at the Western Post he gave Joseph Pulitzer his first job as a reporter. Schurz was elected Senator from Missouri, the first German so elected. He also was the Secretary of the Interior under Hayes. His performance there was a bit of good and bad.

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