15.-the resignation of Gen. Sigel.
German Mass meeting at the Cooper Institute, New-York, on Thursday, 16th January, 1862.
The great meeting in favor of Gen. Franz Sigel
, which took place at the Cooper Institute, was attended by more than ten thousand of the most respectable and solid adopted citizens of German birth, and was characterized by most enthusiastic speeches and resolutions.
The object was, to give expression to the feelings of the Germans of this city and its environs, on the resignation of Gen. Sigel
, and to take measures for bringing his claims prominently to the notice of the Government
The meeting was called to order at half-past 7 o'clock, and R. A. Witthaus
unanimously called to the chair.
On opening the proceedings, Mr. Witthaus
spoke as follows:
fellow — citizens : Permit me to express my deep appreciation of the honor conferred upon me of presiding over this mass meeting of patriots, congregated here to-day in order to support one of their countrymen, who, immediately at the commencement of this unholy rebellion, offered his life and property, promptly and fervently, to the Administration, for the maintenance of the Constitution
and the just cause of the Union
We are not here as Democrats or Republicans, but as men who love liberty, justice and the Union
We desire to retain in the service of our adopted fatherland, the eminent talents of a General who, by his energetic perseverance since May, 1861, probably prevented the secession of one of the brightest stars from the Northern
General Francis Sigel
--crowned with the twin laurels of the Old
and the New World, Baden
--is a name which fills with irresistible power each patriotic heart, whether native or adopted, with the fullest confidence and most ardent enthusiasm.
In July, 1861, he covered the flag of our Union with ineffable glory at Carthage
; there history wrote his New World certificate of the most eminent generalship, while the rebel banner was biting the dust.
acted the traitors to their country, we find Franz Sigel
forming German regiments, and educating them defenders of this beloved land of our adoption.
In reading General Sigel
's report of the battle of Carthage
, to General Sweeney
, dated 11th July, 1861, we cannot help esteeming his modesty, for not his, but the heroic deeds of his officers, are portrayed with justice and impartiality.
we do not admire Franz Sigel
as the commander only, nay, he shines especially as a man; for, with the greatest self-sacrifice, he there cared for the wives and children of those Union men who were absent and in the ranks of the Federal
Gentlemen, to sustain Franz Sigel
in his patriotic work; to procure for him from that Administration for whom he labored to this day with such unflinching patriotism, due attention and a well-merited support, and to obtain this for him in an honorable, respectful and reliable manner, is the purpose of this mass meeting.
To understand the resolutions, prepared by a Committee, and in order to be enabled to vote on them knowingly, I will permit myself to mention a few facts from creditable authority.
When Gen. Hunter
took command in Missouri
, it was resolved, in a council of war, to advance upon the enemy.
was placed in command of the advance division, with the order “to attack the enemy wherever he found him, and to engage him until the arrival of the principal or general army.”
In the mean time, however, the general army retreated, of which Sigel
received information by the merest accident, and this accident only saved him and his division.
immediately fell back upon Springfield
, and, as before mentioned, he found there a great number of women and children, whose husbands and fathers were absent serving in the Federal
Helpless and unprotected, they were exposed to the savage fury of the pursuing enemy.
In the same position he found thousands of loyal men who, confiding in the strength of the Federal
army, had freely expressed their Union sentiment.
Nothing had been done to protect all of these.
The retreat of the general army was ordered without any necessity, against all rules of warfare, and to the destruction of thousands of confiding citizens.
At that period Gen. Sigel
intended to resign, for he considered it dishonorable to serve under a command which could betray in so shameful a manner such a prosperous country, and thousands of confiding citizens; but the report of the removal of Gen. Hunter
from that command, and the hope of yet being useful to Missouri
, made him reconsider that intention.
After Gen. Halleck
had entered upon the command, the persecutions toward Gen. Sigel
He was chicaned, ignored and neglected; his division was never completed.
Officers, under the influence of Sigel
's name, formed regiment after regiment, but when completed they were detailed to other commanders.
The complaints of Gen. Sigel
have never met with a reply.
His troops suffered for want of the most necessary supplies, and his requisitions for them remained unattended to and unexecuted, and every opportunity to aid Missouri
has been designedly denied him. At last the inhabitants of Southwestern Missouri
petitioned the President
to grant them military protection, and designated Gen. Sigel
as the person in whom they had the most confidence.
, President Lincoln
, referred that petition to General Halleck
, and recommended Gen. Sigel
especially to him. Upon this, on the 24th of December, Gen. Sigel
was placed in command of the troops in and about Rolla
, comprising from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand men; but four days after, on the 28th of December, by order of Gen. Halleck
, Gen. Sigel
was superseded by Gen. Curtis
, whose commission bears the same date as that of Gen. Sigel
This left him no alternative but to tender his resignation, which he did on the 31st of December, 1861.
Whatever may be your
opinions of his Excellency
, President Abraham Lincoln
, I am sure you all share with me the fullest conviction, that he has shown to us his sincerest endeavors to be just, and while the adopted citizens of German birth have placed more than sixty thousand men in the field for the support of the Administration, and the reestablishment of the Union
, we may truly and surely expect that the resolutions offered by the Committee
, framed in the spirit of the purest patriotism, when accepted by this mass meeting, will be met and promptly acted upon, in like spirit, by all to whom they are addressed.
was then called on to read a long list of Vice-Presidents
, who were accepted by the unanimous vote of the meeting.
Mr. Hugo Wesendonck
was next introduced, and read the resolutions, as follows:
, it has been reliably reported that General F. Sigel
has been superseded in the command of a part of the army of Missouri, and that he has been compelled, by systematic neglect, to tender his resignation; and whereas, it is the duty of all those who are well acquainted with his eminent abilities as an officer and his pure character as a man, to endeavor to retain his services for the country in this its hour of trial; therefore,
, by the citizens of New-York
, in mass meeting assembled, that among the many patriots now sacrificing their lives and their fortunes for the integrity of the Union
, they do not know of any one animated by purer motives and more efficient as an officer than General Franz Sigel
That he was among the first who rose for the suppression of the infamous rebellion which now lacerates our beloved country, and that a large portion of the army of Missouri was called into existence by him.
That without his efforts and the efforts of those who assisted him, the State of Missouri
would now be out of the Union
, and that no other commander has done more for the preservation of one of the most brilliant stars in our flag than Gen. Franz Sigel
That he has shown military ability of the first order, and that the battle-fields of Missouri
are everlasting monuments of his valor and his superior tactics.
That his character is unstained by any reproach, and that his patriotism is pure and above cavil.
That he is dearly beloved by all under his command, and that he enjoys the unbounded confidence of a large portion of the army as an officer of the first rank.
That the country cannot dispense with the services of a commander who is equally great in conquering the enemy and in preserving those under his command from destruction.
That we have not the slightest doubt that his resignation was dictated by the principles of honor and by his sense of justice, and was entirely consistent with his duties as a soldier.
That we notice with indignation, that low jealousy and narrow-minded nativism, even in such times as these, are trying to drive away true merit, and that the spirit of caste and charlatanism are prevailing where tried military ability and upright honesty should reign supreme.
And that we earnestly desire to see him placed in a position in which his surpassing abilities as a commander of large bodies of troops may best be employed for the salvation of the Union
, That a committee of three be appointed by the chairman of this meeting, to proceed to Washington
and to present these resolutions to his Excellency
, the President
of the United States
, and that copies of the same be sent to the Commander-in-Chief
of the army of the United States, to the commander of the army of Missouri, to the Secretary of War
, to the Governor
of the State of New-York
, and to the members of the Military Committee of the United States Congress.
, in presenting these resolutions, accompanied them with some remarks, in which he made a full exposition of affairs in Missouri
, he said, had saved that State from being swallowed up in the gulf of secession.
They had had the courage to stand up for the Union
at a time when no others dared to express their loyalty to the Government
(Applause.) More than three times they had been called upon to defend themselves against the attacks of traitorous bands.
The speaker alluded to the manner in which the war in Missouri
was carried on, and was of the opinion that the same could not be satisfactory to Gen. Sigel
He asked the question, whether it was proper to hold a mass meeting in a time of war?
In his opinion there could be nothing more proper and more effective than a large and an imposing demonstration like this affair, in order to do away with the evil resulting from the measures of the Government
and certain military leaders.
He spoke of the fact that the enemies of the country were not only those now standing in arms against it, but also those among us who, in secret, try to bring about a demoralization of the army.
The resolutions, as read, were approved by the whole assembly.
Mr. Friedrich Kapp
was then introduced to address the audience, who drew at length a comparison between Gen. Sigel
and the German portion of the heroes of the American Revolution
The position of Gen. Sigel
was nearly the same.
They were treated in a like manner.
Most of the foreign portion of the heroes of the Revolution.
sacrificed their lives for the country.
Gen. De Kalb
fell at Camden
, covered with no less than eight wounds.
had a right to expect to be supported by his countrymen.
He was, there was no question, one of the ablest and best leaders of the army.
had been persecuted ever since the breaking out of the rebellion, because they had remained true to the Union
Without them Governor Jackson
would have succeeded in wrenching the State of Missouri
from the Union
.) The speaker
alluded to the slave question and slaves as contrabands, taking a radical view of the question.
They should demand for Gen. Sigel
such a position, in which he could be properly placed, to the advantage of the country, while this war is carried on.
Mr. Weil Von Gernsbach
was the next speaker, who gave an exposition of the bright military and private career of Gen. Sigel
He criticised, in a very sarcastic manner, the measures of certain military leaders and government officers, with regard to the war in Missouri
He said that either our army in this manner would become discouraged and demoralized, and that the free institutions in this country would be overthrown, and, for centuries to come, lost to liberty, or the strong arm of the people would one of these days raise against the ill-advised measures of its leaders.
The chairman appointed, when the speaker had concluded, the committee named in the resolutions, as follows: Friedrich Kapp
, Weil Von Gernsbach
, and Andreas Willmann
The assembly were, in conclusion, addressed by Messrs. Reinhold Solger
and Sigismund Kaufmann
, after which the meeting adjourned.
The Committee, named in the resolutions, went to Washington
on the 20th January, 1862, and on their return made the following report:
report of the Committee.