Franz Sigel 1824–1902
Born Sinsheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany
A prominent member of the German American community, Franz Sigel helped to rally immigrant support for the Union cause. He began his Civil War service in the West and later contributed to the North’s decisive victory in the Battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862. Promoted to the rank of major general, Sigel was transferred to the war’s eastern theater but success proved elusive for him there. He was given his first major command when the Army of Virginia was created in the summer of 1862 and served under General John Pope in the North’s stunning loss at the Battle of Second Bull Run (Manassas). Relegated thereafter to a series of less prominent posts, Sigel finally gained command of the Department of West Virginia in February 1864. He was soundly defeated at the Battle of New Market in May and lost his field command a short time later.