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important was the endowment of the Pulitzer Prizes, awarded annually "for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature and the advancement of education." The Pulitzer Prizes recognize outstanding literature, drama, music and newspaper work and are considered "among the most coveted distinctions of writers and artists all over the United States."

Pulitzer returned to visit Hungary on several occasions. In 1886 when Mihály Munkácsy, one of the greatest Hungarian painters, visited the United States, Pulitzer was there to present the welcoming address.

As he grew older, Joseph Pulitzer's steadily worsening eyesight compelled him to live a secluded life. He died in October 1911 in Charleston, South Carolina. Joseph Pulitzer wrote the following statement when his blindness prevented him from continuing actual management of the paper. It still appears today in every copy of the Post-Dispatch in the upper left-hand corner of the editorial page:

THE POST-DISPATCH PLATFORM

 

I know that my retirement will make no difference in its cardinal principles; that it will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare; never be satisfied with merely printing news; always be drastically independent; never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.

 

C. Lincoln's Hungarian Heroes

Of approximately 4,000 Hungarian immigrants who were in the United States at the time of the Civil War, 800 served in the Union Army, or twenty percent. "This degree of participation exceeds that of any other ethnic group in America."20

 


 

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       There were an estimated 130 officers of the 800 Hungarians in the Union Army. Among them there were two major generals, five brigadier generals, fifteen colonels, two lieutenant colonels, fourteen majors, fifteen captains and several subalterns and surgeons.21 In the Confederate Army there is record of less than eight Hungarians, of these only one officer by the name of B. Estván, who served as a cavalry colonel. Estván left the Confederate Army after a short time.

       The majority of these emigrés were trained military officers who served meritoriously in the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848. The Union was in desperate need of trained military men and these emigrés volunteered their experience and expertise at a time when the "United" States were endangered. They fought with distinction and many were decorated. Major General Julius Stahel-Szamwald, well-known and trusted by President Lincoln, was the first Hungarian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery. Major Charles Zágonyi led the famous "Charge of Springfield" which won the state of Missouri for the Union. Before the first cannon shots were fired at Fort Sumter, Colonel Géza Mihalótzy organized Lincoln's Riflemen, one of the first company of immigrants.

       Camps named after Hungarian officers distinguished in the Civil War were: Camp Asbóth, Camp Rombauer, Camp Utassy and Camp Zágonyi. Fort Mihalotzy, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee was named after Colonel Géza Mihalótzy, who was killed in an ambush nearby.

       Many Hungarians were decorated and promoted to higher rank during the war. Many gave their lives for the Union cause. In a letter dated March 15, 1939, written for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Piedmont, Virginia, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pays

 


 

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tribute to these Hungarians and commends their "valiant service to the cause of the Union."

       The majority of the Hungarians served under the Union flag for several reasons. During the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848, these men fought for the liberalization of Hungary. They left their homeland because they could no longer live under the oppressive and tyrannical rule of the Austrians. Rather than surrender their advanced social and political ideas, they chose to live in exile. Among the reforms they achieved in Hungary was the freeing of the serfs. How could they then, living in a country whose constitution assured freedom and democracy, fight for the retention of slavery? Naturally, they sided with the abolitionists and fought for the Union.

       Hungarians made no secret of their strong anti-slavery sentiments, sometimes even at the risk of losing their positions. Ignace Hainer, a settler of New Buda, Iowa, became a professor of modern languages at the University of Columbia in Missouri. He held this position for four years, after which time he lost his job along with others because of his belief in the abolition of slavery. Anthony Vallas, who eventually became president of the New Orleans Academy of Sciences, was dismissed as professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana (Louisiana State University) because his sympathies were with the Union.

       Lieutenant Alexander Jekelfalussy, commander of the 24th Illinois Regiment, received orders to capture and surrender all fugitive slaves hiding in Union regiment camps. Jekelfalussy promptly submitted resignation of his commission to his commanding officer with the explanation that he cannot, in good conscience, follow such an order.

 


 

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Major General Julius Stahel-Szamwald

 


 

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       There were several Hungarian officers who organized and commanded the colored regiments of the Union Army. Among them were Peter Dobozy, organizer of the 4th Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment and Lieutenant Zimandy of the 4th Colored Infantry Regiment. The Zsulavsky brothers: Lieutenant Emil Zsulavsky, Colonel Ladislaus Zsulavsky and Lieutenant Sigismund Zsulavsky all served in the 82nd Colored Infantry Regiment.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

 

       Julius Stahel-Szamwald immigrated to the United States in 1859 and joined the Union Army in the first year of the Civil War. Stahel-Szamwald organized and became the first lieutenant colonel of the 8th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In recognition of his meritorious service in the Battle of Cross Keyes, Virginia, he was appointed brigadier general and shortly thereafter, major general.

       Stahel-Szamwald's leadership and bravery in the Battle of Piedmont, West Virginia earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was seriously wounded in the battle and left his troops only long enough to receive first aid, returning without delay to continue leading and advancing his troops. The battle was crucial because it decided the fate of the Shenandoah Valley which was the gateway for the Confederate Army to Maryland, Pennsylvania and the Capital itself.

       President Lincoln, who was said to have had "unbounded confidence" in Stahel-Szamwald, personally requested the major general to command the cavalry protecting the Capital. Szamwald also headed the Honor Guard, made up of high-ranking officers of the Union Army, which escorted President Lincoln to Gettysburg.

 


 

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After the Civil War ended, Stahel-Szamwald continued in the service of his adopted homeland as American consul to Japan and China, a position he held for more than eleven years. He died in 1912 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with all the honors rendered an American military hero.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

 

       Major Charles Zágonyi became well-known in the United States when he led a cavalry charge of 160 Union soldiers against 2,000 Confederate soldiers holding the town of Springfield, Missouri. As a result of the victory, the Confederate soldiers retreated from Springfield and the state of Missouri (until then claimed by both sides) became part of the Union.

       Charles Zágonyi was born in Szatmár in 1826. He served in the War of Independence under General Bem. Following the defeat he immigrated to England and then to the United States in 1851. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined with General Fremont in Missouri who gave Zágonyi permission to organize and command a body guard cavalry unit to be known as Fremont's Guard. Zágonyi immediately set to work, personally selecting the horses and designing the uniforms to be used by the guard.

       In the autumn of 1861, General Fremont, under the mistaken impression that the enemy numbered 300, gave permission for the newly-organized cavalry unit led by Zágonyi to attack the Confederate Army holding Springfield. Before the attack could occur, Fremont received reports of the Confederate Army's actual strength, which was close to 2,000 men. He immediately withdrew permission to attack, but Zágonyi persuaded the general to allow the guard to proceed despite the reports.

 


 

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The second Charge of the Fremont Body Guard, under Major Charles Zagonyi at Springfield, Missouri in October 1861

 


 

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Before the daring charge began, Zágonyi called his soldiers together and told them that any man wishing to turn back had his permission to do so Captain John T. Foley wrote: "not a man flinched," after hearing Zágonyi's proposal.22 The famous Springfield Charge also known as Zágonyi's Death-Ride, took place on October 25, 1861. The guard, fighting overwhelming odds, succeeded in recapturing Springfield and claiming the state of Missouri for the Union. The guard lost sixteen men in the charge and the Confederates reported 116 men dead.

 

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Géza Milahótzy served as a captain the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848. In the early part of the Civil War he organized a company of Hungarians, Czechs and Germans in Chicago and requested permission in a letter to the president to name the company Lincoln's Riflemen. President Lincoln's approval along with his signature was written on the same letter of request. The historical document read as follows:

Chicago Feb. 4, 1861

       To the Hon. A. Lincoln

              Dear Sir:

              We have organized a company of Militia in this City, composed of men of Hungarian, Bohemian & Slavonic origin. Being the first company formed in the United States of said nationalities we respectfully ask leave of your Excellency to entitle ourselves "Lincoln Riflemen," of Slavonic origin.

              If you will kindly sanction our use of your name, we will endeavor to do honor to it, whenever we may be called to perform active service.

Respectfully on behalf of the Company,
Géza Mihalótzy, Captain

       I cheerfully grant the request above made. A. Lincoln

 


 

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Letter of Capt. Geza Mihalotzy with the endorsement of Presiden Lincoln. (Original in the Hertz Collection).

 


 

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       The newly organized Lincoln's Riflemen were merged with the 24th Illinois Volunteer Regiment and Mihalotzy was named colonel of the regiment. The unified regiment fought with distinction in numerous battles of the war. Colonel Mihalotzy was seriously injured by a bullet on February 24, 1864. Shortly thereafter on March 11, he died of his injury in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was buried in the National Cemetery. Fort Mihalótzy, located on Cameron Hill near Chattanooga was named in memory of the Hungarian officer who gave his life for the Union.

       Alexander Asboth served as an engineer in the War of 1848 and afterwards came to the United States with Kossuth on the Mississippi. He worked as a mining engineer in the western United States and later on the New York Planning Commission, where he was known to have had a major role in the planning of Central Park.

       At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted and served on the staff of General Fremont. He took part in several battles in the states of Missouri and Arkansas. In the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, Alexander Asbóth fought with exceptional merit and in recognition was appointed brigadier general by the Congress of the United States. He served in this capacity on the staffs of Generals Fremont, Hunter and Curtis.

       Asboth was seriously injured in the Battle of Marianna, Florida where bullets inflicted wounds on his arm and face. The bullet which was lodged in the right side of his face was especially critical as it could not be removed, although this was attempted by surgeons on numerous occasions. During the rest of his life the wound caused him much discomfort and pain and it eventually caused his death.

 


 

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Major General Alexander Asbóth

 


 

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       At the end of the Civil War, in recognition of his valuable service, President Grant appointed Asboth United States minister to Argentina and Paraguay. In South America, despite his painful facial wound, he performed his duties as minister with distinction. Asboth died two years later on January 21, 1868 at the age of fifty-seven, and was buried in an English cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

       Major General Alexander Asboth was remembered as "a tall, spare man, a splendid soldier, and an excellent commander, who coupled military discipline with humane treatment."

 

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       A native of Arad, Frederick Knefler fought in the Hungarian War of Independence as a boy of fifteen. The family's involvement in the revolution forced them to flee when it ended in defeat. They immigrated to the United States in 1850, where Frederick Knefler learned the trade of carpentry, while in the meantime studying law.

       Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Knefler enlisted in the 11th Indiana Volunteer Regiment, and shortly afterwards became a captain. He was appointed adjutant to General Lew Wallace, the famous author of the biblical drama Ben Hur. Knefler was colonel in the 79th Indiana Volunteer Regiment until the end of the war, when, in recognition of his valuable service, he was appointed brigadier general. His leadership played a decisive role in the Battle of Missionary Ridge as well as in the Battles of Nashville, Chattanooga and Franklin.

       Brigadier General Frederick Knefler was known for his well-disciplined troops and his genuine concern for his men. He consistently won the loyalty and admiration of his soldiers. Following the war, President Hayes appointed

 


 

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Knefler chief of the pension office, a position he held for eight years. The last years of his life were spent in efforts to build memorials for soldiers and sailors who fought and died in the Civil War.

       Knefler died in 1901 in Indianapolis at the age of sixty-seven. He was hailed by the city as one of the most outstanding citizens of the community. The Indianapolis Journal wrote:

 

He was one of the first to enlist, taking whatever place came to him, serving faithfully and tirelessly in the positions to which he was assigned.... No better, braver soldier than he ever buckled on a sword.

The last years of his life were devoted to the completion of the soldiers' and sailors' monument.... He planned and worked after most would have given up.... No truer American ceased to live, no better citizen in all the duties of citizenship was left in the city when the feeble flame of that manly spirit flickered out.23

 

 


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