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Georg von Amsberg (June 24, 1821 – November 21, 1876)[1][2] was a German, who served in Austria, Hungary, and the United States as a military officer in both the Hungarian revolution of 1848 and the American Civil War. Along with such other figures as Carl Schurz and Franz Sigel, he was among a group of European revolutionaries and emigrants who have been collectively termed "Forty-Eighters", a number of whom served prominently in the Union Army.

Early years

Georg von Amsberg was born in Hildesheim[2][3] near Hanover, where he was educated at the Polytechnic Institute (the precursor to the University of Hanover). Like many Germans after the downfall of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, he joined the Austrian Army in 1837 as a cadet, and advanced rapidly.[4] By 1848 he was an officer in an elite Hungarian hussar (light cavalry) regiment.[5]

Hungarian Revolution

During the 1848 Hungarian revolution, Von Amsberg, with his regiment, allied with the Hungarian Revolutionary Army, or Honvéd, against Austrian rule.[5] As a Major, he served as an Aide-de-Camp to General Henryk Dembiński, but he later rose to Brigadier General. He fought in twenty one battles during the conflict.[4]

Von Amsberg was awarded the Order of Valor by Lajos Kossuth for the "prowess and skill displayed in the Battle of Szolnok". On August 2, 1849, he commanded 13,000 men of General József Nagysándor's Corps in the Battle of Debrecen, gaining a "great reputation for the valor and intelligence manifested in the engagement."[4] He was taken prisoner, however, with the surrender of the Hungarian Army eleven days later. During the subsequent retribution by the Austrian Empire he was sentenced to 16 years. After 9 years confinement he was released and banished.[4]

American Civil War

After his release von Amsberg emigrated to the United States.[4] He arrived from Bremen in New York City on September 27, 1858 on the ship Husdon.[3] Von Amsberg worked for a time as a riding instructor at the Hoboken Riding School.[2][4]

Von Amsberg began his U.S. military service as a major in the 5th Regiment New York National Guard Infantry (5th Regiment of Militia of New York City) on May 1, 1861, shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War.[6] The regiment was a three-month regiment, so von Amsberg was honorably mustered out of the militia with the rest of the regiment on August 7, 1861.[6][7]

On September 9, 1861, von Amsberg organized the 45th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which he commanded as colonel as of October 7, 1861.[6] He commanded this unit during the Battle of Cross Keys and Battle of Chancellorsville. During the Battle of Gettysburg he assumed command of 1st Brigade, 3rd Division of XI Corps after the death of Major General John F. Reynolds necessitated advancement of the command structure.[8] He tendered his resignation in September or October 1863 and was discharged for disability due to asthma, acute bronchitis and gastritis on January 22, 1864.[6][9][10]

Aftermath

After the war, von Amsberg was the proprietor of a hotel.[6] He died on November 21, 1876 at Hoboken, New Jersey.[6] George von Amsberg is buried in Weehawken Cemetery in North Bergen, New Jersery, USA.[1][11]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Amsberg's gravestone
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dempsey
  3. 3.0 3.1 germanimmigrants1850s.com
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 New York Times, September 10, 1861
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pivany, 1913, pp. 48-49
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Hunt, 2007, p. 287.
  7. Phisterer, 1890, p. 282.
  8. Official Records Vol. 27, Part I, p. 734-736; Report of Lieutenant Colonel Adolphus Dobke, 8/21/1863 [1]
  9. O. Howard to Stanton, January 1864
  10. civilwarintheeast.com
  11. Hunt, 2007, p. 287 names the cemetery as "Palisades Cemetery" in North Bergen, New Jersey.

References

Includes photo and bio of von Amsberg, and video describing action in the battle.

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