12.17.2007

Historical Brain Exercises
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Mathew Brady

The Civil War was documented first by Matthew Brady and later by Ken Burns. A penultimate struggle, it featured 2nd and 3rd generation elites on both sides as well as new characters. Getting immigrants to vote and volunteer for the war effort became a strategy that was important to Republicans. They did this by promoting 'native' leaders, such as Franz Sigel:


Franz Sigel (November 18, 1824 – August 21, 1902) was a German military officer and immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union general in the American Civil War...

Sigel was promoted to major general on March 21, 1862. He served as a division commander in the Shenandoah Valley and fought unsuccessfully against Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, who managed to outwit and defeat the larger Union force in a number of small engagements. He commanded the I Corps in Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Bull Run, another Union defeat, where he was wounded in the hand.

Over the winter of 1862–63, Sigel commanded the XI Corps, consisting primarily of German immigrant soldiers, in the Army of the Potomac. During this period, the corps saw no action; it stayed in reserve during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Sigel had developed a reputation as an inept general, but his ability to recruit and motivate German immigrants kept him alive in a politically sensitive position. Many of these soldiers could speak little English beyond "I fights mit Sigel", which was their proud slogan. They were quite disgruntled when Sigel left the corps in February 1863 and was replaced by Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, who had no immigrant affinities.

So yes, we'll eventually be rolling out a whole series of Civil War games...

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