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The Thorny Rose: The Americanization of an Urban, Immigrant, Working Class Regiment in the Civil War. A Social History of the 39th New York Volunteer Infantry
CHAPTER 10
THE TRAPPINGS OF COMMAND: THE STRANGE CASE OF FREDERICK GEORGE D'UTASSY

There is no rose without its thorn
No gold without alloy;
And human life is but a web
Of mingled pain and joy.
The joy hath been; the joy will be,
Although the pain is now:
And they, who seek a proud success,
Must learn to bear and bow.
(Found among Colonel D'Utassy's personal papers)

According to his own testimony and defense at the Court Martial convened in Washington D.C. in March of 1863, Frederick George D'Utassy of the Garibaldi Guard was born in 1827 in Zala Nagy Kalirsa, Hungary, apparently to a relatively well-off military family with a noble name. He received his early education in an Austrian military academy and entered the Austrian service as a cadet in 1845. When Hungary revolted against Austrian tyranny, D'Utassy resigned from the Austrian service in which he had been a Second Lieutenant and joined the Hungarian Revolution as a private. His father died fighting in the struggle. When the Hungarian conflict came unsuccessfully to an end, the younger D'Utassy had risen to the rank of Major of the 127th Honved Battalion, had been wounded five times and taken prisoner at the battle of Temesvar. He was subsequently sentenced to death for deserting the Austrian Army. D'Utassy managed to escape and went into exile in Turkey, where he instructed men in the art of cavalry tactics for two years. (1) Then he received an appointment as Private Secretary to the high commissioner of the Ionian Islands and traveled throughout the East and Italy in that capacity. In 1855 he went to England, where he was appointed secretary to the Governor of Nova Scotia, and he crossed the sea for the first time for North America. When Governor Gaspar Le Marchand's office expired, he secured for D'Utassy an appointment at Dalhousie College as a professor of foreign languages, in which position D'Utassy remained until October 1860, when he moved to New York City. (2) His mother, sister and brothers eventually joined him in the States. (3)

Less than six months later, in April of 1861, D'Utassy embarked upon a transplantation and renovation of his old military career in the War for the Union. Although he had not yet had the time to establish himself as a community leader, he produced enough testimonials and letters of introduction from esteemed individuals in Nova Scotia (4) to pave his way into the prestige needed to attract subscriptions and patronage for the raising of a regiment.

John Keegan suggests in his The Mask of Command, that all leadership is "a matter of externals almost as much as internalities." If that is true, D'Utassy certainly had what Keegan described as the "theatrical impulse," so essential in a "man who must carry forward others to the risk of their lives." (5) A short man, even for his day, D'Utassy, like many short people, had a flare for the dramatic. It was as though he wished to produce the image of the epitome of all that bespoke the profession of arms in the uniform that he concocted for the Garibaldi Guard, and in the cast of military actors from different nations that he assembled to lead it. In his Brady likeness, he is a striking little bantam rooster, with a wide, intelligent brow over large, luminous, serious eyes, hair cropped Bonapartist close, sparse blond mustachios stopping just short of a perfectly disciplined cravat, cape draped dramatically, but not at all haphazardly, over one shoulder. In another image, next to his officers, D'Utassy appears a mite small, even next to Repetti, also a short man, who affects a jauntier stance. Most people agreed that the little Hungarian Colonel and his regiment had few equals in military appearance and the martial bearing that most Americans associated with Old World armies, a quality that could prove both to the advantage and to the detriment of the Garibaldian image in the native American mind.

A man of superior intellect, D'Utassy was a linguist, a master of many languages including his own Hungarian, German, Spanish, French, and Italian, and an accomplished, articulate, even poetic writer in the English language. His penmanship was the perfect Spencerian script, the product of his days as secretary to ambassadors. He had most of the qualities and all the foibles of an up and coming petit-bourgeois, an ambitious man on the make, albeit a man already inhabiting what in the mid-Nineteenth century was middle age. At the time of his Court Martial, D'Utassy was thirty-six years old.

Starting your own regiment in 1861, for an intelligent, upwardly mobile immigrant of D'Utassy's military experience, was akin to starting your own business in peacetime with a sizeable amount of capital to invest With a military background as impressive as D'Utassy claimed, the Hungarian had high hopes. Once he had gained his reputation in battle, he could present the laurels that would surely fall upon his brow to his newfound homeland as evidence of his worthiness for esteem as a valued citizen of his adopted land. This gloriously won status would surely secure him financially as well. Accordingly, in the same month that the Garibaldi Guard left New York, D'Utassy applied for United States citizenship. (6)

The nature of the extant evidence allows us to see D'Utassy only through the eyes of those who beheld him. Except for his hand-written defense, which he read before the 1863 Court-Martial and his military reports, the manuscripts available are letters written to D'Utassy. Even a cursory examination of the chief manuscript collection at the New York Historical Society suggests that D'Utassy was relatively organized in his maintenance of private papers. There are too many examples of irate and damning letters and petitions written by his enemies and seething subordinates to propose that D'Utassy was hiding anything from posterity, although the papers end abruptly with the court-martial. For his defence, D'Utassy was able to produce relatively convincing evidence from his files. It did him little good. The collection does, however, reconstruct Frederick George D'Utassy in the eyes of friends, acquaintances and foes. (7)

By the time of Lincoln's call to arms, D'Utassy had had very little time to know and understand the world in which he would now stake his future. The military necessities of the Hungarian revolutionary struggle had granted D'Utassy, with his Austrian military background (if we are to believe him), a ripe field for upward mobility. The failure of that revolution cut short an illustrious future in his native land. But D'Utassy's intellectual and organizational skills, his top-level secretarial positions and particularly his knowledge of languages, opened doors of opportunity not available to most immigrants. It is easy to see how some of D'Utassy's middling class peers in the immigrant community may have perceived him to be an interloper. And yet, with his organizational and linguistic skills, he was able to convince both Tinelli and Repetti, who were themselves attempting to pull together regiments, to throw in their fortunes with him and make him the regimental commander of their combined companies. Tinelli subsequently resigned. Repetti harbored antagonisms that later fueled a conspiracy to implicate D'Utassy in the financial scandals rampant in the German Division. D'Utassy used Repetti and Tinelli's names and the names and patronage of other "ethnic middlemen" to attract differing nationalities and put together what was indeed a remarkable unit, but a unit whose basic flaw was that beyond the flag of the Union, it had no central basis for solidarity. The regiment's multiethnicity, the different languages spoken, the differing national experiences, created an atmosphere of competition especially between ethnic officers all struggling for a grasp on the same rung of the military social ladder. These factors also tended to thwart class solidarity among the rank and file, except on rare occasions, just as it did in society as a whole among both middle class officers and common soldiers. Common soldiers with grievances against the Colonel or the military structure, had no option but to go through their company officers whose communication skills were on a higher level. When these officer "middlemen" found themselves powerless, and the men's antagonism turned to illegal, spontaneous, collective company action, as in the case of the mutinies, the company officers became willing and unwilling hostages to the demands from below. Ironically, in the middle of the general disturbance, companies of one nationality often attacked companies of another nationality which to outsiders made it appear that a struggle for legitimate grievances was merely a regimental brawl. The punishment that followed may have meant hard labor for a day or two for the troops, but demotion, court-martial or dismissal for the company officers. All of the pent-up tensions of the men were directed at their company officers, and the company officers, battling each other for promotion, vented their anger on the Colonel.

D'Utassy had to perfect a delicate balancing act to overcome these dilemmas and many others not shared by native officers with American regiments, and the story of his fall is the story of his failure to do so. He had the military skills and the courage. He had the verve. He had the patronage. He had the organization. He had the intelligence. He certainly had the ambition. But he did not have the temperament.

John Keegan proposes that what soldiers know of their leader "must be what they hope and require. What they should not know of him must be concealed at all costs. The leader of men in warfare must show himself to his followers only through a mask." (8) Frederick George D'Utassy was incapable of wearing the mask. In his quest for a brigadiership, and his drive to create an impeccable ethnic regiment he was ruthless and unrelenting in dealing with any obstacle, human or situational, that seemed to encumber his path. He made enemies; serious enemies; and over the two year period of his Colonelcy, those enemies united and conspired to do him in.

When the Guard first mutinied at the Long Bridge in summer 1861, forces were already at work in New York City and in the field to deprive D'Utassy of his regiment. A newspaper editor accused him of being an impostor and manufacturing his previous record of military service. These charges were rife with anti-Semitism and nativism. D'Utassy was "accused" of being, in reality an Austrian Jew by the name of Strasser. Because of the darkening controversy swirling around him and the Garibaldians, prominent friends of D'Utassy including Mahlon Sands and Charles Norton begged him to set the record straight, to refute the charges, to act swiftly to neutralize the scandal. Mahlon Sands was amazed at the relentlessness of D'Utassy's enemies, who would "stop at nothing to injure [his] good name." And Norton finally advised D'Utassy to resign. However, choosing instead to take the advice of his fellow Hungarian, Alexander Asboth, D'Utassy refused to answer what he considered to be ridiculous and insulting calumny. He did, however, beg the War Department to impose summary punishment on the officers who commanded the mutinous companies. Although all three of the mutinies occurred in the Colonel's absence, and each was quelled by his presence, his actions against his officers created enmity in his subordinates. (9)

But bursting from the rumor mill at the same time as the mutinies, the charge of impersonation created a fertile atmosphere for further scandal. In late autumn, D'Utassy was indirectly accused of fraud, of drawing rations for 900 men when he had only 700. The charge was neutralized when D'Utassy produced proof of his regimental numbers. (10) The slanderous accusations, the regiment's discipline problems and officer in-fighting must have been horrendously frustrating to D'Utassy in light of his continuing efforts to become a brigadier general. Several of D'Utassy's patrons in Washington were courting Senators and Congressmen for his commission, and in December and January 1861-61 D'Utassy invited dignitaries and patrons, including Owen Lovejoy, his wife and daughters, to visit the Garibaldian camp for the holidays, to attend Sunday services and witness the still splendidly impressive regiment at drill. An editor of the National Republican newspaper was lobbying leading Senators and Mrs. Belinda Bacon, the wife of D'Utassy adjutant, passed out carte de visites of D'Utassy to Treasury Department officials. D'Utassy, who presented himself with much graciousness and formality, did his part by nurturing relationships with Americans that he knew at Headquarters, sending them complimentary letters of introduction accompanied by bottles of fine Hungarian Tokai wine. In the eyes of Americans who drew his favor, and who bestowed their own favors upon him, D'Utassy was impressive in bearing, exquisitely polite and generous to a fault. In the eyes of his foreign-born officers, who coveted his position, he was a scoundrel. (11)

The assignment of the Garibaldians to the German Division, after the Battle of Bull Run was the final blow to D'Utassy's aspirations in a year of jarring disappointments. He called the measure "the [death] knell of [his] hope!" The reorganization also laid the grounds for a Blenker-D'Utassy vendetta, the roots of which lay much deeper than personal animosity. As D'Utassy wrote: "The Antagonism of proud Hungary and discordant Germany was stamped on every act." One of the grievances of the Hungarian resistance of 1848 had been the pan-Germanic sentiments of even revolutionary Austrians. The Magyar republic had its own language, its own brand of representative government, and its own history and culture and its subservience to the primarily German Hapsburg Empire had created in its citizens scorn for everything German As an arrogant Hungarian national, one who had donated 10,000 florins to the revolution, lost his father and his country, it is no wonder that D'Utassy carried the conflicts of the Old World into the new. Even though nearly half of the Garibaldians were Germans, the assignment of the Garibaldians to the German Division, his own uncompromising attitude and Blenker's Teutonic preferences, spelled ruin for D'Utassy's personal ambitions. (12)

D'Utassy proceeded to infuriate his superiors and inferiors by his drive to "Americanize" his unit in the midst of what was essentially a fortified German military community. All of Blenker's orders were habitually transmitted in German. But D'Utassy refused to receive any orders that were not in English and commanded his officers to speak only English to his men. He let it be known publicly that his chief desire was to be transferred to an American brigade. (13). D'Utassy apparently believed that this would win the approbation of the American high command, and he could thereby win a ticket out of Blenker's Division and reclaim his path to the brigadiership. Instead, according to D'Utassy, despite the seniority established by his age and record, and despite the fact that he was now assigned to command a brigade, he was continually passed over for a commission. He was banished to "the extreme outpost at Annandale" and Blenker's former Lieutenant Colonel of the Eighth New York, supposedly favored by McClellan, was commissioned a brigadier.

At the time of D'Utassy's trial, fellow Hungarian Julius Stahel was a Major General of Volunteers. (14) Colonels von Steinwehr and Bohlen then received their commissions as brigadiers, leaving D'Utassy as odd man out the second and third time. When Blenker accused D'Utassy of slandering him in the New York newspapers, the Blenker/D'Utassy feud culminated with the Colonel's arrest by Blenker. When the General recognized that he had been mistaken in accusing D'Utassy, he attempted to rectify his error, but D'Utassy, feeling terribly wronged, refused his apology and demanded a Court Martial. His request was denied and he was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley to command the Garibaldians. (15)

Regardless of his adversities, D'Utassy's battle record was entirely blameless. He was assigned to defend the Valley town of Romney with 300 men, which he did to the utmost satisfaction of General Fremont, and then was permitted to lead his regiment at the Battle of Cross Keys, where the Garibaldians led a conspicuous and daring assault on the Confederate line. Commanding a brigade of primarily Americans at Winchester and throughout the Harper's Ferry disaster, he displayed exemplary courage and gallantry and finally won the admiration and affection from his native-born subordinates that had been denied him by many of the foreign-born. In fact, it appeared that D'Utassy was correct in concluding that his placement in the German Division, with its intrigues and Teutonic chauvinism, had shackled his ambitions for both himself and his regiment. Once freed from that overpowering ethnic competition, D'Utassy shone, but shone with only the reflection of what could have been.

After the Garibaldians were exchanged, in the aftermath of Camp Douglas, D'Utassy was at his post at Union Mills for only a few months before it became evident that his career had hit another major snag, this one enormous enough to pull him completely under. The overarching context for the D'Utassy Court-Martial was a campaign by the Federal Government to consolidate more effective management of the Army supply system in response to almost unbridled graft, fraud and corruption in the first two years of war. There was a particularly alarming amount of fraud in the German Division. When D'Utassy first became aware that he was being targeted by his enemies, and that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had called him "a swindler and an imposter" and intimated that he would "soon be dismissed the service." (16) Many of his friends advised D'Utassy to resign. But D'Utassy had a patron at headquarters, a man named R. L. Shriber. Shriber was on the staff of his commanding officer, General Alexander Hays, and he kept D'Utassy abreast of the developments, advising him to wait it out, but to give his enemies no false pretense to act against him. Shriber told D'Utassy on January 24, that the government was cracking down on officers who appropriated U.S. branded horses for their own use, and that, since he was known to have two or three such horses in his possession, he should "take....the initiative in making the matter right, be never attacked if you can help, always attack yourself." (17)

Hays liked D'Utassy, according to Shriber, but there was a "storm over quartermaster stores" and a circular would soon be issued commanding the recall of all government horses, so D'Utassy should return his immediately. Shriber warned the Colonel, who was still commanding a Brigade at Union Mills, to "Please be careful in this matter....Do not imagine that the General feels anyway at all against you, but he is determined to have matters right and desires that no evil shall befall you." (18) And the following day Shriber explained:

The opinion of the Gen. at present is only that you like things to be nice and that you are very extravagant, in case you would retain a horse and not return those given for staff use, which would certainly be found out, he might believe you to try to gain--this would be dangerous--you must know that he prides himself never to have used a soldier for a servant and a government horse (on loan) during a service of twenty years--and I believe that this is after all the way to succeed. (19)

Extravagance seemed to be a common failing in many of the European officers and those American officers who surrounded themselves with European proteges. (20) D'Utassy did have somewhat extravagant tastes as suggested by the files of hotel bills with charges for excellent bills of fare and fine wines. He was also, in February 1863, attempting to pay off a bill with a Washington silver merchant of $498 for 12 silver goblets, 1 silver pitcher, 1 engraved waiter (a tray for the goblets and pitcher); he still owed $39.64 and the merchant was threatening to sell the set out from under him. (21)

But extravagance became a serious failing only when one lived obviously beyond one's means or one's station or when other character traits were up for public scrutiny. For native Americans, especially in the bourgeois and petit bourgeois parlors of mid-nineteenth century America, such extravagances might be regarded as "tasteful choices." Evidence of extravagant taste even in a foreign military officer in camp and field might attract a little more skepticism. With all the foreign princes and filibusters running around as aides-de-camp to Union generals, it was certainly not unknown, but never failed to generate criticism, especially "democratic" accusations of aristocratic tendencies which were often thinly veiled extensions of ethnic prejudice. But with D'Utassy's increasingly questionable status in the Army due to the growing scandal, the combination of foreign birth and extravagance became particularly destructive.

Still, Hays was quite scrupulous in his dealings with the Army. The Regular army had a relatively rigid class system in which private soldiers were commonly used as servants, called "strikers" after the Civil War. But Shriber was correct in advising D'Utassy to take the path of scrupulosity to avoid the traps being laid for him. Scrupulosity would have been sound advice for any immigrant trying to "make it" against the odds in nineteenth century America. There had always been a question about what the government provided its officers and what an officer must pay for himself. In August 1862, D'Utassy had received a communication from Fleming and Foy, apparently Washington horse dealers, registering their surprise that the Quartermaster's department would not pay for horses that D'Utassy had bought from them for his personal use in the field and, stating that this was apparently a new policy. (22)

By late January D'Utassy was receiving daily communications from Shriber and others concerning the deepening quagmire. On January 26 he received a note from a Lieutenant J. Debs Parker who was in a Washington D.C. hospital recovering from a sever bout with diarrhea:" all I can say is, at present, be on your guard against strategy from those seemingly your friends." (23) On January 29 Shriber wrote to D'Utassy again that an order would be published February 1 that no officer would be allowed to ride a government horse unless he had a paper showing that he bought it from the government and that he had "permission to ride it by virtue of some order...Send all your branded horses to Alexandria." (24)

Apparently D'Utassy did not return the horses because he had in his possession what he thought were legitimate receipts of payment for the animals which he later produced as evidence for his defense in his Court Martial. But the man through whom D'Utassy had bought the horses was Quartermaster E.D. Lazell, a friend of Alexander Repetti's, and one of three men attempting to implicate D'Utassy in the financial scandal and ruin the Colonel, and perhaps the man about whom Lieutenant Park, lying in his sick bed in a Washington hospital, had warned. By February 15, 1863, the clouds of intrigue hanging over D'Utassy were so dark and threatening that Shriber, calling D'Utassy his best friend, wrote: "I hope to God you can arrange matters so that these charges will not hurt you should they come to trial." Now Shriber advised D'Utassy to resign "so that you don't ruin your future in the U.S.". General Hays, who would testify on D'Utassy's behalf, instructed Shriber to tell D'Utassy that he expected a letter from him "requesting of him to use his influence to get you a command in the Negro troops." (25)

By that time, it was much too late, in the matter of government horses and in every other matter. In March D'Utassy was arrested, charged with twenty-five different criminal specifications, ranging from encouraging soldiers' desertions to fraud and horse theft, and placed in confinement under an armed guard to await Court-Martial. The New York Times published a summary of the specifications preferred against D'Utassy:

1. Persuading a soldier to desert.
2. Embezzling mail bags.
3. Extorting money from sutlers
4. Obtaining money from officers under his command on the pretense that it was to be used for recruiting purposes.
5. Selling commissions in his regiment.
6. Plotting against officers under his command so as to cause them to resign.
7. Slandering his subordinate officers in official letters.
8. Selling Government horses and stores, and pocketing the proceeds.
9. Altering the proceedings of a Court Martial, so as to cause the dismissal of an officer of his regiment who was never tried.
10. Counterfeiting the signature of Hon. Charles H. Van Wyck, member of Congress from New York, on envelopes and selling them to soldiers for three cents each.
11. Forging pay rolls.
12. Making false musters and receiving pay for fictitious officers.
13. Opening United States mail bags and abstracting commissions therefrom. (26)

The evidence no longer exists to evaluate with any kind of precision the findings of the Court Martial. This chapter is not a legal discourse and seeks to do nothing but give D'Utassy the benefit of the doubt, which the Court Martial did not. A few impressions of the nature of the testimony and the motivation of those who testified must suffice. As actually presented in the Court -Martial, there were three major charges: (1) "Advising and persuading a soldier to desert;" (2) "Unlawfully selling and disposing of Government horses for his own benefit" and (3) "Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline." Of the first charge, with three specifications, D'Utassy was completely exonerated. (27)

In the second charge, D'Utassy was accused of selling U.S. Government owned horses and "converting the price[s] he received...for his own use." (28) This was the one charge of which D'Utassy had been specifically warned a few months before. D'Utassy, regardless of his receipts, was exonerated on one specification of horse theft, and found guilty of the other two. Guilt on two out of three specifications made him guilty of the Charge II. (29)

Charge III was the most serious of the charges, carrying with it nineteen different specifications of various acts of graft and fraud. The first six specifications had to do with D'Utassy illegally opening the mail of other officers. The first two of these specifications were withdrawn. The third accused D'Utassy of opening the private letters of Lieutenant Anthony Schada while said Schada was in "close confinement under the gravest military charges", probably either desertion or cowardice before the enemy. Schada was subsequently dismissed from the service on October 17, 1862, after being convicted and imprisoned with three other Garibaldian lieutenants (30) and apparently was out for revenge. D'Utassy was convicted of this charge on hearsay. Repetti testified that he had heard D'Utassy say that he had opened Schada's mail. (31)

Specification V accused D'Utassy of opening official mail and extracting a commission belonging to Assistant Surgeon Dr. E. Steiger, which D'Utassy then, allegedly secreted. The absurdity of this charge to D'Utassy became his defense. Said commission had already been published and D'Utassy had already, by the time of the alleged opening, mustered Steiger for pay. The man who helped frame the charges, and who accused D'Utassy, Lieutenant John Dessaur, testified that he knew the envelope contained a commission. D'Utassy telegraphed New York Adjutant General John Sprague, who sent a dispatch attesting to the fact that it was not the practice to write upon the envelopes of official communications like commissions the contents of the envelopes. In other words, D'Utassy's accuser, Dessauer would have had to open the envelope in order to know what was in it, that in fact it was the practice of the adjutant of the regiment to open the officer's mail, and the adjutant testified that in these cases, he had done so. Dessauer would be dismissed from the service because of wrongdoing less than a year later. (32)

The next sub-group of specifications concerned the selling of sutler businesses and more seriously, of commissions in the regiment The right to set up a sutler's store near the regiment was obviously a lucrative business arrangement, particularly so in Blenker's Division, as the General did what he could to provide his soldiers with ethnic delicacies including lager beer. It was the practice in Blenker's Division, which D'Utassy claimed was run strictly on European principles, to exact a tax from the sutlers to set up their stores, which then supposedly went into the regimental fund. Montegriffo's bar, the site of so much trouble after Bull Run, was one of these sutler stores. Repetti testified to the effect that D'Utassy had pocketed the 39th New York's sutler tax from two sutlers. D'Utassy admitted to taxing one, it being customary in the Division, and proved that the money went into the regimental fund. Moreover, Montegriffo himself testified that he never paid a cent to D'Utassy, but had paid Repetti seven or eight times to the tune of $1470, $500 of which was in merchandise. (33) D'Utassy was cleared of the sutler charges.

He was convicted, however, of selling a commission to Captain Charles Wiegand of Company A for $180, on the testimony of a man whom D'Utassy had reprimanded for drunkenness and who said he heard the transaction going on while listening surreptitiously at the tent flap. Wiegand himself had written a letter to Repetti, declaring himself D'Utassy's "mortal enemy", so here too was a vicious combination to destroy the Colonel. D'Utassy did not deny this charge outright. Instead, he stated that evidence procured surreptitiously or by hearsay (the witness had not seen any transaction) was not admissible. That line of reasoning was rejected and the specification stood. (34)

In Specifications XIV-XVII, D'Utassy accumulated a serious of "guilty" convictions for altering muster rolls. In at least one case, D'Utassy had done so in red ink to correspond to the addition of new officers already nominated and accepted in New York. His additions were slightly premature because the commissions had not made their way completely through red tape, the regiment being still at Camp Douglas in Chicago while D'Utassy was in Washington. Although the Paymaster testified that D'Utassy's changes were entirely rational, the charge stood with one change--the court clerk was ordered to strike the word "falsely" from the record since D'Utassy did not intend any wrongdoing. The other similar specifications accused D'Utassy of permitting members of the regimental band to draw privates pay (also customary in Blenker's Division) and appropriating the wages for his own use. The specifications themselves contained contradictions, for they inferred that the musicians actually drew the pay from the Quartermaster, but that the money was then appropriated by D'Utassy for "his own use and profit" D'Utassy proved that he had not pocketed the money in this case as well. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Repetti was in charge of the band and admitted under oath that he had received and paid out the money. But the Court Martial simply removed the phrase "for his own use and profit" and convicted D'Utassy of defrauding the government by allowing the musicians to be paid as privates for four months in 1861. (35)

In another instance, John Dessauer once again attempted to implicate D'Utassy in wrongdoing accusing him of changing the names of an official court-martial to implicate a man who had not been tried. This was in the Ornesi-Frixione "cowardice before the enemy" case after the battle of Cross Keys in 1862. Dessauer, who, according to D'Utassy had threatened "to break my neck," had placed D'Utassy's action on or around July 14, 1862, when the man had been tried, convicted and dismissed for cowardice two weeks before. (36)

Most of the pages in Colonel D'Utassy's final defense were aimed at refuting one charge, that he had knowingly defrauded the government of $3265.40 in illegal vouchers for expenses incurred in raising the regiment. D'Utassy had been completely unaware that he would be hit with this charge and felt a terrible sense of betrayal from Alexander Repetti, who, although he was never on intimate social terms with D'Utassy, the Colonel had considered a friend in the early days. Repetti had left the country while still under charges in his own Court-Martial, and returned to Washington to testify against D'Utassy in uniform having apparently re-enlisted in the Italian Army. He was now, as D'Utassy put it, under the protection of a foreign flag, and bore the title of Colonel and Aide-de-camp to Major General Fogliasdi. (37) It was in this charge that D'Utassy firmly believed that a conspiracy had been made against him, that he had been "used as an instrument" by Repetti and Lazell. D'Utassy had had Lazell removed from his Quartermaster position for "disposing of blankets and other regimental property" and Lazell "declared himself a bitter enemy of mine, and swore to avenge himself on me." (38)

The way D'Utassy explained the incident, which occurred in late Fall, 1861, Repetti had asked him to go to the offices of two collectors whose offices were opposite the War Department to sign for a packet of vouchers which Repetti had claimed were "genuine". In fact, when D'Utassy questioned Repetti about the legitimacy of the account, Repetti said to him, "My boy, do you think, that I would put you in...?" When D'Utassy picked up the vouchers, he was on his way to Greens, a public place of amusement in Washington City, and he handed the money to Captain Biscaccianti saying: "This is money belonging to Lieut. Colonel Repetti and I want to to keep it" Biscaccianti testified to that effect When Repetti acquired the money, he gave $2000 of it to D'Utassy, asking him to send $1500 of it to August Belmont's exchange in New York and permitting D'Utassy to keep $500 as a personal loan, which he sent to F. E. Habicht by Adams Express Co. at the same time as he sent the $1500. D'Utassy was able to procure an affidavit from August Belmont proving that the exchange had had no business with D'Utassy before or after the one instance on December 2, 1861, but that they had had several business transactions with Repetti. In fact, D'Utassy pointed out that Repetti had at one point exchanged more than six times his pay for francs, which he was apparently sending out of the country, placing the Italian under serious suspicion of fraud as well.

Lazell and Repetti attempted to make it seem that D'Utassy had hired an agent who could speak English, Mr. Godwin, to help him commit this fraud. D'Utassy replied that since he spoke perfect English, why did he need to hire someone else? Godwin himself admitted he didn't know D'Utassy, and D'Utassy pointed out that he would be a fool to hire someone he didn't know to help him commit a fraud. Godwin claimed that a mysterious middleman named Joseph had told him that he "made up bills" and Godwin had gotten immediately suspicious. D'Utassy attempted to find the "man with the red whiskers and the big nose" that he had seen with Repetti and with whom D'Utassy was now accused of conspiring, but he was unsuccessful. D'Utassy had handed the receipt for the transaction to Repetti, which Repetti produced for the trial.

D'Utassy's final plea was that his only error was one of judgement, that he had trusted Repetti and signed for the fraudulent account, not knowing until the trial that after a year and a half, he would be charged with defrauding the United States government with a falsified expense account. But his enemies had produced evidence enough to convict the Colonel: eighteen vouchers "for reimbursement of expenses incurred by him in recruiting for his Regiment", including money for subsistence of his men, and rent for the Broadway recruiting offices, certified for accuracy and signed by D'Utassy (39). D'Utassy was found guilty as charged. (40) Of nineteen specifications under Charge III, D'Utassy was convicted of eight of them. In five out of eight cases, the record was changed to read that D'Utassy was not being convicted of knowingly defrauding the government, or profiting from his actions. In other words, as Colonel, he was responsible for his own negligence, even if he did not intend to do wrong. Regardless, he was declared guilty of Charge in. (41)

D'Utassy was absolutely correct in stating that the government had not definitively proven his guilt In fact, the court-martial evidence did not include any proof that the vouchers offered in evidence for Specification 13 were fraudulent. They look like perfectly legitimate recruiting expenses, which D'Utassy did finance partially out of his own pocket before the regiment was mustered in in Washington. One might ask why did the government not investigate the vouchers in the first place, before they sent the refund to D'Utassy? Of course D'Utassy claimed that he did not know what he was signing, and other evidence suggests that not only was Repetti in charge of various regimental financial transactions, but that he did receive and dispose of the reimbursement money. He also had the signed and certified vouchers in his possession at the time of the trial. Since Repetti was no longer an employee of the government, and was protected by a foreign flag, he could not be court-martialed. Yet he went to great deal of trouble to act as state's witness. Some of the abuses with which D'Utassy was charged were said to be customary in Blenker's Division, meaning either that "everyone did it", or that the practices were authorized by headquarters. D'Utassy intimated that they were "European" practices, which may have been simply part of D'Utassy's attempt to use American nativism to his own ends. It is also quite possible that all the officers of the Garibaldians had engaged in such practices. D'Utassy had made enemies of the others, and now that the Government was cracking down on abuse, Repetti et al. had found the perfect opportunity to protect their own dealings and seek revenge. The public record offers no definitive answer. If nothing else, the D'Utassy specifications offer a wonderful catalogue of the many and various ways one could make money as an officer in the United States Army if one learned how to play the game well and did not get caught The first modem (capitalist) war created, at first, an unregulated marketplace. But in this war, life, death and the fate of the Northern economic system were in the balance; one had to regulate and reform the system in order to save it, to produce an efficient death-dealing mechanism to destroy the reactionary Southern regime. D'Utassy's enemies, in a sometimes awkward conspiracy, had triumphed. Stanton had declared him guilty even before the Court-Martial and approved the proceedings. As D'Utassy attested at the beginning of his defense statement: "Why am I here?! I am told 'the Government has suffered greatly from fraud'--it cries out for a victim.--Personal enmity, which I shall show,--pointed to me,--and offers me, a sacrifice." (42)

But how did D'Utassy make so many bitter enemies? Regardless of the technicalities used to convict him, the harshness of the sentence compared to what wrongdoing was actually proved and the intensity of his enemies prods us to look beyond the critical points of testimony in the Court-Martial proceedings to observe how others viewed his career as an officer in the Union Army. D'Utassy's plan of defense was threefold: first, to rescue his reputation as an officer in the field; second, to discredit the testimony and the honesty of his accusers; third, to use his own words and written evidence to counter the specifications and argue that nothing had been proven against him except perhaps one instance of bad judgement. He did not retain a lawyer.

D'Utassy's service at Harper's Ferry provided him with his best character witnesses, and it was generally the case throughout the trial that foreign-born officers assailed D'Utassy, while American- born officers (including Julius White, John C. Fremont and Alexander Hays) and common soldiers both native and foreign-born, testified (or in the case of the Generals wrote letters) in his behalf. Brigadier General George Stannard of the 9th Vermont declared that D'Utassy was loved by the Americans of the First Brigade, his command at Harper's Ferry. Colonel George Willard of the 125th New York, soon to be killed at Gettysburg, had "generally heard stated that the men of Colonel D'Utassy's regiment were better controlled by himself than by any other officer in the regiment." Brigadier General Alexander Hays spoke of the good condition of D'Utassy's command when it was turned over to him at Union Mills in Spring 1863. He also stated that there were "a great degree more dissensions among the officers [and] jealousies than [he] ever saw in the army before." Colonel Clinton Macdougall of the 111th New York also knew "from hearsay of jealousies...and....enemies" and "supposed it was because Colonel D'Utassy tried to maintain discipline and good order." MacDougall had "never heard anything against him from the brigade officers except his own regimental officers." There was "no complaint from the Americans" who served under the Colonel in the First Brigade. (43)

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Repetti, whom D'Utassy and Chaplain Zyla had nicknamed "Goliath" was responsible for many of the Colonel's difficulties. Therefore, there was a burden upon D'Utassy to throw Repetti's veracity into question, which he did rather well in the course of the trial. Unfortunately for D'Utassy, although seven pages of witnesses testified that Repetti was a liar, and was never to believed under any circumstances, the witnesses were nearly all common soldiers and non-commissioned officers. As previously observed in the context of Repetti's career with the Guard, in the Summer of 1861, and up until the time of his Court-Martial in Spring 1862, Repetti became the natural leader in the attempts by officer factions to depose D'Utassy once and for all. With his own privately nourished grievances over D'Utassy's usurpation of his regiment, he was a natural catalyst for all kinds of sedition against the Colonel. Finally the dissenting officers signed a petition to set Repetti up as Colonel. One company officer attested that "there was great dissatisfaction in the regiment, because so many outsiders came in, and were appointed officers who didn't know anything about military life." This caused a number of resignations, although, as the same officer admitted, many of the Guard's original officers knew nothing about army regulations prior to 1862. (44)

If there was one thing in the testimony to which everyone agreed, it was that Colonel D'Utassy was an exceedingly strict disciplinarian and an ardent foe of drinking. The Puritan/Protestant ethic overtones of D'Utassy's primary concerns are unmistakable. Like any good middle class manager of men, he displayed a paternalistic regard for his troops that may have had as much to do with his concern for their viability as a unit, so important to his own success, as with any kind of genuine affection. On pay day, as D'Utassy wrote, he "encouraged [his] men to send almost their entire pay to their families, and as an incentive paid 10 cents a piece for sight drafts for all, who sent home over $5." "In this," D'Utassy wrote, "I worked a double good, I provided for their families and prevented drunkenness.--My one great struggle has ever been against the habit among my Officers. I fought against it blindly, for my own interest." (45) These were his workers, their discipline would insure maximum productivity, which in turn would assure D'Utassy a good margin of profit in the form of promotion and upward mobility. Drunkenness, and the ready availability of lager beer and hard drink around the camps of the German Division, was destructive of time-discipline and thwarted productivity. D'Utassy's Court-Martial came to be called "The Drunkard's Revenge." (46) D'Utassy punished common soldier and officer alike for the sin of intoxication. George Hell, a sergeant in B Company testified that D'Utassy was "always a sober man and several of the officers liked to drink occasionally and the Colonel being so strict against it, the officers did not like him for that reason." (47) Magnus Bader, a 2nd Lieutenant, and Sigmund Berlinier, a Sergeant in F Company, when asked if D'Utassy was liked by his men, both answered yes--by the sober and disciplined men. (48)

Even D'Utassy's enemies, such as Hugo Hildebrandt, admitted that D'Utassy kept order in the camp and that he was very generous when it came to his rank-and-file soldiers. (49) Henry Palmer, a sergeant in C Company, testified that there was more order when the Colonel was with the regiment and that the "men say they would rather have him there because they get better rations and better clothes." (50) Christian Encke, the Captain in B Company agreed but added that D'Utassy was too severe and hard sometimes. Emmanuel Lederer, Orderly Sergeant of Company F told how "always the soldiers of other regiments came to admire our clean camps and order." (51) Charles C. Bacon, the Adjutant and a good friend of D'Utassy's insisted that the regiment was better when the Colonel was there. (52) D'Utassy's presence also meant more discipline and stability for the common soldiers. Another witness reported that once when the Colonel was away from his regiment, a brawl had broken out among the officers and they were beaten by their own men. (53)

As we have seen, D'Utassy's multitude of problems included interethnic rivalry in the German Division, based in D'Utassy's mind (or at least in his public stance) on Hungarian national feeling against Teutonic hegemony. In his defense he specified that most of the charges against him dated to his "attachment to the so called Blenker's Division,--that they antedate[d] the knowledge of Army Regulations:--that at the time, the Administration of the Regiment was on European principles." D'Utassy was convinced that his troubles began with his "determination to introduce American Language and Customs" into the German Division and that that campaign cost him his brigadiership. (54) He may not have been (as William L. Burton suggests about ethnic soldiers in his Melting Pot Soldiers) more American than the Americans, but he was obviously much too American for the Europeans.

In the end, blinded as he was by painful humiliation and defensive self-righteousness to the perils and eccentricities of his own personality, D'Utassy could not accurately assess his emotional life as a leader or an antagonist He attributed all of his errors to one cause:

I was proud of my Regiment,--I knew no other officer could command it, for of the eleven nationalities composing it, I was the only one person conversant in the language of each. Many of my Officers and men were soldiers in Europe;--and in my pride to out shine all others, and do the greater honor to the service, I was profuse and extravagant. My own purse was ever open,--and whatever locality I have occupied, I have shown, that no depredations committed by my men, the knowledge of which ever reached me, but were amply repaid;--and while severe and vigilant in the performance of my duty--I never oppressed. (55)

Despite the Colonel's claim to the contrary, it may be recalled that D'Utassy had been accused by Tassilier of the French Company and his officer faction not only of putting forth undemocratic and monarchical opinions, but of physically abusing soldiers and insulting subordinate officers. Yet D'Utassy was at his best in the field, when his flamboyance and his love for the smell of powder and the rigors and excitement of the campaign drove him to commit his men to acts of daring and aggression that could only be accomplished through a reliance upon strict, even harsh discipline. Here was his specialized trade; he was, as he insisted, "bred to the profession." But an essential element to any kind of success was missing: self-control, and manipulation and repression of emotions necessary to act in a calculating manner, the rationalization and discipline of temperament toward a productive end. D'Utassy was at his worst when challenged by fellow officers. He did not react with restraint to criticism or confrontation. He was uncompromising. Even with friends he could be a petty tyrant. Among his personal papers are notes and letters from Fannie de la Mesa, whose husband was an officer in Company C. It is through these letters that we get some sense of D'Utassy's military family, of which the Mesas and the Bacons were a part.

Mrs. de la Mesa was one of those assertive, indomitable women who followed the army, despite the fact that in July 1862, as she hovered near Middleton and Winchester, Virginia, she had a baby girl with her. The Mesas had asked D'Utassy to be godfather and Fannie was awaiting the return of her husband and the Colonel to give the baby a name. It was to be named after D'Utassy. D'Utassy was always trying to get Fannie to go back to Washington, apparently so that she would be safe. But Fannie responded by continually hounding D'Utassy to permit Mesa to return with her. In July of 1862 the baby was sick delaying once again Fannie's return to Washington. D'Utassy denied Fannie a pass to his brigade camps in Winchester, and she went over his head to obtain one from General John Pope. In Fannie de la Mesa, D'Utassy apparently met his match. She wrote him a scathing letter. She thought it was a joke when Mesa told her that Colonel D'Utassy would not give her a pass. It was not the first time either. Fannie wrote:

I remember very well, Colonel, that when some of your officers brought disreputable women, and without passes, into camp, the wife of Lieutenant de la Mesa was not allowed to remain five minutes in camp without a pass from Genl. McClellan which she luckily had no difficulty in obtaining. You spoke of your officers having "Sweethearts."--Am I to be put upon an equal footing with the class of Sweethearts your officers usually have? I know you are commander of your camp, but Col. D'Utassy, you have not so many true friends as to be enabled to make enemies of the best of them. I think this letter deserves an answer. I await one. (56)

In November of 1862, Fannie apparently had an argument with D'Utassy over his ordering his officers, including her husband who was now a Captain, to pass an English language military examination. Mesa passed but Fannie wrote to D'Utassy: "As you have said I am such an object of hatred to you that the very sound of my name is disgusting to you. "(57) But in late December she was imploring D'Utassy once again to send her send Mesa to Washington to see his baby girl: "As she is to be your namesake, you ought to indulge her a little by giving her the pleasure of entertaining her Papa on her first birthday." Yet, only a week later she was angry at D'Utassy again, inquiring through a third party why only five of twenty-five letters she had written had reached her husband. (58)

Yet D'Utassy could play the gallant as well. During the sojourn of the Garibaldians in the Shenandoah Valley, D'Utassy was carrying on a romance with a fiery young Unionist woman named Mary Clare, whose father was a judge in Cumberland, Maryland. The way to an intelligent woman's heart is through her brain, and D'Utassy began tutoring Mary Clare in French, which she was determined to study despite the proximity of the secesh, "I shall dislike them more than ever," she wrote on May 28. The next day, obviously caught up in the military drama and convinced that she could help by relaying valuable information, she advised D'Utassy not to believe false reports. Banks was retreating from Strasburg and Winchester to Williamsport and had saved 450 out of 500 wagons. His 8000 men faced more than 20,000 Confederates. (59) On June 3rd Mary Clare wrote that her father had administered the oath of allegiance to several secesh and that one had refused and been thrown in jail; also that she had heard that the 61st Indiana had left D'Utassy's post at Romney and that she knew he would be very glad to "get those drunken soldiers out of the way." Just a few days later, either to make him jealous or because she suspected the gift-giver was he, Mary Clare informed D'Utassy that someone had sent her an anonymous gift: "a handsome photograph album," an item that was all the rage. The last letter was dated June 14, 1862 when D'Utassy was leaving Romney, after what was probably his last visit to Mary Clare. She was sorry he found chess dull but was delighted that he loved to ride, an activity that they had pursued together in both the morning and afternoon of his visit. (60)

D'Utassy had other dear friends as well. Mrs. Belinda "Petty" Bacon, the wife of his adjutant, Charles Bacon, spent hours and days pleading the case for his brigadiership on Capitol Hill. Eventually she became very ill and the doctor, whom she refused for the longest time to see, told her she must slow her pace or she would bleed to death. D'Utassy sent Fannie de la Mesa to Petty's assistance. She wrote to D'Utassy from her sickbed that she would telegraph for Bacon to join her, and he rushed to her side. She added that he could return as soon as she was better and added: "Do not make me feel in addition to all else that my coming here has injured you." A week later Bacon wrote to D'Utassy that despite the doctor's warnings, Petty would not stay in bed. She insisted that she had work to do for D'Utassy and would go out regardless. Bacon begged D'Utassy to write a note to her and "make her keep quiet." (61)

Perhaps the most interesting letter in the D'Utassy collection has no signature. It was written by a woman to him in the midst of his troubles, a woman who seems to have known D'Utassy very well. The letter appears to be in the same hand as the poem about the thorny rose on the tiny scrap of paper in the D'Utassy collection. Indeed, that metaphor and others like it carry this woman's message poignantly throughout the letter. She is stem, but loving. There is the possibility that the woman was Mrs. Bacon. Like all the letters from Americans, this letter is full of advice, but it is also full of honest and astute commentary on D'Utassy's personality flaws. Knowingly or unknowingly, D'Utassy quoted some of her words in his defense. The woman wrote: "Do not be vexed at what I have written for though I see your weaknesses I see them all with a Mother's love--and only wound to heal."(62) Her complete analysis may be the only key we have to unlocking the complexities of D'Utassy's personality. She continued:

All your troubles arise from much speaking--and a careless manner of expression, which for one who does not understand you, makes you appear unprincipled I have heard you say in the presence of others" that you would sign anything in fact do everything and anything to accomplish...a trivial purpose....Many times you dig pits for others and fall into them yourself....You deprecate in others what you do yourself...You render yourself liable to the malicious aspersions of your enemies because even to strangers you express yourself so loosely. In your regiment "you boast that you know how to break necks and you will do it." [You] dismissed officers for every imaginable thing, some for not speaking English, some for incompetence--These men have united to form a strong barrier....The triumph with which the officers obeyed the summons to Washington supposing poor fools--that you were under arrest-shows the eagerness to crush you.

She then launched into an elaborate poetic metaphor accusing her boy of cutting "right and left--but my dear friend you have proven that there is no rose without a thorn--removing one you have destroyed and crushed the other." It was now up to D'Utassy to begin anew, to stop fighting the tide, to plant again and be willing to endure the thorns: "Begin from the beginning and cast vainglory behind you." (63)

D'Utassy had no choice. The Court Martial sentenced him:

To forfeit all pay and allowances now due and that may come due to him: To be cashiered: To be confined at hard labor for the period of one year at such place as the Secretary of War shall direct: To be disqualified from holding any office of trust, honor, or employment in the service of the United States, and the crime, name, and punishment of the delinquent to be published in at least three of the public papers of the State of New York.

The State Prison at Sing Sing was designated by Secretary of War Stanton for D'Utassy's year of hard labor. D'Utassy's sentence was approved by Abraham Lincoln on May 27, 1863. (64)

Postscript: George Waring, in his short history of the Garibaldi Guard published in Liber Scriptorum. First Author's Edition in 1892, stated that after his incarceration at Sing Sing, D'Utassy left his card with a woman and disappeared. Peculiarly enough, several years ago, somewhere in the Mid-South, I obtained a carte-de-visite of a sophisticated looking circa 1864 woman for my nineteenth century image collection and turned it over to look for possible identification. The woman was not identified but the studio was. The current owner was a Mr. Richard H. Penn, but under his name was penned in "Successor to" over the printed "D'Utassy's". The rest of the card read "Formerly Johnson, Williams & Co., National Porcelain Portrait Gallery, 952, 954, & 956 Broadway (cor. 23rd St.) New York." Having read Waring, and it being too much of a coincidence, I naturally assumed that it could not be the same D'Utassy. However, in my very last trip to the New York Historical Society, with a few minutes left over before closing time, I decided to look for D'Utassy's name in Trow's New York City Directory. Sure enough, from 1865 through 1867, Frederick George D'Utassy owned the same portrait studio from which he had ordered images during the war according to advertisements and bills among his papers. After that, he became an importer in a store in which he had also been a patron at 41 Maiden Street in New York. He lived during most of this time at 891 4th Avenue, then on W. 24th or 34th Street, until finally in 1878 he was no longer listed. In 1884-85 there is a listing at 144 E. 36th Street for his son Leo and his widow, Bertha. And in 1889, only Leo remained. (65)

 

Chapter Nine

Footnotes for Chapter 10

1 D'Utassy's Defense, Military Records Division, (Washington D.C.: National Archives), 3-4; Although D'Utassy was accused of being an impostor by un unsigned article in the newspapers, an Austrian Jew named Frederick Strasser, Hugo Hildebrandt testified to knowing him in Hungary in the capacity he stated, as well as in Turkish exile. Asboth knew him as well. If D'Utassy did manufacture his military record, he did an excellent job of it The Honved Battalions were units of both volunteers and young conscripts who fought in the Magyar Revolution. Temesvar was an Austrian held fortress besieged by the Hungarian revolutionaries and relieved by the Austrian Army led by a man whose cruelty to civilians in the Italian campaign earned him the nickname, "Hyena of Brescia." When the Revolution was lost, Kossuth and his rebels did escape to Turkey where many of them did train soldiers. They were offered military positions contingent upon their conversion to Mohammedanism, but the Turks didn't enforce this requirement. Moreover, the British showed their support of insurgent Hungary by sending a fleet to protect the Hungarian rebels.
Another allegation was that D'Utassy's was not a noble name. The requirement for nobility in Hungary was sometimes simply residence in a particular town. It had little connection to wealth. Nobility was conferred in times past on entire villages for military service. One in fourteen Hungarians could thus claim nobility, and thus, the vote. Hungary had the widest electoral base in Europe. See Pricilla Robertson's Revolutions of 1848: A Social History (Princeton. N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1952, 1971), 259-307. Also among D'Utassy's papers are letters from a man who had inherited his mortgage debt in Nova Scotia, insisting that D'Utassy make amends and take care of the problem. This man, John Nash, attested to D'Utassy's esteemed position while in Nova Scotia. He was angry that D'Utassy had taken his books with him and he could not sell them to dispose of some of the monthly payments. These letters were written to D'Utassy in the field. He finally did send some money, the property was sold, and no more letters from Nash appeared in the papers. There is also in the D'Utassy Collection at the NYHS, stationary from his position at Dalhousie. None of this proves that D'Utassy didn't change his name, only that there is evidence to support much of what he claimed.

2 D'Utassy's Defense, 3-4.

3 Courteous references to his mother and sister appear in his correspondence and his brothers later joined the Garibaldi Guard, becoming the subject of controversy to officers recently dismissed.

4 He also produced these at his Court-Martial. D'Utassy's Defense, 4.

5 John Keegan. The Mask of Command (New York: Viking Press-Elisabeth Sifton Books, 1987), 11.

6 State of New York Court of Common Pleas for City, County of New York, May 20, 1861, D'Utassy Papers.

7 My own language limitations permit me to interpret only a few letters written in foreign languages plus all of the English language evidence. A large number of D'Utassy's papers are in French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and sometimes a combination of several languages within one document. The largest number of foreign language letters are written in Hungarian. The task of translation may lay the basis of a future work with a linguist co-writer.

8 Keegan, 11.

9 Asboth wrote: "With regard to the anonymous aspersions which have been cast upon you by several journals, your own consciousness of your past and present worth should assure you that they are not deserving of a moment's notice. "Asboth to D'Utassy, July 3, 1861; Norton to D'Utassy, July 3, 1861; Sands to D'Utassy, Dec. 2, 1861, all D'Utassy Papers; See also D'Utassy Defense, 6.

10 Sands to D'Utassy, Dec. 2, 1861.

11 Elisha Whinsley in the Treasury Department to D'Utassy, Dec. 9, 1861; Owen Lovejoy to D'Utassy, Jan. 8, 1862; J.R. S. Van Vleet to D'Utassy, Office of the National Republican. Washington D.C., Feb. 6, 1862; Captain W. C. Church, Headquarters Casey's Division to D'Utassy, Jan. 3, 1862; all D'Utassy's Papers.

12 Robertson, 259-307. D'Utassy Defense, 7.

13 D'Utassy Defense, 7.

14 Stahel had adapted well since his emigration to the States in 1856. He, too, had an illustrious career in the Hungarian Revolution, but did not retain his national fervor enough to subvert his ambitions. At the outbreak of the war, he was editing a German newspaper in New York. See Ella Lonn, Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy (New York: Greenwood Press, 1969), 186-187.

15 This was in early April 1862. D'Utassy Defense, 8.

16 D'Utassy Defense, 3.

17 R.L. Shriber to D'Utassy, Jan 8, 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

18 Shriber to D'Utassy, Jan. 18, Jan 24 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

19 Shriber to D'Utassy, Jan. 25, 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

20 Keegan in The Mask of Command notes the success of Grant's "outward humility" in contrast to Fremont's "absurd airs-European they were thought," McClellan's "bask[ing] in the title of the 'Young Napoleon'", and Halleck's" Olympian aloofness." Grant's style was, according to Keegan, much more acceptable to the way America perceived herself, the extravagance and pretensions of others stumbling blocks in their paths to success. Keegan, 233.

21 H. Semken to D'Utassy, Washington D.C. Feb. 10, 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

22 Fleming & Foy to D'Utassy, National Stables, Washington D.C., August 14, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.

23 Lt. J. Debs Parker to D'Utassy, Jan. 26, 1863.

24 Shriber to D'Utassy, Jan. 29, 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

25 Shriber to D'Utassy, Feb. 15, 1863, D'Utassy Papers

26 New York Times, March 23, 1863.

27 Court Martial Findings in the case of Colonel Frederick George D'Utassy, 39th New York Volunteers, General Orders #159, War Dept.: Adjutant General's Office, Washington D.C.: May 29, 1863, 1. Hereafter, C.M. Findings.

28 C.M. Findings, 1-2.

29 C.M. Findings, 11.

30 Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States for the Years 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864 and 1865 ( Washington D.C.: Adjutant General's Office, August 31, 1865), 478. Hereafter, Official Register.

31 D'Utassy's Defense, 16-17.

32 Official Register, 478; C.M. Findings, 2-3; D'Utassy's Defense, 17-20.

33 D'Utassy Defense, 23-25.

34 D'Utassy Defense, 20-21.

35 D'Utassy Defense, 25-27. 42-43. C.M. Findings, 6-7, 12.

36 D'Utassy Defense, 43-45. C.M. Findings, 13.

37 D'Utassy's Defense, 47.

38 D'Utassy Defense, 38-39.

39 C.M. Findings, 4-5.

40 D'Utassy's Defense, 28-40; C.M. Findings, 12.

41 C.M. Findings, 12-13.

42 Defense of Col. Frederick George D'Utassy, 2. (581 of Court Martial Record). Hereafter, D'Utassy's Defense.

43 Court Martial Record of Colonel Frederick George D'Utassy, Military Records Division, National Archives, Washington D.C., 354-382. Hereafter, C.M. Record.

44 C.M. Record, 295.

45 D'Utassy's Defense, 54.

46 D'Utassy Defense, 2.

47 C.M. Record, 419-420.

48 C.M. Record, 391, 389.

49 C.M. Record, 309-325.

50 C.M. Record, 423-4.

51 C.M. Record, 389.

52 C.M.Record, 540.

53 C.M.Record, 406.

54 D'Utassy's Defense, 56.

55 D'Utassy's Defense, 53.

56 Mrs. Frances de la Mesa to D'Utassy, Winchester, July 22, 1862, D'Utassy Papers. See also July 2 & 26.

57 Mrs. la Mesa to D'Utassy, Washington, Nov. 30, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.

58 Mrs. la Mesa to D'Utassy, Dec. 22, 1862; Eli Hayes to D'Utassy, Dec. 29, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.

59 Mary Clare to D'Utassy, May 28, 29, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.

60 Mary Clare to D'Utassy, June 3, 8, 14, 1862, D'Utassy Papers.

6l Mrs. Belinda Bacon to D'Utassy via Fannie de la Mesa, July 2, 1862, D'Utassy Papers; Charles Bacon to D'Utassy, July 9, 1882, D'Utassy Papers. 62 There is a slight possibility that the letter-writer WAS D'Utassy's mother. D'Utassy also pleads with the Court Martial to save her the anguish of his humiliation. But if D'Utassy's mother was a recent immigrant, and we must assume she did not have D'Utassy's education simply because of her class and the era, would she have mastered the perfect, poetic prose of this letter? Unsigned letter, Jan. 10, 1863, D'Utassy Papers.

63 Ibid.

64 C.M. Findings, 13.

65 H. Wilson, Cmp., Trow's New York City Directory (New York: John F. Trow, 1865-89), Volumes LXXIX-CII.

Copyright by Catherine Catalfamo, 1989

Chapter Nine

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
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