Battle of Cross Keys
Many immigrants fought for the North and the South during the Civil War. Their numbers were especially high in Gen. Louis Blenker’s division of Gen. John C. Fremont’s union army at Cross Keys on June 8, 1862. Two Germans (Gen. Henry Bohlen and Col. John Koltes) and one Hungarian (Gen. Julius Stahel) commanded Blenker’s three brigades on this part of the field. Blenker and his lieutenants had been officers in European revolutions during the 1840s. German, Swiss, Irish, English, Italians, Russians, Algerians, Sepoys, Turks, Frenchmen, Poles, Croats, Hungarians, and Chinese fought with Blenker’s “melting pot” division. One of Fremont’s staff officers, a Romanian, Capt. R. Nicolai Dunka, was killed delivering a message to the front here. Most immigrants fought for their adopted country and lived here after the war. Others sought military experience so they could return to their native countries to fight in or command revolutionary armies.