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Letter signed Charles Zagonyi, Washington, D.C., to Edward L. Deane, February 25, 1862

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Identifier: D06844

Title: Letter signed Charles Zagonyi, Washington, D.C., to Edward L. Deane, February 25, 1862

Description: Mentions Deane's service under Zagonyi in Fremont's Body Guard, and the unit's dishonorable discharge from the service following events at Springfield, Mo., in October 1861.

Transcription: The Fremont Body Guard

A letter from Major Zagonyi

Washington D.C. Feb. 25. 1862

Mr. Edward L. Deane —,


I take pleasure in stating at your request that you were a member of company A in the Cavalry Corps known as the Fremont Body Guard, & among the first to join that command — that as a corporal you served with credit to yourself & satisfaction to me until the 25th day of October 1861 when in a charge at Springfield Mo. you were wounded & remained in the hospital until the corps was finally disbanded.

It would be a source of great gratification to me if the whole of that brave body of men in whose welfare I shall always feel as deep an interest could succeed in their patriotic desires to enter the service of their country once more. Some of them, like yourself, are just recovering from severe wounds & sickness; many during their brief period of service incurred expense & losses which their pay was wholly insufficient to meet; and all were subjected, both before & after their discharge to treatment which they are naturally anxious to show was unmerited.

It would be useless & disingenuous, however, to attempt to conceal the fact that the command was dishonorably dismissed from service by order of the Major General commanding the army of the United States for sentiments expressed at Springfield.

This of course refers to their war cry on the 25th of October as I am utterly unaware of any other expression of feelings by them at that place. And in relation to that, it is but justice to the command to say that the words used were suggested by myself & that the punishment for what seems to have been regarded as a gross breach of military propriety should fall upon me, rather than upon those who simply obeyed an order given almost at the moment of attack.

As some justification of myself I may be permitted to add that the battle was fought at the close of the day when it was absolutely necessary to have some rallying cry for our small force; that the name of a favorite commander is often used for that purpose as well as to add spirit & enthusiasm to a charge & that I had no intention whatever in that or any other order, to excite hostility to the government, disorganized or demoralize the troops or injure in any way the cause which we had all sworn & still desire to sustain.


Chas. Zagonyi[Charles Zagonyi]

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
District of Columbia

Dates: 1862-02-25

Type(s): Letter

Maker/Creator: Zagonyi, Charles

Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Armed Forces
Military discharge


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