Find out why Carl Schurz is the ‘forgotten patriot’

Newton. Dr. Peter Lubrecht’s presentation on Nov. 17 will discuss the life and times of this important reformer, orator, foreign ambassador, Civil War general, United States Senator, Secretary of the Interior, and muckraker.

Newton /
09 Nov 2020 | 05:52

Carl Schurz, the “forgotten patriot,” was one of the most influential men in nineteenth century America. He led refugees from the German Revolution of 1848 (the “48ers”), who went on to make major contributions to American Society.

Find out more about him at the November meeting of the Colonel Henry Ryerson Civil War Round Table at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Performing Arts Center (second-floor atrium) at Sussex County Community College, College Hill Road, Newton. Admission is free, and donations appreciated. This presentation by Dr. Peter Lubrecht, will explain why he has been forgotten, despite his many accomplishments.

’Flying Dutchmen’

Schurz’s career as a reformer, orator, foreign ambassador, Civil War general, United States Senator, Secretary of the Interior, and newspaper editorial writer was instrumental in the abolition of slavery, civil service reform, Southern Reconstruction, Indian Affairs, and in general “muckraking,” in the face of old school backroom politics. However, when he served as a general in the American Civil War, he was called a “coward” by the upper echelons of the Union Army and by the newspapers. His unit, the 11th Corps, 3rd Division, was branded the “Flying Dutchmen” for its retreat in the face of a Confederate onslaught.

Although he fought the accusation during and after the war, no resolution was ever achieved. Despite his later accomplishments he often was remembered for this act of supposed cowardice. Apparently, no one would listen to his side of the story, and as a result he resigned his commission. Newly translated letters from widower Carl Schurz to his lady love, Fanny Chapman of Doylestown, Pa., shed some light on his relationships with the post-Civil War retired and active generals.

Author of German-American histories

The presenter, Dr. Lubrecht, has a Ph.D. in educational theater from New York University and a master’s degree in English and drama theory from New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. He is a retired educator and author who writes about German American history and has created presentations to accompany his books. He was awarded the Eric Hartleb German Historian of the Year Award from the National Steuben Society for his books “Carl Schurz: German American Statesman” (Fonthill Media’s American Through Time Series), “Germans in New Jersey” (History Press), and “New Jersey Hessians Truth and Lore” (History Press).

Lubrecht has spoken at the New Jersey State Museum, the Sons of the American Revolution, the National German American Museum in Washington D.C. and at many libraries and historical round tables and societies. He is working on a new book on Carl Schurz and Fanny Chapman with the working title “Love Affair in New York’s Gilded Age.”

The Colonel Henry Ryerson Civil War Round Table provides educational programs, tours, and fellowship for individuals interested in the Civil War Era. For more information call Jennifer at 201-320-5989 during the day, or visit ryersoncwrt.com.