Louis (Ludwig) Blenker

Louis (Ludwig) Blenker was born in Worms, Germany (then in the principality of Hesse Darmstadt), on May 12, 1812. He served as apprentice to a jeweler, belonged to the Bavarian Legion, was Prince Otto's escort after his election as king of Greece in 1837, studied medicine, and engaged in the wine business. In 1848 he participated in the revolution against the monarchy and had to seek asylum in Switzerland, but was expelled the following year and came to the United States, where he settled in Rockland County, New York, cultivated a farm, and later engaged in business in New York City. His reputation as a revolutionary patriot enabled him to recruit a regiment which was mustered into Federal service as the 8th New York Infantry with Blenker as colonel. He was appointed brigadier general of volunteers on August 9, 1861. At First Manassas, Blenker had commanded a brigade, part of Colonel Dixon Miles's division which was in reserve at Centreville during the battle. Despite Colonel Miles's alleged drunkenness, it appears that the reserve division performed capably in covering the rear of the Union forces retiring in confusion toward Washington. Blenker later commanded a division which was originally destined for George B. McClellan on the Peninsula; however, Abraham Lincoln's solicitude for the safety of Washington resulted in its being sent to aid John C. Fremont against Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah. Although there was no overt criticism of Blenker's conduct or dispositions at the battle of Cross Keys, he was ordered to Washington, D. C, following General Franz Sigel's arrival in the Shenandoah and on March 31, 1863, was honorably discharged. He died on his farm in Rockland County on October 31 of that year and was buried in Rockland Cemetery, Sparkill, New York.

Previous Page

Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.