About Willich as Marxist
about your input in the SHNV forum: it is so true that many Yankee immigrant generals were socialists and communists, at least social-liberals. For that reason their found their place in the Yankee Army and not in the Confederate Army.
The article you mention includes the phrase about von Willich: "Somewhere along the line, he developed an interest in radical politics." But this was not by fortuity. Born in November 1810 in Braunsberg, Kingdom of Prussia, his father died during the Napoleonic Wars and young August was raised in Berlin by the family of philosopher Friedrich Schleichermacher. The young nobleman received an education of highest level, being introduced to the teachings of Kant, Feuerbach and Hegel. This was the very essence of “Freethinking”: the believing that the human soul was not as important as the spirit, which could be uplifted through education, being Christian values of no importance. Thus, the ideological path to Yankeedom already marked his youth. After absorbing the ideals of Hegel he met Karl Marx, they became friends and things went worse…
About Willich and the making of a socialist Yankee by the combined teachings of Hegel, Marx and the Lincolnite ideal see Lloyd D. Eaton, "Hegel’s First American Followers: The Ohio Hegelians John B. Stallo, Peter Kaufmann, Moncure Conway and August Willich”, Ohio University Press, Athens, OH, 1966, pp. 312-329, and the article of the same author, "Marx and the `Knight of Noble Consciousness´, Economies et Societés Magazine, Nr. XXVIII, June/July 1994, pp. 169-180.
If you compare this liberal-socialist aristocrat fighting for the Yankee North with German noblemen who volunteered for the Christian South, you find immediately a key difference in moral statue. SCV Europe Camp #1612 had recently the dedication of a VA marker stone and a Southern Cross of Honor on the grave of Heroes von Borcke in Poland. About his future adjudant general in the cavalry of the ANV general JEB Stuart wrote after Seven Pines to General Lee:
“Capt. Heroes von Borcke, a Prussian cavalry officer, who lately ran the blockade, assigned to me by the honorable Secretary of War, joined in the charge of the First Squadron in gallant style, and subsequently, by his energy, skill, and activity, won the praise and admiration of all. […] He has shown himself a thorough soldier and a splendid officer. I hope the Department will confer as high a commission as possible on this deserving man, who has cast his lot with us in the trying hour.” (Official Records, Series 1, Vol. XI, Part 1, Report of Stuart to Lee, June 17, 1862, p. 1040. Also, Stuart´s recommendations for promotion, same date, p. 1041.)
Another German aristocrat "who casted his lot with the South in the trying hour" was Baron Maximilian von Moulnier. He enlisted as "Mr. Max Moulnier" in the crew of CSS Alabama. Lieutenant Arthur Sinclair, 4th officer of the Alabama, remembers Baron Maximilian von Meulnier and a fellow German during the battle with USS Kearsarge:
“I think for Spartan coolness and nerve these two German messmates of ours surpass anything in my observation and reading. I was on duty close to them, a few yards only separating us. They had command of the shot-and-shell passing division and were stationed at the shell-room hatch, tending the whip-tackle.” A shell round from the Kearsarge exploded nearby and Sinclair, as the smoke cleared away, expected to find them dead or wounded. “To my amazement, there they stood, hauling on the tackle as tough attending an exercise drill. They are the calmest men I ever saw, the most phlegmatic lot it was ever my privilege to fight alongside of.” (Arthur Sinclair, "Two Years on the Alabama", Tantallon Press, reed. 2004, pp. 270-271).
The very essence of his soul is revealed in a short sentence of Sinclair about von Meulnier: “With him, the motive was not merely adventurous. He possessed a strong sympathy for the Southern cause and seemed as deeply pained as any of us at its ill success” . (Sinclair, p. 320-321).
German immigrants who came to defend the Southern culture were few, but they chose the Cause they knew was right: to help Americans in their Second War of Independence and to get rid of liberal-socialist shadows. Baron von Meulnier, Borcke, Masow, Schroeder and unknown others do well deserve the same words carved on the memorial marker of the monument that honours South Carolina hero Johann Baron de Kalb in Camden:
"His love of Liberty induced him to leave the old world
to aid the citizens of the new in their struggle for independence."
This was valid in 1776 and in 1861.