Constantin Blandowski-A Civil War Hero and the Camp Jackson Affair
Count Blandowski. born in Prussian controlled Selesia, became a soldier-of-fortune and remained very busy from 1846-1855, parricipating in the French Foreign Legion actions in Algeria in 1846. He then joined the revolt in Hungary and Poland in 1848. He had been with the Polish Legion with Garibaldi in Italy in 1848. He was a company commander in Sigel’s 3rd Division at Camp Jackson where he was fatally wounded on 10 May 1861 and succumbed on May 25, making him the first Union officer to die of wounds in the Civil War. he had been wounded in the left leg near the knee and after an amputation he died of gangrene.
Blandowski had been a fencing and dancin instructor for the German Turnverein in St. Louis. Now that deserves some clarification. He actually taught the manuel of the bayonet which he learned in Algiers. The evolutions of the bayonet and the related foot movements have been misrepresented as dancing and fencing. Now he did teach these subjects in New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and eventually St Louis. His instruction served the German regiments well and they employed his training at Ft. Donelson, Island Number 10, Camp jackson and in all the actions they were in throughout the war.
Blandowski helped stiffen the backbone of these units as the Patriot units at Morristown and Valley Forge were trained by von Steuban.
Here is a little side light to the Camp Jackson Affair was that after the Missouri Volunteer Militia had surrendered and were being taken to the St. Louis Arsenal for parole. As the prisoners were being marched out of the Camp Jackson area, Captain Nathanial Lyon was kicked by his horse which delayed the movement. During the delay the crowd that had gathered as the Union troops approached the camp, got restless and began trowing rocks and dirt, a few shots were fired by pistol carrying citizens and Blandowski was hit. The Union units fired above and into the crowd and 28 civilians were killed and many were wounded. Had the delay not occurred the affair might have been a bloodless victory. The first significant victory of the Union in the Civil War.