Charles Zagonyi (b.1822)

Charles Zagonyi was a Hungarian hussar who led Zagonyi's Charge during the Civil War. A cavalry captain in the 1848-49 Hungarian revolution, he arrived in the U.S. in 1851. The flamboyant Zagonyi enlisted in Major General Fremont's Western Division. Fremont appointed Zagonyi to organize and command an elite unit known as Fremont's Body Guard, whom he dressed in black velvet. Zagonyi's Charge or "Zagonyi's Death Raid" occurred on October 25, 1861, when his force of 300 charged Springfield, Missouri, riding headlong into a Confederate ambush. Although outnumbered ten to one, Zagonyi's men routed the Confederates and occupied Springfield. Fremont's wife, the writer Jessie Benton Fremont, immortalized Zagonyi in her "Story of the Guard." Promoted to colonel, the Hungarian resigned in 1862 and his fate remains a mystery.

1863 circa 5 years
Original Format:
Glass Negative Print
Mathew Brady
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