CDV of Polish-American Union General Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski

CDV portrait of Brigadier General Krzyżanowski, seated and wearing a double-breasted frock coat, a general officer's sword belt, and a rather serious facial expression. Uncredited. Ink inscription on verso reads, "Genl Krzyzonowski / Comdr of Post / Stevenson / Ala."

Born in Poland, Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski (1824-1887) participated in the unsuccessful 1846 uprising against Prussia and thereafter emigrated to the United States to avoid arrest. By all accounts, Krzyżanowski took the precepts of his new home nation to heart, and was quick to enlist and recruit a regiment of German and Polish immigrants to fight for the Union upon President Lincoln's call for Union volunteers. This regiment, commanded by Krzyżanowski, became known as the "Polish Legion," or the 58th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In the early part of the War, Krzyżanowski participated in the battles of Cross Keys, Shenandoah Valley, and Second Bull Run, where he suffered an injury after his horse fell. In the spring of 1863, the 58th fought stubbornly at the Battle of Chancellorsville as part of General Shurz's Division of the Eleventh Corps, holding the right flank of the Army of the Potomac under Commanding General Joseph Hooker. Though the Eleventh was ultimately crushed and forced to retreat by an attack from Stonewall Jackson, Krzyżanowski was commended for his valiance by General Shurz, other reports, including in the New York Times, attacked the "Germans" for their hasty retreat. 

Public and political opinion rarely seemed to be on the side of Krzyżanowski or his immigrant troops. Though General Shurz and President Lincoln recommended his promotion to brigadier general in November of 1862, the Senate failed to approve the nomination before its expiration. Nevertheless, Krzyżanowski continued to fight resiliently for the Union cause. After suffering another horse-related injury and failure on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he led his men in a counterattack on Cemetery Hill the following day to help shore up the Union line. After Gettysburg, the Eleventh Corps was sent west to Tennessee where they fought in the Battle of Wauhatchie from October 28-29, 1863. Even though the battle was a Union victory, it was clear to many that General Hooker had mixed up his orders and caused confusion among brigade positions. According to General Shurz, Instead of taking responsibility for this mix up, Hooker blamed his subordinates, General Shurz and Colonel Frederick Hecker. A court of inquiry, instead of casting blame on two men they knew were likely innocent, made Krzyżanowski the scape goat of the entire affair, again casting the Polish American colonel in an unfavorable light. 

Krzyżanowski spent the latter years of the war defending the Nashville and Chatanooga Railroad and commanding the post at Stevenson, Alabama. He was finally brevetted brigadier general in March of 1865, and was given a series of minor appointments by the federal government after the war. He died in New York in 1887, where he was buried until his remains were reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery fifty years later, in 1937. This occasion was accompanied by tributes from US and Polish Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ignacy Mościcki. 


CDV with surface soil throughout, wear to edges and corners, and some spots of discoloration and possible residue on verso.

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

Internet Bidding

Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us

PLEASE NOTE: Previews and Pickups will be by appointment only.

Let Cowan's Handle Your Shipping!

Cowan's Auctions is one of the only houses to offer full service, in-house shipping.  

Our experts pack and ship over 5,000 purchases each year.  
Shipping costs are included on every invoice to make getting your items as fast and easy as possible. 

For more information, click HERE or contact shipping@cowans.com.