Felix Salm-Salm

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Prince Felix of Salm-Salm
Felix Salm-Salm - Brady-Handy.jpg
Prince Felix of Salm-Salm, during his service in the American Civil War
Born (1828-12-25)25 December 1828
Anholt, Prussia
Died 18 August 1870(1870-08-18) (aged 41)
Gravelotte, France
Allegiance Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia/ Austrian Empire
United States United States of America
Mexico Second Mexican Empire
Service/branch Kingdom of Prussia Prussian Army
 United States Army
Mexico Mexican Army
Years of service 1846 – 1854, 1868 – 1870 (Prussian Army)
1861 – 1865 (US Army)
1866 – 1867 (Mexican Army)
Rank Major (Prussian Army)
Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brevet Brigadier General (Union Army)
Colonel (Mexican Army)
Commands held New York 8th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
New York 68th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars First Schleswig War
Austro-Sardinian War
American Civil War
French intervention in Mexico
Franco-Prussian War

Felix Constantin Alexander Johann Nepomuk, Prince of Salm-Salm (1828–1870) was a Prussian military officer of noble birth and a soldier of fortune.

Salm-Salm served in the Schleswig-Holstein Army (Prussian Army), Austrian Army, the Union Army during the American Civil War, the army of Emperor Maximilian I in Mexico and thereafter in the Prussian Army. He was killed in action during the Franco-Prussian War.[1]


Prince Felix Constantin Alexander Johan Nepomuk of Salm-Salm, was born in Anholt, Prussia, 25 December 1828.[1] Prince Felix was the third son of Florentin, the reigning Prince of Salm-Salm, and his wife Flaminia di Rossi. He grew up training to be a soldier at a cadet-school in Berlin, Germany and became an officer in the Prussian cavalry in 1846. Early on he participated in the First Schleswig War between Northern Germany and Denmark, where he demonstrated bravery in battle. After the war he joined the Austrian army, serving in the Austro-Sardinian War of 1859.

In 1861, he came to the United States and offered his services to the Union Army in the American Civil War. He was given a colonel's commission and assigned to the staff of Brigadier General Louis Blenker.[1] It was at this time that he began to court a red-haired American woman of Indian descent named Agnes Leclerc Joy. Felix would marry her in August 1862. Agnes Salm-Salm would end up joining Felix on the battlefield because she could not bear being without him. That winter he took command of the 8th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment but would only remain there through the winter.[1]

He was appointed colonel of the 68th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in June, 1864,[1] serving under Brigadier General James B. Steedman in Tennessee and Georgia, and toward the end of the war was assigned to the command of the post at Atlanta. Salm-Salm was mustered out of the volunteers on November 30, 1865.[1] On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Salm-Salm for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general, to rank from April 13, 1865 and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866.[2]

After the American Civil War was over, Salm-Salm offered his services to Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico[1] and embarked for Mexico in February, 1866. Maximilian was actively promoting American soldiers to migrate to Mexico after the war to improve relations with the country. Salm-Salm was an interesting case because he had fought for the Union while most of the Americans who moved to Mexico after the Civil War had fought for the Confederacy. By the summer he was appointed colonel and became the emperor's aide-de-camp[1] and chief of his household. He was captured at Querétaro along with the emperor but not before he made a brave charge with his hussar cavalry in an attempt to save Maximilian from the surrounding Mexican Republican army under Benito Juárez.

Soon after Maximilian's execution, he returned to Europe, re-entered the Prussian army as major in the grenadier guards, and was killed at Saint-Privat-la-Montagne during the Battle of Gravelotte in the Franco-Prussian War. Prince Felix Salm-Salm is buried in Anholt, Westphalia, Germany.

His memoirs were edited by German author Otto von Corvin.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. pp. 467–468
  2. ^ Eicher, 2001, p. 756.


Further reading[edit]