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Charles Zagonyi
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Birth: 1826, Hungary
Death: unknown

Civil War and Hungarian Revolution Cavalry Officer. He was known for the famous "Zagonyi's Charge" on October 25, 1861. Karoly "Charles" Zagonyi was a native of Hungary and lived in the town of Szinervaralja in the province of Szatmar, located in North-Eastern Hungary (which became a region of Romania in 1920). A professional soldier as a young adult, he served with Generals Jozef Bem and Kossuth in the Transylvania Division as a cavalry captain during the 1848-49 Hungarian War for Liberation. He was wounded in battle, captured by the invading Russians, imprisoned for two years in Austria, and eventually exiled to Turkey. He fled Eastern Europe to England before crossing the Atlantic and arrived in the United States in 1851. Zagonyi worked odd jobs as a house painter and a tailor until he became an instructor at a Boston riding academy that was operated by a fellow Hungarian immigrant. He settled in Massachusetts and married a German-American woman. When the Civil War started he enlisted in Major General John C. Fremont's Union Army Division. With an officer's rank as Major he was assigned to organize and command an elite cavalry unit that became known as Fremont's Body Guard. Most of the soldiers were recruited from Missouri's large German population and were trained in the manner of Hussar (a type of strict discipline cavalry in Europe).They were equipped with German sabers as well as Colt Navy and Beale revolvers and outfitted in the finest quality of dark blue uniforms and Hussar styled caps. The famous "Zagonyi's Charge", also known as "Zagonyi's Death Raid" occurred during the First Battle of Springfield in Missouri. Fremont gave orders for his army to attack in force attempting to expel Confederate General Sterling Price and Governor Claiborne Jackson from the state. A large cavalry headed by Major Frank J. White was to escort the army to Springfield but he became ill along the way allowing for Zagonyi to take command and lead a force of 300 cavalrymen to charge into Confederate held Springfield. He was at the front of the charge bursting into the city, hailing Union sympathizers and freeing Union prisoners of war. Although he was ambushed by rebels that numbered nearly 1600, amazingly he was able to rout the enemy's forces and take control of the city. The attack was considered as one of the most brilliant and daring cavalry charges of the war and became popular in songs and writings of the era. There are several historical markers and plaques commemorating the event. Fremont was soon transferred to Virginia taking recently promoted Colonel Zagonyi with him and they were placed under the command of General John Pope. It was well known that Fremont detested his new superior officer which led to his resignation in June of 1862. Zagonyi followed suit never again rejoining the war effort. He followed Fremont to civilian lifestyle. Zagonyi made references to the Fremont family that he planned to return to Hungary after the European Compromise in 1867. It is unknown that he ever returned to his homeland as he suddenly disappeared and never again made any contact with Fremont. Some rumors claim that he returned to Hungary and operated a cigar shop. His fate remains unknown. Zagonyi Park in Springfield, Missouri is named for him.
Created by: K Guy
Record added: Feb 28, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18107637
Charles Zagonyi
Added by: Mike Serpa
Charles Zagonyi
Added by: K Guy
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True Hungarian lord, gentleman, brave hussar,clever commander, great person.Rest in peace, where ever you are.
- sz v
 Added: Sep. 9, 2012

- gaby hayes
 Added: Mar. 24, 2007

- Iris
 Added: Mar. 11, 2007
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