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Radical Warrior

August Willich’s Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General

An estimated 200,000 men of German birth enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, far more than any other contemporary foreign-born population. One of these, Prussian Army officer Johann August Ernst von Willich, led a remarkable life of integrity, commitment to a cause, and interaction with leading lights of the nineteenth century. After resigning from the Prussian Army due to his republican beliefs, Willich led armed insurrections during the revolutions of 1848–49, with Friedrich Engels as his aide-de-camp. Ever committed to the goal of universal human rights, he once dueled a disciple of Karl Marx—whom he thought too conservative. Willich emigrated to the United States in 1853, eventually making his way to Cincinnati, where he served as editor of the daily labor newspaper the Cincinnati Republican. With exhaustive research in both English and German language sources, author David Dixon chronicles the life of this ingenious military leader—a man who could also be stubborn, impulsive, and even foolhardy—risking his life unnecessarily in the face of overwhelming odds.

“In Radical Warrior, historian David Dixon vividly recreates the life of August Willich, one of the unsung heroes of the American Civil War. Willich was a superb soldier, an outstanding tactician, and an inspiring leader of men. Dixon not only highlights Willich’s American story, but also documents Willich’s journey from the Prussian aristocracy to fervent revolutionary and citizen-soldier. I recommend it wholeheartedly.” – David A. Powell, author of The Chickamauga Campaign

Order hardcover direct from the author or Amazon.

Radical Warrior: August Willich's Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General by David Dixon

Also Available on the B-List Bookshelf

The Lost Gettysburg Address

Charles Anderson’s Civil War Odyssey

Few remember that two famous orators shared the stage with Lincoln at the Gettysburg dedication. The day’s concluding speech remained lost until recently, when an anthropologist stumbled upon it in a cardboard box at a remote ranch in Wyoming. Forgotten too was the incredible true story of its author, Charles Anderson, a slave owner who risked everything to save the Union.

“It’s amazing that stimulating and informative Civil War books with whole new perspectives keep coming out of the woodwork. This one makes it a pleasure to be a book review editor and reviewer.” – Ed Bonekemper, Book Review Editor, Civil War News

Order hardcover direct from the author or Kindle version on Amazon.

Mr. Dixon is the finest historian/writer that I have had the privilege of working with in my tenure as an editor and publisher.

Dan Roper, Publisher, Georgia Backroads

Anderson’s saga is dramatic. If you wrote this as fiction, the editors would kill you for going over the deep end.

Rob Tolley, Senior Lecturer, Indiana University East
The Lost Gettysburg Address Book

The New York Times called Anderson’s story, “among the most moving and romantic episodes of the war.”

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Learn More About David Dixon

David Dixon David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. His first book, The Lost Gettysburg Address, told the unusual life story of Texas slaveholder Charles Anderson, whose speech followed Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, but was never published. It turned up 140 years later in a cardboard box in Wyoming.

David spoke at Gettysburg National Military Park’s Sacred Trust Talks, appeared on Civil War Talk Radio and has presented to more than sixty Civil War Round Tables from coast to coast. He hosts B-List History, a website that features obscure characters and their compelling stories at

David’s next book, to be published by the University of Tennessee Press in September 2020, is the biography of German revolutionary and Union General August Willich. His current project is a biography that highlights the role of emotions in Southern allegiance in the Civil War.

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