The revolution is now in full swing and our Czech compatriot, the amazing František Korbel, is in the thick of it!

Today our exclusive translation offers us all tremendous details into the 48’ers, the Revolution, and the surnames of some more of the famous forty-eight’ers!

Enjoy this amazing story!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Year: 1921, Volume: XXXXIV, Pages: 264-283

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

He fought for the freedom of our nation in 1848 – and lived to see it in 1918

 1921 Korbel image


Died in Prague, on the 1st of January, 1920, at the age of 89 years

He fought at the barricades and he also watched the capture of Governor Count Leo Thun, until the time when he (despite of protest of Fric) was released.  Artillery bombed the Old City for miles and the revolutionaries had to surrender.  Korbel, together with about 50 other students, escaped from Prague via the Horse Gate (where today a Museum is situated), because of the entering army.

After some complications he finally reappeared at the home of his uncle in Vienna. In the Capital City a Legion was formed, which consisted of Czech and Slovak volunteers. It was idea of M. Hodza, L. Stur, and Blodek, Zach, and Fric, to form this Legion against the Hungarians and it was coordinated using the plans of Jelacic.  Korbel joined the Legion to free Slavs from the Hungarian yoke.  As a sergeant in the Legion he fought at Stara Tuna, where they defeated the Hungarians on the 27th of September, 1848 (This Fric also wrote about in his memoirs).  But the next day because of insufficient organization and a lack of weapons, the Legion was defeated at Vrbove.  Korbel again escaped to Vienna, but this time found the city was also in an uprising.  An angry crowd hanged a Count Latour (who was the Minister of War) from a streetlight candelabra. Korbel saw the one who was hanged there. 

Count Latour (prior to his hanging).

Count Latour (prior to his hanging).

After his return Korbel was taken into custody himself, imprisoned, and questioned about his part in the rebellion.  This was by the military court at Prague Castle.  But about one month later he was fortunate to escape from this prison.  He went into hiding in Vysoke Veseli, near Jicin, where his father had moved.

He secretly crossed over the borders as part of a larger group of Czech emigrants and then via Bremen he sailed to America.  The passage lasted 64 days at that time.  Meanwhile in Bohemia Korbel was being searched for by the military court and by the police too.  This is witnessed by the fact that two warrants from those times are still preserved today.  (There are some rumors that Korbel successfully crossed over the borders only because he was dressed as a lady).

It was the end of youth for Korbel.  The revolutionaries of 1848 all had to leave their country as outlaws to avoid imprisonment in Austrian and Hungarian dungeons.  But it turned out the American exile was a real blessings for men like Vojta Naprstek and František Korbel, as well as, the exile in London by Dr. Adolf Straka.  They each did a lot of work for the Czech national ideals there.  More than they could ever have done at home because of the political situation.”

Tomorrow we continue…and follow the amazing František Korbel in America and beyond!  This is an amazing story and we are proud to be bringing it to you exclusively in English!

Onward To Our Past®

A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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