Short Bios | Hubert Dilger

Captain Hubert Dilger, 1st Ohio Artillery
By Michael A. Peake

Hubert Anton Casimir Dilger was born to Dr. Eduard and Emmeline Duerr Dilger on March 5, 1836, in the village of Eugen, Germany. His early education as a cadet in the military academies led to service as lieutenant in the Grand Duke of Baden’s Horse Artillery, primarily at the garrisons of Karlsruhe and Rastatt, where he developed unique and unconventional artillery tactics emphasizing close support for infantry, rapid mobility, and accuracy and speed of fire.

Dilger secured a leave of absence from the Duchy and traveled to America offering his services to the Union, first commanding 1st Battalion, Virginia Light Artillery under Major General John C. Frémont and later Battery “I,” 1st Ohio Artillery in Major General Franz Sigel’s 1st Army Corps, Army of Virginia. Dilger was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. In the Western Theater, Dilger’s accuracy and speed with his guns became legendary. Nicknamed “Leatherbreeches” due to his preference for buckskin trousers, the dashing and handsome young man became a popular personality, and a life-long friend of Adolph Metzner. Dilger purchased property near Front Royal, Virginia, and lived out his life as a farmer. He died on May 4, 1911, and was buried at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D. C., beside his wife who passed in 1906.

Portrait by C. D. Fredericks, Broadway, N. Y., Habana, Paris. Dilger included a personal message in German on the back of this photograph that reads, "On the fifth day of the siege of Atlanta July 25, 1864 to my highly regarded friend Metzner, Indiana. H. Dilger, nicknamed, Leatherbreeches. U. S. A."

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Captain Hubert Dilger
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129656