The Immigrants’ Civil War in Missouri


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Immigrants played a crucial role in the vicious struggle over the future of the State of Missouri during the Civil War. German immigrants formed the shock troops of the early Union war effort, while the Irish community divided in its loyalties. These articles from The Immigrants’ Civil War tell the story of rebellion, a coup, and desperate guerrilla warfare.

1. The Germans Save St. Louis for the Union – German immigrants secretly organized Unionist regiments to resist slavery.

2. Why the Germans Fought for the Union? – Missouri Germans joined the Union army for many of the same reasons given by other German Unionists.

3. The St. Louis Germans Set Out To Free Missouri – The Germans fought to depose the state’s secession-minded governor.

4. Wilson’s Creek Drowns Immigrant Dream of Free Missouri – While the Germans nearly pushed the secessionists out of Missouri, a powerful Confederate counterattack shipwrecked their hopes.

5. St. Louis Germans Revived by Missouri Emancipation Proclamation – General Fremont’s proclamation freeing Missouri’s slaves justifies the Germans’ sacrifice.

6. Lincoln Dashes German Immigrants Hopes for Emancipation – Washington politics and the capture of the Irish Brigade of the West at the Battle of Lexington deal Missouri’s German immigrants a severe blow.

7. Missouri’s German Unionists: From Defeat to Uncertain Victory-How Germans regrouped after the defeats at the end of 1861.

8. Missouri Germans Contest Leadership of Unionist Cause-Franz Sigel’s fight for promotion embroils Germans around the U.S.

9. German Leader Franz Sigel’s Victory Earns a Powerful Enemy

10. German Immigrants at the Battle of Pea Ridge: Opening Moves-Sigel was nearly trapped in northern Arkansas.

11. Pea Ridge: The German Unionists Outflanked – Sigel on the edge of disaster.

12. German Immigrants at the Battle of Pea Ridge – Sigel’s Greatest Triumph.

13. The Election of 1864: Abraham Lincoln and the Immigrant Voter-The election in Missouri

14. Lincoln Wins the Election of 1864 with Immigrant Votes

15. German Immigrants and the End of Slavery in Missouri

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.