The “Germans Run Away” at Chancellorsville

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On May 2, 1863, Stonewall Jackson’s men smashed into the “German” XI Corps at Chancellorsville and the Germans ran away, losing a battle that had been fought with great promise of victory for the Union. If you know nothing else about that battle, you know that the Germans fled. 1

This article is the chronicle of a surprise attack foretold for hours. Of a“German corps” that ran away that was not commanded by a German. Of cowards who fought and died for a country that did not believe in them. This is not a defense nor an indictment, but a recounting of the events that led up to one of the most notorious Union disasters of the war. Put aside what you know about the battle if you want to understand what happened that day 150 years ago. 2

On the morning of May 2, the Union army was spread out along a long line on the edge of a wilderness a dozen miles west of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Over the previous several days, the Northern Army of the Potomac had executed a crossing of the Rappahannock River that could have led to the destruction of the army of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Union offensive had stalled on May 1, but army commander Joe Hooker still thought his much larger army could force Lee to retreat back to the Confederate capital at Richmond. 3

Hooker’s strike force of approximately 72,000 men was strung out for miles facing south against the 40,000 men Lee brought out to block him. Facing a much larger army, Lee and his principal lieutenant Stonewall Jackson decided to leave a small blocking force in front of the Unionists while Jackson moved nearly 30,000 men through hidden trails to the far right of the Union line where he would try to roll up the Union army through an attack on its flank. Holding the far right was the “German” XI Corps of nearly 12,000 men.4

chancellorsville-crossroads7-thumb

The Battle of Chancellorsville.

The XI Corps was not supposed to be holding the right flank alone. The I Corps had been ordered to move to their support, but the order had gone astray and the I Corps did not even begin to move until May 2. It started so late that it never made it to the XI Corps.5

Although after the disaster during the evening of May 2, the XI Corps would be mocked as “the Flying Dutchmen”, on May 2 only half of its men were German. Even more importantly, its “German Command” was being replaced by native-born officers. The new Corps commander was O.O. Howard, a Maine-born Republican whom his men believed viewed his German subordinates with a prejudiced eye. The division commander responsible for the far right of the XI Corps was Charles Devins, another suspected New England nativist. 6

Howard had been placed on the far right, not because he could be trusted to hold off a Confederate attack, but precisely because he could not. Union commander Fighting Joe Hooker believed that the one area the Confederates would not attack was the right end of his line. His low estimate of Howard’s ability was borne out when the New Englander let the very end of his line end where he ran out of men. Instead of anchoring his flank on a geographic strong point, it simply stopped where his men ran out.7

When Hooker inspected Howard’s line, his chief engineer saw that there were large gaps between the different parts of the corps, making it vulnerable to attack. The engineer advised him to plug the gaps, but Howard simply dismissed him saying that the woods in front of his men were so thick “will anybody come through this?” Nearly all of Howard’s men were facing straight ahead, all barricades were facing the same way. But, the attack would come from the right.8

Shortly after this, General Carl Schurz, commander of the XI Corps’ German Division, heard that Confederate troops had been spotted moving towards Devens’ position on the far right. Schurz personally investigated and saw enemy troops through the trees. He rode back to Howard’s headquarters to warn him that the XI Corps faced a risk on its far right. Howard discounted the information, saying that he believed that the Confederates were in retreat and the men Schurz had seen were falling back. Schurz wrote years later that “I was amazed at this belief.”9

At 9:30 on the morning of May 2, Hooker sent a note to Howard warning that “the disposition you have made of your Corps has been with a view to a front attack by the enemy. If he should throw himself upon your [right] flank …[E]xamine the ground and determine the position you will take in that event in order that you may be prepared for him in whatever direction he advances.” Hooker also told him to position reserves “to meet this contingency.” He revealed that “we have good reason to suppose that the enemy is moving to our right”, in other words right at Howard. He ordered Howard to send scouts as far forward as possible to “obtain timely information of their approach.”10

A few minutes later, Hooker sent another note to Howard saying “The right of your line does not appear to be strong enough. No artificial defenses worth naming have been thrown up, and there appears to be a scarcity of troops at that point.” Hooker added that the few troops protecting the right wing were not “as favorably posted as might be.”11

By 10:00 AM, both of Hooker’s dispatch had arrived at Howard’s headquarters. Howard was asleep, but German-born division commander Carl Schurz saw the dispatch, realized its import, and woke Howard up to read it.  Schurz had what he described as an “animated discussion” in which he tried to convince Howard to shore up his right flank. He warned that the entire far right of the army was held by only a few hundred men, that it was, to use the proper military term “up in the air.” In spite of Schurz’s warnings, Howard chose to take almost no steps to remedy the situation and so, wrote Schurz later, “the absurdly indefensible position of the corps remained unchanged.” 12

Two decades after Chancellorsville, Howard would claim not to have seen Hooker’s warnings, however, the dispatch was later found receipted in the XI Corps files. As further evidence that he saw it, Howard sent a dispatch to Hooker twenty minutes later assuring the commander that he was “taking measures to resist an attack from” the far right flank. It would have been a remarkable coincidence if he had written that when he did without seeing Hooker’s order.13

Although Howard, a devout and puritanical man called the “Christian General” with some derision by his men, assured Hooker that he was taking steps to protect his right, he in fact lied. Virtually the only thing he did was to send a captain of the Signal Corps to the end of the line to signal if an attack was about to begin!14

While Howard was ignoring all warnings of impending trouble that morning, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Lee’s most feared general, was quickly moving his men into position for a massive assault on the XI Corps’ right. In the early afternoon, Jackson climbed a hill and looked out at Devens’ division. What he saw must have amazed him. With three-quarters of the Confederate army moving towards him, Devens was not preparing at all for a fight. Instead, his men were “laughing, chatting, smoking,” playing cards, and otherwise amusing themselves. Although Schurz was beginning to make what preparations he could for a battle, Devens, the man who would be Jackson’s first target, ignored all the signs of danger that so alarmed the German general.15

Of course, the XI Corps was not alone along the line Chancellorsville. To its left was the III Corps under New York politician and murderer General Dan Sickles. Sickles had killed his wife’s lover a few years earlier while he was still a Congressman but had been let off because he convinced a jury he had been driven insane by jealousy. Now he was commanding one of the largest units in the Army of the Potomac. At 2:00 PM, he became convinced that the Confederates moving in the woods to attack the XI Corps were in fact retreating and he asked for permission to follow them. Hooker granted permission even though Sickles departure meant that the III Corps on which the XI Corps depended for support, would no longer be connected to the line.16

At 3:00 PM, Schurz heard firing on the far right. Even though his own men were not involved, he rode over to investigate. Devens’ pickets there told him that “time and again during the day [they had]…reported the presence of large bodies of rebel troops at a short distance from their right flank, and that, if an attack [came] from that quarter, they were not in a position to fight.” Schurz rode to Devens to try to get him to act, but, he said, he found the American-born general “rather unconcerned.” Devens said he was assured by Howard and Hooker that the Confederates were retreating and that “they were better informed than he was.” Devens, in a pattern he repeated all day, chose to believe native-born officers who were miles away over his own men, many of them Germans, who directly observed the Confederates.17

As though the generals couldn’t do more harm to the XI Corps, at 4:00 PM Howard received an order from Hooker to send troops to Sickles III Corps as it chased the “retreating” Confederates. Howard sent Barlow’s Brigade, nearly a fifth of his infantry, to support the wild goose chase of Sickles. By 4:30 PM, the XI Corps was as isolated and as weak as it had been at any time during the battle.18

Of course, Howard had to compound Hooker’s error by adding his own. Howard decided to abandon his Corps to go with Barlow to chase the Confederates. His glory-seeking mission meant that when Jackson’s assault came, the XI Corps commander would not be found. Stephen Sears, the author of the leading history of the Battle of Chancellorsville, wrote that “Howard’s decision to leave his headquarters ranks as one of the more obtuse decisions taken that day.” Of Howard’s willful ignorance of the real threat on his right, Sears says “Unimaginative, unenterprising, uninspiring, a stifling Christian soldier…in the face of uncertainty…his way was to close his mind to everything but judgments…from his superior.” The leadership of Howard, Hooker and Devens was a grave disservice to the immigrant and native-born men of the XI Corps. At Chancellorsville, the inexperienced soldiers of the XI Corps, Sears writes:

“had entered on this campaign willingly enough, as a way of proving their mettle and earning their place in the Army of the Potomac, but what they needed was the best sort of leadership that army had to offer. They got instead the poorest sort [from Howard]. Unfortunately for them, too, the general commanding under Howard on the army’s far right flank, Charles Devens, was another of the poorest sort.”19

General Charles Devens was a Harvard-trained lawyer of the bluest of blood. His legal acumen and his political connections would one day land him the post of Attorney General of the United States. On the field of battle, however, he was just another politician-turned-general. Devens had taken command of his division just a week before the battle began. Five of his nine regiments were “German”. He was disdainful of immigrants, as well as of others lacking his pedigree. To add his other demerits, he was reportedly drinking heavily on May 2, perhaps to dull the pain of a leg injury from the day before.20

Devens repeatedly ignored the warnings of Confederate troops on his right coming from his German subordinates, but three of his native-born colonels also reported that they, too, brought him information on the Confederate skirmishers screening Jackson’s movements and had been sneered at. Historian Sears writes that “warnings that should have been heeded were shamefully ignored.” While some of the sightings were ambiguous, Devens did little to investigate them. By 3:00 PM, more than two hours before the assault was launched, direct sightings of Jackson’s main force were made to Devens, Howard, and Hooker and they ignored these as well.21

For example, XII Corps scouts saw Jackson’s men on Howard’s right. Their report was disregarded. Two officers of Leopold Von Gilsa’s Brigade of the XI Corps reported the Confederates assembling on the right. Howard replied to them that they “must not be scared”, as though they were nothing more than excitable children. Major Owen Rice, commanding Von Gilsa’s picket line, sent word that “A large body of the enemy is massing in my front. For God’s sake make dispositions to receive him.” When Von Gilsa took the report to Howard’s headquarters, officers there mocked him for cowardice.22

At 4:30 PM, Von Gilsa’s pickets had a brief firefight with the Confederates feeling out their line in preparation for the assault. The signal officer Howard had sent to report on Confederate threats to the far right signaled that there was a growing danger. Howard’s headquarters ignored this warning.23

Carl Schurz, although not in command of the far right division, was so alarmed by what he was hearing that he sent an experienced German artilleryman, Major Humbert Dilger to investigate. Scouting on the far right, he saw the Confederates getting into position to attack. Dilger rode to Hooker’s headquarters to report what he saw, but the German was refused admittance. He then went to Howard’s Headquarters only to find that the XI Corps commander was off with Barlow and Sickles. Sears writes that “after Howard went off with Barlow’s brigade at 4 o’clock, there was no one around to investigate such matters. (Howard, in any event, had investigated none of them before he left.) Charles Devens, increasingly fortified by brandy, threw up his hands at the continued interruptions” by men who had seen Jackson’s Corps.24

Hooker compounded the problems of the XI Corps when he sent the XII Corps, next in line to support the XI, off to assist Sickles in rounding up the “retreating” Confederates. The delusional Hooker wrote at 4:10 PM that “We know that the enemy is fleeing.”25

While some of Devens’ officers realized the danger they were in, they were under orders not to realign to face the growing menace. Schurz, however, took it upon himself to position three regiments to face the right and he placed some barriers to try to slow the Confederates. However, at the moment Stonewall Jackson struck, the XI Corps was reduced to only 10,000 men, its commander was miles away, and nearly all of its regiments, many of which were rookies, were facing in the wrong direction.26

Between 5:30 and 5:45, the Confederate attack began. Two dozen Confederate regiments smashed into the two XI Corps regiments that were the only protection for the right flank of the Union Army. The two regiments crumbled in minutes. Officers raced to Devens for instructions but he just sat silently on his horse unable to take charge of a situation he had helped to create. Over the succeeding ten minutes, Confederate brigade after brigade smashed up the remaining regiments, still facing in the wrong direction, of Von Gilsa’s brigade. In that short moment, 264 of his men became casualties and the brigade broke and ran. After Von Gilsa, the next brigade in line was the mostly native-born Ohio Brigade. In 15 minutes, the Ohioans lost 688 casualties and broke apart. The native-born 17th Connecticut went to pieces almost as soon as the Confederates attacked it, its men fleeing into the woods.27

revised-chancellorsville-map-thumb

This map shows the position of Lee and Hooker’s armies on May 2, 1863. A-Position of the XI Corps from the morning of May 2 until Jackson’s attack at 5:30 PM. The XI Corps occupied the far right of the Union line and was facing South throughout the day. The Confederates would attack from the West and North, hitting the XI Corps on the right and in the rear. B-On the morning of May 2 Stonewall Jackson began marching his men towards the union far right. Because his men initially marched away from the Union line, Hooker interpreted this move as a retreat. C-Here at Catherine Furnace Jackson’s men turned and moved parallel to the XI Corps line. D-Confederates massed here in the late afternoon and were repeatedly sighted by Union scouts. E-The III, XII Corps, and Barlow’s Brigade of the XI Corps were sent here in “pursuit of the retreating Confederates.” Howard was in this vicinity when Jackson’s attack on his right began. F-The Confederate attacked here beginning at 5:30 PM.

When Schurz’s Division was hit, his preparations at least slowed the Confederates even though two-thirds of his regiments were forced by Howard’s alignment to face the wrong way. Schurz’s men kept up an organized resistance for twenty minutes, but it was soon overwhelmed as Confederate brigades attacked from three sides. The 26th Wisconsin lost 40% of its men, including 25 killed and 133 wounded,  in the fight to delay the Confederates. While Schurz’s Corps was forced back, his units retained their integrity and many would continue to fight long after they fell back from their initial line of battle.28

Howard finally returned to the XI Corps as it was falling apart. Republican newspapermen would describe the heroic Howard trying desperately to halt the fleeing “Germans”, neglecting to mention his responsibility for the disaster. Howard’s true state of mind was revealed in his later writing. At a time when his men needed a cool-headed leader to do what Howard had failed to do all day-organize them to survive Jackson’s assault-he behaved irrationally, saying that at the time he “wanted to die.” He wrote that “I sought death everywhere.” The Christian soldier wanted a martyr’s death through Confederate-assisted-suicide to relieve him of responsibility for what he described as a “mistake.”29

While Howard’s efforts may have impressed partisan reporters, German-born Col. Adolphus Buschbeck organized a final line of resistance. With his four small regiments and Schurz’s men, 4,000 soldiers of the XI held up Jackson’s 28,000 men long enough to allow the XII and III Corps to move back from Sickles wild goose chase and prepare to stop Jackson. 30

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Hours after his victory, Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men. He died a week later.

When the refugees from Jackson’s assault reached the safety of the other Union Corps, some of the native-born soldiers shot them as cowards. Within minutes, the Germans found they were taunted as “runaway Dutchmen” by their own American comrades in arms. Although no one in the other corps had seen the fighting, they quickly concluded that the “Dutch” had fled without firing a shot. The fact that 1,600 XI Corps men had been killed or wounded, and that the Confederates had lost 1,000 men indicated otherwise.31

An American in the XI Corps, Andrew Harris, saw politics behind the blaming of “the Dutchmen.” He wrote:

“If it was known that the enemy were massing their forces on our right…why was not such a disposition made of the 11th Corps…to give us a chance to repel the attack? I have but little fault to find with the German troops-they did not stand as long as bravery would dictate, but it was certainly as long as it was prudent (much is heaped upon them unjustly and that to try and direct attention from…higher up.) …They have been very useful tools to help [keep] up the reputation of others…” 32

Joe Hooker himself would say that the disaster came about because “my instructions were utterly and criminally disregarded.”33

Video: An Overview of the Battle of Chancellorsville 1863

Sources [Note that sources will be inserted on June 4, 2013]:
1. The Chancellorsville Campaign by Darius Couch in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 154-171;The Successes and Failures of Chancellorville by Alfred Pleasanton in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 172-182; The Eleventh Corps at Chancellorsville by O.O. Howard in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 189-202; Stonewall Jackson’s Last Battle by James Power Smith in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 203-214; Hooker’s Comments on Chancellorsville by S. Bates in Battles in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 214-223; Hooker’s Appointment and Removal by Charles Benjamin in Battles and Leaders Vol. III pp. 239-243; The Civil War in the East: Struggle, Stalemate, and Victory by Brooks D. Simpson published by Praeger (2011); Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel by Stephen D. Engle published by Louisiana State Univ Pr (1999); The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
2. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
3. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
4. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 236
5. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
6. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
7. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 236-238
8. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 237
9. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907) Vol. 2 p. 416
10. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 245
11. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 245
12. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907) p. 418
13. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 247
14. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 247.
15. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 258
16. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 262
17. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907) p. 419
18. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 262
19. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 262
20. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) 263-264
21. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) 265
22. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) 266
23. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
24. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 267
25. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 269
26. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 269-270
27. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 271-275
28. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 277
29. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 277-286
30. The Reminiscences of Carl Schurz Volume 2 by Carl Schurz (1907); Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home edited by Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich, University of North Carolina Press (2006); Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007); Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996); Chancellorsville: The Souls of the Brave by Ernest Furgeson published by Knopf (1993).
31. Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007) p. 72-74
32. Chancellorsville and the Germans by Christian Keller published by Fordham University Press (2007) p. 80-81
33. Chancellorsville by Stephen Sears published by Mariner Books (1996) p. 270

The Immigrants’ Civil War is a series that examines the role of immigrants in our bloodiest war. Articles will appear twice monthly between 2011 and 2017. Here are the articles we have published so far:

1. Immigrant America on the Eve of the Civil War – Take a swing around the United States and see where immigrants were coming from and where they were living in 1861.

2. 1848: The Year that Created Immigrant America – Revolutions in Europe, famine and oppression in Ireland, and the end of the Mexican War made 1848 a key year in American immigration history.

3. Carl Schurz: From German Radical to American Abolitionist– A teenaged revolutionary of 1848, Carl Schurz brought his passion for equality with him to America.

4. Immigrant Leader Carl Schurz Tells Lincoln to Stand Firm Against Slavery.

5. …And the War Came to Immigrant America -The impact of the firing on Fort Sumter on America’s immigrants

6. The Rabbi Who Seceded From the South

7. The Fighting 69th-Irish New York Declares War

8. The Germans Save St. Louis for the Union

9. New York’s Irish Rush to Save Washington

10. Immigrant Day Laborers Help Build the First Fort to Protect Washington-The Fighting 69th use their construction skills.

11. Carl Schurz Meets With Lincoln To Arm the Germans

12. Immigrants Rush to Join the Union Army-Why?– The reasons immigrants gave for enlisting early in the war.

13. Why the Germans Fought for the Union?

14. Why Did the Irish Fight When They Were So Despised?

15. The “Sons of Garibaldi” Join the Union Army

16. The Irish Tigers From Louisiana

17. Immigrant Regiments on Opposite Banks of Bull Run -The Fighting 69th and the Louisiana Tigers

18. The St. Louis Germans Set Out To Free Missouri

19. Wilson’s Creek Drowns Immigrant Dream of Free Missouri

20. English-Only in 1861: No Germans Need Apply

21. After Bull Run: Mutineers, Scapegoats, and the Dead

22. St. Louis Germans Revived by Missouri Emancipation Proclamation

23. Jews Fight the Ban on Rabbis as Chaplains

24. Lincoln Dashes German Immigrants Hopes for Emancipation

25. When Hatred of Immigrants Stopped the Washington Monument from Being Built

26. Inside the Mind of a Know Nothing

27. The Evolution of the Know Nothings

28. The Know Nothings Launch a Civil War Against Immigrant America

29. The Know Nothings: From Triumph to Collapse

30. The Lasting Impact of the Know Nothings on Immigrant America.

31. Lincoln, the Know Nothings, and Immigrant America.

32. Irish Green and Black America: Race on the Edge of Civil War.

33. The Democratic Party and the Racial Consciousness of Irish Immigrants Before the Civil War

34. The Confederates Move Against Latino New Mexico

35. Nuevomexicanos Rally As Confederates Move Towards Santa Fe—But For Which Side?

36. The Confederate Army in New Mexico Strikes at Valverde

37. The Swedish Immigrant Who Saved the U.S. Navy

38. The Confederates Capture Santa Fe and Plot Extermination

39. A German Regiment Fights for “Freedom and Justice” at Shiloh-The 32nd Indiana under Col. August Willich.

40. The Know Nothing Colonel and the Irish Soldier Confronting slavery and bigotry.

41. Did Immigrants Hand New Orleans Over to the Union Army?

42. Did New Orleans’ Immigrants See Union Soldiers As Occupiers or Liberators?

43. Union Leader Ben Butler Seeks Support in New Orleans-When General Ben Butler took command in New Orleans in 1862, it was a Union outpost surrounded by Confederates. Butler drew on his experience as a pro-immigrant politician to win over the city’s Irish and Germans.

44. Union General Ben Butler Leverages Immigrant Politics in New Orleans

45. Thomas Meager: The Man Who Created the Irish Brigade

46. Thomas Meagher: The Irish Rebel Joins the Union Army

47. Recruiting the Irish Brigade-Creating the Irish American

48. Cross Keys: A German Regiment’s Annihilation in the Shenandoah Valley

49. The Irish Brigade Moves Towards Richmond-The Irish brigade in the Peninsula Campaign from March 17 to June 2, 1862.

50. Peninsula Emancipation: Irish Soldiers Take Steps on the Road to Freedom-The Irish Brigade and Irish soldiers from Boston free slaves along the march to Richmond.

51. Slaves Immigrate from the Confederacy to the United States During the Peninsula Campaign

52. The Irish 9th Massachusetts Cut Off During the Seven Days Battles

53. Union Defeat and an Irish Medal of Honor at the End of the Seven Days

54. Making Immigrant Soldiers into Citizens-Congress changed the immigration laws to meet the needs of a nation at war.

55. Carl Schurz: To Win the Civil War End Slavery

56. Carl Schurz: From Civilian to General in One Day

57. Did Anti-German Bigotry Help Cause Second Bull Run Defeat?

58. Immigrant Soldiers Chasing Lee Into Maryland

59. Scottish Highlanders Battle at South Mountain

60. Emancipation 150: “All men are created equal, black and white”– A German immigrant reacts to the Emancipation Proclamation

61. The Irish Brigade at Antietam

62. Private Peter Welsh Joins the Irish Brigade

63. Preliminaries to Emancipation: Race, the Irish, and Lincoln

64. The Politics of Emancipation: Lincoln Suffers Defeat

65. Carl Schurz Blames Lincoln for Defeat

66. The Irish Brigade and Virginia’s Civilians Black and White

67. The Irish Brigade and the Firing of General McClellan

68. General Grant Expells the Jews

69. The Irish Brigade Moves Towards Its Destruction At Fredericksburg.

70. Fredericksburg: The Worst Day in the Young Life of Private McCarter of the Irish Brigade

71. Forever Free: Emancipation New Year Day 1863

72. Private William McCarter of the Irish Brigade Hospitalized After Fredericksburg

73. The Immigrant Women That Nursed Private McCarter After Fredericksburg

74. Nursing Nuns of the Civil War

75. The Biases Behind Grant’s Order Expelling the Jews

76. The Jewish Community Reacts to Grant’s Expulsion Order

77. Lincoln Overturns Grant’s Order Against the Jews

78. Irish Families Learn of the Slaughter at Fredericksburg

79. Requiem for the Irish Brigade

80. St. Patrick’s Day in the Irish Brigade

81. Student Asks: Why Don’t We Learn More About Immigrants in the Civil War?

82. Missouri’s German Unionists: From Defeat to Uncertain Victory

83. Missouri Germans Contest Leadership of Unionist Cause

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

85. Immigrant Unionists Marching Towards Pea Ridge

86. German Immigrants at the Battle of Pea Ridge: Opening Moves

87. Pea Ridge: The German Unionists Outflanked

88. German Immigrants at the Battle of Pea Ridge

89. The Organization of the “German” XI Corps

90. The Irish Brigade on the Road to Chancellorsville

91. The “German” XI Corps on the Eve of Chancellorsville

92. The “Germans Run Away” at Chancellorsville

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Why I’m Writing The Immigrants’ Civil War

The Five Meanings of “The Immigrants’ Civil War”

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Important Citizenship Site to be Preserved-Fortress Monroe

Should Lincoln Have Lost His Citizenship?

The First Casualties of the War Were Irish-Was that a Coincidence?

Civil War Anniversaries-History, Marketing, and Human Rights

Memorial Day’s Origins at the End of the Civil War

Germans Re-enact the Civil War-But Why Are They Dressed in Gray?

Leading Historians Discuss 1863 New York City Draft Riots

The Upstate New York Town that Joined the Confederacy

Civil War Blogs I Read Every Week

First Annual The Immigrants’ Civil War Award Goes to Joe Reinhart

Damian Shiels Wins Second Annual The Immigrants’ Civil War Award

Mother Jones: Civil War Era Immigrant and Labor Leader

Juneteenth for Immigrants

Immigration Vacation -Civil War Sites

Fort Schuyler-Picnic where the Irish Brigade trained

No Irish Need Apply: High School Student Proves Yale PhD. Wrong When He Claimed “No Irish Need Apply” Signs Never Existed

The Fallout from No Irish Need Apply Article Spreads Worldwide

No Irish Need Apply Professor Gets into a Fight With Our Blogger Pat Young Over Louisa May Alcott

Professor Behind No Irish Need Apply Denial May Have Revealed Motive for Attacking 14 Year Old Historian

Books for Learning More About The Immigrants’ Civil War

Free Yale Course with David Blight on the Civil War

Cinco de Mayo Holiday Dates Back to the American Civil War

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is Director of Legal Services at CARECEN and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra University. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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