After Bull Run: Mutineers, Scapegoats, and the Dead


A complete list of articles in The Immigrants’ Civil War appears at the bottom of this page.

Three regiments filled with Irish and Scotch immigrant New Yorkers struggled to survive in the days after Bull Run.

The Seventy-Ninth New York Highlanders was a proud militia regiment formed from the crème of New York’s Scottish community. Today we rarely think of the Scots as an immigrant ethnicity, but they were a major component of 19th century immigration. There were over 100,000 Scotch immigrants living in the United States at the start of the Civil War. In fact, there were more immigrants from Scotland than from all of Scandinavia combined.1

The 79th was aggressive in displaying its ethnic identity. While the Irish Fighting 69th New York might carry a green flag as a symbol of pride, the Highlanders would wear traditional Scottish military dress. On June 4, 1861, the Washington Star described the arrival of the Highlanders in Baltimore:

They numbered eight hundred men, exclusive of their band and drum corps, the former consisting of sixteen performers, and the latter of twenty drummers.  About one third of the members wear the full Highland uniform, the remainder being dressed in blue jackets trimmed with red, dark green plaid pants, and blue fatigue cap.2

20110930-actorsCeremonial uniforms of the 79th New York as worn by modern re-enactors. Source: Civil War News

While the kilts that many of the 79th’s men wore were popular with civilians watching the regiment parade, they invited mockery as “skirts” by other soldiers, and most of the men put them away, wearing tartan trousers instead. Oddly, the widely praised band of the 79th did not include bagpipes.3

At Bull Run, the Highlanders were placed in the same brigade as the Irish 69th New York under William Tecumseh Sherman. They were among the last regiments to try to knock Stonewall Jackson off Henry House Hill that day. They lost their colonel, the Secretary of War’s brother James Cameron, who was killed on the slopes of the hill, and the regiment suffered the third highest casualty rate among their Union peers that day.4

The 79th was badly mauled at Bull Run. One soldier born in Scotland wrote his wife that “the regiment suffered very severe.” They also felt badly treated by the government and particularly by their brigade commander.5

Anger at the army began at the end of the long walk back from Bull Run. Lt. William Lusk wrote his mother that the men had walked “over thirty miles from the battlefield” after the Union army collapsed. It was “thirty-six hours without food or drink…The rain poured down in torrents and we were soaked to our skins. There was not a cracker to be had…[and] not a tent to shelter us. We crawled into an old barn. Sherman ordered us to come out and stand in the rain.” This order was not well received: “Many of the men were desperate,” Lusk wrote. “They clamored for food. Sherman sneered at them…[and] called them a pack of New York loafers.”6

The regiment was also essentially leaderless. Most of its officers were dead, wounded, or had resigned soon after the battle. The regiment had lost its colonel, major, and nine of its ten captains during or soon after the battle. Lusk wrote home that before leaving camp, the resigned officers circulated rumors that the regiment was soon to be sent to New York to recover from Bull Run.7

A new colonel was appointed to command the Highlanders by the army, but the men resented this as a violation of the unit’s tradition of electing its officers. Resentments built when the unit was forced to do manual labor in digging fortifications around Washington. It boiled over when they learned that they were not going to be allowed to return to New York.

On August 14, the regiment was ordered to move into camp in Maryland, and the men, some of whom were drunk, refused to follow orders. Lusk wrote home that when he tried to pack up tents, a soldier threatened to shoot him. General George McClellan, the new commander of the Union army around Washington, sent Regular Army soldiers to capture the mutineers. They were told that if they did not end the rebellion, they would be shot.

The apparent leaders of the mutiny were arrested and the regimental flags were taken away from the unit, a lasting symbol of disgrace.8 McClellan himself blamed the episode on “the utter worthlessness of the officers” of the regiment.9

The 79th would get back their colors following successful fighting the next month, but the stain of disgrace remained. Many Scottish immigrants lost the desire to serve in a unit branded as mutinous and the Scottish character of the regiment faded as immigrants of other backgrounds replaced them. In several companies, the number of Irish immigrants soon outnumbered the Scots.10

While the Highlanders were able to redeem part of their reputation and reconstruct their regiment, albeit with the addition of Irish and German soldiers, another regiment of New Yorkers fell from grace so far as to defy redemption.

I have already written about the odd Zouave-mania at the beginning of the war. The Louisiana Tigers were a Confederate Zouave battalion and even the Fighting 69th New York Infantry had a Zouave company. These men dressed in flamboyant uniforms patterned on the North African style.

The most famous of the Union Zouave regiments was Elmer Ellswoth’s Fire Zouaves. Ellsworth was a young friend of Abraham Lincoln from Chicago where he had organized a Zouave unit. When the war broke out he went to New York City to organize a similar unit. He decided that he would recruit only men from the New York Fire Department because, he said “there are no more effective men in the country.”11

20110930-posterWhile the Fire Zouaves were described as an ELITE REGIMENT in recruiting posters, in fact, almost none of its men had any military experience.

When news of Ellsworth’s recruitment drive hit the newspapers, firemen rushed to the colors like, well, like firemen responding to an alarm. The regiment filled up quickly, and men had to be turned away. Then, as now, firehouses were small, intensely loyal communities. Men from a particular firehouse enlisted with a particular company in the regiment. For example, the Fire Zouaves’ Company A was filled by men from the firehouse on the corner of Hester and Allen streets, the one at 1146 Broadway, and the firehouse on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street. The men knew each other before they enlisted, they had worked together, and Ellsworth said that their willingness to risk life and limb in fighting fires would make them perfect soldiers.12

At that time, the New York firemen were disproportionately Irish. While the unit itself was not an “ethnic regiment” it certainly had an Irish air.

When the firemen arrived in Washington, the high spirits of the men attracted immediate attention. The regiment was lauded before it ever got into battle when it saved the Willard Hotel, near the White House, from burning down. Lincoln’s affection for Colonel Ellsworth made him a frequent guest at their parades. While this raised the unit’s profile, it also attracted the jealousy of other soldiers. They began to refer to the Fire Zouaves as “Lincoln’s Pet Lambs.”13
20110930-hotelWhen the Fire Zouaves saved Willard’s Hotel, they received publicity in nationally distributed weekly newspapers like Harper’s Weekly.

When Union troops moved into Virginia at the end of May 1861, Col. Ellsworth became the Union’s first martyr. Ellsworth saw a rebel flag flying from a hotel in Alexandria and he stormed into the building and took it down. As he was descending the stairs with the flag in hand, he was shot and killed by the hotel’s owner. Ellsworth would receive a hero’s funeral at the White House.14
20110930-uniformElmer Ellsworth’s jacket, pierced by a shotgun blast, is on display in Saratoga. (Source: Civil War Librarian)

When the Fire Zouaves moved towards Bull Run seven weeks later, much was expected of them. Their national reputation, the favor of President Lincoln, and their new role as “Ellsworth’s Avengers” made them the focus of media attention. What all the expectations ignored was that they numbered less than 2 percent of the total Union army and that they had never fought in a single battle before. They were as raw as every other regiment that took the field. And they were missing their leader.

By the time the Battle of Bull Run was over, they would be reviled in the pages of The New York Times and investigated by a Congressional Committee.

Here is what the Times said of the Fire Zouaves soon after the battle:

In simple truth, the Fire Zouaves were just about the worst men in the Army, the most reckless in their behavior, the least amenable to discipline, the most discontented and complaining, the first to run from the field, and the loudest braggarts after they had left it. The reason is, that it was made up of men without character, who had been distinguished for their rowdyism and disregard of law at home, and who were therefore expected to make good soldiers. We hope the example will not be lost.15

Ask yourself if any news source today would ever say such things about a military unit that had just suffered heavy losses in battle? What had the Fire Zouaves done that warranted such abuse?

In the disorganized afternoon fighting to try to dislodge Stonewall Jackson from Henry Hill above Bull Run, Union commanders sent a series of regiments up the hill in uncoordinated attacks in which each successive regiment crested the hill only to be shot down by a superior Confederate force. One of the worst decisions of the day was sending two batteries of artillery up the hill without proper supports. The improperly protected artillery was quickly captured by the Confederates and the Union army essentially spent the rest of the battle trying to get the artillery back. Many units failed in this effort, but the firemen would be discredited for having lost the big guns in the first place. For this, their character as men was eternally called into question.

The question asked by one historian is why the Fire Zouave regiment, of all the federal units that ran at Bull Run, was singled out for the poor character of its men. Professor Lesley J. Gordon, editor of the journal Civil War History, speculated in a 2010 lecture that the New York firemen made an easy target for the Republican establishment because they were urban, largely Irish, and overwhelmingly Democrat. The New York Times, whose editor chaired the war-time Republican Party, was the very emblem of the Republican establishment.16

The Congressional Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, dominated by Radical Republicans, followed lines of questioning in its inquest into the Bull Run defeat that also showed that at least some of the Committee members wanted to pin the rout on the character of the men of this one unit.

The Committee ran into problems with this approach. While officers were happy to express disapproval of the behavior of the firemen, it was impossible to show that they were any worse than the other units. Captain Charles Griffin, who commanded some of the cannons sent up Henry Hill, when asked what “led to the disasters that day” answered that it was being ordered up to the top of the hill without sufficient infantry supports. He added that his commander’s mistaken belief that Confederate troops attacking the battery were friends was the second major factor. When asked by the Committee if the failure of the Zouaves was important in the defeat, the artilleryman said, “the Zouaves could not have supported us” because they “were not support enough. Five hundred men are not enough to support eleven pieces of artillery.” When asked how many men should have been on top of the hill to protect the guns, Captain Griffin responded that under normal circumstances, 5,000-6,000 men were needed to protect so many cannons.17

There is ample evidence that after the firemen initially broke on top of Henry Hill, many of them repeatedly joined charges to try to recapture the cannons. Other units reported as much throughout the day. In addition, the 69th New York gave full credit to the firemen during the last moments of the battle for helping them fight off the Confederates and recapture their own battle flag. For the 69th, the firemen were less cowards than they were unlucky to be put in an impossible situation for their first test under fire. [For more on the inquest into the role of the firemen on that day, visit the appendix].

The attitude of immigrant New Yorkers to the Times’ denigration of the Fire Zouaves was reflected in the pop culture of the day. A popular Irish American song about the 69th at Bull Run, which is as fact-rich as most modern newspaper reports, gives nearly equal honors to the “gallant New York Firemen,” and reflects the rejection of Republican aspersions on the Fire Zouaves.

“The Boys Who Wore the Green,” sung by David Kincaid, was composed shortly after the battle and published in 1863. It follows a form common among the Irish of relating news reports in musical form. The song gives the date of the battle, the weather, names various commanders, alludes to the 69th’s refusal in 1860 to parade before the Prince of Wales, quotes various participants, describes the role of the New York Firemen in recapturing the 69th’s flag, offers a lament for Lt. Col. Haggerty who was killed by a Louisiana Zouave, and provides a eulogy for the common soldiers who died there – all in the span of three minutes. A little note: The song describes the firemen as running “with the machine;” firemen ran alongside or behind their horse drawn fire engines which were referred to as “the machine.”

While the Highlanders and the Fire Zouaves suffered after the Battle of Bull Run, the 69th New York remembered their dead. Emma Holmes, the young daughter of a Charleston slave owner could write joyfully of the Irish deaths in her diary of July 22, saying that “the ‘brag’ regiment of N.Y., the 69th, was cut to pieces,” but for the Irish New Yorkers, the men who had been “cut to pieces” were men buried before their time.18 The 69th’s new commander, Thomas Francis Meagher, eulogized the immigrant soldiers who would never assemble to the drum’s call again:

On the silent fields which those deep graves shadow, I see many a strong soldier of the 69th whom I loved. [T]hey lie there in the rich sunshine, discolored and cold in death. All of them were from Ireland, and as the tide of life ran out, the last thought that left their hearts was for the liberty of Ireland.19

Over coming months, Meagher would weave together the fortunes of Ireland and America to create a new Irish-American nationalism.
20110930-gravesSoldiers’ graves at Bull Run battlefield, credited to Matthew Brady, 1862.

Appendix: A Closer Look at the New York Firemen at Bull Run
This appendix examines the role of The New York Times and the Committee on the Conduct of the War in questioning the “character” of the New York Firemen, as well as at what actually happened to the regiment on Henry Hill at Bull Run. It ends with a look at the Zouaves in a Confederate prison.

The Role of The New York Times: Henry Jarvis Raymond was the editor of The New York Times. He was one of the founders of the Republican Party and maintained an active political career while running the Times. For example, he served in the New York Assembly and was elected lieutenant governor of New York in the years immediately before the war. During the Civil War, he was Speaker of the Assembly and he was elected to Congress. He was also head of the Republican National Committee. All of this while holding his journalistic position.

When Raymond’s New York Times attacked the Fire Zouaves, it was doing so as the organ of the mainstream Republican Party.

The political nature of the Times’ assault on the character of the firemen shows through the nastiness of its tone. For example, the newspaper described the Zouaves as men who were “loud-mouthed and vociferous in advance of danger, and who run howling with fear the moment they come upon it.” The raw politics of this statement is apparent when we consider that the Times said that the same description also fit the publisher of the Daily News, a rival Democratic paper! The Times piled abuse on the Firemen, perhaps thinking of Northern Democrats more broadly, when it called them “renegades and cowards” and said that “The country can spare them;—it would have been better off without them from the beginning.”

Elsewhere, the Times said that a “very large element in the regiment consisted of bad materiel” and referred to the soldiers as “lawless” and “rowdies.” It reported that the men had “disgraced the regiment and cast reproach upon the Fire Department and upon this City.”20

The Times’ repeated denigration of the Fire Zouaves was denounced by the other Republican paper in New York, Horace Greeley’s Tribune which, while criticizing the rout at Bull Run, said that the Times’ conclusion that the firemen were “men without character, who had been distinguished for their rowdyism and disregard of law at home, and who were therefore expected to make good soldiers,”  played to stereotypes of working class men. “This is precisely the rebel view of it,” Greeley wrote. “The mechanics of our Northern cities are ‘mudsills.’ The firemen who risk life in defence of our life and property are ‘gorillas.’ It does not matter that they were among the very first to offer their services to the Government, or that they gave up good employment to go to the war.”21

The Role of The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War: The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War (CCW) was established by Congress in 1861 to conduct secret inquisitions into military failures, presumed disloyalties of Union officers, and war profiteering. The CCW was controlled by Radical Republicans and chaired by Senator Ben Wade. It was used to attack Democrats in the army and to threaten the more moderate Republican Lincoln administration.

Committee members were characterized by a lack of military experience or training and an almost complete ignorance of military supply, operations, or strategy. According to Bruce Tap, the leading historian of the CCW, the committee members were contemptuous of professional officers and believed that “battlefield success inevitably followed from correct political beliefs.”22

Tap says that committee members were convinced that battle was a test of character and “moral purity” and had little to do with experience or tactics. The members publicly expressed opinions that were “simplistic, amateurish, and unrealistic,” he writes. For example, committee members expressed opposition to building of trenches for protection because entrenchments deprived men of the moral dimension of risking their lives.23

Members views were so extreme that in the middle of the Civil War, Chairman Ben Wade called for the abolition of the United States Military Academy at West Point.24

In place of military training, the CCW wanted political indoctrination. Committee members believed that soldiers and commanders absorbing Republican Party politics was the key to winning battles.25

While the CCW did some laudable work in uncovering profiteering by military contractors and prioritizing the abolition of slavery as a means of defeating the South, it is mostly credited by historians with exculpating Republican generals for their failures and for finding suitable Democrats to blame.

After Bull Run, rival theories emerged about the cause of defeat. Democrats tended to blame Radical Republicans who had urged an immediate attack on the rebels before the army was ready. Democrats believed Lincoln had disregarded sound military advice and had caved in to his party’s left wing. Republicans, on the other hand, looked for Democratic scapegoats for the first great failure of the Lincoln administration.26

Republican desperation to find scapegoats was made all the worse because pro-Lincoln newspapers had cheerfully predicted that the Union army would easily swat away the Confederates and quickly capture the rebel capital of Richmond.

During the questioning of witnesses, several members of the CCW inquired into the “character” of the New York firemen and appeared to be trying to elicit testimony that would allow them to place the blame for what was an army-wide collapse on one regiment. Historian Lesley J. Gordon speculates that there may have been several reasons for this. First, and most obviously, was to try to shift blame onto a “Democratic” regiment of urban, mostly immigrant, men whom Republicans saw as naturally lacking the upstanding character of native-born white Anglo Saxon Protestants. The fact that those same native-born had also run away seems to have escaped the CCW members.27

The second, and less obvious, point is that while the regiment was regarded as “Democrat,” it was also Lincoln’s pet. Lincoln’s affinity for the Fire Zouaves grew out of his friendship for its commander, Elmer Ellsworth, but it may also have reflected his approach to immigrant and “Democratic” regiments generally. Lincoln made sure to spend time personally with the Garibaldi Guards and the New York 69th, as well as with the Fire Zouaves. Professor Gordon wonders if the Radicals on the CCW may not have been taking a swipe at Lincoln by embarrassing his “pet lambs.”28

Ultimately, the Committee on the Conduct of the War found another Democratic target to blame, General Robert Patterson.

The Role of the Fire Zouaves at Bull Run: The Fire Zouaves were charged by many Republicans with cowardice that in turn led to defeat and the near-destruction of the Union army. Few historians today would agree that the actions of a single regiment lost the battle for the Union at Bull Run. But a close look at what officers on the scene of the fighting said sheds some light on responsibility for the loss of the cannons that were supposedly under the protection of the firemen.

Major William Barry commanded the artillery for the Union army at the battle. When he testified before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, he blamed the firemen for the loss of the battery. When asked by the Committee “what led to the capture of those batteries by the enemy?” he answered, “The infantry support abandoned them.” Barry appears to be one of the principal sources for the blaming of the firemen for the loss of the battle.29

Other witnesses offered information explaining why Barry was so quick to find a scapegoat. Captain Charles Griffin, who commanded half of the guns captured, testified about the movement of the guns up Henry Hill. It was early afternoon and the Confederates had retreated from Matthew’s Hill to Henry Hill, where Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson had set up a strong defensive line. Major Barry ordered Griffin to take his cannons to the top of Henry Hill and attack Jackson’s men. Griffin said, “I hesitated about going there, as I had no support.” During the Civil War period, artillery was typically placed at a distance from enemy infantry unless it had substantial numbers of friendly troops nearby to defend it. Cannons were both expensive and easily captured if not properly supported by infantry. Barry told Griffin that the Zouaves would support him, but Griffin reported that when he began moving up the hill he had to stop because there were no soldiers there in said support. Griffin went to Barry and insisted that normal procedures be followed, with substantial infantry moved to the top of the hill first, and then he would move his cannons in behind them. Barry again ordered Griffin up the hill.30

In Major Barry’s testimony, he said that he thought there were 700 firemen available to support the batteries. Griffin gives the more accurate estimate of “five hundred men” as the strength of the Zouaves. Griffin testified that to properly support 11 cannons at such close range to the enemy, “there ought to have been at least 1,000 men to every gun, or at least there ought to have been not less than 4,000 men to support those batteries.” James Ricketts, who commanded the other battery on the hill, estimated the Fire Zouaves strength at “two hundred to three hundred men.” He said that there should have been sent “two full regiments” to support his battery alone.31

Griffin also said that Major Barry was inaccurate in several other areas of testimony. Barry claimed that the Fire Zouaves were accompanied by the 14th Brooklyn, another Zouave regiment. Griffin testified that the 14th Brooklyn “never came on the ground until after the batteries were lost.”32

Griffin accused Major Barry of further jeopardizing the batteries by ordering them not to fire on a Confederate regiment about to storm the cannons. Griffin recalled a surrealistic scene in which a Confederate commander stopped the regiment close to the batteries and gave a speech to his men on the field. Griffin felt he had a fine opportunity to stagger the attackers during this histrionic pause, but Barry ordered him not to fire, claiming they were Union troops. With the Zouaves right behind the cannons, the Confederates let loose a horrendous fire. “We were all cut down,” Griffin recalled. For many of the men there, it was the first time they had seen friends killed and maimed so violently. The Zouaves, he said, “did not run at first,” but seemed “panic stricken” as they took in the scene of destruction. After “they had received three, perhaps four, volleys from this Confederate regiment, they broke and ran.” Many then ran to the shelter of nearby woods.33

A short while later, Griffin confronted Major Barry at the base of the hill. He challenged Barry’s contention that the firemen were sufficient to support the guns and that the Confederate regiment was friendly. Griffin testified about his exchange with Barry: “’I was mistaken,’” Griffin said Barry had told him. “’Yes’”, said I, ‘you were mistaken all around.’”34
Griffin was asked whether the problem was with the character of the firemen: “The Zouaves could not have supported us. They were not support enough. Five hundred men are not enough to support eleven pieces of artillery.”35

While the Firemen had their character questioned by the members of the CCW, other units that were recognized as superior had similar problems that day. The 1st Minnesota was later considered one of the best regiments in the army, but it broke apart on Henry Hill. The United States Marines and the 14th Brooklyn both failed to secure the batteries.

In addition, over the next hour, members of the Fire Zouaves participated in several attempts to retake the cannons, including joining in a successful, if short-lived, recapture by the 69th New York.

The Zouaves in Prison: While the Times and some CCW members may have wanted to portray the Zouaves as Democratic turncoats, an article from a Southern newspaper indicates that even after the battle, captured members of the Fire Zouaves were still in a fighting mood. In an article that was reprinted in several other newspapers, the Richmond Enquirer reported visiting wounded Northern prisoners held in Richmond at the City Almshouse. According to the report, many of the Union prisoners denounced the Union cause. The one group that did not was the wounded Fire Zouaves:

With the exception of the New-York Zouaves, the prisoners express regret at taking up arms against our people. Some say their newspapers and politicians had led them to believe that Southerners were semi-barbarous and were preparing to overrun the North; had been persuaded that the masses of the people here were held in subjection by a few unprincipled men, and desired the aid of the North to regain their independence; and many enlisted with the understanding that they would only be employed in the defence of Washington City. They are very grateful for the kind treatment they are receiving at our hands. But the Fire Zouaves are incorrigible. They seem perfectly oblivious to every sentiment of honor, gratitude or decency. They have nothing but the human form and faculty of speech to distinguish them from gorillas.36

In the same tone as The New York Times, the Richmond paper described the Zouaves as “gorillas” and said they were “debased, degraded and ungrateful.” The paper pitied the Confederate guards who had to hear “abuse heaped upon our cause by the representative from Blackwell’s Island, the Five Points, and other renowned schools from whence Northern policy draws its deepest inspirations.” This last insult was an obvious swipe at the immigrant backgrounds of the Firemen – the Five Points was a New York Irish neighborhood (today’s Foley Square and Chinatown) and Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) contained the city’s poor house.37

The Fire Zouave prisoners were very aware of the poor treatment they were receiving in the Northern Republican press. In fact, one prisoner sent a letter that The New York Times published on September 3, 1861, defending the regiment:

That the regiment was broken and formed again three separate times, and held the hill and RICKETT’s Battery longer than any other regiment that attempted it. Five different regiments in succession were ordered to hold that hill, and every one of them in succession were driven back. This I know of my own knowledge, for I never left that field during the entire fight. Sometimes we were driven clean over the fence, but never beyond it. Three times the battery was taken away from us; the second time we retook he guns, we attempted to run them off by hand power, (the horses being all killed,) but were compelled to leave them.38

20110930-zouaveFire Zouaves in Richmond prison. Defiant even as prisoners of war, the sign above them identifies the prison as the “HOTEL de ZOUAVE.” Other signs identify them as Fire Company “No. 1” and as part of the “NYFD,” the New York Fire Department

Resources for Understanding the New York Fire Zouaves
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, NY, displays firefighting equipment dating back to before the Revolution. There are Civil War-era fire engines as well as banners and uniforms from the two Fire Zouave regiments from New York.

Click here for a breakdown of which fire companies sent men into the Fire Zouaves.

1. “Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990” by Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennon, Population Division U.S. Bureau of the Census, February 1999.
Population Division Working Paper No. 29, Table 4.

2. Article on the New York 79th Regiment from The Washington Star, June 4, 1861.

3. Melting Pot Soldiers: The Union Ethnic Regiments by William L. Burton, Iowa State University Press (1988) p. 162.

4. Melting Pot Soldiers: The Union Ethnic Regiments by William L. Burton, Iowa State University Press (1988) p. 163.

5. ‘Him on the One Side and Me on the Other’ : The Civil War Letters of Alexander Campbell, 79th New York Infantry Regiment, and James Campbell, 1st South Carolina Battalion, edited by Terry Johnson, University of South Carolina Press (1999) p. 26.

6. War Letters of William Thompson Lusk (1911) p. 67-68 August 5, 1861.

7. War Letters of William Thompson Lusk (1911) p. 73 August 17, 1861.

8. ‘Him on the One Side and Me on the Other’ : The Civil War Letters of Alexander Campbell, 79th New York Infantry Regiment, and James Campbell, 1st South Carolina Battalion, edited by Terry Johnson, University of South Carolina Press (1999) p. 36-38.

9. George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon by Stephen Sears, Ticknor and Fields (1988) p. 98.

10. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy by Ella Lonn, Lousiana State University Press (1951) p. 130-131.

11. Colonel Elmer Ellsworth by Ruth Painter Randall, Little Brown (1960) p. 230.

12. A table of firehouses and 11th New York companies is available here.

13. Colonel Elmer Ellsworth by Ruth Painter Randall, Little Brown (1960) p. 241-242, 246.

14. Colonel Elmer Ellsworth by Ruth Painter Randall, Little Brown (1960) p. 257-258

15. “The End of Them,” published in The New York Times, August 11, 1861.

16. Lecture by Lesley J. Gordon

17. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862.

18. The Civil War: The First Year edited by Brooks Sampson, et al, Library of America (2011).

19. The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns by David Power Conyngham, published by William McSorley (1867) p. 45.

20. “The Fire Zouaves Again.” Published in The New York Time, August 13, 1861.

21. “The Fire Zouaves Again.” Published in The New York Time, August 13, 1861.

22. Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War by Bruce Tap, University of Kansas Press (1998) p. 2 and 44.

23. Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War by Bruce Tap, University of Kansas Press (1998) p. 4, 45, 46.

24. Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War by Bruce Tap, University of Kansas Press (1998) p. 47.

25. Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War by Bruce Tap, University of Kansas Press (1998) p. 47.

26. Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War by Bruce Tap, University of Kansas Press (1998) p. 41.

27. Lecture by Lesley J. Gordon

28. Lecture by Lesley J. Gordon

29. “Report on the Conduct of the War, Vol. 2,” p. 142-149, “Testimony of Maj. William Barry,” January 7, 1862.

30. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862.

31. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862, and p. 242-246, “Testimony of Gen. James Ricketts,” April 3, 1862.

32. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862.

33. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862, and p. 220-221, “Testimony of Lt. Horatio B. Reed,” January 28, 1862.

34. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862.

35. “Report of the Conduct of the War Vol. 2,” p. 168-177, “Testimony of Capt. Charles Griffin,” January 14, 1862.

36. “THE PRISONERS AT RICHMOND.; Correspondence of the Memphis Appeal.” From the Richmond Enquirer, July 27, 1861. Reprinted in The New York Times, August 6, 1861.

37. “THE PRISONERS AT RICHMOND.; Correspondence of the Memphis Appeal.” From the Richmond Enquirer, July 27, 1861. Reprinted in The New York Times, August 6, 1861.

38. “Testimony on Behalf of the Fire Zouaves,” The New York Times, published September 8, 1861.

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


Painting of the Return of the 69th from Bull Run Unearthed

Blog Posts

The Real Story Behind The Immigrants’ Civil War Photo

Why I’m Writing The Immigrants’ Civil War

The Five Meanings of “The Immigrants’ Civil War”

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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

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Free Yale Course with David Blight on the 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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