Just How Many Mexicans Fought in the Civil War?

Researching Mexican/Hispanic involvement in the American Civil War has brought me to some interesting figures concerning Mexican enlistment.

Near the start of the war, the Confederacy enlisted approximately 2,500 Hispanics, and the Grand Army enlisted 1,000. Towards the end of the war, enlistment of Hispanics rose to nearly 10,000 men and women across both armies. Some participants were Hispanic-Americans and Mexican-Americans, but a number were either born in U.S. territories or on other continents: this would imply they did not have U.S. citizenship.

I find it most perplexing that so many Hispanics would identify with the Confederacy, especially after the detrimental damage and land losses caused by the Mexican-American War (largely supported by Southerners) hardly fifty years prior.


If You Want a Wise Answer, Ask a Reasonable Question

At least, that’s what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, but that is neither here nor there.

Thomas Desjardin provides interesting narratives from the Civil War riddled with inaccuracies. These fiction-filled stories lead readers such as myself wondering how someone, such as a historian, judges the intent and purpose of an author’s work? Desjardin makes reference to the questionable motives in some instances, but does not completely flesh out the underlying drivers, skewing history for personal agendas.

Desjardin writes about the “yellow journalism” of Hearsts magazine, and the wildly “corrected” version of Joshua Chamberlain’s “Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg,” explaining that Hearsts certainly had reason and motive for changing the story provided by the colonel. Was Hearsts’ exaggeration simply for increased sales, or did he have ulterior motives beyond money?

Another instance of hidden motives involved General Lafayette McLaws of the Confederacy and John Badger Bachelder, a portrait and landscape painter. Bachelder requested information from McLaws in the heat of the battle, but was declined because McLaws felt it wasn’t “proper to give an extended account of the operations of [his] command.” Months after the war ended Bachelder published his writings and was criticized by McLaws, who questioning the validity of Bachelder’s facts. Rather than correct Bachelder, McLaws simply said “the day for the history of that battle is not yet.” What motives could possibly prevent McLaws from pointing out the fallacies of someone’s writings? Possibly to protect the later publication of his own story?

John Badger Bachelder also turns out to be the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association superintendent of tablets and legends. Bachelder has already been accused of reporting falsified information; however, what motives could Bachelder have had to want control over what monuments and inscriptions appear in Gettysburg?  He never actually served in Gettysburg; however, he did tag along and record battles.

Reasonable questions? Maybe not.


Battle of Peachtree Creek… Apartments?

How would you like to live on land once used as an encampment by the Confederate army? Well, you may be able to in Atlanta, GA! The Civil War Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Civil War battlefields, is attempting to prevent the 14-acre plot from being converted into apartment homes later this year. Unfortunately, 2013 doesn’t seem to be as successful as 2012 for the organization, and the developer seems to show no sign of halting.

The Battle of Peachtree Creek took place within the 14 acres, and eventually led to the Battle of Atlanta. This battle was the first major attack by Lt. Gen. John B. Hood after taking over the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

John B. Hood was also at the Battle of Gettysburg, and actually contributed significantly to the outcome. After receiving General Lee’s orders, Hood was dissatisfied with his assignment. He protested multiple times to Longstreet, asking to avoid a strenuous terrain and attack the Union army from behind. Continuously denied, Hood and his men eventually met the Union army at Little Round Top. There, Hood was severely injured and passed command to his ranking brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Evander M. Law. Through the confusion and disorder, the goal and strength of the Confederate army was almost completely halted, leading to a Union victory.

Read the full apartment article here: Housing Developers eye Civil War Battlefield

Lt. Gen. John B. Hood

3-D Sonar Image of Civil War Shipwreck & Irishmen

Earlier this month, 3-D sonar images of the only U.S. Navy ship that sunk in the Gulf of Mexico during Civil War combat were released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The ship is the 210-foot USS Hatteras, and it sits approximately 57 feet below covered by mud and sand. This ship was built in 1861 as a civilian steamship, but was purchased by and remains property of the U.S. Navy. The Hatteras was used in the blockade of the Florida coast to prevent supplies from reaching the Confederacy.

On January 6, 1863, the Hatteras was assigned to a fleet commanded by David Farragut , located in Galveston, Texas. On January 11, men on the Hatteras tracked down a ship that identified itself as British, only to open fire from as close as 25 yards away. The ship was soon identified as the CSS Alabama, an apparently notorious Confederate raider ship! Within an hour, the USS Hatteras was ablaze and sinking. The men surrendered, losing only two of the 126-man crew, and were taken aboard the Alabama as prisoners of war.

Who were the two men that died, assumed “entombed in the wreck”? William Healy and John Cleary – two Irishmen. It seems as though men of many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds participated in the Civil War; however, I don’t often find information on other groups without actively seeking it. This article hardly makes a mention of the two, aside from “two of those guys paid the ultimate price”.

I wonder how many more minorities served our nation, seemingly without much recognition?


Information regarding shipwreck, including multiple photos can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/bchu3mk

This Week in the American Civil War: January 13, 1863

Tuesday January 13, 1863

“A Federal expedition from Helena, Arkansas operated up the White River until the nineteenth, capturing St. Charles, Clarendon, Devall’s Bluff and Des Arc, Arkansas.

At Harpeth Shoals on the Cumberland River in Tennessee, the U.S.S. Sidell, a Federal gunboat, surrendered to Confederate troops under Joseph Wheeler. Three transports with wounded troops were also seized in the action. The wounded were put on board one vessel and allowed to go on, while the other boats were burned.

Federal officials formally authorized the raising of Negro troops for the South Carolina Volunteer Infantry to be commanded by Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson.”

From “This Week in the Civil War