Confederate Truths: Documents of the Confederate & Neo-Confederate Tradition from 1787 to the Present.

Foreigners in Our War of the Sixities


Neo-Confederates after the Civil War focused on the fact that many immigrants from Europe fought on the European side and were somehow un-American. This focus continues into the present with a recent book by Walter D. Kennedy and Al Benson Jr., "Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists" promoted in the educational publication of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Southern Mercury that the Republican Party of Lincoln was some type of communist conspiracy by German immigrants.

This article was published in the Confederate Veteran, Dec. 1902, Vol. 10, No. 2, page 557, no author, and is an editorial of the Confederate Veteran magazine itself, which was the official publication of the United Confederate Veterans, Confederated Southern Memorial Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The book, praised and published by the Confederate Veteran, as having "put many people to thinking on important lines," has an Appendix of ranting and rabid racism and this is a quote from it:

The negro, as sold by his first owner, was a stupid animal speaking a jabbering lingo; he was now taught and trained in civilization until he was adjudged by the North, when set free, capable to perform all the duties pertaining to the high official positions to which the United States government did appoint him or his brother negroes elected him. Yes, under the teachings and training of their owners on the plantations and in the cities, while slaves, they were converted from fetichism to Christianity, and from cannibalism to gentility of living, and their beastly nature curbed by moral surroundings and force of example; and now , to humiliate the Southern people, who were disenfranchised, political plans were arranged to have negro Senators elected instead of whites, and from Mississippi two negroes were occupying at different periods seats in the United States Senate chamber. ["Two Wars: An Autobiography of Gen. Samuel G. French," Confederate Veteran, Nashville, 1901.]

The article is poorly worded and I add some explanatory notes in brackets [ ]. One point over looked by the article is that as nearly many men from the former slave states fought to the Union as for the Confederacy, but that point is not noticed in this focus on the "foreign-born." Curiously, also, African Americans and person born in the slave states are counted as foreign-born in the Union army.


Gen. Samuel G. French, whose "Two Wars' has put many people to thinking on important lines, is now and then criticized adversely. The American Historical Review complains of his figures that they are exaggerated ridiculously. General French writes the Times-Democrat that he has gone over the records again, and finds that he did make a mistake, but that the numbers are much greater than he had made them, and gives the following as the corrected figures:

"Enlistments from foreign countries, 494,000. [The following figures are enlistments in the Union army from states claimed by the Confederacy.] Then he gives from Alabama, 2,566; Arkansas, 8,298; Delaware, 12,284; Florida, 1,290; Kentucky, 75,760; Louisiana, 5,224; Maryland, 46,638; North Carolina, 3,156; Mississippi, 545; Missouri, 109,111; Texas, 1,963; West Virginia, 32,068; New Mexico, 6,561; Tennessee, 31,092; Indian Territory, 3,560; Negroes, 178,975. Total, 1,013,975.

"These figures show that there were 1,013,975 enlisted men in the Union army not born in the free States, and that the slave States furnished 519,175 for that army. In other words, there were over a million for foreign-born in the Union army.

"They also demonstrate that if we deduct from the whole number of foreigners (1,013,975) the entire strength of the Confederate army (600,000), we have an excess of 413,975 foreigners. So, here is an army of men enlisted outside the free States that outnumbered the Confederate army by 413,795. This statement is corroborated by the "World's Almanac," page 87, year 1900.

"I must, however, remark that some of the negro troops enumerated probably embrace Colonel Shaw's regiment of colored men enlisted in Boston or elsewhere. But as an offset to this I have credited 16,534 men furnished by the District of Columbia to the Union army. And thus the statement made in my autobiography is not 'ridiculous' as stated by the distinguished reviewers."

In the face of these extraordinary facts there are many of the South and others of the North very friendly to the South who on some account dwell upon the "Americanism" of both armies. The claim is inconsistent, not only with these extraordinary figures, but Southern people and our soldiers who were occasionally captured remember well that regiments and regiments served in their sections not a man of whom could speak a word of English. Yet they were the patriots (?) who "saved the Union!"

[Note: "(?)" in the original published text.]