Civil War Essay Research Paper The Civil

Civil War Essay, Research Paper

The Civil War

For minorities, as for other Americans, the Civil War was

an opportunity to prove their valor and loyalty. Among the first

mustered into the Union Army were a De Kalb regiment of German

American clerks, the Garibakdi Guards made up of Italian

Americans, a “Polish Legion,” and hundreds of Irish American

youths form Boston and New York. But in Ohio and Washington,

D.C., African American volunteers were turned away from

recruiting stations and told, “This is a white man’s war.” Some

citizens questioned the loyalty of immigrants who lived in

crowded city tenements until an Italian American from Brooklyn

turned that around. In the New York Senate, Democrat Francis

Spinola had been a vigorous foe of Republican policies and

Lincoln. But now he swore his loyalty with stirring words, “This

is my flag, which I will follow and defend.” This speech gave

great assurance that the masses in the great cities were devoted

to the Union and ready to enlist for its defense.

More than 400,000 European immigrants fought for the

Union, including more than 170,00 Germans and more than 150,00

Irish. Many saw their services as a proud sacrifice. The first

officer to die for the Union was Captain Constatin Blandowski,

one of many immigrants who earlier had fought for freedom in

Europe and then joined Lincoln’s army. Born in Upper Silesia and

trained at Dresden, Germany, he was a veteran of democratic

struggles – a Polish revolt at Krakow, the Polish Legion’s

battles against Austria, and the Hungarian fight for

independence. Some nationalities contributed more than their

share of Union soldiers.

Some immigrants earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Italian American officer Louis di Cesnola, was the Colonel of

the 4th Cavalry Regiment. At Aldie, Virginia, in 1863, he earned

the Medal of Honor and was appointed a general. He charged

unarmed at the foe, read his citation, “rallied his men …until

desperately wounded and taken prisoner in action.” In 1879

Cesnola became director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The museum then became, wrote a critic, “a monument to his

energy, enterprise, and rare executive skill.”

Italian American privates also won the Medal of Honor.

Joseph Sova of the 8th Cavalry earned it for capturing the

Confederate flag at Appomattox. Private Orlando Caruana of the

51st Infantry won it at Newburn, North Carolina. With bullets

whizzing past him, he saved wounded men and rescued the U.S.


As 1865 came on, the feel of victory was in the Northern

air. And so the Civil War was over. Yet even the ending of the

war did not bring real peace. On Good Friday, April 14, 11 days

after Union troops had entered Richmond, an actor named John

Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln as the President watched a play

from his box in Ford’s Theater, Washington, D.C. The one man who

might have brought about a just peace was dead.

The Civil War had solved some old problems for the United

States. But it created some new problems as well. But many of

the problems created by the Civil War have been solved. Towns

have been rebuilt, new industries flourish, and new schools have

been erected. Most of the damage of war has been long repaired.

North and South both enjoy prosperity. But many of the human

problems still remain.


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