Did you know Chinese & Filipino Soldiers Fought in U.S. Civil War?


I came across this article published almost exactly 10 years ago today by the American Forces Press. I, too, imagine that many more Japanese and Chinese may have taken on sides in the Civil War. The article is a good read for Civil War bufs.

Chinese Soldiers Fought in U.S. Civil War
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2001 – In the 1860s, if you wanted to send someone “to the ends of the Earth” you sent them to China.

Those were the days of sailing ships augmented by steam power and China was as remote from the Eastern United States as it was possible to be. Still, Chinese Americans found their way to the East Coast, and researchers claim that as many as 50 Chinese fought as soldiers during the American Civil War.

The number does not include the Chinese who served in the U.S. Navy during the war. The soldiers fought on both sides, researchers claim.

The first Chinese on record arrived in what became the United States in 1815. A Chinese ship’s cook settled in Monterey, Calif., then a Spanish province.

The mariners of the Eastern seaboard traded with China. American ships vied with European traders to bring back the riches of the Orient. That was how a Chinese child ended up in Massachusetts.

In 1845, Sargent S. Day, captain of the square-rigged merchant ship Cohota, left Shanghai, China, bound for Massachusetts. Two days from port, he discovered two little half-starved Chinese boys on board. The older boy died, but Day “adopted” the younger boy and named him Edward Day Cohota.

Edward sailed the world with Captain and Mrs. Day until the captain retired to Gloucester, Mass. in 1857. He attended school and the other Day children treated him as a brother.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Cohota joined the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry. He fought in the Battle of Drury’s Bluff near Richmond, Va., on May 16, 1864, and came out of the battle with “seven bullet holes thru” clothes. None touched his flesh.”

At the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va., June 3, 1864, a Confederate Minie ball parted Cohota’s hair permanently, but he was not otherwise hurt. He stayed with the Army of the Potomac through the end of the war.

After the war, Cohota rejoined the Army and was stationed at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. He married and had six children. He served in the Army for 30 years. All that time, he thought he was a U.S. citizen and believed his Civil War service qualified him for the right. But he didn’t take out his second set of naturalization papers until after the Senate passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. He was not a citizen and could not become one.

Cohota died at the Battle Mountain Sanitarium for Veterans in Hot Springs, S.D., in 1935.

Another Chinese soldier of the Union participated in the most famous battle of the Civil War — the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, Pa.

Pvt. Joseph L. Pierce was age 21 when he enlisted in the 14th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862. It’s unclear how Pierce ended up in the United States. One story has it that his father sold him to Connecticut ship Captain Amos Peck for $6. Another story was that his brother sold him for $60. Still another was that Peck picked up the lad, who was adrift in the South China Sea. Peck, a lifelong bachelor, turned the 10-year-old he called “Joe” over to his mother in Connecticut.

Young Joe went to school with the Pecks and formally became Joseph Pierce in 1853. He picked up the last name from President Franklin Pierce.

At the time of his enlistment Pierce was a farmer in New Britain, Conn. He listed his height at 5 feet 5 inches, dark complexion with dark hair and black eyes. His birthplace was Canton in Kwangtung Province, China.

His regiment participated in the Battle of Antietam, Md. Sept. 17, 1862.

He suffered some sickness during his time around Washington and was in the hospital for a time. He was assigned to the Quartermaster Department for a bit and rejoined the 14th in time for the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va. in May 1863.

The 14th had a distinguished role in the Gettysburg campaign. “It fought on the north part of Cemetery Ridge on July 2 and was one of the units that helped repel Pickett’s Charge,” said Gettysburg Historian John Heiser. “The 14th was primarily responsible for turning back Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew’s North Carolina division.” Today, you can see the 14th Memorial to the north of the grove of trees marking the High-water Mark of the Confederacy.

The 14th’s regimental history says that during Pickett’s charge, Pierce appeared “pig-tail and all, the only Chinese in the Army of the Potomac.” But he wasn’t.

Cpl. John Tommy, of Company D, 70th New York Infantry, fought with III Corps on July 2. Tommy also was Chinese and from Canton. “We don’t know how he ended up in the United States,” Heiser said. “He lost both arms and legs during the fighting around the Peach Orchard. He died in the hospital on Oct. 19, 1863.”

A third Chinese soldier, Antonio Dardell, fought with Union troops at Gettysburg. “He was taken as a child from China by a sea captain,” Heiser said. “He enlisted Oct. 22, 1862, in Company A, 27th Connecticut Infantry. He was from Clinton, Conn. The unit fought at the wheat field.” Little else is known of Dardell except he was a tinsmith in civilian life and applied for a pension from the government in 1912.

Historians say there may be more Chinese soldiers. It is tough to pick them out because they often took American names. Another member of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, John Lee, may have been Chinese. Of course, he may have been no more Chinese than the Confederate commander at Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee.

Meanwhile


Filipino Veterans of the US Civil War

Sources:

MA Roster – Massachusetts State Rosters.

Mil. Im. – Military Images magazine.

Muster Roll – Information obtained from original muster rolls at the National Archives.

NH Rosters – New Hampshire Rosters issued by State Adjutant General.

Pension – Pension records, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Asian In the US Civil War researched done by Terry Foenander

In recent times it has become rather fashionable amongst several researchers and authors to emphasize upon the achievements of one section of the Asian population during the Civil War, at the expense of the many others who served. For quite a few years now this author has attempted to collect data on the various Asians (as well as other natives of Pacific, Eastern and Middle Eastern countries) who participated in the struggle, with rather amazing results. I have found that the statement made by one well known Civil War researcher (and repeated in at least one other publication) that a higher percentage of Chinese served in the Civil War than any other ethnic group is highly unlikely. Obviously the service of Filipinos, Indians (from the Indian sub-continent), Malays, Indonesians and several others of that region were not taken into account.

The following list contains the names of natives of the Philippines.

Filipinos in the CIVIL WAR.

Pedro Acon, laborer, born Canton, China; enlisted in Company K, 2nd Louisiana Infantry, USA, at New Orleans, September 30, 1862. Aged 28, gray eyes, black hair dark complexion. Deserted April 14, 1863, at Algiers City. (Muster Roll.)

Stephen Amos, Ordinary Seaman, aged 33, occupation Caulker, enlisted November 25, 1863, for 2 years, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 682, Volume

Joseph Astor (or Castor?), Ordinary Seaman, USS New Ironsides, aged 23, occupation Mariner, enlisted August 19, 1863, for 3 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes hazel, hair black, swarthy complexion. (Muster Roll.)

Felix Cornelius Balderry, Phillippines, Company A, 11th MI Vols. Employed by sea farer Joseph Foster of Leonidas, Michigan, aboard his vessel before the war, Balderry moved to Michigan and worked as a farmhand before enlisting December 7, 1863 at Kalamazoo for 3 years. He served in the western theater, and was sent to hospital at Nashville in June 1864. Discharged in September of that year, he returned to Michigan, where he worked as a tailor. On September 1, 1885 he married 16 year old Ada May Barns at Constantine, Michigan. Balderry passed away on August 18, 1895, of tuberculosis, at the age of 49. (Pension Records. See also Military Images magazine Nov/Dec 1994, p. 13 for an image of Balderry.)

Caystana Baltazar, Landsman, aged 19, enlisted November 10, 1863, for 1 year, at Boston. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, dark complexion. Page 644, Volume 29.

Joseph Banards, Landsman, aged 21, occupation Cook, enlisted March 21, 1865, for 3 years, at Philadelphia. Born Manila, eyes brown, hair black, dark complexion. Page 191, Volume 43.

Andrew Bellino, Seaman, aged 27, occupation Mariner, enlisted May 6, 1864, for 3 years, at Philadelphia. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, dark complexion. Page 308, Volume 33.

Joseph Bernard, Landsman, aged 21, occupation Cook/Steward, enlisted February 4, 1864, for 1 year at Boston. Born Manila, described as East Indian. Page 72, Volume 31.

Joseph Bernardo, Landsman, aged 23, occupation Steward, enlisted March 25, 1865, for 3 years, at Boston. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, dark complexion. Page 169, Volume 43. (See entry for Joseph Bernard, above – probably the same person. Muster Rolls for USS Conemaugh also show Joseph Bernardo, Landsman, aged 21, born Manila, occupation Cook, resident of New Jersey, enlisted March 31, 1865, for 3 years, at PP (Philadelphia?). Received bounty of $100.)

James Brown, Seaman, USS Pursuit and USS Powhatan, aged 24, enlisted October 10, 1864, for 3 years, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes hazel, hair black, dark complexion. (Muster Roll.)

John Brown, Ordinary Seaman, USS Augusta, aged 27 (or 22?), occupation Mariner, enlisted April 18, 1864, for 2 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, dark complexion. Page 261, Volume 33. (Possibly the same person as the previous entry. Muster Rolls for USS Augusta show that he was transferred to hospital on May 28, 1864.)

Martin Cross, Seaman, aged 22, occupation Mariner, enlisted April 11, 1864, for 2 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes bronze, hair black, brown complexion. Page 24, Volume 32. (Muster Rolls of USS Owasco describe his birthplace as Malaya.)

Valentine Cross, Seaman, aged 21, enlisted March 8, 1862, for 3 years, at Boston. Born Manila, described as East Indian. Page 153, Volume 19.

William G. Cruise, Ordinary Seaman, aged 26, enlisted March 22, 1865, for 3 years at Kennebunkport, Maine. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, mulatto complexion. Page 169, Volume 43. (New Hampshire Naval Rosters also show service aboard the USS Constitution and the USS Florida.)

Joseph Cruze, Ordinary Seaman, aged 20, enlisted May 22, 1862, for 3 years, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Ladrone Island, eyes dark, hair black, copper complexion. Page 5, Volume 20.

Martin Cruze, Ordinary Seaman, aged 20, enlisted March 5, 1863, for 1 year, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 116, Volume 25.

Antonio Davis, Seaman, aged 29, occupation Sailor, enlisted August 5, 1863, for 2 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes dark, hair black, brown complexion. Page 426, Volume 27.

Antonio Ducastin, Ordinary Seaman, aged 24, enlisted August 6, 1864, for 3 years, at Jc(?). Born Manila, eyes black, hair dark, dark complexion. Page 83, Volume 36.

John Fernando, Third Class Boy, aged 17, enlisted March 23, 1863, for 3 years, at Boston. Born Manila, described as Malay. Page 149, Volume 25.

Benjamin Floros, Ordinary Seaman, aged 21, occupation Sailor, enlisted November 11, 1864, for 2 years, at Kennebunkport, Maine (?). Born Manila, eyes black, hair brown, brown complexion. Page 867, Volume 39.

John Francis, Seaman, USS New Hampshire, aged 25, occupation Mariner, enlisted July 13, 1862, for 1 year, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes dark, hair black, dark complexion. Page 498, Volume 35. (Muster roll shows John Francis, aged 22, enlisted July 13, 1864, at Boston, for 3 year, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. See also next entry.)

Johnny Francis, Ordinary Seaman, aged 27, enlisted October 9, 1861, for 3 years, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 113, Volume 16. (Probably the same person listed in the previous entry.)

Peter Francis, Seaman, aged 31, occupation Sailor, enlisted August 5, 1863, for 2 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes dark, hair black, brown complexion. Page 426, Volume 27.

John Henry, Seaman, aged 25, occupation Mariner, enlisted June 29, 1863, for 1 year, at Philadelphia. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 353, Volume 26. (See next entry.)

John Henry, Ordinary Seaman, USS Little Ada, aged 26, occupation Mariner, enlisted September 22, 1864, for 3 years, at Portland, Maine (?). Born Manila, East Indies, eyes dark, hair black, dark complexion. (See previous entry – probably the same person.)

Sabas Pilisardo, Seaman, aged 37, occupation Mariner, enlisted September 3, 1864, for 3 years, at New York. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, dark complexion. Page 123, Volume 37.

Prince Romerson, 5th Massachusetts (Colored) Cavalry; born Nyhee, Sandwich Islands; enlisted April 23, 1864, aged 24, at Boston, Massachusetts; previous occupation, barber; promoted to Sergeant, June 1, 1864; mustered out of service, October 10, 1865. (Muster Roll.)

Mananea Romulus, Landsman, aged 26, enlisted September 3, 1861, for 3 years, at New York. Born Manila, described as Lascar. Page 222, Volume 16.

Manuel Roymanus (or Raymanus), Manilla [Phillippines], Company H, 25th NY Cavalry, enlisted February 15, 1864, aged 25; previous occupation, sailor; black eyes, black hair, dark complexion; deserted at Camp Stoneman, August, 1864. (Muster Roll.)

Manuel Santos (or Santoz), Seaman, USS Monitor, aged 45, enlisted April 8, 1863 (1865?), for 1 year, at Boston. Born Manila, described as Manila —-. Page 175, Volume 25.

John Thompson, Ordinary Seaman, aged 23, enlisted March 3, 1863, for 1 year, at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 116, Volume 25. (See also next entry.)

John Thompson, Seaman, aged 24, occupation Sail Maker, enlisted March 31, 1864, for 2 years, aboard USS Brandywine. Born Manila, eyes black, hair black, copper complexion. Page 199, Volume 32. (Probably the same person shown in the previous entry.)

The cited entries showing a reference to a volume

number and page number refer to the Naval Rendezvous

Reports, available at the National Archives,

Washington, D.C.

Advertisements

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Did you know Chinese & Filipino Soldiers Fought in U.S. Civil War?

  1. Pingback: PHILIPPINES RELOOKED AT THROUGH EYES OF “AMIGO” DIRECTOR AND AUTHOR OF “A MOMENT IN THE SUN”: John Sayles « Eslkevin's Blog

  2. eslkevin says:

    Teleportations – Philippine Soldier in Mexico City
    This is one of those old stories that make it to the present yet are so old you don’t know what to believe. Either way, I’m putting it in here because it’s something to think about and I like these little stories.
    This goes back to October 24, 1593, when a soldier who was stationed in Manila reported for palace-gaurd duty at the palace in Mexico City. His uniform was noticed instantly and he was questioned by the authorities. The soldier had no idea how he ended up in a strange land. He said that he had been instructed to report for duty at the Manila palace that morning because the governor of the Philippines had been killed the night before. The authorities didn’t believe him so they stuck him in jail.
    Two months later, news arrived in Mexico City which backed his story of the Philippine governor being murdered. The date was the night before the soldier first appeared. The authorities set him free and let him return to the Philippines.

    (Colin Wilson – Enigmas and Mysteries)

  3. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Many thanks! http://southendbuttery.com/archives/3095

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s