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Hispanics in the Civil War

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  • Hispanics in the Civil War

    Published By the Arizona Civil War Council

    Click Here for the Original Article

    Hispanics in the American Civil War fought on both the Union and Confederate sides of the conflict. Not all the Hispanics who fought in the American Civil War were "Hispanic-Americans", in other words citizens of the United States. Many of them were Spanish subjects or nationales from countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Some were born in a US Territory and therefore did not have the right to US Citizenship. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 Hispanics, mostly Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans (Puerto Rico and Cuba were Spanish colonies) living in the United States joined the war: 2,500 for the Confederacy and 1,000 for the Union. This number increased to 10,000 by the end of the war.

    Hispanic is an ethnic term employed to categorize any citizen or resident of the United States, of any racial background, of any country, and of any religion, who has at least one ancestor from the people of Spain or is of non-Hispanic origin, but has an ancestor from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central or South America, or some other Hispanic origin. The three largest Hispanic groups in the United States are the Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans.[1]

    The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the "Federal Army", the "U.S. Army", the "Northern Army" and the "National Army".[2] It consisted of the small United States Army (the regular army), augmented by massive numbers of units supplied by the Northern states, composed of volunteers as well as conscripts.

    The "New Mexico Volunteer Infantry", with 157 Hispanics officers, was the Union Unit with the most officers of that ethnic background. Besides Colonel Miguel E. Pino and Lieutenant Colonel Jose Maria Valdez who belonged to the 2nd New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, the New Mexico Volunteer Infantry also included Colonel Diego Archuleta (eventually promoted to Brig. Gen.), the commanding officer of the First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Jose G. Gallegos commander of the Third New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Perea, who commanded Perea's Militia Battalion.[3]

    Another unit which was composed of Hispanics was D Company "The Spanish Company" of the Garibaldi Guard, 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The company served until July 1, 1865, when it was mustered out at
    Alexandria. They lost during its term of service 119 by death from wounds, and 159 by death from accident, imprisonment or disease, of whom 94 died in prison.[4]

    The Confederate Congress provided for a Confederate States Army patterned after the United States Army. It was to consist of a large provisional force to exist only in time of war and a small permanent regular army. The provisional, volunteer army was established by an act of the Confederate Congress passed February 28, 1861, one week before the act which established the permanent regular army organization, passed March 6, 1861. Although the two forces were to exist concurrently, little was done to organize the Confederate regular army.[5]

    Amongst the Confederate units, who either had a significant number of Hispanics or were composed entirely of Hispanics were the 5th Regiment (Spanish Regiment) of the "European Brigade", "Cazadores Espanoles Regiment"
    and the "Louisiana Tigers", all from Louisiana; the "Spanish Guards" and the "55th Infantry" both from Alabama and "Florida's 2nd Infantry".[6][7]

    Hispanics held various grades of ranks in the military, the highest being full Admiral of the Union Navy. Three Hispanics were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration for heroism awarded by the United States. Hispanic women also participated, such was the case of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, a Cuban woman who disguised as a male, fought and spied for the confederacy even after her gender was discovered a second time.[8][9]

    Notable Military Personnel

    The following is an uncompleted list of notable Hispanics who participated in the American Civil War. Their names are placed in accordance to the highest rank which they held during their military service.

    Union Forces

    • Admiral David Farragut (1801–1870) - Farragut was promoted to vice admiral on December 21, 1864, and to full admiral on July 25, 1866, after the war, thereby becoming the first person to be named full admiral in the Navy's history. Farragut's greatest victory was the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. Mobile, Alabama at the time was the Confederacy's last major port open on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay was heavily mined with tethered naval mines, also known as torpedoes. When the USS Tecumseh, one of the ships under his command, struck a mine and went down, Farragut shouted through a trumpet from his flagship to the USS Brooklyn, "What's the trouble?" "Torpedoes!" was the reply, to which Farragut then shouted his now famous words "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"[10] The fleet succeeded in entering the bay. Farragut then triumphed over the opposition of heavy batteries in Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines to defeat the squadron of Admiral Franklin Buchanan. [11] Farragut was promoted to vice admiral on December 21, 1864, and to full admiral on July 25, 1866, after the war, thereby becoming the first person to be named full admiral in the Navy's history.[12]

    • Brigadier General Diego Archuleta (1814–1884) - was a member of the Mexican Army who fought against the United States in the Mexican American War. During the American Civil War he joined the Union Army (US Army) and became the first Hispanic to reach the military rank of Brigadier General. He commanded The First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Valverde.He was later appointed an Indian (Native Americans) Agent by Abraham Lincoln. [13]

    • Brevet Brigadier General [14] Henry Clay Pleasants (1833 – 1880) - was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pleasants, who at the time was a Lieutenant Colonel, devised an plan to break the Confederate stranglehold on the city of Petersburg, Virginia. He organized the building of an underground tunnel filled with explosives under the Confederate lines outside the city. His actions led to the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. It was supposed to give the Union troops an opportunity to break the defense of Petersburg. The poorly executed "Battle of the Crater" failed and his troops continued to fight for eight more months. Pleasants, however, was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General.[6]

    • Colonel Carlos Alvarez de la Mesa (1828–1872) - Alvarez de la Mesa, a resident of Worcester, Mass., was a Spanish national who fought at Gettysburg for the Union Army in the Spanish Company of the "Garibaldi Guard" of the 39th New York State Volunteers.[15] He received a stomach contusion at Gettysburg and was medically discharged on September 30, 1863, for intermittent fever and chronic ankle ulcer.[16] Over 200 letters written by Carlos Alvarez de la Mesa during the Civil War were donated to the NY State Military Museum.[17] Alvarez de la Mesa is the grandfather of Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr. commanding general of the First Infantry Division in North Africa and Sicily, and later the commander of the 104th Infantry Division during World War II. [15]

    • Colonel José Guadalupe Gallegos (1828 - 1867) - Gallegos was the Post Commander at Hatch Ranch on Nov 22, 1861. His unit was under special order 187, Nov 9, 1861 to construct a road between Las Vegas and Fort Union. Gallegos served as commander of the Third New Mexico Volunteer Infantry in the Army of the United States from August 26, 1861, until March 6, 1862. This was just prior to the Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought from March 26 to 28, 1862, the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign.[18]

    • Colonel Miguel E. Pino - Prior to the Civil War, Pino was the Commanding Officer of an expedition which was organized in Santa Fe, New Mexico against the Navajos. During the Civil War, Pino commanded the 2nd Regiment of New Mexico Volunteers, which fought at the Battle of Valverde from February 20 to February 21, 1862, and the Battle of Glorieta Pass from March 26 to March 28, 1862. Pino and his men played an instrumental role in the defeat Confederate Army, derailing any plans of an invasion of New Mexico.[19]

    • Colonel Federico Fernández Cavada (1831–1871) - Cuban born Cavada Commanded the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer infantry regiment when it took the field in the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg. Because of his artistic talents, he was assigned to the Hot Air Balloon unit of the Union Army. From the air he sketched what he observed of the enemy movements. On April 19, 1862, Federico sketched enemy positions from Thaddeus Lowe's Constitution balloon during the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia. Cavada was captured during the Battle of Gettysburg and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Cavada was released in 1864 and later published a book entitled "LIBBY LIFE: Experiences of A Prisoner of War in Richmond, VA, 1863-64", which told about the cruel treatment which he received in the Confederate prison[20][21]

    • Lieutenant Colonel José Francisco Chaves (1833–1904) - Chávez had been an officer in the Mexican Army before he joined the Union Army. He entered the Union Army as major of the 1st New Mexico Infantry Regiment. Chávez fought in the Battle of Valverde in the American Civil War alongside Colonel Kit Carson. Chávez later became the first Secretary of Education for New Mexico.[22]

    • Lieutenant Colonel Julius Peter Garesché (1821–1862) - When the American Civil War broke out, Garesché declined a commission as brigadier general of volunteers, and was made Chief of Staff, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the regular army, to Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans. In this capacity he participated in the operations of the Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Stones River. Riding with General Rosecrans toward the Round Forest, Garescé was decapitated by a cannonball.[23]

    • Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Perea (1830–1913) - On December 1861, Perea organized and commanded Perea's Militia Battalion for the defense of New Mexico. Perea was later elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth Congress. He served in said position for two years (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1865).[24]

    • Lieutenant Colonel Jose Maria Valdez (1841–1884) - Valdez commanded the 3rd New Mexico volunteers at Valverde. Both he and Colonel Pino were cited by Union General Canby in his official report for their efforts in this action.[3]

    • Major Manuel Antonio Chaves (1818–1889) - Chaves was in charge of Fort Fauntleroy in northwestern New Mexico. On March 28, 1862, Chaves led 490 New Mexico volunteers on a daring raid. As the main Union troops fought the Confederates, Chaves's men lowered themselves down a 200 foot slope, taking a small Texan guard completely by surprise and capturing the Confederates' supply train. They destroyed the wagons and burned all the supplies.[21]

    Major Salvador Vallejo (1813–1876) - Vallejo organized First Battalion of Native Cavalry one of the California units which served with the Union Army in the West. Vallejo set out with 469 men to New Mexico upon rumors of a Confederate advance and served as far east as Arizona, which at the time was part of the New Mexico Territory. The advance never happened and therefore Vallejo did not have a battlefield role in the Civil War.[19][25]

    • Captain Román Antonio Baca - Baca was an officer in the New Mexico Volunteers a Union force. In 1862, he became the first Hispanic spy for the United States.[19]

    • Captain Stephen Vincent Benet (1827 - 1895) - was a descendant of Minorcans, a Hispanic group from the Balearic Islands. During the Civil War he taught the science of gunnery at West Point.[26][6]

    • Captain Adolfo Fernández Cavada (1832–1871) - Cavada served in the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg with his brother, Colonel Federico Fernandez Cavada. He served with distinction in the Army of the Potomac from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg and was a "special aide-de-camp" to General Andrew A. Humphreys. [20][27]

    • Captain Luis F. Emilio (1844–1918) - The son of a Spanish immigrant, Emilio was among the group of original officers of the 54th selected by Massachusetts War Governor John Albion Andrew. Captain Emilio emerged from the ferocious assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863 as the regiment's acting commander, since all of the other ranking officers had been killed or wounded. He fought with the 54th for over three years of dangerous combat.[28]

    • Lieutenant Augusto Rodriguez (1841–1880) - Rodriguez was a Puerto Rican native who served as an officer in the 15th Connecticut Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, of the Union Army. Rodríguez served in the defenses of Washington, D.C. and led his men in the Battles of Fredericksburg and Wyse Fork. [29]

    Confederate Forces

    • Colonel Ambrosio José Gonzales (1818–1893) - Gonzales, a native Cuban, became a U.S. Citizen in 1849 and settled in Beaufort, South Carolina. Gonzales was active during the bombardment of Fort Sumter and because of his actions was appointed Lt. Colonel of artillery and assigned to duty as Chief of Artillery in the department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Gonzales, who served as a special aide to the governor of South Carolina, submitted plans for the defense of the coastal areas of his homeland state. According to Major D. Leadbetter in a letter to the Secretary of War:

    "The project of auxiliary coast defense herewith, as submitted by Col. A. J. Gonzales, though not thought to be everywhere applicable, is believed to be of great value under special circumstances. In the example assumed at Edisto Island, where the movable batteries rest on defensive works and are themselves scarcely exposed to surprise and capture, a rifled 24-pounder, with two small guns, rallying and reconnoitering from each of the fixed batteries, would prove invaluable. A lighter gun than the 24-pounder, and quite as efficient, might be devised for such service, but this is probably the best now available. Colonel Gonzales’ proposed arrangements for re-enforcing certain exposed and threatened maritime Posts seem to be judicious and to merit attention."

    Gonzales was able to fend off Union gunboat attempts to destroy railroads and other important points on the Carolina coast by placing his heavy artillery on special carriages for increased mobility. On November 30, 1864, Gonzales served as Artillery Commander at the Battle of Honey Hill. The Battle of Honey Hill was the third battle of Sherman's March to the Sea fought in Savannah, Georgia. [30] Confederate President Jefferson Davis declined Gonzales's request for promotion to general six times. Davis' dislike for P. G. T. Beauregard deprived Gonzales of general's rank because he (Gonzales) had served under him. It is also believed that Gonzales's experience with Cuban filibusters, was no recommendation for command, nor were his contentious relationships with Confederate officers in Richmond.[31]

    • Colonel Leonidas M. Martin (1824–1904) - Martin organized and was a Major in the 10th Texas Cavalry. Promoted to Colonel was placed in charge of the 5th Texas Partisan Rangers under the command of Colonel Thomas C. Bass. Martin participated in the Battle of Honey Springs, the largest battle fought in Indian Territory, fought on July 17, 1863. The Union Forces were victorious and a result of the Confederate defeat in this battle was that the Confederates were always short on supplies in the Indian Territory forcing the Texas Cavalry to abandon the territory.[32]

    • Colonel Santos Benavides (1823–1891) - Benavides commanded his own regiment, the "Benavides Regiment." He was the highest ranking Mexican-American in the Confederate Army. On March 19, 1864, he defended Laredo against the Union's First Texas Cavalry, whose commander was Colonel Edmund J. Davis, a Florida native who had previously offered Benavides a Union generalship, and defeated the Union forces. Probably his greatest contribution to the Confederacy was securing passage of Confederate cotton to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in 1863. On March 18, 1864, Major Alfred Holt led a force of about two hundred men from the command of Col. Davis near Brownsville, Texas to destroy five thousand bales of cotton stacked at the San Agustín Plaza. Colonel Santos Benavides commanded forty-two men and repelled three Union attacks at the Zacate Creek in what is known as the Battle of Laredo. [20][33]

    • Major David Camden DeLeón (1816-1872) - DeLeón a.k.a. "The Fighting Doctor", came from a Sephardic Jewish family. He was the first Hispanic to graduate from an Ivy League School (University of Pennsylvania -
    1836). In 1864, he became the first Surgeon General of the Confedrate States. The President of the Confederate States Jefferson Davis, assigned him the task of organizing the medical department of the Confederate Army.[19]

    • Captain Michael Philip Usina (1840 - 1903) - was a member of the Confederate States Navy. He was born in St. Augustine, Florida, to Spanish parents. As Captain of several blockade runners, Usina managed to avoid capture on his many successful missions. Usina fought in Co. B in the 8th Georgia Infantry of the Confederate Army before being transferred to the Navy. He was wounded and captured in the Battle of Manassas, but managed to escape and reach the Southern lines.[6][34]

    Hispanic Women in the Civil War

    The Capture of the USS Columbine in the "Battle of Horse Landing" Many women participated in the American Civil War. Two of the most notable Hispanic women to participate in that conflict were Lola Sánchez and Loreta Janeta Velazquez. The similarities between them were that both were Cuban born and both served for the Confederacy. However, the difference between them was that one served as a spy while the other disguised
    herself as a male and fought in various battles.

    • Lola Sánchez (1844 - 1895) - Sánchez was born in Armstrong, Florida of Cuban dewcent. She became upset when her father was accused of being a Confederate spy by the Union Forces and sent to prison. This event angered and inspired her to become a Confederate spy. The Union Army had occupied her residence in Palatka, Florida and she overheard the officer's plans of a raid. She alerted the Confederates under the command of Capt. John Jackson Dickison. Because of the information which she provided, the Confederate soldiers were able to surprise the Union troops, in what became known as the "Battle of Horse Landing",[21] and capture the USS Columbine, a Union warship in the only known incident in US history where a cavalry unit captured and sank an enemy gunboat.[35]

    • Loreta Janeta Velazquez a.k.a. "Lieutenant Harry Buford" (1842–1897) - Velazquez was a Cuban woman who masqueraded as a male Confederate soldier during the Civil War. She enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, without her soldier-husband's knowledge. She fought at Bull Run, Ball's Bluff and Fort Donelson, but her gender was discovered while in New Orleans and she was discharged. Undeterred, she reenlisted and fought at Shiloh, until unmasked once more. She then became a spy, working in both male and female guises.[20]

    Medal of Honor

    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States."[36]

    Corporal Joseph H. De Castro (1844–1892) - De Castro served in Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry and was the first Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipient". During the battle, De Castro attacked a confederate flag bearer from the 19th Virginia Infantry regiment, with the staff of his own colors and seized the opposing regiment's flag, handing the prize over to General Alexander S. Webb. General Webb is quoted as saying:

    "At the instant a man broke through my lines and thrust a rebel battle flag into my hands. He never said a word and darted back. It was Corporal Joseph H. De Castro, one of my color bearers. He had knocked down a color bearer in the enemy's line with the staff of the Massachusetts State colors, seized the falling flag and dashed it to me". [37][37]

    • Seaman Philip Bazaar - Bazaar was a resident of Massachusetts, who joined the Union Navy at New Bedford. He was assigned to the USS Santiago de Cuba, a wooden, brigantine-rigged, side-wheel steamship under the command of Rear Admiral David D. Porter. In the latter part of 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an assault on Fort Fisher, a Confederate stronghold. which protected the vital trading routes of Wilmington's port, at North Carolina.[38] On January 12, 1865, both ground and naval Union forces attempted a second land assault, after the failure of the first. During the land assault, Bazaar and 5 other crew members carried dispatches from Rear Admiral Porter to Major General Alfred Terry, while under heavy fire from the Confederates to Major General Alfred Terry. Bazaar was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.[39][40]

    • Seaman John Ortega (1840-????) - Ortega was a resident of Pennsylvania who joined the Union Navy in his adopted hometown in Pennsylvania. Ortega was assigned to the USS Saratoga during the Civil War. The USS Saratoga was ordered to proceed to Charleston, South Carolina for duty in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Ortega was a member of the landing parties from the ship who made several raids in August and September in 1864, which resulted in the capture of many prisoners and the taking or destruction of substantial quantities of ordnance, ammunition, and supplies. A number of buildings, bridges, and salt works were destroyed during the expedition. For his actions Seaman John Ortega was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to acting master's mate. He was the first Hispanic member of the U.S. Navy to receive the Medal of Honor.[41][42]

    Hispanic Union Units

    The Garibaldi Guard, D Company "The Spanish Company"

    The 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also known as the "Garibaldi Guard," was mustered into the U.S. service at New York, May 28, 1861. The unit was composed of three Hungarian companies, three German, one Swiss, one Italian, one French, one Portuguese and one Spanish. The Spanish unit, 4th D Company, consisted of men from different Latin American countries. Puerto Ricans and Cubans were Spanish subjects at the time and inscribed as Spaniards. The unit fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, participated in the Mine Run campaign and in the Wilderness campaign. The battalion participated in the pursuit of General Robert E. Lee's army and performed various routine duties in the vicinity of Richmond until July 1, 1865, when it was mustered out at Alexandria.[4]

    The following is a list of the names of some of the Hispanics officers of the 4th D Company "The Spanish Company" of the Garibaldi Guard: Captain Joseph Torrens, 1st Lt. Jose Romero, 2nd Lt. (later Colonel) Carlos
    Alvarez de la Mesa and 1st Sgt. Francisco Luque.[4]

    New Mexico Volunteer Infantry Regiment

    Mustered in August 1861, the New Mexico Volunteer Infantry Regiment was the Union Unit with the most officers of Hispanic background. On February 21, 1862 these units fought against Confederate Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley and his troops in the Battle of Valverde in February and the Battle of Glorieta Pass. In January 1864, Colonel Kit Carson led a detachment of nearly 400 in the Battle of Canyon de Chelly. Later that year Carson led a detachment at the first Battle of Adobe Walls. Among the last engagements of the war in which the units participated was the Battle of Aro Pass, fought on July 5, 1865.[3] The regiment was mustered out on September 30, 1866.[43]

    Hispanic Confederate Units

    European Brigades and the Louisiana Tigers The 5th Regiment of the "European Brigade" was a home guard brigade of New Orleans, Louisiana made up of 800 Hispanics who were descendents of immigrants from the Canary Islands. The brigade, under the command of Brigadier General William E. Starke, was assigned to defend the city. Louisiana also had a brigade called the "Cazadores Espanoles Regiment" (Spanish Hunters Regiment)[44] and the "Louisiana Tigers", commanded by Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, which had men from Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. The brigades fought at the Battles of Antietam and Gettysburg.[6]

    The following is a list of the names of some of the Hispanics officers of the 5th Regiment of the "European Brigade": Capt. Domingo Fatjo, Capt. Magin Puig, Capt. Jose Quintana, Capt. A. Pons Valencia, 1st Lt. Jose Albarez, 1st Lt. J. Barba, 1st Lt. John Fernandez, 1st Lt. S. J. Font, 1st Lt. Eduardo Villa, 1st Lt. Antonio Robira, 1st Lt. Antonio Helizo, 2nd Lt. Dormian Campo, 2nd Lt. Lorenzo Carbo, 2nd Lt. J. B. Cassanova, 2nd Lt. Eduardo Deu, 2nd Lt. Juan Fernandez, 2nd Lt. A. Fornaris, 2nd Lt. Valentin Hamsen, 2nd Lt. Juan Parra, 2nd Lt. Antonio Mercadal, 2nd Lt. R. Martinez, 3rd Lt.[45] Antonio Barrera, 3rd Lt. Edward Bermudez, 3rd Lt. Jose Bernal, 3rd Lt. C. Garcia, 3rd Lt. Bernardo Rodriguez, 3rd Lt. Bernardo Heres, 3rd Lt. Jose Salor and 3rd Lt. F. Suarez.[46]

    Among the Hispanic officers of the "Cazadores Espanoles Regiment" are the following: Lt. Col. J. M. Anquera, Capt. Jose Anguera, Capt. S. G. Fabio, 2nd Lt. Ceferino Monasteria, 1st Lt. Vicente Planellas, 1st Lt. L. Roca and Surgeon Francisco Ribot.[46]

    The Spanish Guards

    The home guard brigade of Mobile, Alabama, made of Hispanics, was called "The Spanish Guards". The guard served as part of the Mobile County Reserves. Even though it was disbanded on April 12, 1865, many of its men joined the other Confederate forces and surrendered with General Richard Taylor, at Citronelle, Alabama, on May 4, 1865. Various brigades which had a significant number of Hispanic soldiers and which fought at the Battles of Antietam and Gettysburg were Alabama's 55th Infantry and Florida's 2nd Infantry.[6]

    The following Hispanic officers served with the Alabama forces: Maj. F. A. Moreno, 1st Lt. Andrew J. Pou, 2nd Lt. Jerome Eslava and 2nd Lt,. M. Franciscoa. Lt. Col. William Bayaand and 2nd Lt. Francis Baya served with the Florida Infantry.[6]

    Confederate Units of Texas

    Besides serving in the "Benavides Regiment", many Hispanics who were from Texas served in other units of the Confederate Army. Known as Tejanos, they fought in the Battles of Gaines' Mill, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Appomattox Court House as members of the Sixth and Eighth Texas Infantry and of Hood's Texas Brigade under the command of Col. John Bell Hood. Some Tejanos marched across the deserts of West Texas to secure the Mesilla Valley as members of Charles L. Pyron's company which were later incorporated into Gen. Henry Hopkins Sibley's Confederate Army of New Mexico and fought at the battle of Valverde.[47]

    Post War

    After the war, the Confederate Army ceased to exist and many of the volunteer units of the Union were mustered out. Most of the former soldiers went home and returned to the civilian activities that they had prior to the war. Others continued in the military and joined the regular Army and Navy.

    Among the notable Hispanics who served in the war and who continued in the military was Admiral David Farragut. Farragut was promoted to Admiral on July 25, 1866.[48] His last active service was in command of the European Squadron from 1867 to 1868, with the screw frigate USS Franklin as his flagship. Farragut remained on active duty for the rest of his life, an honor accorded to only six other US naval officers.[48]

    Both brothers, Colonel Federico and Captain Adolfo Fernández Cavada were named US Consuls in Cuba. Federico was appointed United States consul at Trinidad and his brother Adolfo appointed United States consul at Cienfuegos. Both brothers resigned their positions upon the Cuban insurrection against Spanish rule that became known as Cuba’s Ten Years' War (1868–1878).[21] Together they joined the insurgents and Federico was named General for the District of Trinidad, Commander in Chief of the Cinco Villas. In April 4, 1870, Federico Fernández Cavada was named Commander-in-Chief of all the Cuban forces.

    Federico was captured by the Spanish gunboat "Neptuno" in 1871 and taken to Puerto Principe. There he was tried by the Spanish authorities and sentenced to die by firing squad. Federico was executed in July 1871.[49] In December 18, 1871, Adolfo Fernández Cavada was killed in battle at the coffee estate “La Adelaida” near Santiago de Cuba.[49]

    Captain Stephen Vincent Benet was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on June 23, 1874, and named Chief of Ordnance. He authored various military related books.[26]

    Among the veterans who entered politics such as Brigadier General Diego Archuleta, who was named Indian Agent by President Abraham Lincoln and later served in theMexico Legislature.[13] Lieutenant Colonel José Franciso Chávez, who became the first Secretary of Education for New Mexico[22] and Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Perea who was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth Congress. Perea served in said position for two years (March 4, 1863-March 3, 1865).[24]

    Those who resumed their life's as civilians was Colonel José Guadalupe Gallegos. Prior to the war Gallegos served in the New Mexico Territorial Legislature between 1855-1861. He was one of the founding members of the Historical Society of New Mexico and a founding associate in the incorporation of the New Mexican Railway Company[50] and the New Mexico Wool Manufacturing Company. However, little is known of what he did after the war with the exception that five years later he drowned in a mysterious accident involving his horse drawned carriage .[18]

    Captain Luis F. Emilio[28] went into the real estate business, first in San Francisco, and later in New York.

    Lieutenant Augusto Rodríguez became a firefighter in New Haven, proprietor of a cigar store, a bartender and saloon keeper.

    Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Joseph H. De Castro was employed by the NY Barge Office when on May 8, 1892, he died in his home at 244 West 22nd Street.[51]

    The former Confederate Colonel Santos Benavides resumed his merchant and ranching activities. He also remained active in politics.[33]

    Colonel Ambrosio José Gonzales pursued a variety of vocations, all of which were marginally successful, but like many others he never provided the security he sought for his extended family. His efforts were similar to those of other formerly wealthy Southerners who sought to recover their estates and social status.[52] Gonzales faced not only financial loss but also sorrows over the death of his wife and his sister-in-law's successful efforts to poison the relationships between Gonzales and his children.[31]

    Major David Camden DeLeón moved to Mexico after the war. He returned to the United States at the request of President Ulysses S. Grant, and settled in New Mexico where he practiced medicne and worte for medical journals. [19]

    After the war, Confederate spy Loreta Janeta Velazquez a.k.a. "Lieutenant Harry Buford" wrote a Civil War memoir, about her exploits titled: "The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and Travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford, Confederate States Army". She traveled in Europe as well as in the Southern United States promoting her book and ideals.[53]


    [1] Hispanic Population of the United States Current Population Survey Definition and Background (, United States Census Bureau, Population Division, Ethnic & Hispanic Statistics Branch, Retrieved May 21, 2008
    [2] See, for example, usage in Grant, Preface p. 3.
    [4] 39th New York State Volunteers; "Garibaldi Guard"; 4th D Company; "The Spanish Company" (
    [5] Eicher, pp. 70, 66.
    [6] Hispanics and the Civil War - National Parks Service (
    [7] Pottsville history (
    [10] Famous Navy Quotes: Who Said Them... and When (, Naval Historical Center, January 2008, Retrieved March 18, 2009
    [11] Shippen, Edward (1883). Naval Battles, Ancient and Modern. J.C. McCurdy & Co.. p. 638.
    [12] "David Farragut" ( NNDB. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
    [13] Kanellos, Nicolas (1997). Hispanic Firsts: 500 Years of Extraordinary Achievement. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-7876-0519-0.
    [14] Brevet is a temporary authorization for a person to hold a higher rank which was noted in the officer's title, Example: Brevet Brigadier General Pleasants.
    [15] Arlington National Cemetery (
    [16] Garibaldi Guard of the 39th New York State Volunteers (
    [17] (
    [18] New Mexican Printing Company. "Local and Special Laws of New Mexico: in Accordance with an Act of the Legislature, Approved April 3, 1884" ( Chpt.26. State of New Mexico, 1885. pp. 804–808. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
    [19] "Hispanics in America's Defense"; Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy (
    [20] "The Civil War, 1840s-1890s"; by Roger E. Hernandez, Roger E. Hernndez; ISBN 978-0-7614-2939-5; ISBN 0-7614-2939-5
    [21] "The Latino Experience in U.S. History"; publisher: Globe Pearson; pages 155-157; ISBN 0-8359-0641-8
    [22] Notable Hispanics of New Mexico (
    [23] Catholic Encyclopedia article (
    [24] Civil War Archives (
    [25] Vallejo family (
    [26] Arlington National Cemetery (
    [27] Cavada Brothers (
    [28] Captain Luis F. Emilio, A Brave Black Regiment. The History of the 54th Massachusetts, 1863-1865, New Introduction by J.W. Urwin. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995; paperback, 452 pages. ISBN 0-306-80623-1; ISBN 978-0-306-80623-0. Reprint (with a new introduction) of the second enlarged edition, originally published in 1894, Boston. First edition published 1891.
    [29] "The Puerto Rican Diaspora: historical perspectives"; By Carmen Teresa Whalen, Víctor Vázquez-Hernandez; page 176; Publisher: Temple University Press; ISBN 978-1-59213-413-7; ISBN 1-59213-413-0
    [31] "Cuban Confederate Colonel: The Life of Ambrosio Jose Gonzales"; By Antonio Rafael de la Cova; The University of South Carolina Press; ISBN 1-57003-496-6.
    [32] Battle of Honey Springs (http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress....honey-springs/)
    [33] Webb County Heritage Foundation; War on the Rio Grande (
    [34] Blockade-Runner (
    [35] "Horse Landing Project" ( The Florida Confederation for the Preservation of Historic Sites website. Daytona Beach, FL: The Florida Confederation for the Preservation of Historic Sites, Inc.
    [36] Pullen, John J. (1997). A Shower of Stars: The Medal of Honor and the 27th Maine ( Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. pp. preface p2. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
    [37] The Magazine of American History, page 18.
    [38] USS Santiago de Cuba (1861) (, Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center, July 2002, Retrieved May 21, 2008
    [39] "Medal of Honor citation for Philip Bazaar"; publisher Home of (, Retrieved May 21, 2008
    [40] Medal of Honor citation for Philip Bazaar (
    [41] Civil War Medal of Honor Citations ( (Last names starting with "O" through "R"), American Civil; sources: U.S. Army Archives, Retrieved May 21, 2008
    [42] Medal of Honor citation (
    [43] History - New Mexico Troops (
    [44] Cazadores Espanoles Regiment (
    [45] Unlike the other military units the European Brigades also had the rank of Third Lieutenant
    [46] Hispanic Confederate Heritage (
    [47] Texas State Historical Society (
    [48] Shippen, Edward (1883). "Naval Battles, Ancient and Modern." J.C. McCurdy & co. pp. 638.
    [49] Fernando Fernández-Cavada Collection, 1846-1976 | University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection (
    [50] Hovey (Public Printer, Santa Fe), O.P. "Laws passed by the General Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico" ( New Mexico Territorial Laws [9th Assembly] 1859-'60. State of New Mexico, 1860 Reprinted 1930. Retrieved 14 December 2011. p.110
    [51] "New York Times"; May 10, 1892; Obituary; page 5
    [52] "Ambrosio José Gonzales, a Cuban Patriot in Carolina"; by: Lewis Pinckney Jones; Wofford College (
    [53] Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez: Heroine or Hoaxer (
    Last edited by Eric Tipton; 08-11-2019, 10:54 AM. Reason: Clean Up Links
    Former AC Owner

  • #2
    Re: Hispanics in the Civil War

    Quite a few regiments were formed in New Mexico despite the tiny population base for the territory. The vast majority of volunteers from out here served with the Union. Some of the motivators were naturally the need to drive out the Texans, the long-time enemy of New Mexico during its territorial phase and its prior Mexican statehood phase. Others joined up to take the place of the US Regulars, who were sent east from their regular duty of watching over the Navajo and Mescalero peoples. The prospect of paid work was attractive too, especially for those seeking to escape the peonage system. There were also peons who were ordered by their dons to join the volunteers.

    The New Mexicans overall were practical in their support for the Union. Although they resented the United States invading in 1846, they resented the Texans far more and showed little interest in a Confederacy that involved Texans. The immediate invasion by Colonel Baylor did not help matters at all. The United States also provided protection for the Hispanos and the Pueblo peoples.
    Michael Denisovich

    Bookkeeper, Indian agent, ethnologist, and clerk out in the Territory
    Museum administrator in New Mexico


    • #3
      Re: Hispanics in the Civil War

      Company K of the 6th Texas Infantry, CSA, raised in San Antonio in 1862, included the following Hispanic soldiers on their roster:

      2nd Lt Joseph Garza, who died leading a company in the 17th Consolidated Texas Inf at Pleasant Hill, LA in '64
      Corporal Manuel De Yturri
      Corporal Eugene Navarro, promoted to 2nd Lt and captured at Franklin in '64
      Private Antonio Bustillos, who survived and one of 2 men in Co K to surrender at Greensboro in '65.
      Private Joseph Cardena
      Private Simon Gazra, WIA at Franklin in '64
      Private Andrew San Miguel, captured at Franklin in '64
      Private Antonio Suniga died while a POW in '63
      Private S. Antonia,

      The Hispanics in Co K of the 6th were most likely primarily from more affluent established Hispanic families in San Antonio and comprised about 12% of the company. My historical novel Whittled Away, follows Company K of the 6th from their enlistment until the end.
      Phil McBride
      Whittled Away-A Civil War Novel of the Alamo Rifles
      Tangled Honor 1862: A Novel of the 5th Texas Infantry
      Redeeming Honor 1863: The 5th Texas Gettysburg and Chickamauga
      Defiant Honor 1864: The 5th Texas at the Wilderness and the 22nd USCT at New Market Heights
      Link to My Blog and My Books on Amazon: