Trans-Mississippi Southerners in the Union Army, 1862-1865

Trans-Mississippi Southerners in the Union Army, 1862-1865

Rein, Christopher

Master of Arts, History, Louisiana State University, May (2001)


Men from throughout the Trans-Mississippi South enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War both in existing northern regiments and in units raised specifically for the purpose of enlisting southerners. The men who joined and fought represented almost every social and ethnic division within the region and contributed substantially to the success of Union arms during the war. Examining a single regiment from each state or territory in the region (except Louisiana, where one white and one black unit were chosen due to segregation) reveals similarities of background, experience and purpose.

Louisiana’s contributions to the Union army were primarily black soldiers, although a smaller number of white immigrants and freeholders also served. Texas’ contribution was equally divided between native-born southerners and Hispanics, while the Indian Territory contributed Native Americans from several southern tribes. Arkansas’ Union soldiers were split equally between white farmers from the northwestern corner of the state and freed slaves from the southeast. Service varied among the several regiments, but included active campaigning, anti-guerrilla operations and the far more mundane garrison duty. Men succumbed to disease in extraordinary numbers due in part to their position at the end of an extended logistic system in an ignored backwater of the war.



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