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Paula Chrystine PolingPoling 1Myths Memories and Realities of the War Between the StatesDr Mary Ellen Rowe and Dr Larry OlpinGerman Irish African and Native are all AmericanFor 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 Garibaldi Guards made up of Italian Americans a Polish Legion and hundreds of Irish American youths from Boston and New York Many people firmly believed despite all the evidence to the contrary that immigrants instinctively supported the union and given the chance deserted the South and sought their compatriots in Northern regiments Burton 201More than 400000 European immigrants fought for the Union including more than 170000 Germans and more than 150000 Irish Many saw their services as a proud sacrifice William Burton writes in his book Melting Pot Soldiers about John Cochrane the colonel of a regiment who was of Irish decent Cochrane recalledthe native soldiers in the Union forces as typically a conscript rather than a volunteer lacking in zeal and fire Immigrant soldiers in Cochranes recollection held flaming partisan views had dash and spirit volunteered eagerly and had real martial ardor 201 If we follow Cochranes description to the letter then all the other Americans were forced to serve their country and not because of their true loyalty and desire Cochranes view is one of prejudice for his own ethnic group and against other American soldiers Cynthia H Enloe in her pioneering work Ethnic soldiers State Security in Divided Societies went astray when she examined the history of immigrants in the North State Security Planners she argued treated recent immigrants as though they were outside the nation-state political system in the early part of the war as they did the blacks Burton 212 This has been shown to be untrue as stated earlier ethnic groups were some of the first to
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