The Use of Foreign Soldiers and Foreign Powers During an American Civil War

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During the American Civil War immigrants were given citizenship under the condition that they fight for the Northern Union against the Southern Confederacy. Soon however, foreign mercenaries were brought in by the North to fight against the South as ment

During the four long years of the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) the Northern Union dominated over the Southern Confederacy due to a larger number of cannon factories, soldiers, and naval ships.  The naval ships commanded by the Northern Union successfully blockaded the Southern ports causing ammunition, weapons, and medical supply lines to run short at the same time Northern Infantry and Calvary units marched southward.  However, no matter the attempts made by the North to completely submit the South the Confederacy remained true to their chivalrous old fashioned like manner. 

During those four years of battle the Northern Union and the Southern Confederacy lost large numbers of soldiers not just due to direct battle but to diseases such as dysentery, malaria, and typhoid.  This stiffened the amount of soldiers each side had to fight with forcing the war to progress much longer than previously predicted.  “The war will be over in a month,” was the phrase on every soldier’s lips.  As the war progressed however, each side began to lose not just their momentum to fight but their faith in the cause as well. 

Eventually the Northern Union decided to enlist immigrants into the military in return for American citizenship, the right to vote, and even land with the promise of 40 acres and a mule.  This same promise was also given to African Americans who chose to fight for the Northern Union.  With some time, the Northern Union was able to enlist enough immigrants and runaway slaves that their roughly 2,000,000 Union Army was about 1/3 foreign born.  Enlisting foreign born soldiers was especially easy for the North because the majority of the ports immigrants arrived at were located in the Northeast. 

The immigrants that served loyally to the Northern Union consisted of Germans, Irish, English, and even Canadians.  The Germans migrated to America prior to the Civil War due to the 1848 revolution that forced many Germans to relocate because of political and social reasons.  Many Irish migrated to America as well because during that time the ‘Potato Famine’ was taking place forcing many Irish to seek a new home and new land.  The depressed areas of Wales and Scotland forced a large number of people to find a new home in America and the Canadians naturally migrated southward from across the border.  It has been recorded that roughly 200,000 German born troops, 150,000 Irish born troops, 150,000 British born troops, 50,000 Canadian born troops, and 75,000 other European (Polish, Dutch, French, etc.) born troops all served as part of the Northern Union. 

In comparison to foreign born troops serving as part of the Northern Union the Southern Confederacy was primarily made up of 91% native born troops and only 9% foreign born.  The foreign born troops that allied with the Southern Confederacy mostly consisted of Irish and German immigrants as well as Mexican immigrants that emigrated from Mexico to the Southwest.   

However, many recorded documents have survived detailing the use of mercenaries during the American Civil War by both the Northern Union and the Southern Confederacy.  During the American Revolutionary War it is commonly known that ‘Hessians’, German mercenaries, were used in order to thwart the attempts of a successful revolution.  The same can be said for the American Civil War.  Even in famous American literature such as the book “Gone With the Wind” it is mentioned by the Character Ashley Wilkes to Melanie Wilkes and Scarlet O’Hara that soldiers that couldn’t even speak English were fighting on behalf of the North.    

So if foreign soldiers and foreign powers were used during the first American Civil War could they be used again during a second?  The answer is yes.  In fact, already preparations have been made in case an economical collapse happens in the United States foreign troops from both Canada and Mexico may intervene.  As well as Russian troops are beginning to target ‘terrorists’ within the United States in a joint drill with the American government.  American troops are also currently being deployed ahead of an economic collapse and being trained to maintain ‘civil unrest’.  And it is now plainly obvious that the Department of Homeland Security has purchased an unprecedented amount of hallow point ammunition, armor proof vehicles, and even fully automatic weaponry all with tax payer dollars. 

It has long been understood that the use of foreign troops on American soil will never be needed because the United States Constitution provides U.S. citizens with the freedoms to protect themselves.  Also, the establishment of Posse Comitatus prevents the use of federal military personnel to be used to enforce state law.  Sadly, if foreign troops were to arrive in the mainland United States this could very well spell disaster for American citizens who may not know whether these foreign troops are here to help or to fight.  It is a very great possibility that if a second American Civil War were to occur, the use of foreign soldiers and foreign powers may be imminent.    


Immigrants in the Union and Confederate Army during the Civil War.” Source: McPherson, James M., What They Fought For, 1861 – 1865 (Louisiana State University Press, 1994).

Foreign Soldiers in the American Civil War.” By Andy Waskie

DOD Confirms Russian Troops to Train on U.S. Soil.” By Paul Joseph Watson. Infowars Friday, April 27, 2012

Troops Deployed Ahead of Economic Collapse & Gun Confiscation.” By Before It’s News.


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Alden Morris