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The Role of Foreigners in the Spanish Civil War

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The second flag burned in the great Chicago fire, while the third is currently on display at the Museum. His grandfather, who farmed west of Minonk, served with the 90th. You must log in or register to reply here. The mettle of the Federal soldier of the Western Theatre was something that was never in question. Regional pride is a big thing in the United States.


The soldiers of the western states, those west of the Appalachian Mountains and making up the majority of the regiments within the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Tennessee, also formed some of the elite formations of the primarily eastern Army of the Potomac. Many Easterners had not yet seen the men of the western states who were on average taller, comprised of native born Americans than those of Scandinavian and German descent, and as the soldiers themselves believed they were better than those from the eastern states.

The Western presence in the Army of the Potomac was so important to the men of the Western regiments, that they tried their hardest to stay within the same brigade or division as a fellow western unit. In the example of the previously mentioned Iron Brigade, by February of , General Meade under orders from General Grant began to detach depleted regiments for home front service.

Included in the list of units chosen to leave the Army of the Potomac were the 2nd Wisconsin, 6th Wisconsin, and the 24th Michigan, all of the Iron Brigade. I have a surplus of regiments which can much better be spared…. The three regiments mentioned have served together from the beginning of the war, and are identified with the Army of the Potomac. They desire to remain and I ask the privilege of sending other regiments in their place.

While the fighting abilities of the Union soldier from any state were not superior to that of another, the sense of supposed superiority created clashes not between Federal and Rebel, but between Westerner and Easterner. I think either side would rather shoot at each other than the Johnnies.

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One instance supposedly occurred when a lean and hungry Sergeant William McGuffy of the predominantly Irish 90th Illinois came upon newly arrived soldiers of the XI Corps. As the starving, and poorly supplied soldier, just relieved from the siege of the town approached the eastern arrivals a sentry called out to him. What Regiment is that? What the blazes is that?

The Western Federal

Our corps, the 11th wears a crescent-a half moon, -the 12th corps wears a star! What do you wear? Be jabbers! Ye needed tem both to show ye the way back from Chancellorsville; badge it is! The defeat after Chancellorsville caused Benjamin W. Whatever their thoughts on their comrades, the Wolverines, Buckeyes, Hoosiers, and several others truly felt and knew that even though they were union soldiers, they were in no way, shape, or form, Yankees.

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Cozzens, Peter. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Herdegen, Lance J. Nolan, Alan T. The Iron Brigade; a Military History. New York: Macmillan, Swan, James B. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, Wiley, Bell Irvin.