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Civil War Muster Roll Abstract for Juan Gonzalez, c. 1864

Civil War muster roll abstract for Juan Gonzalez of the 39th Infantry

Civil War muster roll abstract for Juan Gonzalez of the 39th Infantry

New York State Archives, NYSA_13775-83_Infantry_039_1231_Gonzalez_Juan
Document Description
Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts detailing the service of Juan Gonzalez in the Civil War, ca. 1864.
Where was this soldier born?
How old was he when he enlisted? When he left the service?
What interesting things happened to him while he was fighting in the Civil War?
Why does he have two records?
Did this soldier survive, or was he killed during the war?
Describe Mr. Gonzalez’s physical characteristics.
How long was he in the service?
Historical Challenges
Research recruiting practices during the Civil War. What were the Draft Riots? What were substitution and bounties?
The document states that Juan Gonzalez was a deserter. What does that mean? Why would a soldier desert his unit during the Civil War? What are the consequences of desertion in the service today?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Create a recruiting poster that might attract foreign-born residents to join the army and fight for the North or South.
English Language Arts: Research the battles Juan Gonzalez would have participated in, as well as the day-to-day life of a Civil War soldier. Write a two-week journal as if you were Mr. Gonzalez. Be as realistic as possible.
Resources New York State Library. "Selected Hispanic and Latino Websites."
Michael Aikey. “The Flamboyant Garibaldi Guards.” In America's Civil War, May 1995.
Michael Bacarella. Lincoln's Foreign Legion: The 39th New York Infantry, The Garibaldi Guard. Shippensbury, PA: White Mane Publishing Company, 1996.

Historical Context
Civil War service records typically show the rank of the soldier, the unit he fought in, the date he enlisted, and when he was discharged.  Some may also identify the battles in which the soldier fought.

Many Hispanic soldiers fought with the 39th New York Infantry. This was an all-foreign-born unit consisting of three companies of Germans, three of Hungarians, one of Swiss, one of Italians, one of Frenchmen, and one of Spaniards and Portuguese.  The unit was nicknamed “Lincoln’s Foreign Legion.”  The 39th was involved in many major engagements during the Civil War, including Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.  The men of the unit were honored for their service at Gettysburg and are remembered with a monument placed on Cemetery Ridge.  

The inscription of the monument reads as follows:

Front: 39th New York Infantry (Garibaldi Guards), 3D Brig. 3D Div. 2D Corps.

Reverse: This regiment at about 7 o’clock P.M. July 2, 1863 being ordered to support General Sickles’ line charged and drove the enemy recapturing the guns and equipment of Battery 1, 5th U.S. Artillery. A stone tablet marks the place where this incident occurred.

Left Side: This regiment composed of 4 companies held this position July 2 and 3, 1863. Right Side: Casualties: Killed 15, Wounded 80, Total 95.

Some members of the 39th were held prisoner at the infamous Florence Stockade.  For further reading on this, and a list of the soldiers who were held in Florence Stockade, see the Resources section below.

Essential Question
How do immigants become a part of a new society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information found in this document and explain how Juan Gonzalez was a important member of American society.