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.
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