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Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home

Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home

Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home

Germans in the Civil War: The Letters They Wrote Home


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German Americans were one of the largest immigrant groups in the Civil War era, and they comprised nearly 10 percent of all Union troops. Yet little attention has been paid to their daily lives--both on the battlefield and on the home front--during the war. This collection of letters, written by German immigrants to friends and family back home, provides a new angle to our understanding of the Civil War experience and challenges some long-held assumptions about the immigrant experience at this time.

Originally published in Germany in 2002, this collection contains more than three hundred letters written by seventy-eight German immigrants--men and women, soldiers and civilians, from the North and South. Their missives tell of battles and boredom, privation and profiteering, motives for enlistment and desertion and for avoiding involvement altogether. Although written by people with a variety of backgrounds, these letters describe the conflict from a distinctly German standpoint, the editors argue, casting doubt on the claim that the Civil War was the great melting pot that eradicated ethnic antagonisms.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807876596
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Series: Civil War America
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 560
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

Walter D. Kamphoefner is professor of history at Texas A&M University. Wolfgang Helbich is professor emeritus of North American history at Ruhr Universitat Bochum. They have collaborated on four previous books, including News from the Land of Freedom: German Immigrants Write Home and German-American Immigration and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective.

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From the Publisher

A true milestone among studies of the Civil War experience of German immigrants. Never before have German Americans been given such a strong and varied voice on the many issues involved in the sectional conflict. Expertly translated, with analytical commentary about the letters, this volume is a labor of love.—Earl J. Hess, Lincoln Memorial University

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