“Friends of a Long Oppressed Race”: Hungarian Soldiers in the Colored Regiments in the American Civil War

 

 

Although the history of the Kossuth Emigration, the first sizeable wave of Hungarian expatriates arriving in the United States in the 1850s, has been largely ignored by historians, the Hungarians” participation in the American Civil War is one the most written-about chapters of Hungarian-American historical links and contacts. However, most of the works scrutinizing this subject are riddled with errors, either because their writers” intended purpose was self-justification for the Hungarian–American community or simply due to their inadequate methodology. Recent research proved that many of the earlier claims have to be revised, including the Hungarians” approach towards the institution of slavery. In the first part of my study, I investigated how the Kossuth emigrés perceived the “peculiar institution”, and analyzed what motivated some Hungarian soldiers to apply for commissions in the United States Colored Troops and serve along with African-Americans. The second part of my paper is devoted to the brief biographical list of these officers with special emphasis laid on their service in the colored regiments, and how they related to the men under their command.

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