Immigrants were not immune from Civil War service.
Indeed, many immigrants enlisted in the military as they disembarked
from their ships at Castle Garden, New York often motivated by the following
- Immigrants tended to greatly favor the Union
side of the war (unless they had been living in the South for
- Any able-bodied young man could serve.
- Naturalization, or native birth, was not a requirement.
- It was easier to be naturalized after service.
- There was a cash bounty for all recruits–more for
those with military experience. (The illustration shown here depicts
the recruiters at Castle Garden signing up German, Irish, and other
immigrants with a $600 bounty incentive.)
Therefore, if your immigrant, or his brother, uncle,
father or cousin, was born between 1830 and 1845 (especially about 1840),
you should check for Civil War military service.