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How many Germans from Missouri?

Discussion in 'Immigrants During the Civil War' started by major bill, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. major bill

    major bill Colonel Forum Host

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    This article uses Wilhelm Kaufmann's Die Deutschen in amerikanischen Bὓrgerkrieg to estimate that 30,899 of the 88,487 German born residents of Missouri fought for the Union in the Civil War. This seems impossibly high as many of the would have been too old or too young and one must take of females. At least a few German residents must have fought for the Confederacy. Seeing Kaufamann's work is over 100 years old, I was wondering if new number exist.

    germ 5.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  3. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Best I can tell the Union Numbers is generally just totaling all the different Missouri Union units, which would be misleading as to an actual total number, and includes all the various forms of militia. So huge numbers served in more then one, and end up being counted multiple times

    Many of the Home Guard transferred to regular Mo units so would be counted twice as an example, if one stayed in the state they could be counted Home Guard, MSM, EMM, PEMM or all or any combination of them. 80% of the Union troops from St Louis were foreign born however, the majority german
     
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  4. major bill

    major bill Colonel Forum Host

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    A chart from the article.

    germ 7.jpg
     
  5. major bill

    major bill Colonel Forum Host

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    Also some Union states with less than 10% of that state's German immigrants serving seems too small to be believable.

    The numbers for New Hampshire seem a bit off.
     
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  6. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Numbers from Missouri, both Union and CSA and vary by source. MOLLUS claims Missouri sent more men per proportion of the state to war then any other- 199,111 which would include CSA

    But the number seems suspect to me, Generally accepted union figure is 110,000, CSA ranges from 30-50k. Mollus figure would be attributing almost 90K to CSA which is way out of scale with other estimates. If one used same standard as Union figures and counted pro southern MSG with CSA troops, CSA number may be as high a 60-70K, but 90k seems a reach

    What confuses it even more, many times men may be counted multiple times as both CSA and UNION LOL
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  7. major bill

    major bill Colonel Forum Host

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    Even if the numbers are off, the article is interesting. I do wonder why Walter D. Kamphoefner used one hundred year old numbers in his article.
     
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  8. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Well the numbers shouldn't have changed in the last 100 years, especially for the union as records are generally intact, for the south there has to be some estimation, as the govt was in exile and had incomplete record keeping and some were purposely destroyed at the end of the war. And if one uses the same standard of including all the pro southern forces as they include all the various types of Union

    for the south there would be MSG 61-62
    CSA 62 onwards
    MSG 62 onwards
    guerrillas

    The MSG didn't end in 62 with transfer to CSA, small numbers of MSG refused to transfer but reenlisted in MSG, and did a little recruiting, it remained a skeleton force through the war. record keeping of it is really sparse, but generally estimated as no more then a few thousand tops, same with guerrillas
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  9. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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  10. mofederal

    mofederal Captain

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    The number of Germans seems a little low to me, but much is made around here of the Saxon Lutheran migration to Missouri specifically Perry County beginning in the late 1830's. There were a lot of Germans in Perry and Cape Girardeau Counties, the exact number is a subject of debate here. The number of Germans seems a bit low, but the writing is so small in the records and it is hard to read. I am no expert on the migration, but I know some who are experts on it. The number of immigrants seem to be from 600 to 750 immigrants, this 1838-39. The numbers would have increased some since 1838-39 in that area.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  11. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Private

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    I think the numbers are generally agreed to be correct. Melting Pot Soldiers by William Burton cites 160,514 foreign born in MO, with over half being German. He also cites 60,000 Germans as having lived in St Louis at the time.

    Kauffmann’s work, while containing great information, is highly biased in favor of Germans in its opinions, so a lot of the editorial contained needs to be taken with a grain of salt. However, Kauffmann himself, while not being a veteran, was an affluent member in German American circles in Cincinnati and Cleveland and knew many veterans. His work was a compilation of interviews and accounts of actual veterans. The work first appeared in several editions in the German American press, and went through three revisions before being compiled and printed in German in 1911. The English edition didn’t come out until 1999. Unfortunately, over 100 years later, it is still the definitive work on German service during the CW.
     
  12. Mint Julep

    Mint Julep Corporal

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    These numbers are strange as an example look at New Hampshire. That tally can't be correct.
     
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  13. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Walter Kamphoefner is a respected authority in the field of the study of German immigrant soldiers in the Civil War. I also see the numbers as suspect, though.

    I do think that the percentage of Germans involved in the Union army in Missouri was higher than in other states for several reasons.

    1. The influence of 48ers was stronger in Missouri. Franz Sigel was both a leader of the 48 revolution and the German community in St. Louis.

    2. German organizations in Missouri committed to drilling Unionist companies months before the war began.

    3. Many secessionists were identified by the Germans as having been Know Nothings.

    4. In the first months of the war there were many reports of pro-Confederate outrages against German civilians in southern Missouri. German refugee families pouring into St. Louis convinced many Germans that if the Union lost the war, things would go very badly for the German community and that they might ultimately be expelled from the state.
     
  14. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Private

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    I haven’t been able to find where they talk about this part of the methodology, but on pp. 70-71 he explains in a different context that these numbers are talking about Germans who served in units from that state, and German-born residents in 1860.

    It was not uncommon, particularly for German units, for people to travel a long ways just to join an ethnic unit. For example, the 32nd IN had companies from Ft. Wayne, Cincinnati and Louisville, as did the 9th OH. Over 1000 Wisconsin Germans enlisted in Missouri regiments, etc.

    For NH I believe it includes Germans residing in neighboring states (or Canada) who enlisted in NH units.
     
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  15. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Private

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    The main sources Kauffmann references (edit: with regard to statistical information, at least) in the work are: Pfisterer, Frederick, Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States, and Gould, A. B., Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers.

    He is a bit doubtful about Gould’s numbers as they were compiled from a survey of officers of regiments 7 years post-war, so he gives a lot more weight to Pfisterer’s.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  16. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Exact numbers might be impossible to determine. However, the immigration from 1848-1860 was heavily biased towards men, and towards men of working age. The overall significance of German immigration was much larger than anyone wanted to admit post WW Two. It might be a little easier to discuss now.
     
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  17. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Private

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    I think you’re right about the numbers, unfortunately. It was a terribly imperfect system at the time for identifying country of origin, and looking back at things from going on 160 years does not help.

    You’re absolutely right about the factor of the two world wars...when you have cities changing street names from Berlin St. to Liberty St. (freedom fries, anyone?) and states banning instruction of german language (https://daily.jstor.org/when-american-schools-banned-german-classes/) it does put a slight damper on research.

    If you look at work that has been done on immigrants during the CW, the vast, vast majority has been done on Irish immigrants, despite there having been fewer of them. Heck, if I remember correctly, the first time the word “German” is said in Ken Burns CW isn’t until episode 3, when they talk about the Dunker Church.

    I think the other biggest hurdle is simply the language barrier. Without being able to read German, the job of the researcher is immensely more difficult. Unfortunately scholarship in the german language and languages in general is declining, not rising. This portion of our nation’s (and of Europe’s for that matter) really is in danger of being entirely forgotten unless a new generation of researchers steps up and passes it on. Kudos to Pat Young here and a few others like Don Heinrich Tolzmann and Joseph Reinhardt for doing the great work they already have.
     
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  18. Lusty Murfax

    Lusty Murfax Corporal

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    The first Missouri regiments recruited for Union service were comprised of St. Louis Germans and volunteers from Illinois. Illinois had already supplied all of the troops Lincoln had called from that State and there being few actual Missourians volunteering, these out of State-ers filled in. The first Missouri regiments comprised of Missouri natives volunteered for service with the Missouri State Guard.
     
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  19. Mint Julep

    Mint Julep Corporal

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    What does German-Born in 1860 mean? Males able to serve of military age?
     
  20. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Private

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    Frederick Salomon (b. 1826, Ströbeck, Saxony) was a resident of Wisconsin who enlisted as a captain in the 5th MO before returning to Wisconsin to be colonel of the 9th.

    So here is where the numbers start to get skewed. We have people who enlisted twice in different states, we also have people who joined a 3 months regiment, then a 3 year, etc. Kaufmann deals with this by separating each enlistment group and analyzing the numbers within that group. I am no statistician and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I cannot speak to the purity of the method or the veracity of the numbers, but he does go on at some length on how they arrived and verified the numbers as best they could (the chapter on statistics is ~50 pages in the English).
     
  21. Mint Julep

    Mint Julep Corporal

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    I saw that error also. If that first line can't be trusted how can the remainder be believed? I would look for the primary source because this information is apparently flawed.
     
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