• Click on the cover to read more on the history of Latinos in the Civil War:

    Latinos in the Civil War

    The Civil War. For many Americans, this conflict evokes images of the storied battlefields of North and South and of dramatic changes in the lives of Americans of African and Anglo descent. Lesser known is the story of the people of Latino ancestry who participated in this epic conflict and of the many battles that took place in the West, in areas of large Latino populations and strong Latino heritage. Like all Americans, Latinos were deeply affected by the Civil War. When the conflict erupted, they lived in all parts of the country. Some traced their ancestry to explorers who settled in North America generations ahead of the English. Many had suddenly found themselves classified as Americans when the United States expanded its boundaries. Others were recent immigrants from Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean, drawn to the United States to improve their lives. When the nation split in two, many were forced to choose whether to support the Union or the Confederacy. Some had little choice as they were swept into the maelstrom. From the first shots at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in 1861 to the last action at Palmito Ranch, Texas, in 1865, many Latinos made a conscious decision to join the fight: some for the Union and some for the Confederacy. They responded to a variety of motives, public and private. They represented all socio-economic levels, from wealthy aristocrats fighting to preserve a way of life to impoverished laborers seeking to improve their fortunes. Patriotism, personal gain, regional conditions, and history all played a role in their decisions. By the close of the war, more than 20,000 Latinos and Hispanics had participated in the bloody conflict and thousands of Latino civilians had lent hearts and hands on the homefront, weaving their own individual stories into this important national fabric.