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The Galvanized Yankees Paperback – June 1, 1986


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; Later Printing edition (June 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080326075X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803260757
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Galvanized Yankees is an accurate, interesting, and sometimes thrilling account of an unusual group of men who rendered a valuable service to the nation in a time of great need. It is also a fresh and informative study of the Old West in transition from frontier to stable society."—Bell I. Wiley, New York Times Book Review
(Bell I. Wiley New York Times Book Review)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Proch on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book to touch on the subject of southern prisoners taking an oath to the US Government to fight indians in the west. During the civil war, most military men returned east to seek their glory in the many battles. This left our western borders unprotected. Yet the tide of western migration was not stalled. Civil war prisons in the north became overcrowded. The idea of releasing POWs for service in the west was born; hence the name galvanized. This book is the story of those soldiers, who out of desperation for better living conditions agreed to a term of service to fight indians and protect the western frontier. My only complaint on this book was that it was to thin. I craved for more knowledge.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Patton on February 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is the definitive work about a little known part of our history -- the Indian Wars of 1865 on the Western Plains. Abraham Lincoln supported a move to draft Confederate prisoners of war languishing (and often starving) in Northern prisons, with the stipulation that they would not have to go South and fight fellow Confederates. The "Galvanized Yankees" (so named because it was thought that their loyalty to the North was only a thin "ganvanized" layer) -- 6,000 of them, took the oath of loyalty to the Union and headed West to guard stagecoaches and mail routes. Numerous fights with Plains Indians, bitter cold, at lonely outposts were but a few of the hazards the Galvanized Yankees faced. My gg grandfather survived all this and returned home in 1866. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning more about these brave men who chose service to the Union rather than almost certain death in Northern prisons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mastermindquiet on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Galvanized Yankees is an interesting book about US Civil War Confederate soldiers who were offered a chance to take an oath of loyalty to the Union if they would enlist in the army and serve on the western frontier. About six thousand eventually did so, serving between 1864 and 1866. Brown's narrative history mostly follows them by recalling the history of a unit or units grouped together, with a couple of chapters about individuals. Recommended for those most interested in military or American history, although the book does tend to get repetitious at times.
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By Michael E. Fitzgerald on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Civil War substantively reduced the number of soldiers available for service throughout the West. Native Americans were quick to exploit the situation. Stage and freight transportation were suspended, telegraph communication was disrupted, emigration was seriously curtailed and thousands of pioneers were slaughtered. In Minnesota, the Santee Sioux alone killed 113 people while in Texas the Comanche rolled the frontier back 100 miles.

To bring order to the Union controlled portion of the Great Plains the US Army began experimenting with recruiting Confederate prisoners of war for service in the West. Surprisingly, 6,000 Confederates were enlisted from POW camps in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Maryland. These six infantry regiments were dispatched to garrison 10 states: New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. They fortified way stations and escorted stagecoaches and wagon trains while refurbishing or building new fortifications from St. Paul to Santa Fe and from Omaha to Denver.

The results of this military experiment were decidedly mixed. Some regiments performed exceptionally well while others were lackluster at best. But their impact on the West's transportation and communications systems were significant and the stories of those who served were really quite amazing. Along the way author Dee Brown provides an in-depth understanding of military administration, the intricacy with which the Union command managed and responded to emergencies, troop dispositions and transfers and the necessary logistical support required during the day of horses and oxen drawn vehicles.

But Brown really shines when he focuses on the individuals who were engaged in this effort.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a good book that requires those of us who have Confederate ancestors to think about the particular situation of those Confederates who "galvanized". Certainly, there were those who were purposely starved and "crossed the line" in order to live, and others who simply sought a better opportunity. Read the book and you will have different emotions. I would have appreciated a followup on the soldiers who "galvanized" but realize that this is impossible to ascertain at this date. I wonder how many people realize that Confederate soldiers were purposely maltreated in order to get them to "galvanize".
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By archaeopat on December 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Galvanized Yankees" remains the only definitive history of Confederate prisoners of war who changed sides and joined the Union Army. The regiments formed of former Confederates were sent to the western frontier to protect settlers and others from attacks by Indian tribes. Dee Brown includes one chapter on former Union prisoners of war who joined the Confederate Army, and that chapter remains the most extensive and accurate discussion of the men who joined Confederate units and, in some cases, ended up in battle against Union forces.
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