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The Galvanized Yankees Paperback – June 1, 1986

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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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)

About the Author

Dee Brown is a leading authority on western American history and the author of many highly acclaimed books on this subject. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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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 (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,238,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Six regiments of Confederate prisoners, 6,000 men, enlisted in the Union army, and were sent West to protect the forts and supply trains against Indians in 1864-1866. These six regiments were called "Galvanized Yankees." The Galvanized Yankees have been neglected in history. On discharge, many took new names, new identities. They were not celebrated or remembered like other veterans, either at home in the south, or as Union veterans. Their experience in the West changed their loyalties from regional to national. The southern men in the 6 Regiments were widely praised for good discipline, fighting spirit, and loyalty to the Union. They endured terrific hardship for the nation -- the first Rebels to rejoin the Union.

General Butler of Massachusetts persuaded President Lincoln to recruit prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland, in Jan 1864. Lincoln directed the War Department to recruit Confederates despite General Grant's opposition. By March, Butler had about 1,000 recruits, which became the 1st U. S. Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Six Companies of this Regiment boarded a riverboat on the Missouri River at St. Louis on August 27 and disembarked on Upper Missouri river, 272 miles south of Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, on Sept 27, as the boat could not continue. The men marched through rough country, with poor water and poor supplies (no tents), arrived at Fort Rice 17 October. On the march, a number of men died of dysentery.

Fort Rice was only four months old when the 1st USVI arrived. The men spent months completing construction of the Fort. Fort Rice was a center of Indian fights, largely revenge campaigns for the massacre of Cheyenne at Sand Creek in Nov 1864 by Col. Chivington.
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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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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.
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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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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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