Exit Viewer

Sons of Garibaldi in Blue and Gray: Italians in the American Civil War By Frank W. A ...

image Next
Sons of Garibaldi in Blue and Gray:


Virtually every ethnic group in this country has endeavored to validate its contribution to the nation's progress and safety by demonstrations of sacrifice, hard work, and most especially, by participating in the country's defense during wartime. To aid their adopted country in the midst of enemy threat is regarded as the ultimate illustration of loyalty—even when the conflagration is a civil war. Given the nature of such an internal struggle, it is not surprising to find ethnic groups on both sides of the conflict. Thus there are extant historical accounts about German Americans, Jewish Americans, and Irish Americans who fought on the Confederate as well as the Union side during the Civil War. Much less well-known, however, is the part played by Italian Americans—and it is precisely this focus that renders Sons of Garibaldi in Blue and Gray so valuable.

Although not numerous, the part played by Italian and Italian Americans during the war is informative, colorful, and extremely fascinating—a story that deserves to be told. Scrupulously employing canons of historical objectivity, Frank Alduino and David Coles have mined an impressive array of primary and secondary sources exhaustively— some virtually undiscovered—to establish their thesis reinforced by the unassailable objective historical record. Against the background of the Civil War this work chronicles the role of well-known figures like Italian unification hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was offered but refused a commanding position in the Union Army. There is the account of Edward Ferrero who advanced from dance instructor to a major general and of courageous Luigi Palma di Cesnola, who was wounded, received the Medal of Honor and played a vital role in founding the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We likewise are given an account of General Francis B.