Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Filipinos in the American Civil War

I was flipping through a number of U.S. civil war historical pictures in the internet showing Union and Confederate soldiers when a picture suddenly caught my attention. Most of the soldiers in the previous pictures were Caucasians and African-Americans but the soldier in this particular picture is obviously Asian.

I found out that the name of the soldier in the picture is Felix Cornelius Balderry—A Filipino! He belonged to Company A, 11th Michigan Volunteers.

Before the civil war, Balderry worked for a certain sea farer named Joseph Foster of Leonidas, Michigan. Balderry moved to the state of Michigan and worked as a farmhand before enlisting in the union army in December 7, 1863 at Kalamazzo. He served in the western theater and was sent to the hospital at Nashville in June 1864 or 1865.

After Balderry was discharged from the army in September of that year, he returned to Michigan and worked as a tailor. In September 1, 1885, he married 16 years old Ada May Bars at Constantine, Michigan. Balderry passed away on August 18, 1895 of tuberculosis at the age of 49.

Basing from what I know, the first recorded history of Filipinos fighting as soldiers in the U.S. army was recorded back in 1815 when General Andrew Jackson mentioned of “Manila Men” that had fought alongside his defense of New Orleans under the command of Jean Baptise Lafitte.