GERMAN UNITS IN THE UNION ARMY
Before reading a list of regiments that were noted for the ethnicity of their German members, it is important to note that Germans were in fact found throughout the armies. As historian Bell I. Wiley noted, "[Germans] were scattered throughout the entire army in quantities ranging from a dozen to several hundred per regiment. Indeed, it is hardly an exaggeration to state that the company which lacked a German-born member was a rarity among the Federal forces." [The Life of Billy Yank, p 307-308.] With over 200,000 German soldiers who fought, only a minority of them ended up in the units listed below.
While some regiments of the Union army were notably ethnic like the Irish 69th New York, the German 9th Ohio, and the mutli-ethnic Garibaldi Guard, it often becomes difficult to identify exactly which units should be called "German", which were "native American" [not to be confused with the American Indians], and which were some mix of the two or others. The following list was compiled primarily from Ella Lonn's work Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy. Several mistakes and omissions have been corrected.
All regiments are volunteer infantry regiments unless otherwise noted. Click on names of the highlighted regiments for more information on them.
- The 7th New York (the Steuben Rifles) overwhelmingly foreign, predominantly German
- The 8th New York (the First German Rifles) one of the first German regiments
- The 20th New York. (the United Turner Rifles)
- The 29th New York (the Astor Rifles or First German Infantry)
- The 41st New York (the De Kalb Regiment)
- The 45th New York (the German Rifles no. 5, or the Platt Deutsch Regiment)
- The 46th New York (the Fremont Regiment)
- The 52nd New York (the German Rangers, Sigel Rifles)
- The 54th New York (the Schwarzer Jager)
- Also: 5th New York Militia
Some Half-German infantry regiments include:
- The 58th NY (the Polish Legion)
- The 68th NY (the Cameron Rifles)
The 119th NY
- The 103rd New York (The Seward Infantry) (Included 2 companies that would have become the Third German Rifles if they had been able to enlist more men. The remainder of the men were apparently "native" Americans.)
- 4th New York Cavalry (Dickel's Mounted Rifles)
- Louis Schirmer's battery
- Emil von Sturmfels' battery
- 1st NYLA, Batt I, (Michael Wiedrich's Battery)
- 1st New York Independent Battalion of Light Artillery (Michael Brickel's Artillery). Composed of 4 batteries. Batteries made independent after the battle of Antietam (where commander Major Arndt was killed) forming: 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd Independent Batteries. 30th Battery under Captain Adolph Vvgelee contained a mixture including high number of Germans. Many American-born germans in the 31st. 29th later consolidated with the 32 under Captain Charles von Kusserow. 30th later merged with the 31st.
- 15th New York Heavy Artillery made up largely of Germans.
- 24th Illinois- (Hecker Jaeger Regiment)
- 43rd Illinois (The Koerner Regiment, or Koerner's Regt.)
- 82 Illinois
- 32nd Indiana
- 1st Independent Indiana Battery of Light Artillery (Capt. Martin Klauss's Battery)
- 6th Independent Indiana Battery of Light Artillery (Capt. Friederich Behr's Battery)
- 6th Kentucky Contained 4 German companies
- 9th Ohio (First German Regiment, "Die Neuner")
- 28th Ohio (The Second German Regiment) Clearly German regiment.
- 37th Ohio (Third German Regiment) Clearly German regiment.
- 47th Ohio (Wilstach Regiment) Sited by some as German, but according to the regimental historian, "The regiment was composed of four companies of Germans and the balance of Yankees as they were called." He also sites that the German co.s contained many Americans and at least 13 different nationalities.
- 74th Ohio Sited by some authors as German, but best, classified as only partly German.
- 106th Ohio Clearly German regiment
- 107th Ohio Clearly German regiment
- 108th Ohio (Sixth German Regiment) Clearly German regiment.
- 58th Ohio
- 74th Ohio
- 165th Ohio
- 3rd Ohio- at least partly German.
- 4th Ohio Battery (Hofman's Battery)
- 8th Ohio Battery (Markgraf's Battery)
- Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery (Dilger's Battery)
- 27th PA
- 35th PA (designation changed to the 74th PA)
- 73rd PA Only marginally German Reg.
- 74th PA
- 75th PA
- 98th PA (Had one Irish co.)
- 5th PA Cav largely composed of German and Irish.
- 1st Missouri Slightly less than half German.
- 2nd Missouri Almost exclusively German.
- 3rd Missouri Very German
- 12th Missouri "The most quintessentially German organization [from MO.]"
- 15th Missouri Included Germans and German speaking Swiss.
- 17th Missouri
- 39th Missouri
- 40th Missouri
- 41st Missouri
- Second Missouri Light Artillery
- 4th Missouri Cav
- 5th Militia
- 9th Wisconsin (Salomon Guards)- all German regiment.
- 26th Wisconsin (Sigel Regiment)
- 27th Wisconsin
- 34th Wisconsin- Over half German.
- 7th Wisconsin Militia.
- Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951).