After the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1848 and 1849, thousands of Hungarians emigrated to the United States, an influx dubbed the Kossuth Emigration after failed revolutionary leader Lajos Kossuth. During the American Civil War, many of these Kossuth emigres joined the ranks of the Union or Confederate armies. This thorough analysis of these foreign fighters explores their motivations and the military role they played, often challenging the traditional hero-making mechanisms of ethnic history-writing in the process. The included biographical list of all Hungarian-born Civil War participants fills a longstanding gap in Civil War genealogy. With a deft blend of modern Civil War studies, military history, migration and ethnic studies, and historical memory, this study makes a significant contribution to the history of Hungarian-Americans and the often-ignored subject of non-nationals in the Civil War.
Istvan Kornel Vida is an assistant professor of U.S. history at the University of Debrecen in Hungary and an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin, Germany.