An Immigrant Soldier in the Mexican War (Elma Dill Russell by Frederick Zeh

By Frederick Zeh

quickly after emigrating from Germany to the U.S., Frederick Zeh all of a sudden joined the military as struggle with Mexico loomed. His written account is the 1st book-length description of the Mexican battle through a German-American participant—a major contribution, provided that approximately part the general military used to be made from immigrant recruits.

even though Zeh held the lowly rank of "laborer" within the military, he used to be good informed and an astute observer, and his tale is either vigorous and good written. along with the horror of battles, he describes kinfolk among officials and enlisted males, army punishment, and daily existence. he's surprisingly candid approximately abuses that happened within the American military and towards Mexican civilians.

The editors' advent supplies biographical details on Zeh and units the degree for the narrative. An epilogue lines the highlights of his actions within the half-century following his army provider.

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Additional resources for An Immigrant Soldier in the Mexican War (Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest, No 13)

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Page 6 For if bullets strike your man, Where would kings get their soldiers then? 8 On Christmas Day we were transferred by railway to Baltimore, arriving there at noon. Each soldier received twenty-five cents to buy lunch. We had full liberty and got a close look at the hilly city. 9 Besides us, there were civilian passengers on board, including two German girl harpists. Warriors of every epoch have been distinguished by their gallantry toward the fair sex, so it was inevitable that we would promptly follow in our ancestors' footsteps.

His own viewpoint was that of a recent immigrant, loyal to his new country but all too aware of prejudice and discrimination. Confronted with virulent xenophobia after his arrival in the United States, he found the regular army a haven from nativism. Even there, however, ethnic groups clustered together, and, to judge from his account, there was some friction between Germans and Irishmen. While there are other accounts of the Mexican War by German observers or by German Americans, few of these have been translated.

On all sides, rowboats were crossing the spaces between the ships. Because we were right next to the enemy, watch duty was instituted aboard each vessel. To my delight, we soon were transferred to a small island with our field equipment and artillery. 18 Ecstatically I greeted solid ground, however dreary it might be. We pitched our tents and did what we could to make ourselves at home. Time passed quickly with rigorous drilling, and our forces were steeled by physical exertion because we had to haul the landing craft onto the beach as soon as they were lowered into the sea from the transport ships.

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