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Galvanized Yankees


Captured Confederate soldiers granted release from Northern prisoner-of-war camps to serve in the Union Army to fight Indians on the western frontier during and after the Civil War.[1]


The pejorative term "Galvanized Yankees" was meant to imply that former Confederate soldiers were traitorous Johnny Rebs beneath the galvanized veneer of a Union uniform.[1]


By 1864, the Union Army fortifying the remote outposts across the western frontier was atrophying, due to the high toll of U. S. soldiers engaged in the Civil War. In an attempt to bolster the declining availability of men to serve in the west in protecting settlers and merchants from the constant threat of Indian attacks, President Abraham Lincoln arranged with the Union Army to recruit captured Confederate soldiers to serve as United States Volunteers to fight Indians. Reluctant to join their enemy's army but desperate to get out of the miserable, disease-ridden prisons, Galvanized Yankees were guaranteed not to be fighting their Confederate brethren, but Indians far away from the battlefields of the Civil War.[1]



Trail West to Fury: At Camp Douglas in April 28, 1865, Bret and Bart Maverick enlisted in the 5th U. S. Volunteer Infantry[2] "to get out of a stinking Yankee prison."[3] They served nearly two years fighting Indians along the Santa Fe Trail and in the New Mexico Territory from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union. They were mustered out from Fort Leavenworth on November 13, 1867.[2]



Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas, Chicago, 1864.[4] If one looks closely, Bret and Bart Maverick can be seen amongst the crowd.[2]


01. The Galvanized Yankees, Dee Brown, University of Nebraska Press, ©1963

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Dell Publishing Company, Inc.

04. Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison, Kelly Pucci (December 3, 2007), Arcadia Publishing









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