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Canada, French Canadians and Franco-Americans in the Civil War Era (1861-1865)

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Bibliographical Note


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1 R. H. Coats and M. C. Maclean, The American-Born in Canada : A Statistical Interpretation (New Haven and Toronto, Yale University Press and The Ryerson Press, 1943), 55-66; Leon E. Truesdell, The Canadian Born in the United States (New Haven and Toronto, Yale University Press and The Ryerson Press, 1943), 57, 73.


1 Micheal Perman, ed., The Coming of the American Civil War (Lexington, D.C. Heath and Co., 3rd ed., 1993), xviii.

2 Ibid.

3Leonard Dinnerstein et al., Natives and Strangers: A Multicultural History of Americans (New York, Oxford University Press, 1996), 95.

4 Ella Lonn, Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy (Baton Rouge, Louisiana University Press, 1951), 572; James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York, Ballatine Books, 1989), 606-610.

Chapter One / Franco-American Enlistments: Facts and Figures

1 Armand Chartier, The Franco-Americans of New England: A History (Manchester and Worcester, ACA Assurance and Institut français of Assumption College, 1999), 13; Robert Rumilly, Histoire des Franco-Américains (Montreal, self-published, 1958), 37-38; Yves Roby, Les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle-Angleterre (Sillery, Septentrion, 1990), 58; Robin W. Winks, "The Creation of a Myth: ‘Canadian’ Enlistments in the Northern Armies During the Civil War," Canadian Historical Review, XXXIX, 1 (1958), 36; Marcus Lee Hansen and John Bartlet Brebner, The Mingling of the Canadian and American Peoples, Volume I: Historical (New Haven and Toronto, Yale University Press and The Ryerson Press, 1940), 146.

2 Hercule Beaudry, "Discours de M. l’abbé Beaudry, curé de St. Constant, à l’occasion d’un Libera chanté pour le repos des associés de l’Union des prières, morts dans les États-Unis," L’Écho du Cabinet de lecture paroissial, 7, 4 (1865), 54-58; Winks, "The Creation of a Myth […]," loc. cit., 32-34.

3 Ignace Bourget, Fioretti vescovili […] (Montreal, Le Franc-Parleur, 1872), 141.

4 Winks, "The Creation of a Myth […]," loc. cit., 32-34.

5 Félix Gatineau, Histoire des Franco-Américains de Southbridge, Massachusetts (Framingham, Lakeview Press, 1919), 130; Alexandre Goulet, Une Nouvelle-France en Nouvelle-Angleterre (Paris, Librairie de jurisprudence ancienne et moderne, 1934), 20; Robert Provost, "Vieux papiers : les Canadiens français à la Guerre de Sécession," Bulletin de la Société historique franco-américaine, II (1956), 148; for Waterville, Maine, see Robert E. Chenard’s web site (

6 Yolande Lavoie, L’émigration des Québécois aux États-Unis de 1840 à 1930 (Quebec City, Éditeur officiel du Québec, 1979), 45; Truesdell, op. cit., 10, 16, 19, 27.

7 Until well into the twentieth-century, Franco-Americans and French Canadians considered themselves to be members of the same nation or race.

8 Winks, "The Creation of a Myth […]," loc. cit., 32.

9 Ella Lonn, op. cit., 311; Provost, loc. cit., 143-155; Marie-Louise Bonier, Débuts de la colonie franco-américaine de Woonsocket, Rhode Island (Framingham, Lakeview Press, 1920), 79, 85, 93, 99; Ulysse Forget, "Onomastique franco-américaine. Étude sur la transformation des noms franco-américains," in Maurice Poteet, ed., Textes de l’exode. Recueil de textes sur l’émigration des Québécois aux États-Unis (XIXe et XXe siècles) (Montreal, Guérin, 1987 [1949]), 323-337.

10 Greg Marquis, In Armageddon’s Shadow: The Civil War and Canada’s Maritime Provinces (Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998), 109, 294; Robin Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years (Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 4th ed., 1998), 204; Thomas Albert, Histoire du Madawaska (Quebec City, Imp. Franciscaine missionnaire, 1920), 254-255. On October 19th 1864, a group of Confederate agents based in Canada launched a daring raid on the border town of St. Albans, Vermont. After looting several banks, the raiders fled back across the border where they were arrested by the Canadian authorities but later released on a legal technicality. The St. Albans Raid significantly raised the degree of tension between the United States and the Province of Canada.

Chapter Two / Factors Motivating Franco-American Enlistments

1 Lonn, op. cit., 66; Hansen and Brebner, op. cit., 141; Yvan Lamonde, Ni avec eux ni sans eux : le Québec et les État-Unis (Montreal, Nuit Blanche Éditeur, 1996), 39; Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 187; H.C. Saint-Pierre, Oration Pronounced at the Mount Royal Cemetery by H.C. Saint-Pierre […] on Decoration Day, May 30th 1899 (Montreal, C.A. Marchand, [1899]), 4; Saint-Pierre, Oration Pronounced by H.C. Saint-Pierre […] on Memorial Day, May 30th 1900 at Richford, Vermont, before the Veterans of the G.A.R. (Montreal, C.A. Marchand, [1900]), 8. The French Canadian edition of H. B. Stowe’s novel incorrectly lists Henriette Beecher Stowe as its author.

2 A. I. Silver, The French-Canadian Idea of Confederation, 1864-1900 (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2nd ed., 1997), 224; Lamonde, op. cit, 38-39; Beaudry, loc. cit., p. 55.

3 In November 1861, Captain Charles Wilkes of the U.S.S. San Jacinto stopped the British steamer Trent on the high seas and seized two Confederate commissioners who were en route to England. The seizure, illegal under international law, was vigorously denounced in Great Britain and retaliation was threatened. Although British war fever subsided a few months after the incident, the Trent Affair almost brought Great Britain and the United States to war.

4 Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 80, 97-98; Gerald M. Craig, The United States and Canada (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1968), 139-140, 146; Hugh L. Keenleyside, Canada and the United States: Some Aspects of Their Historical Relations (New York, Knopf, 2nd ed., 1952), 111, 113, 120, 126.

5 S. F. Wise and R. C. Brown, Canada Views the United States: Nineteenth-Century Attitudes (Toronto, Macmillan, 1967), 82.

6 "Appendix to the Report of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics", Sessional Papers of the Province of Canada, no 6, 28 Victoria (A 1865), 23. Chapais had been temporarily charged with the superintendence of colonization in Quebec during the coalition government of 1864-1867.

7 Rémi Tremblay, Un Revenant. Épisode de la Guerre de Sécession (New Bedford, National Materials Development Center for French, 1980 [1884]), 45.

8 André Beaudoin, "Charles Bilodeau défend la cause d’Abraham Lincoln," Bulletin de la Société historique de Bellechasse, IV, 4 (1992), 11-12.

9 Bell Irvin Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (New York, Bobbs-Merrill, 1952), 66, 69.

10 Quoted in Lois E. Darroch, "A Note: Canadians in the American Civil War," Ontario History, LXXXIII, 1 (1991), 58.

11 Quoted in Wiley, op. cit., 36-37.

12 Rémi Tremblay, Pierre qui roule (Montreal, Beauchemin, 1923), 83.

13 Lonn, op. cit., 331, 377; Wiley, op. cit., 157; Gerard J. Brault, The French-Canadian Heritage in New England (Hanover and Montreal, University Press of New England and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1986), 82; Rumilly, op. cit., 36-38.

14 Lonn, op. cit., 126-129, 357. In the 1850s, Régis de Trobriand had been the editor of the prestigious and widely distributed Courrier des États-Unis of New York City. As such, he was well known in the intellectual circles of French Canada.

15 Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 189; Rumilly, op. cit., 36-37; Rosaire Dion-Lévesque, Silhouettes franco-américaines (Manchester, Publications de l’Association canado-américaine, 1957), 603-607; Goulet, op. cit., 20-23; Lonn, op. cit., 176, 236.

16 McPherson, op. cit., 600-606.

17 "Report of the Minister of Agriculture and Statistics for the year 1863," Sessional Papers of the Province of Canada, no 32, 27 Victoria (A 1864).

18 Lonn, op. cit., 162-163; Hansen and Brebner, op. cit., 142-144. The secret police force was also established to counter Fenian insurgency and the activities of Confederate agents operating on Canadian soil.

19 Quoted in Roby, op. cit., 49.

20 Winks, "The Creation of a Myth […]," loc. cit., 38.

21 Hansen and Brebner, op. cit., 148-149.

22 Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 197; William F. Raney, "Recruiting and Crimping in Canada for the Northern Forces, 1861-1865," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, X, 1 (1923), 29; Brault, op. cit, 53-54.

23 Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 185; Provost, loc. cit., 149.

24 Lonn, op. cit., 560.

Chapter Three / The Growth of French America During the Civil War

1 Gary B. Nash et al., The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society (New York, Harper Collins, brief 2nd ed., 1996), 340; Dinnerstein, op. cit., 96.

2 Hansen and Brebner, op. cit., 152; Jean Lamarre, Les Canadiens français du Michigan. Leur contribution dans le développement de la vallée de la Saginaw et de la péninsule de Keweenaw, 1840-1914 (Sillery, Septentrion, 2000), 34-36.

3 Tremblay, Pierre qui roule, op. cit., 77.

4 Ibid., 39, 54, 73, 137-138; Rumilly, op. cit., p. 38.

5 François Weil, Les Franco-Américains, 1860-1980 (Paris, Belin, 1989), 42.

6 Based on figures quoted in Roby, op. cit., 47.

7 John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 1955), 4-14.

8 Ibid.; McPherson, op. cit., 32-33.

9 Wise and Brown, op. cit., 84-85.

10 Bruce Hutchison, The Struggle for the Border (Toronto, Longmans, Green and Co., 1955), 3.


1 Winks, Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years, op. cit., 379; Keenleyside, op. cit., 114. In French, the "Dominion of Canada" was translated into the more grandiose Puissance du Canada (Power of Canada).

2 Winks, "The Creation of a Myth […]," loc. cit., 34.