17. About 25% of the Union army were foreign born
Most of the soldiers of the Civil War were American born citizens, but the Northern Army in particular was liberally supported by immigrants. About 25% of the troops which wore the blue of the Union army were foreign born, chiefly from Germany and Ireland. It was the second time large numbers of Germans fought in an American war, after the use of German hired troops by the British in the American Revolutionary War. Both the Irish and Germans were intermingled with state units and fielded units of their own, such as New York’s 69th Militia, which became famous as the Irish Brigade, fought with distinction throughout the war, and left behind the nickname, the Fighting Irish.