Home‎ > ‎

Reader's comment 5

Subj: Chinese in Civil War
Date: 8/23/01 7:47:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Gordon, I just read your excellent article on Chinese in the American Civil War -- thank you! One very minor point that you may want to look into regarding canning -- it was not invented in the US in the 1850s, but by Nicolas Apert of France in the late 1700s in response to a challenge by Napoleon for someone to devise a way to store and preserve food for his army and navy. Apert was a confectioner who hit upon the idea of heating and sealing cans. The French Navy tried it first, with success, and the Army thereafter. Regards, Chuck Veit,
Lieutenant, USNLP ("Abe Lincoln's Navy")(www.nmlha.org/unit192)
President, Navy & Marine Living History Association (www.nmlha.org/)

{Webmaster's reply: Thanks, Chuck.}

Subj: Chinese in the Civil War
Date: 8/17/01 4:25:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Mr. Kwok: I just reviewed your website and you have done a great job of putting together information regarding Chinese serving in the Civil War. My name in Lisa Chang and I am President Elect of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Each year NAPABA holds an annual convention and our 2002 convention will take place in Atlanta, which is where I live. Along with Bettina Yip, who may have contacted you already, I am trying to put together materials for the Atlanta History Center regarding Chinese in the South. We are hoping to convince them to open in time for our convention an exhibit on Chinese in the South. Would you be interested in helping us? It appears that many of the Chinese military men you identify in your website served the Union. We would be more interested in identifying, or at least featuring those who served in the Confederate army. I look forward to hearing from you. Lisa Chang

Subj: Re: My new web site
Date: 6/20/01 5:40:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Gordon (& Ruthanne), I have found a very, very interesting piece of information, although not relating to the Civil War, nor to anything American, but which may interest the two of you. I don't know if either of you were aware that the Australians of the First World War period were very racist in their attitudes towards Asians.I know that they had introduced an entry tax which was only imposed on Chinese (I don't know if this included all Asians or not, but the references to it which I have seen seem to indicate it was only used against the Chinese) about the late 1800's. I also know that they did not permit the enlistment of Aboriginals (and I think also Asians) for service during the First World War. However, lately I have been scanning old newspapers from about the lat 1800's to about the First World War period for anything of interest whatsoever. Yesterday I was very fortunate to stumble upon the published image as well as some small details of a Chinese soldier from Toowoomba, who had enlisted and served in the War. His name was

Hunter Robert George Poon and he was a corporal in the Australian Army. His image shows him to be either part or full blooded Chinese, so I will be attempting to research him further. I am quite ecstatic about this find, as it shows that although the Asians and Aboriginals were often degraded and treated second class, that many of them were still loyal to the country of residence. Regards, Terry.

Subj: Defenses of Washington
Date: 6/6/01 12:51:54 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Sir, Do you have any information of Asians serving in the defense of Washington 1861-65? thanks, Michael Ford

{Webmaster's reply: I don't know the answer. It is possible that there were Asians serving in the defense of Washington, D.C. 1861-65, but I have not come across any direct or indirect reference yet.}

Subj: RE: Chinese in the Civil War South
Date: 6/3/01 5:57:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Hello Mr. Kwok, How did you get interested in Chinese soldiers in the Civil War all the way up in Boston? Interestingly, I will be in Boston next weekend for my college reunion. I will call you sometime this week. I look forward to speaking with you. Bettina Yip

{Webmaster's reply:
Hi Ms. Yip, I am a Civil War buff. If you look at the links of my site, you will notice that I am running 4 CW web sites. Chinese serving in the American Civil War is a subject that hardly anyone knew about, and that included the CW buffs. I came across the subject when a member of my Civil War Round Table mentioned it to me. And that started my path to the research. I feel that I have a duty to "broadcast this news" and website / internet is the media I chose, to spread the news, to the civil war community and to the Chinese community, who might be proud that Chinese pioneers did fight for the Freedom (and State Right) in America, and did contribute in the process, to the build up of today's modern American Society. That is something all Asian / Chinese who lives in the United States, should be proud of. Looking forward to speak to you. Gordon Kwok}

Date: 5/31/01 9:05:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
"Congratulations" Gordon & The Chinese in the Civil War Website, you have won the "Cyber Pards Web Award" for outstanding historical text and graphics presentation for a civil war site. You sites name will be placed on the "Roll of Honor" as a stand out webmaster and webdesigner for spending your long time and loyalty to a time in America when people were tested more than anything. See attached image for your award, I will post your site in the next few days at: http://www.macol.net/~unionmik/page14.html. Please link it to my home page at: http://www.macol.net/~unionmik/index.html. I'm always amazed about the American civil war history, I never knew Chinese were apart of the war, great work Gordon. Visit my new website on Alfred Waud "Civil War Combat Artist" at" http://www.macol.net/~unionmik/index.html. Michael Farnsley

Subj: Chinese as zouaves in confederacy
Date: 5/29/01 2:19:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dr Kwok, my brother illustrates, and I mentioned he should do a rendering of Chinese Zouves as I have always perceived that uniform to be almost oriental in styling. Like me and so many others, it never occurred to him that Chinese served in the American Civil War. I am sure I got the information about Chinese Zouaves from a link to your website. Is there more information? And where on your site? You know, I am beginning to think our founding fathers were blessed, if not spiritually guided; even our flag has many colors, and the Document 'We the People...' I have enjoyed your site, and hope you keep up the good work, we need people that believe in inclusion rather than exclusion. Years ago as a Scoutmaster, I used to tell the scouts the reason to visit museums, is history is often just like a compass; you don't know where you are going, if you don't know where you've been. Jim Fox

Subj: Chinese in the Civil War South
Date: 5/23/01 11:08:36 AM Eastern Daylight Time
To Mr. Kwok, I ran across the web page you created commemorating Chinese soldiers in the Civil War. I am attempting to get the Atlanta History Center to host an exhibit on Chinese in the Civil War and Reconstruction South so I would love to speak with you sometime about your research. Please contact me at your convenience. Thank you. Bettina Yip

Subj: Re: Samuel Chin - another Chinese serviceman, perhaps
Date: 5/23/01 3:45:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
File: scharf.jpg (146847 bytes)
DL Time (26400 bps): < 1 minute
Gordon and Ruthanne, Sorry if I neglected to include the attachment in the previous message, but I am re-sending it, with the attachment this time. Regards, Terry.

Subj: Re: Samuel Chin - another Chinese serviceman, perhaps?
Date: 5/22/01 4:33:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Ruthanne and Gordon, I found 21 soldiers with the surname Chin listed in my Civil War Muster Roll CD ROM, 12 of whom were in the colored units. Some of these were from Confederate units, so the surname was not uncommon amongst Caucasians. I have enclosed a scan (sorry, that is the best I could get it, as the volume is rather thick, and I did not want to press down too hard onto the scanner) of the pages from J. Thomas Scharf's HISTORY OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES NAVY, which includes the passage showing the name of Samuel Chin. Regards, Terry.

Subj: inquiry
Date: 5/16/01 5:36:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Hi Gordon, I'm impress with your work on collecting such a vast amount of info on Chinese soldiers. I am working for the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month society in Canada. We are putting a project together on a North American Asian History timeline and would like to include an entry about Chinese soldiers' in the Civil War. We would also like to include one or two of the photos on your website. I think the impact would be greater. The end result would be a published pamphlet which would be distributed to all the schools and libraries in our province. Can you give us permission, if we cite the photo credits? We would also add your website to our recommended search list in the printed material and send you a copy of the final product. Jim Wong-Chu, Researcher/programmer, Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.

{Webmaster's reply: Hi Jim, You are welcome to use material from my site. Please credit the photo source (per courtesy of the owners), since I don't own those pictures.}

Date: 5/2/01 10:55:02 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Gordon, I intend to put your site in the story. There are some legal problems, in that we are a government entity and cannot be seen as favoring one site over another. My request is with the lawyers now. What you are doing is very important for all Americans to know about. Thanks for what you do. v/r, Jim Garamone, AFPS

Date: 4/28/01 5:10:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Gordon, By the way, I recently received the full copies of the Robert Watson diary from the Florida State Archives, which I purchased. Watson was the Confederate soldier and sailor who had mentioned in his diary that there was at least one, or more Chinese, as well as several other interesting personnel of different nationalities in his Florida Coast Guard unit in 1862. You will recall that I saw this in the excerpts of his diary placed on the Internet by the Florida State Archives at their site. Anyway, I thought that I might find something additional on the Chinese mentioned, but unfortunately there is nothing further mentioned, so it looks like we will just have to continue without ever knowing his name, or what became of him. The purchase of the copy of the diary was not in vain, though, as there is much information on a number of Confederate enlisted sailors, which is going to help me quite a bit in my research. In fact, one of my next web pages, which should be on the net at the beginning of May, will be a roll of the personnel in that Coast Guard unit, with additional data being included from three or four other primary sources. Terry Foenander

Subj: Cohota Info
Hi Harold (& copy the webmaster): I went through the paper work and I tell you, Cohota was a man of many different opinions, perhaps even about himself. OK, Let's start from the time of his death. Nov 22, 1935 From all accounts in the papers etc. it states his age was 92-93. This we know for sure. On five seperate accounts from news articles, a letter from a senator, his lawyer, and his personal deposition, there are five seperate birthdates claimed. The absolute dates to cross off is: (A) 1848-- this is from Cohota's own deposition. He would not have been 92-93 when he died in 1935! (B) 1841-- Too early!!! there are several news articles that claim he was 4 or 5 when he was picked up on a sailing vessel in China, NO WAY!! According to the original Cohota ship's log, the vessel was in Chinese water from 1857-59!!!!!!! So what do we have??? I feel after reviewing all the possible documents since I have all the originals, his birthdate would be: Dec 27, 1843. This would put him at his correct age of death in 1935 to be 92-93. Let me know what you think, Montgomery Hom

Date: 4/22/01 8:49:11 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Hi Gordon: Nice to hear from you. Our program is coming along very well. I'd say about another month and all should be finished. I spoke to your contact Mr. Low at the Veteran's department in Valentine, Nebraska. A very nice gentleman. I have given him some more info regarding Cohota and would like him to be involved in a major ceremony to commemorate Cohota's military experience as well as provide him the citizenship he needs. The VA in Washington, DC is working with me right now to make this event happen in September in Valentine. I want Cohota's family, you, Tom, Ed, Ruthanne, Irving to hopefully be there. I will be in DC next week to go over all of this material with Congress persons, etc., and the US Army. This should be a very momentous event for all. I plan to premiere the film also in Valentine with this event. It will be a great moment for all Chinese in America. Please let me know what you think. I also wanted to know if you can help to email our Congressmen and women of the Asian Caucus in DC to get Cohota's citizenship. This is a very important step. We need to get to the big guns to support us in this endeavor. Talk to you soon, Monty.

{Webmaster's reply: Hi Terence from Singapore, Thank you for writing. I will tell you what I know. As far as I know, there is no comprehensive studies on Chinese Serving in the American Civil War, other than what I have put on the web. You may find bits and pieces here and there in some published articles or a short paragraph in a book, but not as comprehensive as my web site. (I do not mean to sound like boasting, but just state the fact.) There is no published comprehensive work on the subject as of today, as far as I know. I could say only 99% for sure. A lot of people / friends contributed to this web site. The credit goes to all the contributors. I think I know most of the people who had done research on the subject. I might have missed a few hidden treasures, but I doubt it. Other than that, this is it! Because of lack of literature (including books) on the subject, that's why I launched this web site to spread the news across America and around the world. Basicly I collected all the bits of information and put these mosaic pieces together to formulate this piece of lost history. I am not a Historian by profession and I did'nt major in History in University. American Civil War is my hobby. Sincerely, Gordon Kwok.}

Subj: Association to Commemorate the Chinese Serving in the American Civil War (ACCSACW)
Date: 4/16/01 12:02:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Gordon, Allow me to introduce myself - my name's Terence and I'm a lawyer living in Singapore. History's been a hobby of mine, and recently military history. One thing I'm reading a lot about lately is the American Civil War, which I find incredibly fascinating. Anyway, I came across your page and found it both tantalizing and informative - the source material may be hard to go through, but very illuminating. I had no idea that any Asians had even served in the ACW until I came across your site, and I'm still going through it. What I'm writing to ask is that, to your knowledge, has there been any organized research done on the subject, or any books written? The story of people like John Tomney, for example, would make for great reading. What are the primary sources? Where could one find them? The reason I'm asking this is because at the moment I'm thinking of doing a Masters' Degree in the U.S. in History, and I think that would make a great research subject. If you could tell me how you've gone about researching this or offer any pointers to more information about Asians and the Civil War, I'd be very grateful. WWW: http://www.khaosworks.org
Terence Chua, Singapore.

Subj: RE: Chinese in Civil War
Date: 4/16/01 7:53:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Hello, Yes, his parents were born in Virginia, and they were of English descent. Thanks for the information. David Rusher.

{Webmaster's reply to David Rusher: Subject: Re: Chinese in Civil War
Hello, the regimental history of Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Jr.
Company A, Richmond Otey Battery, 13th Virginia Bn, CSA, Regimental History page 86.
Please refer to this link. http://dataline.net.au/~tfoen/asians.html
So I assume he had two white parents, and even though he was born in China, his heritage was really white. Did I draw the correct conclusion? Regards, Gordon Kwok.}

Subj: Chinese in Civil War
Date: 4/12/01 11:11:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Greetings, Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Jr., was born in Canton, China about 1847. He was a son of Baptist Missionaries, Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Sr., and Frances Keziah Turpin. They were married in Richmond, VA, in April 1846, and sailed for China in June 1846. S.C. Clopton, Sr., died in Canton China in July 1847 and was buried there. His widow and son returned to VA within a few months, probably when S.C., Jr. was old enough for the trip. Samuel Cornelius Clopton, Jr., later became a Baptist preacher in VA and MD. I have been unable to find the regimental history of his Civil War unit. I would be grateful if you would email me the information contained in it relating to him, and the title, author, publisher, and publishing date. There is additional information on him on the Clopton Chronicles internet site, hosted by the Clopton Genealogical Society, of which I am a member. Thanks for anything you can send me. David Rusher

Subj: U.S. Civil War Chinese
Date: 4/12/01 11:01:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Mr. Kwok, I am a reporter with the American Forces Press Service. I came upon your web site while doing research Chinese soldiers in the U.S. Civil War for a story to appear during Asian-Pacific Islander Month. Please send me an e-mail with your phone number so we can speak. Jim Garamone, AFPS

Subj: Chinese Soldiers
Date: 4/9/01 7:14:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Sir: I have a large reunion photo of a soldiers reunion taken in I think the 1920s. Within this picture is at least one Chineese Civil War soldier. All the veterans are in Civil War forage coats. Would you be interested in me sending a scan of the Chinese soldier. God speed, Bill May

Date: 4/9/01 7:08:58 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Gordon your site was spread around on a Temple University CW List in the Philadelphia area. I don't think that very many people had any idea that there were any Chinese involved in the Civil War. I have about 9 Union War ancestors from Southern Illinois. But I also have a Chinese Vietnamese foster son and a Chinese Vietnamese niece-in-law. So I have let them know that now they too can get uniforms and come and play with me. Thanks for the effort. John O'Neal

Subj: Fwd: Web Site on Chinese in CW incl- Hong Neok WOO PA Militia 50th Regiment,
Date: 4/8/01 10:12:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Gordon, I thought you might want to see what I posted on our Philadelphia Civil War Web group site. We have about 500 members of the web group world wide. I am the Chairman of the Southwark Civil War Committee, which is working to preserve and publicize local Civil War sites including the Naval Yard where Hong Neok Woo disembarked, upon entering the U.S.[It is three blocks from my home] I am particularly interested in Hong Neok Woo's story as I also present programs on the Civil War Philadelphia, in local schools. Our area includes a large Asian community of both Chinese and Southeast Asian emigrants. Would it be possible to have a copy of his photograph for an overhead slide to use as part of the school program? I already have a Pa Union Colored Troop Discharge paper which I use, and other period photos and lithographs. All of the Union soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England came across from Camden on the ferry to the Navy Yard right here. The men and horses were then fed and housed at the Union and Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloons. The ill cared for in'hospital homes'. I have the lists of some units by states, when they came through, from the telegrams sent in advance. But if you know of other Chinese or Asian soldiers from those states, by unit, I can them search out Unit photos or flags to include in the presentation, stating that they had rested and camped here before taking the train to the front(and then on the way back). We are trying to make the Civil War period relivant, as well as demonstrate the values which united all Philadelphians as a city, a people, and as a Nation, in one great cause. Will search my records for any assistance I can be in your quest, and appreciate whatever help you can give us. I can send you the packet we give out on the Southwark Civil War District and the handouts I use in the schools. Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Suzanne L Haney

Subject: Web Site on Chinese in CW incl- Hong Neok WOO PA Militia 50th Regiment,
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2001 20:58:54 -0400
Dear Philadelphia Civil War Group, I just came across an interesting web site by the 'Association to Commemorate the Chinese Serving in the American Civil War (ACCSACW)' at: http://hometown.aol.com/gordonkwok/accsacw.html It includes a photo of Hong Neok WOO, a Lancaster Pa resident, in his Union Uniform. He served in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia 50th Regiment, Company I. Though he did not see battle he was apparently stationed in Harrisburg PA, guarding bridges and other strategic facilities. Upon first arriving from the Orient in the U.S, he had disembarked from a US Naval vessel here in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard, before going to Lancaster to stay with missionary friends. He later became a naturalized US citizen in Lancaster and enlisted in the Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia after Confederate forces had entered Pa, and an emergency militia was raised. He stated that he was motivated by his belief in the Union anti-slavery cause. You may want to check the site out. It includes men with service in both the Union and Southern armies. There are photographs that need identification, if possible. They are also interested in input information on other Chinese soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Additionally the site has links to Civil War Round tables in both the US and overseas, as well as other valuable Civil War links. Among the more interesting scheduled events is a 'Olde Colony' Round Table trip in May to Harpers Ferry, and vicinity ---- Just what the Meade Society has discussed for next year's trip. We might want to invite them to join us then, if anyonefrom there wants to do it again. Again, interesting site particularly with the Hong Neok WOO connections to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Sincerely, Suzanne L Haney


{Webmaster's question. Hi SM, I understand you are doing research about Chinese on one location, New Orleans, Chinese in the Civil War is only part of the timeline you covered. keep doing the good job. I really understand the thrill of research discovery. I am happy for you and share this type of happiness. By the way, do you know whether there were Chinese serving in the 1812 War? There was a war fought in New Orleans in around 1814-1815, a man with a French name against the British? I am curious. Regards, Gordon}

Subj: Re: Civil War Soldiers
Date: 4/2/01 11:16:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Gordon, It is possible that Chinese served in the war of 1812. Since Manilaman along with Chinese lived in the Barataria Bay where Jean Lafitte was based. The bayou or waterway (now a street) that Jean Lafitte used to get to the Chalmette Battlefield area of the Mississippi River is close by where I live now. I located records of both Chinese and Manila fisherman in 1850 census of Plaquemine Parish. The Chinese fishermen were in their mid and late 70s in 1850. Sometime ago, I heard some Filipinos down here mentioned about Manilamen fighting in the 1812 war. I am searching for that type of info as well. The earliest Chinese in New Orleans I have found to date is in the 1830s. I did see some records of the Kentucky or something like that regiment roster but not the Jean Lafitte roster. :) By the way, I have made a list of potential confederate soldiers with Chinese names. Do you want to post them? I found that Norwegians and Germans tend to have names similar to Chinese last names. I tracked down a "Frederick Wang" and finally he turned out to be from Norway. I also eliminated a lot of other names that sounded Chinese but could not be since there were a lot of them in the list. Shaie-Mei Deng Temple

Copyright (C), all rights reserved.


Go back to the home page, click below.

Go back to the home page

Go to ACCSACW Part 20, click below.

Go to ACCSACW Part 20.

Go to ACCSACW Part 22, click below.

Go to ACCSACW Part 22.


All rights reserved.

Author and Webmaster, Gordon Kwok (


May 1, 2001