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Reader's comment 6

Subj: Asian American Soldiers
Date: 1/26/2003 1:24:38 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: pmlance@email.unc.edu (Peter M. Lance)
To: gordonkwok@aol.com
Dear Mr. Kwok,

Who were the first Asians to serve in the US military?

I recently ran across your very interesting website on the Civil War, and was particularly intrigued by the section on the service of Chinese Americans. I am descended from Irish immigrants who fought in the Civil War on the Union side, so the subject has always held a certain fascination for me. In fact, I am generally interested in American military history. My wife is Asian American and long ago posed a question that I could not (and still cannot) answer: who were the first Asians to serve in the US military? The information on your site really stunned me. I had no idea that so many Asians (let alone so many Chinese in particular) had served so far back in American history. Do you know the answer to my wife's question? Any references that you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and kudos on a great site, Peter Lance

Subj: Re: Asian American Soldiers
Date: 1/26/2003 12:58:02 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Gordonkwok
To: pmlance@email.unc.edu
Hello Mr. Peter Lance,
The Chinese first contacted America in the Manila galleon trade, the Canton-Manila-Acapulco silk sea-route. Chinese and Filipino sailors were employed to transport cargoes of Chinese luxury goods in the Manila galleons to Acapulco, Mexico, from 1565 to 1815. The Spanish also brought Chinese shipbuilders to BaJa California in 1571. At that time, Manila, Philippine, Acapulco and BaJa California were Spanish colonies. By the 16th century, some Filipinos settled in Acapulco. In the 17th century, some Chinese became small store-owners in Mexico City. Some how, they migrated to New Orleans, and the Manilamen settled in the bayou of Louisiana's Barataria Bay, about thirty miles south of New Orleans around 1760. Of course, they were the descendants of the sailors of the Manila galleons. It is not known whether the Filipinos participated in the 1776 Revolutionary War or not. Further research had to to done on the subject. It is quite possible that one or two Filipinos might participate, either officially or unofficially, either directly oe indirectly, in the Revolutionally War. Barataria Bay settlements in Louisiana were founded by Filipinos from Mexico in 1762. Some of them were Chinese settling in Filipine and then, migrated to Mexico. These "Luzon Indios" pioneered America's dried shrimp industry and also joined Jean Lafitte in fighting the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Jean Lafitte was a local leader who became part of Gen. Andrew Jackson's force in the 1812 Campaign against the British invaders. Jean Lafitte, a "good" pirate (robbing the rich and feeding the poor) turned patriot, recruited the local Filipinos as guides and soldiers to fight against the British Army, a world power at that time. The Filipinos knew the secrets of the land, Bayou, inlets, hiding places, and had these mobile advantages over the British, assisted teh Americans to win the 1812 war. We may or may not find their names in the official enlistment list in the 1812 American Army. But "other" historical records and memos surely indicated Asians (the Filipinos) fought in the War of 1812. My late friend (in New Orleans) who had found a Chinese name serving in the U.S. Navy in the War of 1812. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to ask her for the name. Hope that would answer your question. Sincerely, Gordon Kwok

Subj: Re: Chinese in Civil War
Date: 1/19/2003 10:38:45 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Gordonkwok
Hello John (Col. John Dynia),
Sir, may I tip my hat and salute you on the great honor you brought to the Chinese Civil War veterans. You did great honor to them all, by submitting the photo of Joseph Pierce to "the wall of faces" at Gettysburg National Military Park. This showed undisputed proof that Chinese did serve in the American Civil War. I am sure all the Joseph Pierce researchers are also very grateful on your contribution.
I have been trying to contact you and thank you. At last I found your old email address. I then tried my luck through the Gettysburg group. I did publicly thank you for your contribution on my web site, on
http://hometown.aol.com/gordonkwok/accsacw_link.html (link your webpage)
I am able to contact the great grand-daughter of Joseph Pierce. She was very, very appreciative on the researchers she didn't know, and who were so interested in researching about her great grandfather.
Again, I would like to sincerely thank you ---- thank you.
Your obedient servant
Gordon Kwok

Subj: Chinese in Civil War
Date: 1/16/2003 12:01:52 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: JDAtCornerGreen
To: Gordonkwok
I feel honored to be connected with your web-site. I am really not that much of an expert on the subject. I became curious about the subject after reading a reference to Joseph Pierce in Stewart's book about Pickett's charge and then I had some correspondence with Ms. McCunn. She was researching an article for the publication, "Chinese America:Nistory and Perspectives 1996". Very generously she listed me as a contributor to her article, "Ten Who Served".
JDAtCornerGreen (Col. John Dynia)

Subj: site
Date: 12/28/2002 10:07:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: emilligan@earthlink.net (Edward Milligan)
To: gordonkwok@aol.com (kwok)
G'day Gordon ! The Chinese named ships is very nice indeed! You sure are doing a heap of research! Arnoldo De Leon has a new book "Racial Frontiers: Africans, Chinese and Mexicans in Western America 1848-1890", U. of New Mexico Press. yer friend ed

Subj: details
Date: 12/26/2002 9:25:06 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: emilligan@earthlink.net (Edward Milligan)
To: gordonkwok@aol.com (kwok)
CC: tfoenander@hotmail.com (terry)
G'day Gordon!
Hope ya had a good Christmas though the reports show heaps of snow up yer way. Not like HK eh ! I was in RG 52 BuMed & Surgery, Entry 21, Medical logs of Washington Naval Hospital Oct 63-Jun 65. p. 139 #735 Afoo, John cook 44 China in 14/4/64 from Harvest Moon for syphilis. Discharged 27/6/64 "well". On p. 146 # 772, Ching Ching John cook 28 China in 18/6/64 from str resolute for bronchitis. Discharged 11/7/64 "well". It is not much but it adds details to service records. All the best for 03!
yer friend ed

Subj: ACCSACW Added...
Date: 12/4/2002 12:07:54 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: wov@windsofvalor.com (Winds of Valor)
To: gordonkwok@aol.com
Your website has been added to our Winds of Valor Resource Links Pages.
Category: /Education Resources/Historical Societies
URL: http://hometown.aol.com/gordonkwok/accsacw.html
Description: This is an electronic Monument built by our group to commemorate the Chinese serving in the American Civil War. We would like to honor the Chinese people who fought for freedom for their host, in this new country, the United States of America. Not too many people knew that the Chinese had served in the American Civil War, and we would like to spread this message across the Continents and pay respect to their participation.
Winds of Valor at http://www.windsofvalor.com is the Compendium Project for the Battle of Gettysburg. We are compiling all available data in one single location, including genealogy, maps, letters, diaries, unit history, and resource links such as your web site.
We have included your site as being of benefit to all of our viewers and membership. If you wish to exchange links, please visit the above site for information.
Thank you for your efforts in remembering those folks of long ago through your internet offering.
We invite you to become part of our Compendium Project at any time. We pledge a minimum of 10% of any gross proceeds gained through our site to battlefield preservation funding, and invite you to do the same through yours if possible. We are dedicated to giving back to those who gave us their all so long ago.
Best regards, Bruce Bump
Project Manager
Winds of Valor, LLC "It's All About Honor..."

Subj: The Hunter brothers from Macao
Date: 10/6/2002 8:24:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Thomas Layton
Dear Gordon, I've come across your name over the years during which I've been researching the "Frolic" shipwreck near Point Cabrillo. I believe you may have helped curate Bob Nash's papers following his death. In fact I discuss Nash's work in vol 1 of the Frolic series [The Voyage of the Frolic, Stanford 1997]. Howevever, I'm now working on volume 3, which includes American merchants in China, who produced Chinese children. I found two of these on Terry Foenander's web page.

James C. Hunter, Macao, China, 6th KY Cavalry. (Muster Roll.)
William C. Hunter, Macao, China, 6th KY Cavalry. (Muster Roll.)

These boys were certainly the half-Chinese sons of William C. Hunter who raised a family in Macao. Hunter authored several books on Europeans/Americans in China: 1) Bits of Old China, Kelly and Walsh Limited. Shanghai. 2) The Fanquae at Canton: 1825-1844, Kelly and Walsh Limited, Shanghai. I have two questions for you: 1) Somewhere I read or was told [perhaps by Mark Lai] that you traced your family to one of several Chinese vessels that touched California, perhaps at Monterey. Do you have any evidence for this? This story is also current among Hee family descendants in Mendocino County ["a sampan at Caspar"] for which I find no confirmation. I think they merged the Frolic Shipwreck into their family story -- easy to do with over 20,000 Chinese bowls aboard the Frolic when it wrecked near Caspar in 1850! 2) How might I find other military records on the Hunter brothers that might enable me to trace their later lives? As veterans should there be a file on each? I ask because the book I'm now writing follows the Chinese children of several American merchants in China circa 1840-70.
Kudos for your most useful web site!!
Sincerely, Tom Layton

Thomas N. Layton, Professor
Department of Anthropology
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0113

{Webmaster's reply:
Hello Tom, I had not helped to curate Bob Nash's paper.

Reply for Q1: I visited Monterey and and saw an exhibit about the Chinese Junk from the Ming Dynasty. (Cheng Ho's fleet and his 7 voyages to the "western" oceans.) One of the exhibit described 3 Japanese fishermen were blown to the western coast of America. It did not state its source. I believe I just reported what I saw from the exhibit.

Reply for Q2:

James Hunter (no middle initial), Macao, China, serving in KY 6th Cavalry. (Muster Roll.)
Residence not listed;
Enlisted on 11/6/1861 at Louisville, KY as a Private.
On 12/23/1861 he mustered into "C" Co. KY 6th Cavalry
He Re-enlisted on 1/1/1864
He was Mustered Out on 9/6/1865 at Louisville, KY
* Sergt 2/15/1865
* 1st Lieut 6/15/1865

William C. Hunter, Macao, China, 6th KY Cavalry. (Muster Roll.)
Residence not listed;
Enlisted on 7/21/1863 at Winchester, TN as a 2nd Lieutenant.
On 7/21/1863 he mustered into "C" Co. KY 6th Cavalry
He died on 12/16/1864 at Louisville, KY
* Corpl 7/21/1863}

Subj: Re: The Hunter brothers from Macao
Date: 10/6/2002 10:34:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Thomas Layton
Dear Gordon, Thank you for your speedy reply to my queries. The information you suppled is most useful. Does your database tell whether James C. Hunter ever applied for veterans benefits -- in his old age?

Many apologies for confusing you with another Kwok. I think it was Munson Kwok who traced his family to the landing at Monterey. And it was Munson who was an officer in the S. Cal. Chinese Hist. Soc. that acquired Dr. Robert Nash's papers [lots of information on the S. Calif. Chinese abalone-fishing industry and locally-built junks].

The water was "muddied" by Stan Steiner's book -- which related the "sampan" landing at Monterey -- but without any citations -- and Stan is long gone. I think Stan also mentioned an exhibit at Monterey. Do you remember where in Monterey you saw an exhibit? I'm trying to pull the various loose ends on the Seven Junks/Sampans stories together.
Thanks again, Tom Layton

Subj: FYI - interview
Date: 10/7/2002 9:58:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Pat
Good morning Gordon; Just wanted to let you know the I spoke to Monty last night and the interview is going to be this Sat. the 12th. So I guess its really going to happen... Don't know if you are aware - he is also bringing Ruthanne Lum to the interview. I look forward to meeting all of them. Will let you know how it goes. Pat

Subj: Edward Day Cahota
Date: 10/3/2002 9:42:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Lisa Yee
Dear Gordon, I came across your wonderful website and was thrilled! I am a writer and researching Chinese in the Civil War, with a special interest in Edward Day Cahota. I'm writing a childrens' non-fiction book on this subject. Would you mind if I wrote you if I have any questions? Or, if you have any more info or leads on Mr. Cahota, I'd love to hear about them. Sincerely, Lisa Yee

Subj: Re: Edward Day Cahota
Date: 10/7/2002 10:00:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Lisa Yee
Getting Edward Day Cohota a US citizenship would be wonderful, and the honorable thing for the government to do. How are you proceeding with this? Is there a lot of red tape you must wade through? Also, do you know anything about his youth? The book I am writing is for kids and I am having a hard time finding out information between the time he was adopted and when he enlisted. Lisa Yee

Subj: Re: Edward Day Cahota
Date: 10/8/2002 9:39:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Lisa Yee
Hi Gordon! I've made some great contacts (you included) and have heard back from Ruthanne among others. Monty Hom and I spoke at length until we both fried our ears. He spoke very highly of you. Anyway, Monty's research is spectacular and actually refuted much of what I found out about Cohota, (By the way, is it "Cohota" or "Cahota", I've seen it spelled both ways.) We are talking about collaborating on another exciting project of his.

I am rethinking doing a childrens' picture book on Cohota because I feel that his youth would be an integral part of it. Yet it seems like there is a void of information there. Perhaps I might do a book for older kids (middle school) and make it wider in scope, not just focusing on one solider. I still need to think that through. Or perhaps I might feature Pierce in a picture book instead. With kids it is better to tell a story from a personal point of view rather than a broad sweeping one. What are your thoughts on these two soliders? Of the two, do you have an opinion on who's story is more compelling?

When Monty's documentary airs, I know that it will be a real eye-opener for most everyone. The subject is just so fascinating and and little known. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the book and what direction it will take. In the meantime, I enjoy hearing from you and your opinions would mean a lot to me. Thanks Gordon! Lisa


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December 30, 2002