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Reader's comment 7

Subj: Franklin Pierce
Date: 6/24/2002 2:53:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Sir: I have just spent a few hours reading the information on Joseph Pierce (my great grandfather)..I had no idea there was so much information available on his life. I can't thank you enough for all this..I am waiting for a new inkjet for my printer, so for now I had to add these sites to my favorites list..But I will print it all out. Some of the information you have, I was able to get years back when I started researching, my great grandfather. Unfortunately, we (my sisters & I) didn't know anything until after my father, grandfather and great uncle passed away..Then it was too late to ask questions. I guess I understand the reasoning, but as you can imagine, I feel cheated.. I would like to contact you again, if you don't mind - after I absorb the information I got today.
Patricia W. Haight (Pierce)

{Webmaster's reply:
Hello Patricia, I am so glad/thrilled that a descendant of Joseph Pierce / Franklin Pierce contacts me. What a great honor! The credit of the in depth research goes to my friend Irving Moy. He spent many many hours in the Library to research your great grandfather's life. I hope you don't mind I copy him the email, and he is the one who earns the credit. He is also a Civil War re-enactor, portraying Joseph Pierce of the 14th CT regiment, in the Connecticut Historical Society (and lectured about your great grandfather's deed to the general public.) Please feel free to contact me any time. If I am not mistaken, are you writing to me from northern California? Filmmaker and friend Monty Hom has made a Documentary film on Chinese serving in the American Civil War, which is scheduled to be shown in PBS nationwide in October 2002, if things run according to plan. Joseph Pierce will be one of the main focal points in the film. Regards, Gordon Kwok}

Subj: Franklin Pierce - Irving Moy
Date: 6/24/2002 10:57:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Pat Pierce
To: Gordon Kwok
Hi - its me again. I just wanted to know if you had an email address for Mr. Moy - I would like to contact him to say how wonderful his research is on my great grandfather.. He had sent one of my sisters (Jean Cuzzi) a letter in June 1997 which she forwarded to me, as I am the eldest natural daughter of Franklin W. Pierce, but due to circumstances at the time, I never contacted him.. I would like to contact him now, if that is possible. I look forward to any and all information you can give me.. Sincerely, Pat Haight (Pierce)

Subj: RE: Franklin Pierce
Date: 6/25/2002 7:58:27 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Moy, Irving
To: Pat Pierce
CC: Gordon Kwok
Dear Pat: I sent your sister, Jean, in Florida a copy of my research on your Great Grandfather three years ago. She said that she would contact all the sisters and hopefully I would hear from them for me to ask them of any remembrances of their uncle (Benjamin), grandfather (Franklin) and your Dad. I am happy to know that you did have the opportunity to see what I found about your family. Jean said that you would probably be the one who might have the most interest in the family history. Jean share pictures of all of you when you were younger (shots of your Dad and daughters at Seaside Park). When you read the post script in my paper you will see that I grew up in Bridgeport and shared a number of common coincidences with the Pierces. I was a member of First Methodist Church on Elm Street and if I remember correctly you worked on Elm Street at a credit union. I tries tracing all of you in order to tell you about your family but was only able to do so through Jean. I am honored to have met your family through my research and to share it with others. You should have a lot of pride in your family. They contributed much at a time when it was difficult for the Chinese in this country. Your great grandfather is honored with his picture at the visitors' center in Gettysburg. Joseph Pierce was the most reknown Chinese soldier who fought in the Civil War. I am honored to have the opportunity to portray him with his original regiment, the 14th Connecticut. Each Memorial Day I visit his gravesite and that of your grandparents and uncle at Walnut Grove and I thank my friend, Gordon, for sharing your message to him. My very best to you, Irving Moy

Subj: On Joseph Pierce
Date: 6/29/2002 6:05:36 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Gordon Kwok
To: Patricia W. Haight (Pierce)
CC: Irving Moy
To: Patricia W. Haight (Pierce),

Many researchers have contributed in compiling information on your great grandfather Joseph Pierce and I would like to tell you what they are, to the extent of my knowledge. Obviously the most in depth researcher on the subject is my friend Irving Moy. When I received his 100-page research papers, I almost fell on the floor. It is such a tremendous outstanding work. Plus he is doing re-enacting, lecturing, educating and commemorating that makes him a number one fan of Joseph Pierce. His work could be found in Part 15, 16, 17 and 24.

Another friend of mine, the pre-eminent author/novelist/historian Ruthanne Lum McCunn also did excellent independent research on Pierce. She published her findings on a Journal, Chinese American: History and Perspective, 1996; Title: Chinese in the Civil War: Ten who served. You could find it in Part 5.

Pierce's first photograph (the one with a queue) is the property of his comrade, Private Edwin Stroud's grandson, Harald Harrison, of East Berlin. The picture was published in History of the Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, by Charles D. Page, in 1906.

The picture was reproduced in Herbert J. Stoekel's, More About the Chinese Yankee; The Courant Magazine (Aug 4, 1963); and Stoekel wrote another article in the same magazine (June 30, 1963); Oriental Yank from Berlin. Also see Charles P. Hamblen, Connecticut Yankees at Gettysburg, Kent State University Press, 1933.

Seventy-six years later, John Dynia, a retired U.S. Army colonel and Civil War enthusiast from Connecticut, became interested in Pierce when he read George Stewart's Pickett's Charge that Pierce was (believed to be) the only Chinese in the Army of the Potomac. (Not quite correct!) Figuring Pierce was then likely the only such person in the approximately 160,000 men taking part in the Battle of Gettysburg, Dynia submitted Pierce's photograph along with a recommendation for the veteran's inclusion in the The Faces of Gettysburg; at the Visitor's Center, in the Gettysburg National Military Park in 1993.

In 2001, Michael J. McAfee, Senior Editor of the Military Images magazine and Curator of the Museum of United States Military Academy published Joeseph Pierce’s photograph in Union uniform on the cover page of the Military Images magazine. He also wrote a short article on Pierce.

In early 1990, my friend, the Australian researcher Terry Foenander had started researching Asians serving in the Civil War, and Joseph Pierce was one of his research subject.

An article called; An Oriental Yankee Soldier; by John M. Archer, of Collinsville, Connecticut was printed in the Civil War Times Illustrated, September/October 1994 issue, on the page; Time Lapse. You could find it in Part 24.

In 1997, I heard from my Olde Colony Civil War Round Table friends mentioning that there were Chinese serving in the Civil War. Not knowing there were works on Joseph Pierce out there, I tried to collect as much information as possible. Scott Hartwig, National Park Service in Gettysburg gave me some assistance. In May 1998, I wrote a little article on Pierce and printed it in our Civil War Round Table Newsletter.

Dr. Qingsong Zhang, a Ph.D. in History from University of Virginia, wrote a book Dragon In The Land Of The Eagle in Chinese, in 1997. One Chapter talks about Joseph Pierce serving in the Civil War. The Chinese language book would provide an opportunity for the Chinese in China to read about Pierce’s deed. Dr. Zhang also submitted a short description on Pierce in Chinese American Soldiers in an Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, A Comprehensive Reference from ABC-CCLIO, Colorado Springs, in 1999. You could find it in Part 8. In April 1999, Civil War author Tom Lowry and CW Navy researcher Edward Milligan wrote an article on Chinese in the Civil War in the North and South magazine, of which, Pierce was one of their focal point. Tom referenced on Ruthanne’s work.

Independent Documentary Film Producer and Director, Montgomery Hom, gathered a handful of scholars who had done research on Chinese serving in the American Civil War, and requested them to discuss the topic in his Documentary Film, "Men Without A Country: Chinese in the Civil War" The shooting was done in December, 2000. The documentary film will be shown in October 2002 in PBS nationwide.

There are several people re-enacting Joseph Pierce. You have already known that Irving re-enacted Pierce in the 14 th CT Regiment in Connecticut. I know there are at least 3 more Asians portraying Pierce and they are from Maryland, Georgia and California.

In January 2000, I launched my web site with the intention of spreading the message to the public. The internet also provides a medium of dialogue with readers. It serves me well in finding people with similar interest, and Joseph Pierce is one of the historical focal point. My web site address is at

Sincerely, Gordon Kwok

Subj: Joseph Pierce
Date: 6/30/2002 6:48:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Patricia W. (Wadsworth) Haight (Pierce)
To: Gordon Kwok
CC: Irving Moy
I read with interest your email on above subject.. I can't tell you how awestricken I still am at the number of people that know of and documented what they have found out about Joseph Pierce. I have contacted our local PBS network to see if they know of a date for the documentary. At present, I haven't heard from them..Do you know if it will be aired at different times and dates in different areas? If so, my sisters will have to contact their local station and find out when it will be on. Hopefully we will all have our VCR and tape ready to go... I feel so honored to be a descendant of such a renowned person. I have read (not printed yet) all of the parts you mentioned in your email.. I am waiting for some information in the mail from Irving Moy - should get in a day or so. My sisters and I have gone thru old photo's and told Mr Moy we would be happy to send them to him along with our" MEMORIES", if he is still interested.. Thanks again and feel free to write me anytime. Sincerely, Patricia W. (Wadsworth) Haight (Pierce)

Subj: RE: On Joseph Pierce
Date: 7/1/2002 7:55:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Moy, Irving
Gordon, thank you for this chronology. I will add it to my paper. I will share with you whatever Pat and her sisters send me. Hope to see you soon, my friend! Irving

Subj: Joseph Pierce - update
Date: 7/11/2002 5:35:20 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Irving Moy
CC: Gordon Kwok
I have spoken with Joyce and she is going to write her memories. Mimi will start when she gets back from vacation. Dolores has started on her memories. I have finished mine on Joseph P., Bessie M. and Howard B. I have my 2nd draft of Franklin W. but it needs more editing before the final copy is ready. I have sent copies of the Middlesex Express article on the re-enactment to Jean, Mimi, Joyce and gave a copy to Dolores. I'm sure they will enjoy it and I'm sure they will like knowing what the person that did so much on our forefathers looks like. It's always nice to put a face to a name..........
Patricia W. Haight (Pierce)

Subj: thanks for this website
Date: 9/13/2002 9:51:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Gordonkwok, I didn't know that there were chinese people involved with the Civil War. I have always been interested in that war, but came across this site just by accident after reading about the Jews in the Civil War. I am of Taiwanese heritage and have been in the US since before 5 years old. Thanks for the website and its valuable information.
John Lin, Baltimore, MD

Subj: Chinese Civil war soldiers
Date: 7/27/2002 4:45:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: bauten@flare.net (Betty Auten)
To: gordonkwok@aol.com
Hello Mr Kwok: I found your article while browsing on the internet.Thank you .My name is Mrs Betty Auten. I have been researching and collecting data on men of New York State who served in the Civil War, for over 20 years. I now have about 150,000 men in the collection and continue to add more every day. My reason for writing to you is - I checked to see if I had any you had listed [those from New York State]/ I had one, Mr. Ahsoo. I hope you don't mind but I abstracted him and the other New York men and placed them in my collection. Also. I found these men next to Mr. Ahsoo and thought possibly they might belong with your material.

Ahsoo, John 22 en Jamaica pri co B 133 reg 10/3/l864 tran co B 90 inf 6/2/l865 also Ashwoo - agr

Ahwoo, John 24 en Jamaica pri co B 133 reg 10/3/l864 tran co B 90 inf - trans 5/31/1865, out 10/18/1865 Savannah Ga also Ashwoo - agr

John AhSoo; age 22; 133rd New York and later consolidated into 90th Battalion New York Veteran Infantry. he joined the regiment as a substitute, at Cedar Creek in Feb 1864. Two more Chinese joined the same regiment. All three were former sailors.

Ahusoo, John en New York pri co G 134 inf 3/27/l865 trans co F 102 inf 6/10/l865 -agr

Ahusoo, John pri co G 134 inf, tran co F 102 reg 6/3/1865 out 7/21/1865 Alexandria va also Ahusor -agr


Subj: Chinese Historical Project
Date: 7/8/2002 7:34:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Deborah Escobar
To: Gordonkwok, Hi, I've been hired by the NYS Archives to do research on the history of Chinese in NY State - cities of Yonkers, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany. Have you run across any Civil War soldiers from those cities? I have a very short timeline on this reseach and I'm having trouble finding sources that are specific to these cities. Thanks, Deborah Escobar

Date: 7/6/2002 1:10:47 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: UofDaytonStudent
To: Gordonkwok
Mr. Kwok, Hello! I had just wanted to say, "Excellent website!" How may I obtain photos of Confederate and Union Chinese Soldiers and Sailors? By the way, I'm part Chinese and looking for clues on the Chinese role in American History. I'm guessing some of the Chinese Soldier has become Confederate guerillas to blowup the train tracks. Wayne Small

Subj: Cahota
Date: 7/3/2002 9:04:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Edward Milligan
To: gordonkwok@aol.com (kwok), tfoenander@hotmail.com (terry)
G'day Gents ! Spoke with Dr. Tom Lowry at NAB today. He is contacting the Las Vegas NM paper about Cahota who is reported to have made a fortune in Calif mining and another running gambling in Las Vegas. Odd eh ! yer friend unc

Subj: thank you
Date: 6/24/2002 11:23:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Eric Jue
Dear Mr. Kwok: I just wanted to thank you for your website. I always knew that Chinese and other Asian Americans fought in the US Civil War, but now I've seen their pictures. It's great. I have a great interest in this period of American history and I've never been able to find info on Chinese American civil war soldiers until now. I wish you the best of luck in your research and I shall surely be going to you site again and again. Thank you. Sincerely, Eric Jue

Subj: Your Site
Date: 5/30/2002 11:36:19 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Dear Mr. Kwok, A friend passed this onto me. How very exciting to know that Asians were part of the Civil War. Thanks so much for your research efforts of bringing this to the public. Have you ever thought of doing an exhibit at the Museum of Chinese Amercians in New York City? MOCA is the site address. Sincerely, Karen Lee

Subj: Need information
Date: 5/27/2002 8:15:18 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Sheau-Hwang Chang
To: gordonkwok@aol.com
Mr. Gordon kwok, I am a librarian at the Clement C. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State College. I am wondering if you have something that I can use for the forthcoming forum to be held at my College on 6/7. The forum theme is "Documenting Underdocumented Populations and Communities." It is hosted by BSC and cosponsored by the Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin and the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board. I will have a talbe to display some related topics in the forum. I think the topic of "Chinese serving in American Civil War" is a good one. If you have something that you would like to promote, please let me know how I can get them over here. Sincerely, Sheau-Hwang Chang

Subj: Belated Congratulations on your website
Date: 5/21/2002 2:26:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Gordon Kwok

Gordon... what fun!! I just found your website this morning and decided I shouldn't just dip my toe in your pond without letting you know I had visited. Clearly I will have to visit many times in future because there is so much read... and yes I will be wanting to cross index with some of my old research files from twenty years ago. Your website touches on so many of my interests that it is a little spooky. And to think you were not even into historical research until you watched Ken Burns' PBS documentary on the Civil War ! Who says television doesn't contribute to culture?

From 1977-1981 I was a student at the University of New Brunswick (That's New Brunswick, Canada - not New Jersey) researching a history of the Chinese in that Canadian province. My goal, later dropped, was to do an MA thesis on the subject. Naturally enough the research spread along a dozen avenues and before I knew it I was researching Chinese immigration as far away as New England, California, the Mississippi Delta, and even the Carribean islands and South America. I knew from Wallace's book THE TWO, that the Eng/Bunkers family had a Civil War connection and I did a little archival research on them, just to satisfy the need to know. I tested the love of my Chinese girlfriend (now my long suffering wife of 21 years) by asking her to copy articles from bound newspapers which had not been microfilmed. I still treasure those reseasrch notes in her handwriting. I finally settled on researching a book on the Chinese Labour Corps, B.E.F. in World War One, and all the old research on immigration, Chinese in western military forces, etc is all stored away in subject boxes. Who knows but that your website might encourage me to take up an old research interest. When I think of all the thousands of dollars and the thousands of kilometres of travel I put into the work, it staggers me to consider how one research passion can be overtaken by another, and then another.

I had too much energy in those early days and opened many of what I called "collecting files", such as researching Chinese and Japanese and Americans who served in the Canadian army in World War One, etc. I joined useful organisations, like C.A.M.P. and enjoyed productive correspondence with Americans. I did subscribe to MILITARY IMAGES magazine in 1981, and am pleased to see that they have helped you with photo discoveries. I had a letter published in the Sept-October 1981 issue in which I noted "I am particularly interested in seeing material on Chinese-Americans in uniform." Round about 1980 I photocopied Ella Lonn's book FOREIGNERS IN THE UNION ARMY AND NAVY (Greenwood Press, New York, 1951) which was an excellent starting point for an undergrad student. I think it important that your website acknowledge that there has been a long standing academic interest in the ethnic composition of Northern and Southern forces. The rest of us are latecomers to a well established field.

Here in Canada there is a small but enthusiastic circle researching Canadians in the U.S. Civil War. I long ago came to the conclusion that the ACW was also a Canadian war, but having no interest in drawing the asinine remarks of Canadian nationalists, I keep my thoughts to myself. Linking Chinese, Japanese, Sikh, and Aboriginal communities to early large scale national events like participation in the World Wars, is a stock in trade of many historical socities across Canada, which is an officially acknowledged multicultural country. Sleuthing out ethnic veterans is one of several categories of historical research in Canada which has genuine political utility. I hope your site manages to remain free of poltical entanglement, Gordon.

It is my hope that just as Ken Burns turned you on to history and biography, your web publication may inspire others to take up a research thread of their own. I haven't written any articles in my areas of expertise for several years. Several times I have been tempted when newcomers to an intriguing research topic have published 'quickie' articles announcing their "discoveries" ... material I've had for decades, or dipping lightly into official files that I've had archives declassiify and open. Alas, if you want to be thorough you have to be disciplined and resist that temptation to join the "everything I could find out in a year", school of history. More to the point, if you study law you find that history is the most difficult category of literature to protect with copyright. So if we want to recoup our investment in time and money, we must avoid chumming the water with teasers, until the book we've obsessed over is accepted by a publisher.

Well, I've gone on longer than intended. I'm sorry for that. I wish you well with the project. It's fascinating.

Best Wishes, Ronald J. Jack, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Subj: Asian-American history
Date: 5/17/2002 11:24:58 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Nestor Enriquez
Gordon Kwok

Hi! PBS Station affiliate, WLIW (New York) showed Asian-American documentary early this month that I found interesting. The story of Coolie trade not to the US but to the Caribbean and South America. Some of descendant now just immigrated to the United States were interviewed. Very revealing.

1838 - 1918 INDIAN and CHINESE COOLIE TRADE to the Americas and Caribbean 1856 - 1874 China’s loss of control over its own seaports (Treaty Ports) including British regulation of Chinese emigration -- is the necessary condition for the beginning of the Chinese Coolie Trade. It launched the global movement of CHINESE COOLIE LABORERS that lay the foundation for their diasporic presence in the Americas and Caribbean to this day. ... And that is how the Chinese laborer, industrious and honorable, became the Chinese Coolie; someone both sought after and despised... (Everyman Narrator) 1874 CHINA’S CUBA COMMISSION reports their findings after three months travel on the island and direct interrogation of Chinese workers. It is noteworthy that Chinese free migration and free labor entering California’s American West, 1850 - 1882, happens virtually simultaneously with the Chinese Coolie indentured labor being shipped unwillingly to the Americas and the Caribbean, 1850 - 1874. Within a single family one son could end up in Cuba or Peru, while the other son ends up in California, to quite different fates. The specific character and significance of Asian immigration is complex and conditional on the specific economic and political forces at play.

INDIAN COOLIES are sent to FIJIS in PACIFIC; BRITISH GUIANA in SOUTH AMERICA; JAMAICA, TRINIDAD, BERMUDA, ST. THOMAS in the BRITISH WEST INDIES. In colonial India the British implement a policy of global labor migration that includes INDIAN WOMEN COOLIES. Their purpose is to populate the colony (e.g. Fiji), and/or to stabilize the work force with family formation. (E.g. former British Guiana, present day Guyana, 60% Indo-Guyanese). The Indian Coolie experience in this aspect of family formation is unlike that of the Chinese Coolies who were only male, and who over time devised other adaptations to create forms of family and community life. By 1850s Hong Kong Governor John Bowring, reports seeing Chinese Coolies being shipped out of Macao jails with the letters of their destinations painted on their bare chests... 'C' for Cuba, 'P' for Peru, 'S' for the Sandwich Islands... (Hawaii)

ANCESTORS IN THE AMERICAS producer Loni Ding offers a trail blazing global perspective of U.S. history, viewing Asian American and American history as one and the same. Exploring the centuries-old relationships between East and West, Ding makes bold connections between the parallel experiences of various groups of Asian Americans, and also between the experiences of Chinese and Indian indentured workers and those of African slaves.

Chinese seamen, on vessels plying the Manila-Acapulco trade route, jump ship in Mexico and become Chinese barbers in Mexico City by 1625, causing Mexican barbers to complain to their Spanish Viceroy about the competition of the "Chinos de Manila" and petitioning to have them removed to the outskirts of the city.

Nestor Palugod Enriquez
Coming to America

Webmaster: Gordon Kwok


September 15, 2002

Revised and uploaded on February 2, 2009