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Chinese serving in the Confederate arm force

Christopher Wren Bunker and Stephen Decatur Bunker

 
 
Photo Identification:
Front row:
Left hand side, taller boy: Christopher Wren Bunker
Right hand side, shorter boy: Stephen Decatur Bunker
Back row: From left to right
Sarah Yates Bunker, Eng Bunker, Chang Bunker, and Adelaide Yates Bunker
 
 

Christopher Wren Bunker was named after the famous English architect, Sir Christopher Wren, 1632–1723.

Stephen Decatur Bunker was named after a famous American naval officer, Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr., 1779- 1820.

 
 
On April 2, 1865, Union Major General George Stoneman paused in North Carolina, and decided to draft some of the locals, no matter what their sympathies were, into his Division, and the names of all males over eighteen were put into a lottery wheel.

One of the names drawn was Eng Bunker, a Chinese originally from Siam (Thailand), a devoted Confederate. Not only that, he was also the world famous, first known "Siamese twins", for he had a five-inch ligament of flesh in his chest, linked to his twin brother, Chang Bunker. The two also shared one liver. Chang, as strong in his southern sympathies as his brother, refused to go. Since Chang's name had not been drawn, Gen. Stoneman could not forced Eng to join.

Eng and Chang, known as "the Chinese twins" in their native Siam, arrived in the United States in 1829. It was said that when the twin were in Boston, Mass., they picked Bunker as their last name on account of Bunker Hill Battle of the Revolutionary War. Ten years later, they bought 110 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains from their earnings as "Siamese twins" on exhibit. Soon after, they became Naturalized citizens, taking oaths of allegiance to the State of North Carolina as well as to the United States. Fishermen in Siam, they read widely on agriculture and soon became skilled farmers. They were among the first in the state to produce the "bright leaf" tobacco, which was especially prized in the manufacturing of cigarettes. And using the most modern methods available, they raised milk cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and fowl; grew wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, peas, beans, and potatoes; kept bees; and cultivated orchards, all with the help of slaves.

The twins' ownership of slaves, twenty at the outbreak of the war, seems ironic, as they themselves had been "sold" by their mother for exhibit by a Captain Coffin. As historian John Kuo Wei Tchen suggested that Eng and Chang "fully adopted the values of Southern planters, and could improve their own sense of personal self-worth and personal liberty." Certainly, their acceptance by the community in which they chose to settle was marginal: When Eng and Chang proposed marriage to the Yates sisters, people in the area vigorously opposed the union as "unnatural," while the young ladies' parents tried to prevent it because the twins were Chinese.

The twins persisted and eventually prevailed. On April 10, 1843, Eng married Sarah, Chang married Adelaide, and they raised their children, twenty-two between them, as such staunch southerners that their eldest sons both enlisted as soon as they came to age.

Christopher, born to Chang and Adelaide, enlisted in Company I of the Thirty-seventh Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, on April 1, 1863 "for the war." But he was not called up for service until September 14, 1863. Of course, as the son of loyal Confederates, he had been aiding the war effort long before he entered active service. The Bunkers offered warm and generous hospitality to the troops, from providing food and clothing to nursing the wounded. Active service brought Christopher onto the battlefield.

In the summer of 1864, Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland, under orders from General Jubal Early in his Shennondoah Valley Campaign, to relieve the pressure on the defense on the Siege of Petersburg, invaded Pennsylvania again and took Chambersburg, crossing the Potomac River with twenty-six hundred cavalrymen, including Christopher. Sweeping aside the Union cavalry, McCausland took control of Chambersburg on July 30 and demanded either $100,000 in gold coin or $500,000 in U.S. currency to spare the city. When the inhabitants failed to raise the money in the three hours he had allotted, McCausland ordered Chambersburg destroyed, and while the city burned, drunken soldiers plundered freely, going so far as to tear brooches, finger rings, and earrings off women in the streets.

From Chambersburg, McCausland skirmished with pursuing Federals, then moved on to Moorefield, West Virginia. Three miles outside the town, certain he had left Union troops far behind, he ordered his men to set up camp in an area that was flat and militarily indefensible. Within twenty-four hours, Union cavalry ambushed a Confederate scouting party, then (disguised in gray) surprised and overwhelmed Confederate sentinels, pickets, and a small detachment on night duty, thus riding into camp without raising any alarm. In the mayhem that followed, Christopher became one of the many Confederates who were wounded and captured.

The largest Federal military prison at that time was Camp Chase, four miles west of Columbus, Ohio. Under the charge of Colonel William F. Richardson, the prison was surrounded by a twelve-foot-high wooden wall. Christopher, housed in a small wooded barrack with 197 other prisoners, slept on a straw-covered bunk and passed his waking hours reading the Bible and carving boats and musical instruments out of wood. Packages from home supplemented his meager rations. His father also sent him money with which he could buy items from the prison store. Nevertheless, Christopher was probably, like most of his fellow inmates, short of clothing and infected with lice. At least once he was reduced to eating a cooked rat, and on September 9, 1864, he was hospitalized from "variola," a virus that could have been either smallpox (which was then raging through the camp) or the less serious chickenpox. Finally, on March 4, 1865, he was exchanged for a Union prisoner of war, and his family welcomed him home on April 17, 1865.

His cousin Stephen's military experience was similar. Enlisting in the very same cavalry battalion on July 2, 1864, Stephen escaped the debacle at Moorefield. But on September 3, 1864, he was wounded in fighting near Winchester, Virginia. According to Judge Jesse F. Graves (who wrote an unpublished biography of Eng and Chang.), Stephen "bore himself gallantly," going back into action despite his wound. Indeed, Stephen's two sons claimed that shortly before the end of the war, their father was wounded a second time and then captured by the Union Army. After the Confederate surrendered, Stephen and Christopher both chose to live in Mount Airy, farming like their fathers, but without slaves.

The papers of Christopher Wren Bunker
The pictures of Christopher Wren Bunker and Stephen Decatur Bunker
The picture of the tombstone of Eng and Chang Bunker
The biography of Eng and Chang Bunker
Another website on Eng and Chang Bunker, with Christopher and Stephen

(Most of the information came from the research work of Ruthanne Lum McCunn, who graciously allowed me to use in this web site.
Others were the result of the webmaster's own research, which I had added to this article. So the article is the result of both researchers' work. I have visited Mount Airy, North Carolina, on November 2001, and on the back graveyard of the White Plains Baptise Church laid the twin's tombstone. The site is a National Historic Landmark. The bridge leading to the town is named Eng and Chang Bridge. A street was named on one of their descendants, Scott Bunker. I also found a Bunker family tombstone, descendants of the twin, but unfortunately, not the tombstones of Christopher Wren Bunker and Stephen Decatur Bunker.)
 
 

Webmaster’s notes on the papers of Christopher Wren Bunker

The papers of Christopher Wren Bunker were filed in the Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890, U.S.A. Its microfilm file number is CB#3934. The copyright owner is from Utah. May I call the person Utah Copyright Holder (UCH). The papers are open to private use to all researchers. For any public use, permission must be granted by the UCH. The webmaster attempted to contact the UCH, but couldn’t find the UCH.

Respecting the copyright of UCH, the webmaster won’t be able to reprint the papers here. However, I could describe the date, location, recipient and general characteristic of the letter, but without the verbatim content. Any researcher who is interested to read those letters could contact the University of North Carolina. You could get a copy of his papers after you paid the xeroxing service fee (from the microfilm) to the Library.

As far as we know, this is the only known document written by Chinese veteran serving in the American Civil War. So it reflects very important significant evident that Chinese indeed served in the American Civil War. (I have seen reference that Hong Neok Woo had written his biography in Chinese in Shanghai, and was translated into English. I am still looking for the original Chinese text and hadn’t found it yet.)

I am going to write notes on the characteristic of the letters on, who wrote it; to whom it was written, date and place it was written. The letter reflected the lacking of food, clothing, supplies and equipment. He asked help from home to supplement his needs. It also depicted the tiredness of the cavalry soldiers. It also showed the locations that they had traveled.

 

 

Letter 1

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: November 2, 1863

Location: Camp East Tennessee

Letter 2

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: April 20, 1864

Location: Camp Head waters of Hoeston?? (illegible) Brun. ?? (illegible) County, Virginia

(Note: The webmaster did a little research on the rivers in Virginia and the County in Virginia. The river name should be Holston, an old river name, probably named after an early explorer or settler. The county name Brun. could be the abridged name for Brunswick. This is the closest county name I could find. If someone who knew the geography of Virginia, and could confirm the head waters of the river Holston is in the county of Brunswick, then, everything would jive.)

Letter 3

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: May 14, 1864

Location: Dublin, Virginia

Letter 4

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: June 26, 1864

Location: Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia

Letter 5

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: July 1, 1864

Location: Camp Stantant, Virginia

Letter 6

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his father, mother, brothers and sisters

Date: October 12, 1864

Location: Camp Chase

Letter 7

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: October 17, 1868

Location: not stated

Letter 8

Written by Christopher Wren Bunker

To his sister

Date: November 18, 1868

Location: Camp Davall

 

 

 
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John Fouenty

A CHINAMAN IN REBELDOM. A young man named JOHN FOUNTY, a native of Hong Kong, China, recently arrived in this City, having made his escape from Savannah, Georgia, where he was conscripted. John speaks but little English. His story, which is undoubtedly true, is somewhat interesting. He said his people are quite "well to do in China, but owing to some arrangement which he could never exactly understand, he found himself at seven years of age shipped as a coolie on board a vessel bound for Cuba. His term of "apprenticeship" being out at the expiration of four years, he was furnished with money to pay his passage home. He made an arrangement with the captain of a bark which was, as he was informed, to sail direct for China. He paid $30 for his passage, and in four or five days afterward was surprised to find himself in St. Augustine, Florida. The captain explained the matter by saying his passenger shipped under a mistake, and that his vessel was going no further. This was in 1852. Some kind gentlemen, residents of St. Augustine, hearing JOHN's story, took him in charge and sent him to school for a year, when he moved to Savannah. There he learned the cigar-maker's trade. At the breaking out of the rebellion, he was induced to join the rebel army, in which he served for a year. He was then mustered out, being under age. The last rebel Conscription Act brought JOHN under the rule, and he was accordingly notified. Determined not to fight any more under the rebel flag, he seized the first favourable opportunity to make his escape to St. Augustine. The Provost Mershal of that place kindly furnished him with transportation to New York. JOHN is now trying to get passage to China, hoping to see his people once more. His news is not of a very late date. He says that before he left Savannah JEFF DAVIS came there and addressed the people. He was asked the question, "When will the war be over?" JEFF replied, "Don't, for Heaven's sake, ask me such a question. Not until the Yankees give up." In the later part of January, there were but three regiments in the city and the fortifications surrounding it. There are but two forts on the river, but the channel has been obstructed in several places, the obstructions extending seven or eight miles below the city. When he left Savannah, flour was $120 per bbl.; beef, $100 do.; boots, $150 a pair; Havana cigars, $2 a piece; board at hotels, $15 per day; mixed drinks, $3 each.

Credit of the source goes to Terry Foenander.

Terry's notes: [From the New York Times, Saturday, March 12, 1864, page 1. A search of the index volume of Lillian Henderson's multi-volumed set, ROSTER OF THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS OF GEORGIA, 1861-1865, failed to turned up any soldier of this name, or of a similar sounding name. Mr. Frank T. Wheeler, Senior Archivist of the Georgia Historical Society Library, in a letter to the author (Terry Foenander), dated March 4, 1997, states: "I am unable to locate any information on John Fouenty in our collections. I have searched our listing of soldiers, the index to the collections, the newspaper index, and a few other sources."]

Webmaster's notes: Even if the "official records" did not include these information, it doesn't necessary means that John Fouenty did not serve. It only means that this piece of information had fallen through the cracks and was not collected and not recorded by the Authority.
 
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Un-named Chinese mentioned in a Confederate Unit (in Florida) in Robert Watson CW Diary: dated 02/23/1862

Robert Watson CW Diary: dated 02/23/1862

Robert Watson CW Diary: dated 02/23/1862
"1862---Feb 23
Sunday. Truly this is a cosmopolitan company, it is composed of Yankees, Crackers, Conchs, Englishmen, Spaniards, Germans, Frenchmen, Italians, Poles, Irishmen, Swedes, Chinese, Portuguese, Brazilian, I Rock Scorpion Crusoe; but all are good southern men. There are also Scotchmen, Welshmen and some half Indians, surely this is the greatest mixture of nations for a small company that I ever heard of."

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A Chinese sailor on the CSS FLORIDA

(Webmaster's notes: Credit of the information goes to Terry Foenander, an Australian Civil War researcher.)

Chinese (not named) in CSS Florida, by Terry Foenander.

{11/16/2006} Chinese sailor on the CSS FLORIDA

Complete transcriptions of the Richmond, Virginia newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, for the Civil War years are online, and I have been avidly scanning these for all data on Confederate (and Union Navy, of course) sailors names and details.

Came across mention, in a June, 1863 issue, of a Chinese who had been serving aboard the CSS FLORIDA, though he is not named, nor any further mention made of him.

I have some lists of names of personnel who served aboard this cruiser, but have not noted any Chinese surnames, so he may have anglicized his name.

Don't know how we will be able to obtain more data, though I do have, on microfilm, some records of the CSS FLORIDA, though mostly dated in 1864, by which time he may have already been discharged, or left the vessel.


Chinese soldier in Zouave uniform

(Webmaster's notes: Credit of the information goes to Jim Huffman. Jim Huffman is a member of the Gainesville Vols, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 373, Pearl River County, MS)

Chinese (not named) in 4th LA infantry.

Southern Historical Society Papers.
Vol. XXXI. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1903.
In A Louisiana Regiment.
pp. 103-104

{12/2/2006} Jim Huffman ran across an account from a fellow in the Delta Rifles, 4th LA Infantry, that said, in part:

(Quotation from the Paper.)

...At the time of my appointment I was a member of the Delta Rifles, of the 4th Louisiana Infantry, a company composed very largely of young sugar planters and slave-owners of parishes contiguous to Baton Rouge. Wealthy, refined, gentlemanly fellows they were, those Delta Rifles, my dear reader, and you may imagine my dismay as I stepped ashore at the wharf at Mandeville, and cast my eyes upon as cosmopolitan a body of soldiers as there existed upon the face of God's earth. There were Frenchmen, Spaniards, Mexicans, Dagoes, Germans, Chinese, Irishmen, and, in fact, persons of every clime known to geographers or travellers of that day. Nor was that all, as it seemed to me that every soldier on the grounds, in addition to his jaunty zouave uniform, wore a black eye, a broken nose or a bandaged head, having just been recruited, and only getting over the usual enlistment spree. In my gold-trimmed, close-fitting full-dress uniform, my young heart beat with pride and ambition as I neared my destination, but I must confess a glance at the motley crowd of soldiers caused a sigh of regret that I had left my old company, even to assume higher rank....

 

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Charles K. Marshall

aka Dsau Sier Whoa
aka Dzau Tsz-zeh
aka Cao Zishi
aka Marshall-Tsao
aka Dzau Tse Zeh
aka Tsao Tsz-zeh

Charles K. Marshall 1, researched by Oey and Kwok
A Chinese Confederate Veteran and Methodist Missionary, Charles K. Marshall

http://sites.google.com/site/accsacw/Home/charles-k--marshall1


Charles K. Marshall 2, researched by Hale
Death, Beginnings, and Travels of Charles K. Marshall
A paper written by Robert E. Hale

http://sites.google.com/site/accsacw/Home/charles-k--marshall2


Charles K. Marshall 3, Kate in the heathen land

http://sites.google.com/site/accsacw/Home/charles-k-marshall3


COPYRIGHT (C)


All rights reserved.


Webmaster Gordon Kwok
email address: gordoncwrt@gmail.com
February 14, 2002

Revised and uploaded on January 31, 2009

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