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A soldier from the South Sea

Asian / Pacific Islander, Civil War Veteran
A preliminary search indicated this Union soldier came from the South Sea. That got me (the webmaster) interested, for I had been looking for Asian and Pacific Islander as representative of that region, serving in the American Civil War. The exotic South Sea, or Nam Yeung, represented a vast area south of China, including, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Phillippine and perhaps entended to the Polynesia.
A reader of my website, and a friend's re-enacting group member, David Naumec (14th CVI, N-SSA) wrote me, saying "Just came across photo's of a Felix C. Balderry. I first noticed the photo of him in full uniform with his Springfield. Without checking the caption I thought he might be Indian, especially being from a Michigan unit. Turns out he's from the South Seas."

David Naumec first came across my webpage through his friend Chris Carter a few years ago. David was always interested in the various people who became wrapped up in the American Civil War. He does quite a bit of research into New England African American and Indian Civil War vets but keep an eye out for any persons of color in the ranks.

[Credit of the discovery first goes to David Naumec (14th CVI, N-SSA)]
Further research indicated that Felix C. Balderry's Nationality is from the Phillipines. His picture indicated he, or his forefathers, could be immigrated from China, and having Chinese blood or Chinese heritage. I am glad to select him in my web site, as he came from the South Sea. I would like to include an Asian and Pacific Islander serving in the American Civil War in my website.
Asian / Pacific Islander, Civil War Veteran. Felix C. Balderry
Felix C. Balderry, in Civil War uniform.


Felix C. Balderry
Apparently this photo was taken some years after the Civil War.

Felix C. Balderry, 1863-1865. Colon. Enisted in company A, Eleventh Infantry, Dec. 7, 1863, at Leonidas, (Michigan), for 3 years, age 21. Mustered Jan. 4, 1864. Joined regiment at Rossville, Ga., Jan 28, 1864.

Transferred to company F, March 30, 1864. Transferred to company F, (reorganized) Eleventh Infantry, April 15, 1865. Mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 16, 1865. Present residence, Colon, Michigan.

South Sea Islands immigrant. (Descriptive Roll Eleventh Michigan Volunteers).

The South Sea Islands could include the South China Sea Islands.

The South Sea, or Nam Yeung, included the Phillippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

(Credit secondly goes to my friend Terry Foenander)
My friend Terry Foenander has done research on Felix Cornelius Balderry. More precise research shows the South Sea Islands that he came from, are actually the Phillippine Islands. This fact is further confirmed by another independent researcher in her web site.

I am quoting Terry Foenander's research work.

"Felix Cornelius Balderry, Phillippines, Company A, 11th MI Vols. Employed by sea farer Joseph Foster of Leonidas, Michigan, aboard his vessel before the war, Balderry moved to Michigan and worked as a farmhand before enlisting December 7, 1863 at Kalamazoo for 3 years. He served in the western theater, and was sent to hospital at Nashville in June 1864 {1865?}. Discharged in September of that year, he returned to Michigan, where he worked as a tailor. On September 1, 1885 he married 16 year old Ada May Barns at Constantine, Michigan. Balderry passed away on August 18, 1895, of tuberculosis, at the age of 49. (Pension Records. See also Military Images magazine Nov/Dec 1994, p. 13 for an image of Balderry.) {Quoted with permission.}

The webmaster did a little research on the 11th Michigan regiment Military history.
The 11th regiment of Michigan participated in the fiercest fighting at Stone's River (January 1, 1863) upon Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Confederate assailed the line with large number of troops and the 11th bravely contested the ground. The 11th was one of the first regiments to cross Stone's River, and captured a Confederate battery. The Confederate Army was commanded by Braxton Bragg. The Union Army was commanded by William Roscrans. The 11th was detached from its Division and placed on provost duty at Murfreesboro, and remained there until June 1863, and marched to Tullahoma.
The 11th Michigan left Tennessee in September 1863 and marched over the mountains to fight the battle
of Chickamauga. Fierce battle. The Union Army lost. Rosecrans fled. Union Gen. George Thomas made his stand and saved the Army from total disintegration. So the star of "the Rock of Chickamauga" started to rise.

The 11th regiment withdrew to Rossville. At this point, Felix Balderry had just enlisted in Michigan, taking a train to Rossville, Ga. to join his 11th regiment. Gen. Thomas was promoted to replace Rosecrans and commanded the Army of the Cumberland, together with the other Army commanders; Sherman, commanding the Army of Tennessee; and General Hooker, commanding one division of each of the three armies in the field. Overall command was in the hand of Gen. Grant. The 11th Michigan was part of the Second Brigade that made the famous charge up the Missionary Hill against the Confederate's defense. The Confederate fire poured in. The only safe place was to go up the hill, since the Confederate could not tilted their cannons downward, the 11th were safe to continue to go up, until they reached the summit and drove the Confederate away, achiving a great victory for the Campaign.

In around Spring 1864, Gen. Sherman was promoted to the overall command, when Gen. Grant went East to serve as the Commander-in-Chief of all the Union Armies.

Felix C. Balderry was sent to hospital at Nashville in June 1864 {1865?}. Discharged in September of that year, he returned to Michigan.In between the Missionary Hill and the Atlanta Campaign, the 11th regiment fought in these battles: Graysville, Ga., Buzzards's Roost, Ga., Resaca, Ga., New Hope Church, Ga., Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., Rough's Sta. Ga. and the Peach Tree Creek, Ga. These battles were running fights. They marched; dug trenches; fired their rifles; marched again; Ran and chased; shot at their enemy; and so on repeating the process.

Both Confederate Gen.Johnston and Union Gen. Sherman were skilled strategists, trying to out-maneuvered the other. Johnston traded space for time. Johnston wanted to hold Atlanta until the time passed Lincoln's re-election. Sherman wanted to take Atlanta before Lincoln's re-election. Jeff Davis didn't like how Johnston handling the campaign. Confederate President Jeff. Davis fired Johnston, and appointed John Bell Hood instead. Sherman was delighted. At last, Atlanta fell, before Lincoln's re-election.

The 11th steadily fought toward the Chattahoochee River, crossing it in July 17, 1864 and took part in the Siege of Atlanta. The 11th charged the Confederate's work a few miles near Marietta, Ga. and suffered great loss. Again, in front of Atlanta, the 11th made a number of charges and lost many lives.

When the enlistment terms of the original members expired many of the men re-enlisted. The men who returned home were replaced by new recruits into the Re-organized 11th and was mustered into U.S. service at Jackson, Michigan on March 16, 1865. Felix C. Balderry joined the 11th on Dec. 7, 1863 and so he was not considered as the original enlistee.

The 11th regiment was re-organized and they proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee. In early April 1865, they were ordered to the Military District commanded by General Steedman at Chattanooga where they were re-organized and assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division of the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Gen. George Thomas.

Advancing into Eastern Tennesse various Companies were assigned to protect strategic points along the Chattanooga and Knoxville Railroad and the rest were stationed in Cleveland, Tennessee to respond to any threats that may present the Railroad. They protected the railroad, their supply line, against any possible Confederate raiders' harressment.

On duty for about 60 days in Eastern Tennessee, they were ordered to Knoxville, and to Nashville where they were mustered out of the service on September 16, 1865. By then, all of the 4 major Confederate field Armies had surrendered: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to gen. Grant; Gen. Joe Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee to Gen. Sherman; Gen. Richard Taylor surrendered the Army of the South to Gen. Canby and Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the Army of Trans-Mississippi to Gen. Canby. The War is over. They were mustered out of the service on September 16, 1865.

Reference credit: Don & Lois Harvey. Michigan in the war.

Felix C. Balderry. His name is listed in the 11th Infantry, Company A, Michigan, Civil War veteran roster.
Felix C. Balderry. His name is listed in the Archives of Michigan Portraits, a Michigan Government site.
Felix C. Balderry, Civil War veteran. His name is listed in Eloisa's List, created by Eloisa Gomez Borah:
Filipinos in America - Early Names Index
Felix Cornelius Balderry. His name is listed in Terry Foenander's website: Asians in the Civil War

Courtesy of Chris Carter & David Naumec and the website of the HAL Digital Collection of the Michigan Archives.


The HAL Digital Collection of the Michigan Archives: Felix C. Balderry, photo 1


The HAL Digital Collection of the Michigan Archives: Felix C. Balderry, photo 2

Special thanks to my friend Terry Foenander and his research work on Asians in the Civil War.

Thanks to my friend Irving Moy, who forwarded David Naumec's email to me.

A big "Thank You" to all the webmasters on their web sites confirming the existence of Felix C. Balderry and, serving in the American Civil War.


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Webmaster : Gordon Kwok
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March 10, 2008

Revised and uploaded on January 31, 2009