The link to the website can be found here.
My digital project attempted to place the Civil War in a broader context by examining the lives of immigrant soldiers in the Union Army. This project allowed me to explore the intersection of the Civil War and 19th-century immigration, which are two areas of history I am extremely interested in. I first became familiar with the historiography of immigrants in the Civil War when I interned at Gettysburg National Military Park. I gave a program about the third day of the battle through the lens of the 39th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also known as the Garibaldi Guards. I originally had the idea of creating one map and plotting the journeys of dozens of soldiers and regiments that heavily consisted of immigrants. However, the constraints of story maps did not allow me to pursue that idea. Instead, I decided to narrow my focus on four soldiers; Albert Cashier, Włodzimierz Bonawentura Krzyżanowski, Joseph Pierce, and Carl Schurz. While I also hoped to explore immigrant soldiers who served in the Confederate Army the time constraints and lack of accessibility to monographs about the topic compelled me to abandon that idea and narrow my focus on immigrants who served in the Union Army.
Working with story maps was initially frustrating. When I tried to create lines in between each point the points themselves would sometimes move. When I found myself wasting too much time to try and remedy this issue I decided to just leave the points as they are. I originally intended to embed primary source documents to go along with certain points but it became difficult because story maps would not allow me to orient the photo myself. If I had to do this project again it would be interesting to see how the points would look on a different tool, such as google maps.
When I initially proposed this project, I had the idea of it becoming an educational tool that teachers could use to allow students to explore the relationship between the Civil War and immigration patterns to the United States. It could also challenge students to think critically about the intellectual, cultural, and social baggage of immigrants, specifically in the case of those fleeing political persecution. While all the outcomes I initially proposed did not come to fruition I still think the site and maps are capable of raising questions about how we interpret the role of immigration in American history.
I was able to create some of the pages I originally thought about during the proposal phase. I created a page that provides people with a list of monographs, articles, and websites they can use to learn about the experience of prominent immigrants such as Carl Schurz and Franz Siegel as well as the efforts of the Irish Brigade. I also compiled the names of immigrants I came across in my research into a list that could guide those who are interested in learning more. I plan to continue building this list by adding more names and regiments that were made up of immigrants. Furthermore, while I did not have the chance to explore all the avenues I originally intended to I enjoyed constructing a project that challenges people to recognize that critical events such as the Civil War do not occur in a vacuum.