Capt. Carlos Alvarez de la Mesa, Co. C, 39th N.Y. Inf. (Garibaldi Guards)

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts

A recent addition to Ron Coddington's outstanding Flickr site.
Capt. de la Mesa, a native of Spain, was wounded late on the second day at Gettysburg, as he led his Company C of New York's "Garibaldi Guards," in recapturing Federal artillery lost to Mississippi troops near the Trostle House. He was discharged as disabled in September, but spent the remainder of the war in the VRC.

The New York Military Museum website has an excellent account of his service, as well as translations of some of his letters.

Legion Para

Retired Moderator
Jul 12, 2015

Lincoln's Foreign Legion: The 39th New York Infantry, the Garibaldi Guard

In the mid-19th century two struggles to define freedom overlapped: the Kingdom of Italy emerged from forty-nine years of war, and America erupted into Civil War. During the Italian Wars, thousands of soldiers: Italian, Ameri¬can, French, British, German, Hungar¬ian, Polish, and others, received a unique schooling from the intrepid General Giuseppe Garibaldi. His train¬ing was of a type West Point could never have provided. Those men car¬ried lessons with them during the American War onto the battlefields of Bull Run, the Wilderness, Gettysburg, through to Appomattox. The Garibaldi Guard, named after the illustrious gen¬eral, was a unique meld of those for¬eign nationals who participated in the European revolutions and the struggle to save the Union. This was a polyglot regiment of exiled political idealist veterans of Europe's armies and navies, anar¬chists, adventurers, and even a few crooks; they came from fifty-two Eu¬ropean principalities and fourteen American States and served under the leadership of a charlatan. The book covers the careers of some of the of¬ficers and men in the post-Civil War years. In addition, a list of all the men (over 2,000) and a brief synopsis of their time serving in the regiment is provided.