Confederate emigration to Japan?

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
In the mid-1850s, Nicaragua was in the midst of a civil war. William Walker took advantage of that to intervene in support of one of the factions in that internal conflict. So, technically, he could claim he was not 'waging war on Nicaragua.' That was the general pattern of American filibustering expiditions ... not outright invasions, but interventions in local disputes. In reality, the local unrest provided the excuse for what was really a foreign invasion.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Well, the ironclad CSS Stonewall, built in France in 1864-65, only made it as far as Cuba by war's end where the captain sold it to the Cuban government. The U.S. government bought it, and later the Meiji Dynasty in Japan came to possess it. It was used successfully with two name changes in several wars and retired in 1888. Not what you are looking for, but interesting.
Slight correction it was sold by the Spanish goverment to the US as Cuba would not obtain independence until after the Spanish American War.
Leftyhunter
Glad you find it of interest. I found a few more iterations of the same story from different newspapers that I'll post below.
They almost certainly never happened. The only case I'm aware of of an American actually serving in the Japanese military during the First Sino-Japanese War is that of Henry Walton Grinnell, who served as a Rear Admiral and fought at the Battle of Yalu River. He was a Union Navy vet.
The only other American with a military background I'm aware to have been present during the war was the official US attache, Lieutenant Michael O'Brien. He was entirely a spectator, however.
Regardless these endeavors are still interesting in my opinion. I recall a similar example where 300 Kentucky riflemen asked congress to send them to fight for the Russians against the British during the Crimean War.

Anyway, other examples of the story I've found:
View attachment 402946
The Leavenworth Times, Tuesday, August 7th, 1894
View attachment 402947
The Crete Democrat, Wednesday, August 8th, 1894
View attachment 402948
Chattanooga Daily Times, Tuesday, August 7th, 1894.
Not sure why Americans would want to fight for Japan. Americans have always fought overseas in small numbers even in the Antebellum era such has one Confedrate General who fought in the war of Italian unification. Americans fought alongside William Walker who tried to establish an independent slave republic in Nicaragua and some joined Narcisco Lopez when he tried to do the same in Cuba.
Few if any Americans have ever been prosocuted for fighting overseas as long as it's not against US forces or their allies. https://travel.state.gov/content/tr...Nationality-and-Foreign-Military-Service.html
It has always been legal to fight overseas as long as it's not against the US or it's allies.
Leftyhunter
Haven't heard of this General! What's his name?
I forget he wasn't one of the major ones. I will see what I can do.
Leftyhunter
It is a violation of the Federal Neutrality Act for an American citizen to wage war with any country that we "are at peace with."
There are many countries that we are at peace with but are not our allies. One example right off of our shore is Cuba.
The US was at peace with Nicaragua and Spain in the antebellum era and no American went to jail.or lost his citizenship. I can give plenty of more modern examples.
Leftyhunter
It is a violation of the Federal Neutrality Act for an American citizen to wage war with any country that we "are at peace with."
There are many countries that we are at peace with but are not our allies. One example right off of our shore is Cuba.
https://www.google.com/search?q=us+...-tmus-us-revc&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8
It's not that clear cut about American citizens loosing their citizenship or being subject to criminal sanction for fighting overseas. As early as 1793 Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson turned down a protest from the French goverment of Americans fighting on behalf of the British. Americans freely crossed into Texas to fight against Mexico prior to the Mexican American War and we were at peace with Mexico at the time. A few Agericans including one future Confedrate General do fight in the Italian War of Unification. The New York School of Law analyzes case law on this subject and the author admits it's not really a black and white issue. Americans have always fought overseas and nothing happens to them when they come back home.
There is nothing in the 1794 Neutrality Act that would cause an American to lose his citizenship. I also could give you a modern and personal example of being hauled in by a federal agency and questioned about neutrality act violations and ones' role while working with FDN Nicaraguan contras in Key Biscayne, Tegulcigalpa and San Salvador in the early 1980s -- but I won't.
Again many Americans have fought overseas with no legal consequences and that very much includes the antebellum era. As the New York School of Law article indicates is a very grey area of the law.
Leftyhunter
Enforcement of the Neutrality Act is obviously selective but it has been used to prosecute some Americans in recent times:

"In 1981, nine men involved in Operation Red Dog were sentenced to three years in prison under the Neutrality Act; they had planned to overthrow the government of Dominica.[13][14]

"In the 2007 Laotian coup d'état conspiracy allegation, the US government alleged after a sting operation that a group of conspirators planned to violate the Neutrality Act by overthrowing the government of Communist Laos.[15] The United States Government has since dropped all charges against these defendants.

"In May 2016 four US residents were convicted of violating the Neutrality Act for their role in the 2014 Gambian coup d'état attempt. [16]"

Neutrality Act of 1794
https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_Act_of_1794
The Neutrality Act is very selctively enforced. If trying to overthow a friendly goverment' then yes it can be invoked but the Americans who fought alongside William Walker in Nicaragua or Narsico Lopez in Cuba both in the antebellum era faced no legal consequences. Paul Reuben aka "Pee Wee Herman spoke of his late father an American citizen who served in WWII then joined the fledgling Israeli Air Force neither his father or other faced legal sanctions when they came home. Approximately 1,500 American citizens joined the International Brigades which fought in Spain against the Flange and they were not prosocuted. Approximately five hundred Americans fought in the breakaway British Colony of Southern Rhodesia and they were not prosocuted so yes Enforcement of the Neutrality Act is very selective at best and I almost forgotten to mention the Flying Tigers and the Bay of Pigs where the US government violates the Neutrality Act.
Leftyhunter
 
In the mid-1850s, Nicaragua was in the midst of a civil war. William Walker took advantage of that to intervene in support of one of the factions in that internal conflict. So, technically, he could claim he was not 'waging war on Nicaragua.' That was the general pattern of American filibustering expiditions ... not outright invasions, but interventions in local disputes. In reality, the local unrest provided the excuse for what was really a foreign invasion.
Yet former Mississippi governor, John A. Quitman, and 5 of his followers were arrested for violation of the Neutrality Act during the summer of 1854 for their planned invasion of Cuba. The charges were dropped by Federal Circuit Court Judge John Campbell when he compelled Quitman and two of his followers to post $3000 each in bonds and they made a promise to not disobey the U.S. neutrality laws.
 
The Neutrality Act is very selctively enforced. If trying to overthow a friendly goverment' then yes it can be invoked but the Americans who fought alongside William Walker in Nicaragua or Narsico Lopez in Cuba both in the antebellum era faced no legal consequences. Paul Reuben aka "Pee Wee Herman spoke of his late father an American citizen who served in WWII then joined the fledgling Israeli Air Force neither his father or other faced legal sanctions when they came home. Approximately 1,500 American citizens joined the International Brigades which fought in Spain against the Flange and they were not prosocuted. Approximately five hundred Americans fought in the breakaway British Colony of Southern Rhodesia and they were not prosocuted so yes Enforcement of the Neutrality Act is very selective at best and I almost forgotten to mention the Flying Tigers and the Bay of Pigs where the US government violates the Neutrality Act.
Leftyhunter
Yes they were. It depended on whose ox was being gored whether a neutrality violation was prosecuted or overlooked. See my further response in post #23
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
@UncleBourbon this is great. I’m going to search but do we know if any of these offers or endeavors ever happened?
It was probably Greenville, Mississippi, not Missouri.
Note that is says Greenville and New Orleans. Greenville, Ms is on the Mississippi river and has a closer connection with NOLA.
It also had a population large enough to furnish sufficient men.
 

UncleBourbon

Private
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Location
Massachusetts
It was probably Greenville, Mississippi, not Missouri.
Note that is says Greenville and New Orleans. Greenville, Ms is on the Mississippi river and has a closer connection with NOLA.
It also had a population large enough to furnish sufficient men.
Ah, you're probably right!
My apologies; with the Civil War on the mind I tend to think of Missouri first.
 
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