I was flipping through a number of U.S. civil war historical pictures in the internet showing Union and Confederate soldiers when a picture suddenly caught my attention. Most of the soldiers in the previous pictures were Caucasians and African-Americans but the soldier in this particular picture is obviously Asian.
I found out that the name of the soldier in the picture is Felix Cornelius Balderry—A Filipino! He belonged to Company A, 11th Michigan Volunteers.
Before the civil war, Balderry worked for a certain seafarer named Joseph Foster of Leonidas, Michigan. Balderry moved to the state of Michigan and worked as a farmhand before enlisting in the union army in December 7, 1863 at Kalamazzo. With many other new recruits, Balderry joined the 11th in the field with the 14th Corps of Rossville, Georgia on January 28, 1864. He served in the western theater and was sent to the hospital at Nashville in June 1864 or 1865.
In the Atlanta campaign that followed, Felix Balderry fought at Buzzard’s Roost, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw, Ruff’s Station and the siege of Atlanta. He finished the war in Tennessee and was mustered out on September 16, 1865.
After the war, Balderry worked as a tailor in Colon, Michigan. He married 16 year old Ada May Barns in 1885 at Constantine, Michigan. A son, Frank, followed two years later. Felix Balderry passed away on August 18, 1895 of tuberculosis at the age of 49.
Basing from what I know, the first recorded history of Filipinos fighting as soldiers in the U.S. army was recorded back in 1815 when General Andrew Jackson mentioned of “Manila Men” that had fought alongside his defense of New Orleans under the command of Jean Baptise Lafitte.
Ateneo De Naga high school 1980
Association to commemorate the Chinese serving in the American Civil War]