Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



O'Neil, Patrick. Galvanized Yankees: Confederates in Union Service. Civil War Veterans Museum. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. December 2020.


Copyright Patrick O'Neil 2020.


This museum exhibit explores the topic of the Galvanized Yankees, or U.S. Volunteers, who were regiments of captured Confederate soldiers that chose to take an oath of allegiance to the Union and served on the Western Frontier protecting settlers from Indian attacks. The former Confederate soldiers enlisted because it provided them an opportunity of freedom from the POW camps and an opportunity to earn a wage to provide for their families. One such soldier was James A.P. Fancher, a Confederate POW from Sparta, Tennessee. During their time in the West, the Galvanized Yankees patrolled to keep stagecoach and mail lines open, worked to improve forts, and provide escorts to wagon trains. The experience of the Galvanized Yankees offered an early look at the sort of conflict that would continue between the United States and Native American groups, leading to large scale dispossession of Indigenous lands.

O'Neil Galvanized Yankee HIST 450 Paper.pdf (227 kB)
This paper was written for the UNL History 450 Capstone course and was used as the basis for the museum exhbit project for the Honors Thesis.