Philip Bazaar: Biography & Medal of Honor

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  • 0:03 Call to Arms
  • 1:20 Medal of Honor
  • 2:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Eve Levinson

Eve has taught various courses of high school history and has a master's degree in education.

Philip Bazaar was a Chilean immigrant who joined the Union Navy during the Civil War and received the Medal of Honor for his valor carrying dispatches under heavy fire.

Call to Arms

Can you imagine starting a new school and, on your second day, being asked to jump into a fistfight that's the result of years of other people arguing? You've begun to make friends in this new place, but would you be willing to make their cause your own? Many immigrants who made the voyage to the United States in the 19th century found themselves facing similar circumstances. They'd left their own countries to get away from famine and poverty and arrived in their new country to find conflict over slavery and states' rights coming to a head and war right around the corner.

One such individual, Philip Bazaar, emigrated from Chile to Massachusetts in the 19th century. During his early 20s, he joined the Union Navy to fight in the Civil War. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba that served as part of the Union blockade of the Confederacy.

Though new to the country, immigrants like Bazaar joined the Union cause in large numbers. A quarter of the army was foreign born, and almost another quarter was made up of sons of immigrants. Many of these individuals enlisted early on, taking up the cause for national unity and against slavery, though some joined in later years because of the draft or enlistment bonuses.

Medal of Honor

Toward the end of the Civil War, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered assaults on Confederate locations that had been allowing trade to continue in spite of the blockade. Fort Fisher, on the coast of North Carolina near Wilmington, was one target of the U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba. The first attack in 1864 failed, so a second was planned for January 1865. Philip Bazaar was on the ship for both.

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