The Role of Hawaii in the Civil War

The American Civil War is one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. It took place from 1861 to 1865, which was led by Abraham Lincoln. The war was between the northern and southern states in the United States, aiming to fight slavery. As we all know from our history books, the southern states had seceded, resulting in the formation of the Confederate States of America. The Civil War ended in favor of Abraham Lincoln’s plan of abolishing slavery in the United States. But Lincoln was assassinated just days after the end of the war.

Interestingly, many states participated in the American Civil War. However, not all states played the same role in the war. Hawaii is one of the states that is known for its silent presence when the event took place. Many people might be unsure of Hawaii’s role in the Civil War, but history shows that this state was known to have fought on both sides. The part of Hawaii in this historical event might be one of the most interesting because of its versatility and impact on the two forces. Its participation was a huge help in concluding the great war, ending slavery in the country. In this article, we are going to look back into history and see the role of Hawaii during the American Civil War.

Hawaii During the American Civil War

As mentioned earlier, Hawaii is known for participating in the Civil War. Hawaii probably played one of the most significant roles in the war. However, its greatness was lost in time, and only a few people recognize its contribution to one of the major events in American history.

Interestingly, the Kingdom of Hawaii was not much of an isolated place during the 19th century. Historians say that it was exposed to global information during the 1850s, mainly because hundreds of ships docked at its harbors annually. Ships from various places are known to have anchored in its harbors in Honolulu and Lahaina, making it known as a famous intersection for sea travelers. These travelers brought with them news from around the globe, which they passed on to the people of Hawaii.

Since the Hawaiian people have a regular source of information, it is no wonder why they were knowledgeable about what was happening around the world. In 1861, the American Civil War broke out, and the news quickly reached Hawaii. As soon as the Hawaiian people saw the news, they became eager to participate in the war despite King Kamehameha IV’s neutrality towards the struggle. As the war progressed, more than a hundred native Hawaiians came to participate. The Hawaiian people are passionate about ending slavery in the United States, earning their spot in the American Civil War. However, despite the solid support from Hawaii, they were not fully credited for their bravery. Years later, after the war, their contributions to the event were forgotten.

Because of this, historians these past decades do their best to gather more information about Hawaii’s contribution to the American Civil War and introduce it to the world. Historians are enthusiastic in showcasing the unsung bravery of these Hawaiian soldiers back to the history books. However, they only have few records about the Hawaiian soldiers who participated in the war. Old military documents, as well as newspapers that were printed in the Hawaiian language, were being translated to gain more information about their servitude in the war.

Interestingly, it is stated that the Hawaiian soldiers were known to have been enlisted and fought on both sides: the Union and Confederacy. These soldiers were a combination of Native Hawaiians and Hawaii-born Americans. However, the majority of Hawaii support the Union forces, mainly because of their ties with New England and their contradicting belief against slavery. Because of this, Hawaii sent out troops to support the Union forces and fought in the American Civil War. There is no concrete record of the number of Hawaiian soldiers that participated in the American Civil War. Recent data shows that roughly 119 Hawaiian soldiers fought in the war; however, their records were not fully detailed.