The article aims at highlighting the need for further research on the scale and history of the Poles participating in the American Civil War. So far, apart from some attempts, there is a lack of a coherent and satisfactionary monograph on the subject. According to the well known scholar on the history of Polish presence in US - Mieczyslaw Haiman, around 5 thousand Poles fought in this war. Their individual fates however are not well known. According to some, their motives were not entirely informed by a political choice but a moral one. Memoirs from that period (authored by Krzyzanowki or Zuchlinski) shed some light on this issue. That number can be encouraging for future researchers to work on a biographic encyclopedia of Polish fighters in the war. At the same time, this topic shows that the exploration of Polish past outside the borders of the state is a vital component of the exploration of Polish identity.