Some of the maps produced based on the Alabama Confederate veteran information; birthplaces in Ireland and enlistment locations during the Civil War

Mapping Confederate Irish Veterans in 20th Century Alabama

This project represents one of the most extensive resources yet made available on the site. Having examined in excess of 11,000 entries for Confederate veterans living in Alabama in 1907, ...

A Union soldier and his instrument (Library of Congress)

Four Years of the Irish at War in Poetry & Song

As we discovered in the excellent recent guest post by University of Edinburgh scholar Catherine Bateson (see here), poetry and song could be extremely important methods for Irish-Americans to communicate their views ...

Andersonville as it appeared on 1st August 1864. Drawn from the memory of another Irish prisoner, Thomas O'Dea of the 16th Maine Infantry (Library of Congress)

The Keegans of Bray: Reconstructing the Story of A Famine-Era Emigrant Family

Regular readers will be aware that I have become captivated by using Widow and Dependent Pension Files to reconstruct the stories of mid-19th century Irish emigrant families. Naturally, given the ...



Last Letters Home: Revealing the Pension File Correspondence of Union Irish Soldiers & Their Families

Over recent years I have been compiling a database of those widows’ ...
The Mud March as described by William McIntyre, drawn by Alfred Waud in 1863 (Library of Congress)

Mud Marches, Radical Abolitionists & River Assaults: Letters from the Last Campaign of An Irish-American Soldier

The widows and dependent pension files occasionally include groups of letters written ...
Picking up the award for Irish in the American Civil War at the Blog Awards Ireland (Blog Awards Ireland)

Irish in the American Civil War Named Best Arts & Culture Blog at Blog Awards Ireland

Last night I attended the Blog Awards Ireland awards at the Tivoli ...
Patriotic letterhead on one of James Finnerty's wartime letters (Fold3/National Archives)

Grieving for an Emigrant Son: The Story of the Finnertys of Galway City

This week I will be continuing my county-specific examinations of the Irish experience of the American Civil War, when I give a lecture in Galway City Museum on the impact of the conflict on the Tribesmen (and women!). I come across large numbers of Galway people in my research, and have little doubt that the […]

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The Rotundo in Dublin, which later formed part of the Ambassador (William Murphy)

The ‘Polopticomorama’: Bringing the American Civil War to Life in Irish Theatres, 1863

When Mathew Brady exhibited his photographic images of the dead of the Battle of Antietam in New York in 1862, throngs went to see the exhibition. The shocking sight of the dead of the conflict caused the New York Times to remark that if Brady ‘has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards […]

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Pat Murphy of Meagher's Brigade (The British Library)

‘In This Song I Will Make Mention of the Sons of Erin’: Researching Irish Songs from the American Civil War

From early in the American Civil War songs began to emerge focusing on aspects of the Irish experience of the conflict. Many of these tunes remain familiar to us today, but beyond their often rousing lyrics, what were they originally intended to convey? To explore this further I am delighted to welcome a guest post […]

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The medical image taken of Robert Jenkins after his wounding in 1865, only months after arriving in America (National Museum of Civil War Medicine)

Recruited Straight Off The Boat? On The Trail of Emigrant Soldiers From the SS Great Western

The medical images of Civil War soldiers taken towards the end of the war are undeniably compelling. Friend of the site Brendan Hamilton has previously explored the story of one of these men in a guest post, which you can read here. It was while researching another wounded Irishman that Brendan uncovered an extraordinary link […]

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Congress Avenue looking towards the Capitol in Austin, Texas. John Hannon died on this street. (Wikipedia)

‘Tears Ease the Heart’: A Teenage Galwegian Civil War Veteran in Texas, 1866

Many Famine emigrants found themselves on the front lines of the American Civil War. Others watched as the children they had taken to America in search of a new life marched off to war. One couple who endured this was John and Mary Hannon, who saw their underage son, John Jr., ride to Virginia in […]

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Profiles in Courage: The Irish Dimension to the Medal of Honor

On the 11 September last I was privileged to deliver the annual Lucas Lecture to the Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club in Dublin. I was very grateful to the Club for the invitation, which provided me with an opportunity to share some of my research on the Irish who have received the Medal of Honor. The […]

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The 12th Illinois wore a Tam o'Shanter style cap, recognizing their other designation as the 'First Scotch Regiment' (Library of Congress)

The Dying Request: An Irish Soldier Seeks to Secure His Daughters’ Future at Shiloh, 1862

On the evening of 6th April 1862, at Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee, the men of the 12th Illinois Infantry trudged back to their quarters after a hard day’s fighting. Having just endured the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, the soldiers gathered around their tents to discuss what they had just experienced. The danger, though, […]

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Pennsylvania soldiers of the Army of the James voting in the 1864 Presidential election (Library of Congress)

Irish in the American Civil War Needs Your Votes!

I am pleased to say that the Irish in the American Civil War has been shortlisted in two categories for the Blog Awards Ireland. Many thanks to those who nominated the blog for the long-list initially, and to all of who you have taken the time to read my posts over the last five years. […]

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St. Anthony's Church, Scotland Road, Liverpool (John Bradley)

The Forgotten County: Exploring the American Civil War Service of Britain’s Irish Communities

The widow’s and dependent pension files reveal the stories of Irish families from counties up and down the island of Ireland. But the files also provide an insight into another, rarely considered element of Irish service in the American Civil War– the contribution of the Irish of Britain. Although we know that many Irish emigrants to […]

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The Illinois Monument at the Dead Angle, Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield (Damian Shiels)

Tired of the Killing of Men: An Irish Family’s Story of Assisted Emigration, Missing Children & Letters Under Fire

The nature of the Widow’s and Dependent’s Pension Files means that the stories they tell are most usually ones of sorrow. The experiences they relate generally pertain specifically to the Civil War, but on occasions the information within them can be combined with a range of other sources to provide a much wider picture of […]

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