African-Americans being attacked during the Memphis Race Riots of 1866, an incident in which the majority of the rioters were Irish (Library of Congress)

“The Blacks Fought Like Hell”: Exploring Racism & Racist Violence through the Words & Actions of Two Union Irish Cavalrymen

This month is Black History Month in the United States. To mark that occasion, I wanted to once again explore an aspect of the often-fraught relationship between Irish-Americans and African-Americans ...

John Warren, Captain of Company B, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade. Born in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, he was discharged in September 1862. (Kane 2002: 134)

Union Rebels: The Erin’s Hope– Fenian Gunrunning by Civil War Veterans

Large numbers of Irish and Irish-American Civil War soldiers were also members of the Fenian Brotherhood. The workings of this movement, and how it interacted with the conflict of 1861-65, ...

RTE Radio 1

The History Show American Civil War Specials– RTE Radio One Podcasts

Dr. Myles Dungan has been a long-standing advocate for developing a greater understanding in Ireland of our links to the American Civil War. The Irish relationship with the United States ...

Spotlight

Sunset on the Stones River battlefield during my visit in November 2014 (Damian Shiels)

Irishmen in the U.S. Regulars: A Case Study of the Battle of Stones River

The main focus of attention when it comes to Irish service in ...
Galway

Audio Lecture: Galway and the American Civil War

During the course of each year I normally give a number of ...
Another image of Biddy, taken with some of the younger generations of her family. Without the events of the American Civil War, she would likely have never returned to Dingle (Mossy Donegan)

Paddy Bawn Brosnan & the American Civil War: The Famed Gaelic Footballer’s Links to Kerry’s Greatest Conflict

On 14th September 1947, New York witnessed a unique sporting occasion. In ...
Thomas Barry (National Museum of Health & Medicine CP 0960)

Photographs of Wounded Irishmen from the American Civil War

The sometimes captivating, sometimes horrifying images of wounded soldiers taken in Washington D.C.’s  Harewood Hospital in 1865 have featured in a number of posts on this site (see Looking into the Face of a Dying Irish Soldier, One of Our Brave Men Twice Wounded: An Image of Corporal William Kelleher, 125th New York Infantry and Recruited Straight […]

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The envelope which contained Peter Finegan's letter to his parents, which is analysed below (Fold3.com/NARA)

Analysing 19th Century Emigration, A Case Study: Dissecting One Irishman’s Letter Home

As regular readers are aware, I have long been an advocate of the need to study the thousands of Irish-American letters contained within the Civil War Widows & Dependent Pension Files. This unique resource offers insights into 19th Century Irish emigration that do not exist anywhere else. Their value to Irish, as well as American, history […]

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69th New York Soldiers Captured on 30th October 1864 by Muster Date.

‘Our Pickets Were Gobbled’: Assessing the Mass Capture of the 69th New York, Petersburg, 1864

On 30th October 1864 the famed 69th New York Infantry suffered one of it’s most embarrassing moments of the war, when a large number of its men were captured having barely fired a shot. In the latest post I have used a number of sources to explore this event, seeking to uncover details about those […]

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Emancipation, by Thomas Nast, 1865 (Library of Congress)

‘Slavery, At Last, Is At An End’: Reporting on the Ratification of the 13th Amendment in Ireland

150 years ago today the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery was ratified– it’s adoption was proclaimed on 18th December by Secretary of State William H. Seward. As we have explored on the site, the ideological motivations for the service of Union Irish soldiers (where it existed) seem to have been strongly tilted towards preserving […]

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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, I extracted the details on those men of Irish birth. I then combined it with analysis of the Irishmen’s service records and pension applications, creating […]

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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 and experiences. Readers regularly sent in their efforts to be printed in newspapers like the New York Irish American Weekly, allowing us to chart how key […]

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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 material available, these stories can never be more than partial, incomplete windows into aspects of their lives, and need to be treated as such. Nonetheless, […]

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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’ and dependents pension files which contain primary correspondence from Irish and Irish-American soldiers and their families. As regular readers are aware, these letters feature frequently on the site, but I have only been in a position to share a handful of the 100s […]

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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 by individual soldiers over a period of months or years. These can sometimes provide significant insight into the motivations, fluctuating morale and political allegiances of these Irish-American men. One such example are the writings of William McIntyre, a young Irish-American from Philadelphia. Through […]

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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 Theatre in Dublin. Having spent much of the week working on an archaeological excavation on Bere Island off the West Cork coast, my day started with a ferry journey back to the mainland,  before covering the near 400 km to the capital. However, […]

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