The Irish in the American Civil War (History Press Ireland)

United States Release for Irish in the American Civil War Book

I am delighted to announce that my book, The Irish in the American Civil War, will officially become available in the United States from the 1st May. Originally published for ...

Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office, Washington DC. She helped many families learn the fate of their loved ones following the Civil War, but unfortunately Alexander Scarff's parents were not among them. (Photo by E.L. Malvaney)

A 150 Year Old Missing Persons Case- In Search of a 19-Year-Old Irishman

On 5th November 1862 ‘Arthur Shaw’, a 19-year-old Dubliner, stepped off the decks of the Great Western and into the hustle and bustle of New York City. From that day forward, his ...

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Midleton’s Most Famous Forgotten Son? General John Joseph Coppinger

Originally posted on The Midleton Archaeology & Heritage Project:
Many of Midleton’s men and women have emigrated down through the years, settling all over the globe and becoming part ...

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Storify

Telling the Personal Stories of 41 Civil War Pensioners on Storify

For a number of months I have been researching the personal stories ...
The first page of the letter written by Richey Cochran to Sarah Jane in June 1862, stamped with June 1880 when it was received by the Pension Bureau (Fold3)

‘Remember me to all the folks’: The Last Letter to a Limavady Woman from her Husband

Widow’s Pension Files often contain extremely poignant information. As women sought to ...
Dunmanway Baptismal record for November and December 1817, with Thomas Sweeny listed at bottom (Pat McCarthy)

A New Date of Birth Discovered for General Thomas Sweeny?

Brigadier-General Thomas Sweeny from Dunmanway, Co. Cork is one of the best ...
'St. Patrick's Day in America, 1874' (Library of Congress)

‘Flags of Old Ireland for One Cent!’ and ‘All’s right- Dad’s Sober’: New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1864

What was St. Patrick’s Day like 150 years ago? What type of groups marched in the Parade, and what types of imagery did they use? We are fortunate that the full line up of the 1864 New York Parade survives, together with detailed descriptions of the dress and banners of each Society. What emerges is […]

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Former Confederates taking the Oath of Allegiance in 1865, drawing by Alfred Waud (Library of Congress)

‘He May Be Lurking About Charleston’: The Hunt for Irish Confederate Deserters

Men deserted the armies of the North and South in their thousands during the American Civil War. They did so for many different reasons; some tired of the rigours of military discipline, while others had become emotionally drained by their experiences. Some simply lost faith in the fight, or enlisted only with the intent of […]

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Officers of the 63rd New York Infantry in June 1865 (Library of Congress)

‘Friend Patt theres only 8 of us that left…’: An Irish Brigade Soldier’s Letter at War’s End

For a number of weeks after Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia thousands of Union troops remained in the field in Virginia. During this period men often reflected on the past and the many comrades they had lost and looked forward to returning home. Meanwhile officers tried to keep the men […]

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Rations being distributed at Andersonville, Georgia, 1864. This scene is perhaps closer to the type of experience Colin had at Salisbury and Libby (Library of Congress)

‘Should this Book Be Ever Found on My Dead Body’: A POW’s Fate and a Letter to Ireland

On the 27th January 1865 a Union prisoner of war was found dead in the yard of Salisbury Prison, North Carolina. The soldier, recently transferred from Libby Prison in Richmond, appeared to have died from a combination of exposure and disease. He apparently had no close friends to look out for him, so fellow prisoners […]

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Former slaves in Beaufort, South Carolina shortly after Emancipation (Library of Congress)

In Bondage to the Irish: Slave Ownership Among Irish Confederate Officers

A total of sixteen Irish-born men reached the rank of either Colonel or General in the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. What was these men’s relationship with and investment in slavery, if any? The most famous slavery-related incident involving an Irish Confederate officer was Major-General Patrick Cleburne’s 1864 proposal to arm the slaves. Cleburne […]

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Captain Robert Halpin from Co. Wicklow was commemorated in a series of famous mariner stamps by An Post in 2003. Although most famous forr laying telegraphic cables, he was also a blockade runner in the American Civil War

Has Ireland Missed the Last Opportunity to Remember Her American Civil War Dead?

Last year we had an appeal on the site asking readers to consider proposing Irish involvement in the American Civil War as an appropriate topic to be covered in An Post’s (the Irish postal service) 2015 stamp programme. A number of you did so. An Post were in touch last week to say that the […]

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Luke Ferriter (right) discusses the Sleeping Sentinel incident with Rev. Dr. William E. Barton (left) at Brattleboro in 1926 (Reminiscences about Abraham Lincoln)

‘We Were All Shaking in Nervousness’: Luke Ferriter and Vermont’s ‘Sleeping Sentinel’

The night of 31st August 1861 found Private Luke Ferriter of the 3rd Vermont Infantry standing guard at the Chain Bridge on the Potomac river. He was sharing his sentry duty with two other men from the regiment, with each taking a two-hour shift. At midnight it was Luke’s turn to grab four hours of […]

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Seizing the Potato Crop of an Evicted Tenant (Library of Congress)

A Remarkable Famine Emigrant: Catherine Long and the Union Cause

This site covers the stories of numerous Irish Famine emigrants who later found themselves caught up in the American Civil War. Many of these stories deal with the consequences for those who suffered during the conflict, as thousands were forced to deal with a second great trauma in their lives. However, seismic disruptive events such […]

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The Pennsylvania Reserves in Action on the Peninsula in June 1862 by Waud (Library of Congress)

A Long Lived Dubliner Who Witnessed Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

In April 1938 the New York Times and Gettysburg Times brought news of the death of a 96-year-old veteran of the American Civil War. Michael Gaffney’s passing was newsworthy in itself as the numbers of veterans were dwindling, but it was also claimed that the Irishman had been present when Abraham Lincoln gave his famous […]

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Photograph of John Ruddy taken at Harewood Hospital following his wounding at the South Side Railroad on 2nd April 1865 (National Museum of Health and Medicine)

Looking into the Face of a Dying Irish Soldier

Around late April or early May of 1865 a photographer in Harewood Hospital, Washington D.C. exposed a photograph of a wounded Union soldier. The man, who still wore the beard he favoured on campaign, had been shot through the left shoulder during the fighting around Petersburg. His name was John Ruddy, an Irish farmer and […]

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