Cavan and the American Civil War

Major Event in Cavan to Remember the American Civil War

I regularly come across Cavan natives during my pension file research. They are men Like James DeLacy of Templeport, who left behind a dependent mother when he was gunned down ...

Refugees from fighting with Native Americans in 1862 (Library of Congress)

Scalping, Big Braves & Butchery: An Irish Indian Fighter Writes Home to His Mother in Dublin

I recently came across the remarkable letters of Sergeant Thomas Mangan, which are here transcribed for the first time. The 22-year-old Dubliner was a recent emigrant from Ireland, who within ...

Ayer's Pills were a popular medication for stomach complaints. This is a post Civil War advertisement for the product (East Carolina University DIgital Collections Image 12.1.23.13)

Meagher’s ‘Drunken Freaks’ & Old Abe ‘Astonished': The Last Letters of John Doherty, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade

Corporal John Doherty of the Irish Brigade wrote a series of letters home to his family from Virginia and Maryland in the summer of 1862. Transcribed here for the first ...

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A Soldier's dream of Home (Library of Congress)

‘You Put Your Arm Around My Neck and Kissed Me': Sex, Love & Duty in the Letters of an Irish Brigade Soldier

Letters included in the pension file often contain some very personal information. ...
Iveagh_House_morning

The Iveagh House Lecture on the Irish of the American Civil War

As I have noted regularly over the last number of years on ...
The National Library of Ireland (YvonneM)

The Catholic Parish Registers Online: Revolutionizing the Search for 19th Century Irish Ancestors

Each week I receive correspondence from people with Civil War ancestors in search ...
Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga (Wikipedia)

‘My Brother! My Dear Brother': The Extraordinary Encounter of an Irish Redcoat & Rebel During the War of Independence

The 4th of July is Independence Day in the United States, marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on 4th July 1776. Unsurprisingly given the nature of the conflict between 1775 and 1783, there were many Irish to be found on both sides. Although a departure from the American Civil […]

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The 69th Pennsylvania Monument as it appears today (Photo by Jen Goellnitz www.goellnitz.org)

‘I Am Confused': The Emotional Shock of Pickett’s Charge as Experienced by a Family & Friend

At 1319 North 16th Street, Philadelphia on the 3rd of July 1863, Irish mother Jane Hand would have been going about her daily routine. Her two daughters were likely proving a handful; with her eldest Lucy Ann just 5 and her youngest Mary Jane 3, they were exactly the right age to get stuck under […]

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Steamboats on the Mississippi River in New Orleans during the 1850s, a scene that would have been familiar to Maurice O'Donnell (Hippolyte Sebron))

Abbeyfeale’s Louisiana Tiger: A Confederate Veteran Returns to Ireland

Although it is often possible to track Union veterans who returned to Ireland through resources such as pension files, this is not an avenue available when searching for former Confederates. One method of uncovering these men is through the pages of Irish newspapers, which occasionally make reference to American Civil War veterans. In 1915 the […]

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'Wanted A Substitute' A Wartime Sheet Music Cover (Library of Congress)

‘Induced to Enlist': The Last Letter Home of an Irish Draft Substitute in 1864

There is sometimes a perception that large numbers of Union troops– particularly in the latter months of the war– had been drafted into the Federal military. This was not the case. Of the c. 776,829 men whose names were drawn during the four Civil War drafts, only about 46,347 men (a little under 6%)  ever […]

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Irish Hunger and Migration: Myth, Memory and Memorialization

Irish Hunger and Migration: Myth, Memory and Memorialization

This time last year I had the opportunity to speak at the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium in Athens, Georgia. It was the second element of what was a two-part conference held in 2014 (the first part having taken place in Quinnipiac University, Connecticut) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the biennial symposium, which explores Ulster’s connections […]

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Hay Fest Event_0

Day of American Civil War Talks at Hay Festival Kells

I have long bemoaned the fact that across the years of the American Civil War sesquicentennial there has been no Irish conference or series of talks on the Irish experience of the American Civil War. Thankfully that is set to change this year. I am delighted to say that the prestigious Hay Festival in Kells, […]

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The Charge of Hawkins' Zouaves at Roanoke Island (Harper's Weekly)

The Civil War Letters of Captain James Fleming, Part 4: With Hawkins’ Zouaves at Roanoke

The fourth instalment of letters from James Fleming of Antrim (Find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here) joins the 9th New York in North Carolina with the Burnside expedition of 1862. In the first letter, James provides a detailed description of his part in the Battle of Roanoke Island on 8th February that year. He also responds to […]

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“Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle” (c. 1869) Source: Ohio Wesleyan University, Bayley Collection. Public Domain.

‘I Will Sing the Song of Companionship': Peter Doyle– Former Confederate, Walt Whitman’s Muse & Lover

I am very pleased today to have a guest post from historian Liam Hogan. Liam has spent many years exploring this history of Limerick City and County, research that has seen the production of resources such as this site, which examines Limerick 100 years ago, and this interactive map that illustrates the locations where Limerick […]

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The new Ballymote Monument

New Ballymote Monument to Irish of the American Civil War

Towards the end of April I received notification that a new monument dedicated to Irish soldiers of the American Civil War is being unveiled in Ballymote, Co. Sligo next weekend. This is a positive step in what has been, up to this point, extremely disappointing engagement in Ireland with the history and heritage of her […]

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A soldier springs the trapdoor, with men looking on from the trees beyond (Library of Congress)

Edward Wellington Boate: The Andersonville POW Who Came to the Defence of Henry Wirz

Waterford’s Edward Wellington Boate belongs to the large cohort of Irish journalists who ended up fighting, or in someway participating, in the American Civil War. His story is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating. A member of the Tammany regiment, the 42nd New York, his capture and incarceration as a POW set him on a path […]

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