A new resource page has been added to the Irish in the American Civil War site, providing brief biographies of the 32 Irish born men who were breveted Brigadier-Generals. The page has drawn on Roger D. Hunt and Jack R. Brown’s 1990 Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue as a source for the men’s birthplace and key details, with the biographies expanded through recourse to other sources. These references are listed beneath each biographical entry.
Some of the men are already well known, but many others have not received much prominence. Although the amount of information varies from officer to officer, what is apparent is that many led extraordinary lives both before, during and after the American Civil War. Amongst their number are Irishmen who fled their native country following the 1848 Rebellion, served in the British Army, fought in the war of 1812 and the Mexican War, or joined the Papal forces in the Italian War of 1860. During the war itself many rose to the command of regiments and occasionally brigades, be they in the Eastern or Western Theater. One spent the war fighting Native Americans on the frontier. Some went on to be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions, while another saw his son join the Confederate forces and yet another was dismissed for stealing Government funds. Careers in politics and the legal profession followed the war for many, while others stayed in the military, became marshals or went into business. Some went on to hold more unusual roles and the list includes one U.S Ambassador to Colombia, and one ‘Commissioner Extraordinary in the United States for President Kruger of the Boer Republic’.
Details are also available (thanks to the work of Hunt and Brown) on the burial places of these Irishmen, and it is perhaps surprising that a small number are buried in graves with no marker to commemorate them. If you are interested in exploring the page it can be accessed through the Brevet Generals tab at the top of the page or by clicking here. It is intended that the Generals page will also be updated in the near future with further information added on each of those men where possible.