Face to Face with the Fenians: Mugshots of American Civil War Veterans, Part 2

Part 1 of this series examined the mugshots of ten American Civil War veterans, arrested in Ireland in 1866 for their involvement with the Fenian movement. This post looks at a further ten of these men whose photographs were taken in Mountjoy Prison that year. They form a part of the series of Fenian mugshots made available online by the New York Public Library. 

Maurice Fitzharris, First Lieutenant, 42nd New York Infantry. Rose from the ranks, having enlisted in 1861. Wounded four times during the war, including while commanding skirmishers facing Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Member of the Potomac Circle of the Fenian Brotherhood during the war. (Kane 2002: 121)

Maurice Fitzharris, First Lieutenant, 42nd New York Infantry. Rose from the ranks, having enlisted in 1861. Wounded four times during the war, including while commanding skirmishers facing Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Member of the Potomac Circle of the Fenian Brotherhood during the war. (Kane 2002: 121)

Joseph O'Carroll, from Co. Tipperary. Enlisted in 1863 and rose from the ranks to First Lieutenant in the 4th New York Cavalry. Wounded at 3rd Winchester. Transferred to 9th New York Cavalry in 1865. (Kane 2002: 131)

Joseph O'Carroll, from Co. Tipperary. Enlisted in 1863 and rose from the ranks to First Lieutenant in the 4th New York Cavalry. Wounded at 3rd Winchester. Transferred to 9th New York Cavalry in 1865. (Kane 2002: 131)

Joseph P. Cleary, born in Limerick. Private 13th New York, in June 1863 joined the 14th New York Heavy Artillery and rose to Major. (Kane 2002: 117)

Joseph P. Cleary, born in Limerick. Private 13th New York, in June 1863 joined the 14th New York Heavy Artillery and rose to Major. (Kane 2002: 117)

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)

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)

James Smith, Hospital Steward and Sergeant, 65th Illinois Infantry. Recruited into Fenians by Colonel Owen Stuart, 90th Illinois Infantry. (Kane 2002:133)

James Smith, Hospital Steward and Sergeant, 65th Illinois Infantry. Recruited into Fenians by Colonel Owen Stuart, 90th Illinois Infantry. (Kane 2002:133)

James Murphy, served in US Artillery before the war. Rose from ranks to become Captain of Company F, 20th Massachusetts. Fought at Ball's Bluff, wounded by canister in the left arm at Chancellorsville in 1863 and discharged. Served in Reserve Officer Corps in 1864-5. (Kane 2002: 128)

James Murphy, served in US Artillery before the war. Rose from ranks to become Captain of Company F, 20th Massachusetts. Fought at Ball's Bluff, wounded by canister in the left arm at Chancellorsville in 1863 and discharged. Served in Reserve Officer Corps in 1864-5. (Kane 2002: 128)

James McDermott, 6th Connecticut Infantry and 99th New York State Militia. Born in Boyle, Co. Roscommon. (Kane 2002: 127)

James McDermott, 6th Connecticut Infantry and 99th New York State Militia. Born in Boyle, Co. Roscommon. (Kane 2002: 127)

James Burns, Captain, 23rd Illinois Infantry. Born in England, served in the ranks and reenlisted as a Veteran Volunteer. Wounded at Second Winchester in 1864. (Kane 2002: 116)

James Burns, Captain, 23rd Illinois Infantry. Born in England, served in the ranks and reenlisted as a Veteran Volunteer. Wounded at Second Winchester in 1864. (Kane 2002: 116)

Edward Morley, who spent 13 months with the 183rd Pennsylvania Infantry. Recruited into the Fenians in 1863. (Kane 2002: 128)

Edward Morley, who spent 13 months with the 183rd Pennsylvania Infantry. Recruited into the Fenians in 1863. (Kane 2002: 128)

Patrick J. Condon, 2nd New York State Militia and later Captain of Company G, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade. Born in Creeves, Co. Limerick. (Kane 2002: 118)

Patrick J. Condon, 2nd New York State Militia and later Captain of Company G, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade. Born in Creeves, Co. Limerick. (Kane 2002: 118)

References

Kane, Michael H. 2002. ‘American Soldiers in Ireland, 1865-67′ in The Irish Sword: The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, Vol. 23, No. 91, pp. 103-140

Mountjoy Prison Portaits of Irish Independence: Photograph Albums in Thomas A. Larcom Collection

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

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Categories: 23rd Illinois, 63rd New York, 90th Illinois, Fenians, Irish Brigade

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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13 Comments on “Face to Face with the Fenians: Mugshots of American Civil War Veterans, Part 2”

  1. January 17, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Maurice Fitzharris is by far one of the most interesting Fenians. He had been wounded several times during the war and died before 1870 of lingering effects. Notice that Fitzharris is in the 42nd NY—–The Tammany Jackson Guards—-ring any bells? This was the Union regiment most closely associated with “Tammany Hall” the Democratic organization in NYC. An interesting note about the 42nd is that Michael Doheny, the elder, was lieutenant colonel of the 42nd to draw in Irish recruits, but resigned after the recruiting period was over. Both Doheny and Corcoran held positions provided bu Tammany Hall before the war. Among his recruits were Major PJ Downing, Colonel Timothy O’Meara (a captain with the 42nd but a colonel with the 90th Illinois)—on Corcoran’s recommendation, and Captain Billy O’Shea. Downing and O’Shea were tied up with the Phoenix society in Cork in 1859. In fact O’Shea KIA in 1864 was a close childhood friend of O’Donovan Rossa. Morgan Doheny, Michael Doheny’s younger son was a lieutenant in the 42nd, too. Shortly after the war Morgan overdosed on laudanum. Michael Doheny, the youger was a captain in the 155th NY (Corcoran’s Irish Legion.) He too was arrested in Ireland in 1866. Downing had a brother who originally held a commission in the 42nd but transferred to the 97th NY. Dennis lost a leg on 1 July 1863 at Gettysburg.

  2. January 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Joseph O’Carroll has always seemed puzzling to me. When he enlisted an the U.S. Cavalry, he mustered in as a sergeant? Why not a private?. Later he became associated with Colonel Tim Hanley. Before the war Hanley was being chased around Ireland (circa 1855) as an Irish nationalist extremist by some detectives. This is years before the Phoenix Society. Hanley could see only one way out. He changed his name and enlisted in a British cavalry regiment headed for India. He spent several years there until he made it to the States. With all the cavalry experience he eventually became colonel of the 9th NY Cavalry and O’Carroll was eventually placed in the 9th NY Cavalry. I have always woundered if O’Carroll might have know Hanley in India as a British Cavalryman?

    Hanley was a very active member of the Washington, D.C. circle of the Fenian Brotherhood.

    O’Carroll does not appear on the Roster of the Officers of the Fenian Brotherhood. There seems to be an inner circle of FBA men who were left without a paper trail. Ricard O’Sullivan Burke, James Murphy, Michael O’Brien are others who don’t appear on the roster…puzzling!

  3. January 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    James Murphy is one of the most unusual Fenians in the hands of the British who was arrested in 1865 when the pro-Irish Nationalist newspaper, the Irish People, was closed down and many were round up. James Murphy was one of two Americans. The tentacles of the Fenian Brotherhood were not completely clear to the British government. The American consul was able to get Murphy released and Murphy returned to America. While there, he made some public speeches at Fenian picnics which made his politics very clear. Unfortunately these meetings were infiltrated by British agents and Murphy was marked on their list of the hardcore Fenian group. Returning to Ireland, Murphy was rearrested in the March, 1866 during habeas corpus round up. Unlike other prisoners Murphy was pulled from his prison cell and faced by two sergeants of the 87th Foot. Both sergeants stated Murphy was really “Patrick Lynch” and had deserted from the 87th Foot. Murphy was classidfied as a deserter and moved to Arbor Hill military prison. This was a frame up—Murphy was in the States in 1860. Murphy sued and Fenian forces began gathering evidence that Murphy had never served in the British army. Through the offices of a Catholic priest, the real Patrick Lynch was uncovered and admitted he had enlisted in another British regiment—not liking the treatment he was meted out in the 87th. After Lynch’s testimony, Murphy won the case and received a monetary settlement from the Court.

    • William E Wilkin
      June 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      Mr. Kane: I train the volnteer guides at the Ball’s Bluff battlefield. Thank you for the work on Captain O’Meara, James Murphy and Maurice Fitzharris. What sources do you recommend for their info? I want to add the Fenian story to our tours, wewilkin@aol.com (Bill Wilkin)

  4. January 19, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Hi Michael,

    As ever thanks for the excellent additional information you have provided us with on these men!

    Kind Regards,

    Damian.

  5. Peter Williams
    February 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Hi Damian, have you anthing on Captain William Cusack – my great great grand uncle – here is his bio:

    o William was born c. 1820-1835 Cahir, Tipperary, Ireland.
    o Emigrated to USA C. 1850-1860 (specifically to fight in the war???)
    o Lived in or near to Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, USA
    o Fought with the Union (a.k.a. North a.k.a Federal) Army in American Civil War 1861-1865, 96th Infantry Regiment (Pennsylvania Volunteers), I Company, which were organised at Pottsville, September 9th to October 30th, 1861.
    o Left State for Washington, D. C., November 18, 1861. Attached to Slocum’s Brigade, Franklin’s Division, Army of Potomac, to March, 1862.
    o 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army Potomac, to April, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to May, 1862.
    o 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, and Army of the Shenandoah, to October, 1864.
     Fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863 – the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War and is often described as the war’s turning point.
     Injured and entered Seminary General Hospital on May 12th, 1864 and discharged from the hospital and the Army on July 28th, 1864. Presumption was he was discharged as his injury wasn’t healing or the end result of his initial injury deemed him no longer suitable for service.
    o The 96th Mustered out October 21, 1864, expiration of term
    o Started out as a Private on Nov 7th 1861, then promoted to Corporal where he left the soldier ranks and was appointed to 2nd Lt. on Oct 1st 1862 (then presumably to Lt.) then to Captain on January 20, 1864.
    o Returned to Ireland for a while after the war (presumably some time between 1865-1867 to take part in James Stephens’ Fenian rebellion) and he and his American guests were referred to as the American Delegation when they came to Mitchelstown. They received a tumultuous welcome from the town. Bands, choirs and all the town turned out to meet them. They paraded to Michael Cusack’s house and William addressed the crowd from an open window upstairs (Michael Cusack’s old sitting room).
    o Returned to America and went on to become involved in Clan Na Gael [also called The United Brotherhood] attending a United Brotherhood Convention in Cleveland Sept 4 1877 (representing Philadelphia) and was still involved in 1884 as he was the recipient of a Clan Na Gael Circular in that year.
    o The Fenian involevement may have been inspired by the fact that Col. John O’Mahony, founder of the Fenian Brotherhood in America, was born in Mitchelstown in 1815; or possibly due to the fact that the well known Fenian, the ‘Galtee Boy’ (John Sarsfield Casey) was from Mitchelstown and both William and the Galtee Boy’s fathers were known to each other – they were 2 of the 3 contributors to the bridge commemorating William and the Galtee Boy.
    o William was one of the coffin-bearers at Col. John O’Mahony funeral in New York February 1877.
    o William died 1895 (Micheal Cusack).
    o William’s gun and sword from the American Civil War, as well as pictures of him, are in the possession of Michael Cusack.
    o The bridge at Fanahan’s well in Mitchelstown is commemorated to William Cusack for his safe return home from the war. From http://www.liosmor.com/historyarch.html :

    • February 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Peter,

      Many thanks for the email- I will have a look into him and get back to you on it to see if I can dig up anything additional!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

    • Sheila Bello
      September 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

      Peter, we may be long, lost, rather distant relatives. William Cusack was my mother’s father’s uncle. My uncle, Martin Kevin Cusack (my mother’s brother), has been researching our family history for years. Perhaps you two have communicated in the past. I found this post when I was visiting Gettysburg and looking for information about William. My husband and I have been to Ireland several times and brought our children to Mitchelstown to see the family house and store (Cusack Hardware) and the bridge. Apparently – according to my Mom – we’re also related to the Galtee Boy. One of our relatives in Ireland has written a book about him. I got a copy in the bookstore at the Cork City Jail; he’s a bit of a celebrity there.
      My Mom or uncle would be a better source of lineage, if you’re interested in how we’re connected.

      • October 4, 2012 at 9:42 am #

        Hi Sheila,

        What a fantastic connection! Thanks for sharing your information!

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

  6. July 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Do you know anything about Martin Scully,s involvement in the Fenian movement in u.s. Martin was my great great gran uncle.He was mayor of Waterbury in 1913. He would have known James-Catalpa Reynolds who was involved with John Devoy in the planning of the rescue of six Fenian convicts from Freelantle prison in Western Australia. Devoy was head of Clan Na gael in u.s. He would have travelled many times to connecticut to meet Reynolds.I can never find any connection between Martin Scully and John Devoy.Devoy was from the townsland of Greenhills,three miles from Naas town,co.Kildare,Ireland.
    Look forward to reply.
    Seamus Curran.

    • July 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Hi Martin,

      A great ancestor to have! I don’t have any information off hand but I will certainly look into it for you- in the meantime some of the other readers may also be able to help you out!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  7. peter williams
    July 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi Sheila…thats amazing. Can you email me at peterjawilliams@hotmail.com please and we can discuss further!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ní Bóna Ná Coróin | An Sionnach Fionn - August 23, 2013

    […] More on the Fenians in the United States is to be found here and here. […]

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