Today marks the second anniversary of the Irish in the American Civil War blog, which I hope readers have enjoyed up to this point. Over the time I have been writing I have sought to tell Irish stories in as engaging a way as possible, while still attempting to keep everything fully referenced and academically sound. I hope to continue in this vein in the future and also build on the resources section which will grow in the coming months.
One area I am keen to improve is readership of the site in Ireland itself- the American Civil War remains pitifully understudied and unrecognised in this country and it is to be hoped that this changes over the coming years. In Ireland we still fail to see the connection between victims forced to emigrate during the Famine and many of those Irish caught up in the Civil War, who were often enduring the second unprecedented national catastrophe of their lives. We in Ireland still do not understand the sheer level of Irish involvement in the American Civil War, in which c.180,000 Irish served with hundreds of thousands more caught up in war zones and affected on the home front. Indeed the only comparable conflict in terms of a manpower contribution by the Irish is World War One, a topic which has seen the production of dozens of books and ceremonies over the past decade. It is to be hoped that the rightful recognition Irish service in World War One now receives is a sign of things to come for those Irish in the American Civil War. I believe that one of the reasons for the neglect of further study and recognition of the 1861-65 conflict in Ireland is a result of the fact that the vast majority of these men and women never came home, instead staying and integrating into U.S. society. That said, much good work has been carried out to date in Ireland and we can seek to emulate some of the humbling efforts being undertaken in the United States. I hope this blog can contribute in some small way towards that.
Regular readers will note a slight fall off in posts over May and June, as I have been asked to work on a potential book project covering some of the topics that have appeared on the site since it began. This is an exciting (albeit time-consuming) prospect, but I hope to keep the site ticking over with the occasional post. Thanks again to all of you for reading the site, whether you are based in the U.S., Ireland or elsewhere- it is the interaction with readers and researchers that makes it all worthwhile!