Irish American Civil War Veterans- in Australia

The vast majority of Irish-born veterans of the American Civil War lived out the remainder of their lives in the United States. As we have previously explored on the site (see here and here) a small number of these men also returned home to Ireland. Incredibly, there were others who chose to travel even further afield. Some men chose to end their post-war days on the other side of the world, settling in Australia. 

Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

The Australia of today is home to a vibrant community of those interested in the American Civil War. They even have their own Round Tables (see here and here). Barry Crompton, a founding member of the American Civil War Round Table of Australia, has also written a fascinating work entitled ‘Ireland, Australia and the American Civil War’ which I highly recommend. In the book Crompton details the history of a number of Irish veterans (and possible veterans) and charts their fate in Australia. As I have relations in Perth, Western Australia, I took the opportunity to ‘persuade’ one of my family to go on an expedition to photograph some of these men’s graves.* (1)

The grave of John Joseph Davies, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

The grave of John Joseph Davies, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

A number of the men are buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, located seven kilometres west of Perth city centre. One of the possible veterans is John Joseph Davies, from Co. Galway. He was said to have served the Confederacy while his brother Netterville fought for the Union, although it has not as yet been possible to confirm that this was the case. Another of the men in Karrakatta is Michael Joseph Malone (or Maloney) from Co. Clare who reportedly served as a Private in Company F, 20th Connecticut Infantry. An Australian newspaper noted in 1926 that the well-traveled Irishman was then due to celebrate his 100th birthday(but note the research carried out by Terry Foenander and highlighted in the comments section below, which suggests this claim was incorrect). The stark contrast between the two men’s grave markers suggests that they may have enjoyed differing fortunes in their new home. (2)

The marker of Michael Joseph Malone, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

The simple marker of Michael Joseph Malone, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

Another who is said to have been a veteran is Edward Stanley from Belfast, thought to have served in the US Navy during the war under the assumed name of Frank Lawrence. Among his ships were the USS Santiago de Cuba, USS Monongahela, USS Nipsic, USS Franklin, USS James Adger and USS Princeton. A merchant navy man after the war, Edward was discharged in Melbourne, Victoria in 1876. He married and had two children, living until 1908 when he died at Cottesloe Beach, Claremont in Western Australia.

The grave of Edward Stanley, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Karrakatta Cemetery)

The grave of Edward Stanley, Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Karrakatta Cemetery)

These Irishmen are but a small number of those who may have made the journey from Ireland to the United States and ultimately journeyed onwards to Australia. Their choice to try their luck in a third country is a fascinating one; many were surely driven by a sense of adventure, opportunity and perhaps the quest for gold. The rich research into Australia’s connections with the American Civil War have revealed this little-known Irish connection, yet another intriguing facet to the Irish experience of the American Civil War.

General view of Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

General view of Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia (Angela Gallagher)

*I am grateful to Angela Gallagher of the Silver Voice Blog for braving the heat of Karrakatta to take photographs for this post.

**For valuable addition information on Irish veterans in Australia, including details that refute some of the above men’s claims, see Terry Foenander’s comments beneath this post.

(1) Crompton 2008; (2) Crompton 2008: 23, 30;

References & Further Reading

Crompton, Barry J. 2008. Ireland, Australia and the American Civil War 

The American Civil War Round Table of Australia, Inc.

American Civil War Roundtable of Australia NSW Chapter

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Categories: Australia

Author:Damian Shiels

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

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19 Comments on “Irish American Civil War Veterans- in Australia”

  1. Joe Bartolini
    February 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Do you think it would be possible to get US government veteran grave markers for these men, especially Michael Joseph Malone? I have no clue.

    • February 8, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Joe,

      I think ti should be possible, I know many US servicemen buried in Ireland have had markers placed on their graves, organised by the American Legion here. It would be nice to see it happen.

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

    • Terry Foenander.
      March 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Joe, to answer your question about markers, the Veterans Administration in Washington has made it more strict to acquire such markers, thankfully. I say thankfully because the system was being abused profusely, and in particular, here in Australia (and New Zealand) by one person who was ordering such markers, sometimes without the knowledge of descendants of the person buried in Australia, and often with false or faked data relating to Civil War service. Unfortunately, before the VA clamped down on such applications, this person managed to acquire markers for a number of persons who had never even been to the U.S., let alone having served in the Civil War. Unfortunately, there are about a half a dozen to a dozen markers throughout Australia and New Zealand, for persons claimed to have been Civil War veterans, but who had either never served, or were in different units altogether.
      Thankfully, with the current more stringent rules, the descendant of the veteran will have to give approval, and also absolute proof of Civil War service needs to be shown before a marker is approved. My own research, done many years ago, shows that there is absolutely no verification of Michael Joseph Malone’s service.

      • March 13, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        Hi Terry,

        Thanks for this, I am sorry to hear that was the case regarding the markers. What is the latest on confirmed veterans in Australia, is there still work ongoing in the area? I would be interested if there was an up to date listing of veterans, and which of them might have been Irish. The fact that there are any at all is fascinating in and of itself!

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

    • Terry Foenander
      March 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

      Sorry to have to advise that the person named Michael J. Moloney, of company F, 20th Connecticut Infantry, actually collected a pension, and died in the United States. His pension documents are available at the National Archives, in Washington. There has been no proof that Michael J. Malone, who died in WA had actually served in the Civil War, despite his claims to have done so.

      • March 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

        Hi Terry,

        Many thanks for passing on this invaluable information- interesting that he decided to chance his arm regarding his service! I will amend the piece accordingly with appropriate accreditation for your input- keep up the good work!

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

  2. February 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    I couldn’t find Malone in the CWSS index, but I searched ancestry.com and got this index record:

    Name: Michael J Maloney
    Residence: New Haven, Connecticut
    Enlistment Date: 8 Nov 1862
    Rank at enlistment: Private
    State Served: Connecticut
    Survived the War?: Yes
    Service Record: Enlisted in Company F, Connecticut 20th Infantry Regiment on 08 Sep 1862.
    Promoted to Full Corporal on 28 Feb 1865.
    Mustered out on 13 Jun 1865 at Fort Lincoln, Washington, DC.
    Sources: Connecticut: Record of Service of Men during War of Rebellion

    The 20th Connecticut was at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being transferred West with most of the XX Corps, where they saw service in the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman’s March to the Sea.

    • February 11, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Brendan,

      That is a great bit of research! It looks like he may well be the real deal. What an incredible amount of travelling he did in his lifetime.

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  3. Terry Foenander.
    March 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    I would just like to advise that the Michael John Maloney who served in company F of the 20th Connecticut could not have been the same person buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, as the soldier, who was a resident of New Haven, where he also enlisted, was of a much younger age. Additionally, there is no direct verification that the man buried at Karrakatta had served, despite his claims. As with many of these elderly men, in their twilight years, they often made spurious claims, as we have found in research on the Civil War veterans. Also, the John Joseph and Netterville Davies mentioned have also been found to be spurious, including two faked medals owned by the descendants, as such medals were never ever issued to any Civil War veterans, during or after the war. This was confirmed by an official in Washington, D.C., in the 1980’s to whom photographs of the medals were sent. Additionally, one of the brothers actually declared, in a Perth court, that he had never served in the military at any time.
    Through the decades we have research many of these claims of Civil War service, and found quite a number were false, with even documents (not just medals) being faked.

    • March 13, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Hi Terry,

      Many thanks for the comment and the information! A declaration in Court is pretty compelling evidence! With the work you have been doing have you found that some of the men themselves claimed a service record that they did not have, or is it more later historians making incorrect assumptions? Also I would love to hear of any other bone-fide Irish veterans you may be aware of, has your work revealed many?

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

      • Terry Foenander.
        March 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

        Damian, I am currently staying at my mum’s place in Melbourne, while she is off in London for some three weeks. However, if you send me a reminder at the end of March or beginning of April, when I get back home in the country, I will be able to look through my files and let you know. I am definitely certain that there are many other Irishmen who were veterans of the war, buried here and in New Zealand. Our recent research, within the last two or three years has revealed at least another hundred or more confirmed veterans who are buried here, and perhaps another fifty or so who have not yet been verified, but claimed to have served. We have to be absolutely thorough, as we know of a large number who claimed service, yet no record has been found, or sometimes they were exposed as frauds, such as the case of, believe it or not, a mayor in New Zealand who had claimed to have been a general during the war, yet, within his own time, he was exposed as having lied about such service (by an opposition member, of course!!). He eventually committed suicide, but for another unrelated reason. By the way, Barry Crompton, our researcher here in Victoria, is a very, very capable researcher.

      • March 15, 2013 at 10:21 am #

        Hi Terry,

        Absolutely I will do! I am fascinated by the research you are carrying out- it is amazing that there is so many. Do you get any indications of principal motivations for moving from the U.S., or is it very varied? Barry’s efforts are fantastic, it is an incredibly impressive book he has produced on the topic. I would love at some future date to return to this topic in more detail, if you or Barry might be interested in a guest post in the future?

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

      • Terry Foenander.
        March 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

        Sorry, I neglected to advise that our work has been going on, and still does, constantly on locating veterans, and also on locating much additional data on each verified veteran. To send me a reminder, my e-mail is at tfoenander@hotmail.com
        Just within the past week, almost on every day of what has been a very hot week, I was able to locate little bits and pieces of trivia, and some photos, of several of the known veterans. One of these I found data in both Australian and American newspapers, indicating that he, an American born, had taken off to far away Australia, leaving behind his home, family and friends, because he was married three times within a short space of time, and without divorcing his previous wives. He was even considered as an outstanding member of his church, before taking off.
        Another one found in the last few days, was a high ranking officer, also American born, who had left his home in Pennsylvania, and a high position in life, after embezzling a large sum of money, but he must have regretted having done this, because, within a few months of leaving America, he had shot himself to death on a Melbourne beach.
        The Internet has made it so much easier to conduct such research, down to finding out little bits of trivia, when compared to some thirty or so years ago, when we first started researching the veterans, and had to write away for information or to purchase documents or photographs, then wait for a few weeks for a reply, and wait another few weeks to continue correspondence, etc. Now all this is occuring at the push of the “Send” button!!

      • March 15, 2013 at 10:24 am #

        Hi Terry,

        Thanks! It sounds like there are quite some characters to be discovered among the Australian veterans- a new start seems to have been a big motivation from the sounds of it. I agree completely on the internet, especially with regard to access to primary documents that facilitate original research. It is without doubt the backbone of much of the work done on this site at any rate!

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

      • Terry Foenander.
        March 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

        Damian, I have noted your comment indicating that you are a resident of Ireland, and I don’t know if you have any interest in the Civil War veterans buried in Ireland itself, as, in my own research and especially perusal of the pension documentation of the Naval veterans of the war, I have come upon perhaps hundreds of those who lived and died in Ireland. I have also come upon at least one Confederate Navy veteran who died and is buried in Dublin. He was one of the stowaways from Australia, aboard the CSS SHENANDOAH, named James Cunningham Blacker, and had actually been a ship’s captain, before the war, operating in Australian and New Zealand waters.
        As for the motivations behind some of the moves to Australia, I do believe that, especially with those veterans born in the United Kingdom, or even in Europe, some may have had family members in Australia, and those moved here to be with family. But, with those who were born in the United States, it seems that many came down under to escape from their past, or nefarious activities they had been involved in. At least two of them, I have found, in recent days, had moved here because of embezzlement of funds, in the case of one, and the second one had been involved in marriages to at least three women at the same time (in different towns in New York), and had then taken off. Both of these veterans had been outstanding members of their respective communities, and had given up home, family, friends, and their status, to escape from what they had done wrong.
        By the way, with the two brothers, John Joseph and Netterville Davies, mentioned in the article, their activites and faked service in the Civil War were very complex indeed, and it seems that they were related to a person of the same name, John Joseph Davies, who is buried at the Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane, Queensland, and who was a genuine Civil War veteran. I have the pension application papers of this veteran confirming his service in the war. This veteran had used several names, and he states in one of the pension documents, his full name, which was quite lengthy, as including also the name “Netterville”, so there was something going on with the two buried in Karrakatta, and they may have taken the service of this one (buried in Queensland) and used fake medals and documents to try and prove service. Years ago, in the 1980’s, our original and now departed researcher, Roy Parker, had sent photographs of these medals, and a photocopy of one of the faked documents of the Perth “veterans” to the United States archives and found that both the medals and the service document were fakes, and as such, we never went further with research on these two claimed “veterans” buried in Perth. However, after I found out about the genuine veteran buried at Toowong Cemetery, the matter between the three became even more complex, and it seems that all three were related, and that those two at Karrakatta had taken up his identity as a Civil War veteran, with one claiming service on the Union side, and the other claiming to be a brother who had served on the opposite side, but I don’t know if these false identities and Civil War service, together with the fake medals and false document were actually created by the Perth brothers themselves, or their descendants. I had been in contact, some years ago, with one of the descendants, but it seems that he did not want to believe that the brothers had not been veterans of the Civil War, but the proof was all out there, even down to one of the brothers stating, in a court case, relating to another matter, that he had never served in the military. It was a very complex and complicating case altogether, but after proving that the medals and service document had been faked, we finally rejected them altogether as Civil War veterans.
        Anyway, since the publication of Barry’s volume, and also the volume by the daughter of the late Roy Parker, titled CIVIL WAR VETERANS IN AUSTRALIA, we have located about another 150 to 200 additional veterans and other Civil War participants buried throughout Australia and New Zealand, some with rather fascinating accounts of their lives.

      • March 17, 2013 at 11:33 am #

        Hi Terry,

        That is some excellent information thanks for that! I am very interested in the Irish veterans buried in Ireland, so that research you have done is fantastic! I would love to hear of any others you come across, as I am trying to find as many as I can. The real story of the Davies family is if anything more intriguing, it is fascinating stuff! I must also try to check out that other volume. I wonder what other countries Irish veterans of the American Civil War ended up in!

        Kind Regards,

        Damian.

      • Terry Foenander.
        March 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        I do believe you will find Irish born veterans of the American Civil War all over the world, no doubt.

      • March 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

        Absolutely!

      • Terry Foenander.
        March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

        At Ancestry.com, for the United States Civil War pensioner listings, when the country is stated as Ireland, there are over 1000 entries shown. If you have an account with Ancestry, you will be able to check the additional data on these pension cards, such as unit served in, as well as date of application for the pension, and, in many cases, actual place and date of death.

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