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Officers of the 63rd New York Infantry in June 1865 (Library of Congress)

‘Friend Patt theres only 8 of us that left…': An Irish Brigade Soldier’s Letter at War’s End

For a number of weeks after Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia thousands of Union troops remained in the field in Virginia. During this period men often reflected on the past and the many comrades they had lost and looked forward to returning home. Meanwhile officers tried to keep the men […]

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Photograph of John Ruddy taken at Harewood Hospital following his wounding at the South Side Railroad on 2nd April 1865 (National Museum of Health and Medicine)

Looking into the Face of a Dying Irish Soldier

Around late April or early May of 1865 a photographer in Harewood Hospital, Washington D.C. exposed a photograph of a wounded Union soldier. The man, who still wore the beard he favoured on campaign, had been shot through the left shoulder during the fighting around Petersburg. His name was John Ruddy, an Irish farmer and […]

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Screenshot of Google Fusion Table Heat Map, showing detail of Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and southern Pennsylvania, and highlighting the major battles where the 63rd New York suffered significant casualties

Mapping Death in the American Civil War

I have been experimenting recently with different ways of visualizing the impact of the American Civil War. I am interested in how we can combine data recorded in the 19th century with some of the new digital tools available, in an effort to find new ways of engaging with this history and potentially reveal further […]

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Officers of the 63rd New York Infantry with their Colors. This image was likely taken in late 1863/ early 1864 (Library of Congress)

Bowld Soldier Boys: The Return of Irish Brigade Veterans to New York, January 1864

150 years ago, as 1864 dawned, the veteran volunteers of the Irish Brigade came home to New York. These men had come through some of the toughest battles of the war but had taken the decision to carry on the fight. Some were motivated by a desire to see the conflict out, while others were […]

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Lincoln Hospital as it appeared during the American Civil War. Corporal Patrick Scanlan died here, and William Duffie wrote from War 10 to inform Ann Scanlan of his last words (Library of Congress)

‘After I Am Dead, Write to My Wife': An Irish Soldier’s Last Moments Revealed

I have read the Widow’s Pension Files of many Irish families who were devastated by the American Civil War. The information contained in each reveals much about both the family behind the soldier and the long-term impact of the conflict on generations of Irish-Americans. However, when reading the application of Ann Scanlan, whose husband Patrick […]

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The Pension Index Card of Captain Edward B. Carroll, 63rd New York Infantry, Irish Brigade (Fold3.com)

War’s Cruel Hand: The Dedicated Service of Edward Carroll, Irish Brigade

Occasionally one has to look no further than a soldier’s service record to see both the poignancy and cruelty of war. Such is the case with Edward B. Carroll of the 63rd New York Infantry, Irish Brigade. As I carry out work on the 63rd and other ‘green flag’ New York regiments, even a few […]

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Federal Soldier Disembowelled by a Shell, Rose Woods, near The Wheatfield (Library of Congress)

Reporting the Gettysburg Casualties of the 63rd New York, Irish Brigade

The Irish Brigade went into action at Gettysburg on 2nd July 1863. They did their fighting in the Wheatfield, one of the most infamous sections of the battlefield. The already depleted brigade suffered some 200 casualties. One of  the brigade’s regiments that fought at Gettysburg was the 63rd New York Infantry. On 6th July the […]

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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)

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 […]

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A ‘Storm of Leaden Hail': The 63rd New York at Antietam

148 years ago today, a battle was being fought that would be remembered as the bloodiest single day in American history. Along the banks of Antietam Creek, Maryland, Union and Confederate soldiers clashed for some 12 hours. By day’s end, in the region of 22,720 men would be dead, wounded or missing. Among the troops […]

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