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26. A final general view from the Observation Tower incorporating the Sunken Lane at left (marked by fence line) and the field across which the Irish Brigade advanced at right.

The Irish Brigade at Antietam: A Photographic Tour

Many of the posts on this site explore elements of the Irish experience at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, fought on 17th September 1862. Many of the widow’s pension files that I now concentrate on were created as a result of those day’s events. It was also a […]

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Ayer's Pills were a popular medication for stomach complaints. This is a post Civil War advertisement for the product (East Carolina University DIgital Collections Image

Meagher’s ‘Drunken Freaks’ & Old Abe ‘Astonished’: The Last Letters of John Doherty, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade

Corporal John Doherty of the Irish Brigade wrote a series of letters home to his family from Virginia and Maryland in the summer of 1862. Transcribed here for the first time, the letters detail John’s pride in the Irish Brigade– ‘the envy of the rest of the army’– but likewise suggest that the realities of […]

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Antietam Battlefield. The Confederates held the Sunken Lane to the left of the image, with the Irish Brigade advancing from right to left across the field. It was in the vicinity of this field that John Conway died (Damian Shiels)

Speaking Ill Of The Dead: Eulogies & Enmity For An Irish Brigade Soldier

On 18th October 1862 the New York Irish-American published an article on the ‘gallant fellows’ of the Irish Brigade who had recently given their lives at the carnage of Antietam. One of them was Tullamore native Lieutenant John Conway, who had fallen in the ranks of the 69th New York Infantry. The paper described Conway […]

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The Battle of Fair Oaks by Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

‘A Deep Blow to Your Heart’: Patrick Clooney’s Newly Uncovered Description of the Irish Brigade at Fair Oaks

On 16th September 1862, 33-year-old Ann Dunnigan appeared before an Albany judge to begin the process of claiming a widow’s pension. Her husband Patrick had been mortally wounded in the Irish Brigade’s first major engagement- the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia- on 1st June 1862. As part of her evidence, Ann handed over a detailed […]

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Sergeant James Fegan, his wife and son (Philadelphia Inquirer)

‘Drop the Liftinant A Curtsey, Woman!’: The Long Service of Sergeant James Fegan, 3rd US Infantry

The 29th October 1851 was a good day for the United States army. That was the date that 24-year-old Irish laborer, James Fegan, decided to enlist. He must have cut an impressive figure standing in front of Captain Westcott, a recruiting officer for the 2nd US Infantry. Towering at over 6 feet in height, Fegan […]

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The Temporary Field Hospital set up by Richard Curran behind Haystacks at Antietam (Deeds of Valor)

Medal of Honor: Assistant Surgeon Richard Curran, 33rd New York Infantry

In the late morning of 17th September 1862, the first elements of Major-General William B. Franklin’s Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac arrived on the Antietam battlefield after a forced march. The bloodiest day in United States history was already in full swing, and Franklin’s lead unit, Colonel William H. Irwin’s 3rd Brigade of the […]

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The Dunker Church on the Antietam Battlefield. The Cornfield is not far from this position (Library of Congress)

Irish Colonels: Howard Carroll, 105th New York Infantry

Over 25 Irish born officers commanded New York regiments during the American Civil War. The most well known led units in the Irish Brigade and Corcoran’s Irish Legion, but the majority of Irishmen did not serve in specific ethnic formations. Among these men was Dubliner Howard Carroll. He was appointed Colonel of the 105th New […]

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Captain Patrick Clooney Memorial Waterford

The Waterford Memorial to Captain Patrick Clooney, 88th New York, Irish Brigade

Captain Patrick Clooney of the 88th New York, Irish Brigade, was a native of Waterford. He had served with distinction in the Battalion of St. Patrick during the Papal War in 1860, and travelled to the United States in July 1861. He enlisted as a Private in Company K (Meagher’s Zouaves) of the 69th New York […]

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Antietam, Sharpsburg, Irish

‘Ten Feet East of a Walnut Stump’: An Irishman at Sharpsburg

At 6am on the morning of 17th September 1862, Colonel Henry B. Strong and his largely Irish 6th Louisiana Volunteers were drawn up in woods slightly to the north-west of a small Dunker Church, near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland. The regiment, which by this point in the war numbered little over a 100 men, […]

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Captain Patrick Clooney Memorial Restoration Fund

A new blog site has been established by James Doherty entitled Waterford Civil War Veterans, dedicated to exploring that county’s contribution in the American Civil War. One of the site’s main aims is to raise money for the restoration of the Captain Patrick Clooney memorial, erected shortly after his death at Ballybricken Church, near his […]

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