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North Anna River, Virginia. Pontoon bridges across the North Anna, below railroad bridge, where a portion of the 2nd Corps under General Hancock crossed, May 23, 1864 (Timothy O'Sullivan/ Library of Congress)

150 Years Ago: An Irish Photographer Captures the Overland Campaign

As I head to Virginia to visit some of the sites relating to the start of the 1864 Overland Campaign, I have been looking again at the contemporary photographs captured during that momentous summer. Irishmen were not just present among the fighting men of the two opposing forces, they were also there to document the […]

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Irish Brigade Monument

‘Good-By, Good-By': Richard Byrnes Writes a Final Letter to His Wife

On 17th May 1864, Colonel Richard Byrnes of the 28th Massachusetts Infantry paid an early morning visit to Father William Corby, Chaplain of the Irish Brigade. A regular army officer before the war, the strict disciplinarian had been appointed to command of the 28th in the autumn of 1862. Now, on the bloody battlefield of Spotsylvania Court […]

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The Union assault at Spotsylvania by Thure de Thulstrup (Library of Congress)

Medal of Honor: First Sergeant William Jones, 73rd New York Infantry

Some Medal of Honor citations are more detailed than others. That of Wicklow native William Jones is a case in point. It reads, simply, ‘Capture of the flag of the 65th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).’ His action took place at the Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia on 12th May 1864, as he and men from his regiment […]

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Irish Brigade Monument

The Death of Color Sergeant Peter Welsh, 28th Massachusetts Infantry

Color Sergeant Peter Welsh of the 28th Massachusetts Regiment has become one of the best known members of the Irish Brigade. The publication of his Civil War letters in 1986, under the title Irish Green and Union Blue, revealed the picture of a man devoted to the cause of Union. In the summer of 1862 he had […]

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