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Gangs of New York: Recruiting the Irish ‘Straight Off the Boat’

One of the best known scenes in Martin Scorcese’s 2002 movie Gangs of New York is that which depicts the enlistment of Irish emigrants ‘straight off the boat’ into the Union army. The seemingly unsuspecting men are quickly dressed in uniform and packed off for the front, even as those unfortunates who have gone before are brought […]

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Former slaves in Beaufort, South Carolina shortly after Emancipation (Library of Congress)

In Bondage to the Irish: Slave Ownership Among Irish Confederate Officers

A total of sixteen Irish-born men reached the rank of either Colonel or General in the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. What was these men’s relationship with and investment in slavery, if any? The most famous slavery-related incident involving an Irish Confederate officer was Major-General Patrick Cleburne’s 1864 proposal to arm the slaves. Cleburne […]

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Captain Robert Halpin from Co. Wicklow was commemorated in a series of famous mariner stamps by An Post in 2003. Although most famous forr laying telegraphic cables, he was also a blockade runner in the American Civil War

Has Ireland Missed the Last Opportunity to Remember Her American Civil War Dead?

Last year we had an appeal on the site asking readers to consider proposing Irish involvement in the American Civil War as an appropriate topic to be covered in An Post’s (the Irish postal service) 2015 stamp programme. A number of you did so. An Post were in touch last week to say that the […]

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Lieutenant-General Phil Sheridan (Library of Congress)

How ‘Irish’ was Phil Sheridan?

I have had the good fortune to speak about the Irish in the American Civil War in many different parts of Ireland. When it comes to question-time, there is one topic that is almost always guaranteed to come up- General Phil Sheridan. This is unsurprising given his leading role as one of the key players […]

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Custer marching towards the Washita, 1868 (Library of Congress)

Worthy of Study? Worthy of Remembrance? The Irish Killed at the Washita and Wounded Knee

I have been thinking quite a lot recently about the type of historic events we choose to explore (and in some cases commemorate). This was spurred by the recent laying of a wreath by the Irish President Michael D. Higgins to the memory of the San Patricios, the largely Irish group who deserted from the […]

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Irish Emigrants Leaving for America from Caherciveen, Co. Kerry, 1866 (New York Public Library Image ID 833634)

Diaspora Disregarded? How Ireland is Failing Her Emigrants Memory

Ireland as a country appears outwardly very proud of her diaspora. This is enshrined in our constitution- Article 2 tells us that ‘the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.’ In my view Ireland currently falls far short of this aspiration and […]

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Father Corby at Gettysburg (Memoirs of Chaplain Life)

Irish Examiner Feature: Remembering the Irish Lost at Gettysburg

As many regular readers of the site will know I have been campaigning for some time (along with colleagues) to see greater recognition in Ireland of the cost of the American Civil War to the Irish community. It was the second biggest conflict in terms of numbers in which Irishmen served in uniform, yet we […]

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The Irish in the American Civil War (History Press Ireland)

Some Reflections On Three Years Writing ‘Irish in the American Civil War’

This past weekend marked the third anniversary of the Irish in the American Civil War blog. Sincerest thanks to all of you who have read articles on the site over that time, to those who have taken the time to comment, contribute and share your knowledge, and also to those who have contributed guest posts. […]

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Colors of the 20th Maine Infantry (Image via Wikipedia)

‘Watch the Man’s Movements': Illegal Recruitment for the Union in Ireland, Part One

A previous post explored the case of the USS Kearsarge, which caused a major diplomatic incident when she illegally recruited in the port of Queenstown (now Cobh), Co. Cork during the war. It was not the only time when questionable recruitment tactics led to friction between Britain and the United States. In 1864 the actions of a […]

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The 1862 'Tiffany' Color of the 69th New York, Presented by President Kennedy to the Irish People in 1963

The Time Has Come for ‘A History of the Irish in 100 Objects’

Noted Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole recently produced an excellent series of articles- later turned into a highly attractive book- titled A History of Ireland in 100 Objects. It has rightly received much attention, and was made available for free electronically in the month of March to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, The Gathering and Ireland’s Presidency […]

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