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The Great Naval Victory at Mobile Bay by Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

The 14 Irish Medal of Honor Recipients of the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama

On 5th August 1864 a fleet of eighteen Union ships under Rear Admiral David G. Farragut entered Mobile Bay, Alabama on the Confederacy’s Gulf Coast. Their aim was to put the port out of action as a centre for blockade running. The fleet passed under ferocious fire from Forts Gaines and Morgan- and through a […]

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Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office, Washington DC. She helped many families learn the fate of their loved ones following the Civil War, but unfortunately Alexander Scarff's parents were not among them. (Photo by E.L. Malvaney)

A 150 Year Old Missing Persons Case- In Search of a 19-Year-Old Irishman

On 5th November 1862 ‘Arthur Shaw’, a 19-year-old Dubliner, stepped off the decks of the Great Western and into the hustle and bustle of New York City. From that day forward, his family never heard from him again. I have spent considerable time trying to piece together some elements of this boy’s story, aiming to uncover just who […]

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Rations being distributed at Andersonville, Georgia, 1864. This scene is perhaps closer to the type of experience Colin had at Salisbury and Libby (Library of Congress)

‘Should this Book Be Ever Found on My Dead Body': A POW’s Fate and a Letter to Ireland

On the 27th January 1865 a Union prisoner of war was found dead in the yard of Salisbury Prison, North Carolina. The soldier, recently transferred from Libby Prison in Richmond, appeared to have died from a combination of exposure and disease. He apparently had no close friends to look out for him, so fellow prisoners […]

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The Pennsylvania Reserves in Action on the Peninsula in June 1862 by Waud (Library of Congress)

A Long Lived Dubliner Who Witnessed Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

In April 1938 the New York Times and Gettysburg Times brought news of the death of a 96-year-old veteran of the American Civil War. Michael Gaffney’s passing was newsworthy in itself as the numbers of veterans were dwindling, but it was also claimed that the Irishman had been present when Abraham Lincoln gave his famous […]

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The Columbian Hospital where George Ridgway died (Library of Congress)

The Long Arm of War: The Impact of the American Civil War On A Dublin City Family

We have a tendency to view the American Civil War as a conflict that impacted only the United States and only people who lived there. This was not always true. The long arm of war could be felt with violent effect across oceans and continents. Some of those who had their lives changed utterly by […]

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Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (Library of Congress)

‘Father of the American Band': The Story of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore

Irishman Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore served as a musician and stretcher-bearer in the 24th Massachusetts Infantry during the American Civil War. His incredible post-army musical career includes penning When Johnny Comes Marching Home and performing some of the biggest musical shows ever seen, along the way becoming one of the icons of nineteenth century America. Gilmore […]

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Oscar Wilde in 1882 (Library of Congress)

When Oscar Met Walt: Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman, January 1882

Walt Whitman is one of America’s greatest poets. He was profoundly affected by his time spent visiting and caring for the wounded during the American Civil War, an experience that influenced much of his subsequent writing. In the decades following the conflict, one of Whitman’s biggest fans was a young Irish poet and playwright who was […]

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Men of the 164th New York, Corcoran's Irish Legion (Library of Congress)

‘Rum Racker’s Club': A Ballad of the 164th New York in the Field

Throughout the course of the war the New York Irish-American received regular correspondence from Irishmen serving in the field. These men usually wrote pieces under a pseudonym or using only their initials. Regular reports arrived from Corcoran’s Irish Legion via a correspondent called ‘Fenian’ of the 164th New York ‘Phoenix’ Regiment. On 1st January 1863 he […]

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Portrayal of Corcoran and his comrades swimming back and forth to the Cincinnati saving as many men as possible (Deeds of Valor)

Medal of Honor: Landsman Thomas E. Corcoran, USS Cincinnati

At 12.20 pm on 27th May 1863, Admiral David Dixon Porter sent a brief message to General William Tecumseh Sherman. It stated simply ‘Cincinnati is sunk.’ Sherman already knew, as he had witnessed the luckless ships final moments. He replied to Porter at 2.15 pm: ‘The boat ran close to the batteries, rounded upstream, caught several […]

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'Confederate Veteran' marker at the grave of Llewellyn Traherne Bassett Saunderson, Deansgrange, Co. Dublin (Photo: Eamonn McLoughlin)

The Confederate Cavalryman Buried in Co. Dublin

The cemetery at Deansgrange, Co. Dublin is one of the largest in Ireland. Amongst the multitude of burials to be found, there is one headstone that relates to a family called the Saundersons. One of the individuals interred here is Llewellyn Traherne Bassett Saunderson, who died here on 30th March 1913 at the age of […]

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