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The #ForgottenIrish of Co. Galway

The latest #ForgottenIrish story is now available on Storify. It forms part of the continuing effort to raise awareness in Ireland of the c. 200,000 Irishmen who fought in the American Civil War, and their families. As with the previous Storify stories it is based on a Twitter tweetathon. So far #ForgottenIrish has covered Cork, Kerry and […]

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Separation. Many Irish families could not afford to emigrate together. For whatever reason, all three of these women's husbands left their family home for America, never to return (Library of Congress)

‘The Hard Industry of My Own Hands’: Three American Civil War Widows in Ireland Struggle to Survive

On the face of things, Irishwomen Honora Cleary, Eleanor Hogg and Maria Sheppel had little in common. For a start, they were from different parts of Ireland; Honora hailed from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Eleanor lived in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and Maria had grown up in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Neither did the women share the same religion; Honora and Eleanor were […]

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The White House of the Confederacy in 1865 (Library of Congress)

The Irish Nanny in the (Other) White House

The fundamental purpose of the Irish in the American Civil War site is to engage people with the history of Irish-America, principally through the stories of those who experienced life around the middle of the nineteenth century. I am always delighted to get opportunities to feature guest posts on the blog, which often provide different perspectives on this history. I was recently […]

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An example of a Georgia Infantry Regiment (the 4th) in 1861 (Library of Congress)

From Galway to Georgia: B.T. Johnston, Famine Emigrant, Confederate Pensioner

Increasingly many of the personal stories featured on the site are based on the contents of Federal Pension files. Having recently returned from the excellent Ulster-American Heritage Symposium at the University of Georgia, Athens- during which I had the pleasure to visit the Kennesaw Mountain battlefield- I thought it appropriate to have a look at the […]

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Jefferson Davis shown hanging from a 'Sour Apple Tree' in Harper's Weekly (Library of Congress)

‘Tell Him I Am A Soger’: Lyrics, Loyalty and Family in the Letters of an Irish Brigade Faugh

Patrick Kelly emigrated from Co. Galway to Boston with his parents. In 1861 he enlisted in the 28th Massachusetts Infantry, an Irish regiment that ultimately served in the Irish Brigade. During his service he wrote frequently to his parents at home in Boston; the letters portray a young man who was a lover of music […]

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Union Veteran Orlando Learned shows a flag he obtained at Vicksburg to his Great-Grandson, 1931 (Library of Congress)

The Last Union Irish Veterans of the American Civil War

The site has previously looked at Limerick man Jeremiah O’Brien, the last known Irish veteran of the American Civil War who died in 1950. He had served as a Confederate, but many thousands of Irishmen who served the Union also lived into the Twentieth century. I have spent some time looking for candidates for the […]

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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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Sketch showing portions of the Union secondary line at Petersburg, including Fort McMahon and Fort Patrick Kelly (Official Records Atlas)

Remembering The Fallen At Petersburg: Forts McMahon and Patrick Kelly

By September 1864 the Union forces at Petersburg had been facing their Confederate foe across a series of entrenchments and fortifications since mid-June. The Federals decided to commit to a strategy of continually extending their lines westward, seeking to exploit their advantages in manpower. With this stratagem they sought to stretch the Army of Northern Virginia to […]

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Private James Gibbons, Company E, 1st U.S. Artillery. Did the Galwayman fire the First Union Shot of the American Civil War? (New York World)

Identifying the Irishman who Fired the Union’s First Shot of the American Civil War?

Around 4.30am on 12th April 1861, Confederate artillery fire erupted on the U.S. occupied Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. These shots marked the start of the American Civil War. Some two and a half hours later, at about 7am, the guns of Sumter replied to the barrage, firing the first shots in defence […]

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Sgt. Thomas Fallon captures a Confederate Officer at Big Shanty, Georgia in 1864

Medal of Honor: Private Thomas T. Fallon, 37th New York Infantry

Thomas T. Fallon was born in Co. Galway on 12th August 1837. He emigrated to the United States in 1859, and just two years later found himself in the midst of the American Civil War. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K of the 37th New York ‘Irish Rifles’, beginning a wartime service that would span […]

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