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Patriotic letterhead on one of James Finnerty's wartime letters (Fold3/National Archives)

Grieving for an Emigrant Son: The Story of the Finnertys of Galway City

This week I will be continuing my county-specific examinations of the Irish experience of the American Civil War, when I give a lecture in Galway City Museum on the impact of the conflict on the Tribesmen (and women!). I come across large numbers of Galway people in my research, and have little doubt that the […]

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Congress Avenue looking towards the Capitol in Austin, Texas. John Hannon died on this street. (Wikipedia)

‘Tears Ease the Heart’: A Teenage Galwegian Civil War Veteran in Texas, 1866

Many Famine emigrants found themselves on the front lines of the American Civil War. Others watched as the children they had taken to America in search of a new life marched off to war. One couple who endured this was John and Mary Hannon, who saw their underage son, John Jr., ride to Virginia in […]

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The Landscape of Inisheer, where John Donohoe grew up (Thomas Winter, Flickr Creative Commons)

Aran Islanders Abroad: An Inisheer Family and the American Civil War

If you had met John Donohoe in early 1861, it would have meant you were a visitor to one of the remotest locations in Europe. Thats because you would have been on Inisheer (Innis Oírr), a Gaelic speaking island off Ireland’s west coast. At only 2 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, it is the smallest of the Aran […]

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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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