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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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Officers of the 63rd New York Infantry in June 1865 (Library of Congress)

‘Friend Patt theres only 8 of us that left…': An Irish Brigade Soldier’s Letter at War’s End

For a number of weeks after Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia thousands of Union troops remained in the field in Virginia. During this period men often reflected on the past and the many comrades they had lost and looked forward to returning home. Meanwhile officers tried to keep the men […]

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Photograph of John Ruddy taken at Harewood Hospital following his wounding at the South Side Railroad on 2nd April 1865 (National Museum of Health and Medicine)

Looking into the Face of a Dying Irish Soldier

Around late April or early May of 1865 a photographer in Harewood Hospital, Washington D.C. exposed a photograph of a wounded Union soldier. The man, who still wore the beard he favoured on campaign, had been shot through the left shoulder during the fighting around Petersburg. His name was John Ruddy, an Irish farmer and […]

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Screenshot of Google Fusion Table Heat Map, showing detail of Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and southern Pennsylvania, and highlighting the major battles where the 63rd New York suffered significant casualties

Mapping Death in the American Civil War

I have been experimenting recently with different ways of visualizing the impact of the American Civil War. I am interested in how we can combine data recorded in the 19th century with some of the new digital tools available, in an effort to find new ways of engaging with this history and potentially reveal further […]

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Officers of the 63rd New York Infantry with their Colors. This image was likely taken in late 1863/ early 1864 (Library of Congress)

Bowld Soldier Boys: The Return of Irish Brigade Veterans to New York, January 1864

150 years ago, as 1864 dawned, the veteran volunteers of the Irish Brigade came home to New York. These men had come through some of the toughest battles of the war but had taken the decision to carry on the fight. Some were motivated by a desire to see the conflict out, while others were […]

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An Extract of the Statements Provided by John Barrett and John Gleason for Timothy Durick (John Barrett could sign his name, John Gleason was illiterate so made his mark- Image via Fold3)

Dependent Father: How one Irish Brigade Soldier’s Service Helped an Elderly Man in Rural Tipperary

Each month for much of the 1880s the octogenarian Timothy Durick travelled from his home in Lackamore, Castletownarra, Co. Tipperary to the nearby town of Nenagh. He made the journey to visit the Post Office and collect his pension, which was worth $8 U.S. Dollars. In order to secure the pension the elderly man had […]

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Lincoln Hospital as it appeared during the American Civil War. Corporal Patrick Scanlan died here, and William Duffie wrote from War 10 to inform Ann Scanlan of his last words (Library of Congress)

‘After I Am Dead, Write to My Wife': An Irish Soldier’s Last Moments Revealed

I have read the Widow’s Pension Files of many Irish families who were devastated by the American Civil War. The information contained in each reveals much about both the family behind the soldier and the long-term impact of the conflict on generations of Irish-Americans. However, when reading the application of Ann Scanlan, whose husband Patrick […]

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The Pension Index Card of Captain Edward B. Carroll, 63rd New York Infantry, Irish Brigade (Fold3.com)

War’s Cruel Hand: The Dedicated Service of Edward Carroll, Irish Brigade

Occasionally one has to look no further than a soldier’s service record to see both the poignancy and cruelty of war. Such is the case with Edward B. Carroll of the 63rd New York Infantry, Irish Brigade. As I carry out work on the 63rd and other ‘green flag’ New York regiments, even a few […]

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The Irish Brigade at Chancellorsville, New York 'Irish World', 1903

An Image of Union Donors to the 1863 Irish Relief Fund, Forty Years On

Regular readers of the blog will be familiar with the donations made by hundreds of Union troops in 1863 towards the relief of the suffering poor in Ireland (see here, here, here and an overview here). These men were about to embark on campaigns that would leave many dead, maimed or captured. Despite this they […]

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Federal Soldier Disembowelled by a Shell, Rose Woods, near The Wheatfield (Library of Congress)

Reporting the Gettysburg Casualties of the 63rd New York, Irish Brigade

The Irish Brigade went into action at Gettysburg on 2nd July 1863. They did their fighting in the Wheatfield, one of the most infamous sections of the battlefield. The already depleted brigade suffered some 200 casualties. One of ┬áthe brigade’s regiments that fought at Gettysburg was the 63rd New York Infantry. On 6th July the […]

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