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Sheridan's Final Charge at the Battle of Third Winchester (Library of Congress)

‘For The Love of the Holy Mother, Blow Out My Brains’: An Irishman Dies at Third Winchester

John Hines was a Private in Company F of the 34th Massachusetts Infantry. He was described as a ‘rough, coarse, uneducated Irishman, with a keener nose for whisky than any other man living.’┬áHe would be able to seek out the spirit even when it was thought there was none for miles, and often returned to […]

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Officers and men of the 9th Massachusetts (Library of Congress)

‘Before the Reaper’s Sickle’: The 9th Massachusetts at Gaines’ Mill

It is the 27th June 1862. Colonel Thomas Cass and the 9th Massachusetts Infantry have just retraced their steps under orders, marching back towards their old camping grounds near a mill and millpond that empties into Powhite Creek, Virginia. The men have fond memories of this pond, a spot where they have enjoyed relaxing swims […]

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Thomas Plunkett

Medal of Honor: Sergeant Thomas Plunkett, 21st Massachusetts Infantry

This second post exploring the stories of Irish born Medal of Honor winners focuses on Sergeant Thomas Plunkett of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry. He received his award for actions at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia on 13th December 1862, when he participated in the fateful Union charge against the Confederate positions on Marye’s Heights. Irishman […]

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Saunders Field, Wilderness

Slaughter in Saunder’s Field: The 9th Massachusetts at The Wilderness

On the afternoon of 5th May 1864 Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick T. Hanley of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry stood with his men in the tangled and confusing wooded landscape that characterised the area known as ‘The Wilderness’ in Virginia. As battle raged, Hanley’s brigade commander Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer came rushing up to confront the Irishman, loudly […]

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