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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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Sergeant James Fegan, his wife and son (Philadelphia Inquirer)

‘Drop the Liftinant A Curtsey, Woman!': The Long Service of Sergeant James Fegan, 3rd US Infantry

The 29th October 1851 was a good day for the United States army. That was the date that 24-year-old Irish laborer, James Fegan, decided to enlist. He must have cut an impressive figure standing in front of Captain Westcott, a recruiting officer for the 2nd US Infantry. Towering at over 6 feet in height, Fegan […]

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Menomen O'Donnell and his family in later years (Deborah Maroney)

Medal of Honor: First Lieutenant Menomen O’Donnell, 11th Missouri Infantry

On the 22nd May 1863 Ulysses S. Grant launched an assault against the Rebel defences at Vicksburg, Mississippi. His previous effort to take the ‘Gibraltar of the Confederacy’ by storm, on 19th May, had ended in failure. Now he was trying again. At around 10 in the morning following an artillery barrage, blue-coated infantry surged forward across a […]

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The grave of Medal of Honor recipient Martin McHugh (Machelle Long)

Can You Help Find Medal of Honor Recipient Martin McHugh’s Descendants?

A previous post on the site looked at the efforts in 2012 to honour Seaman Martin McHugh in Danville, Illinois. A Medal of Honor recipient for his actions aboard the USS Cincinnati at Vicksburg on 27th May 1863, Martin had lain in an unmarked grave for over 100 years. Machelle Long played a central role in having Martin remembered […]

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Stonewall Jackson lies mortally wounded. Was Irishman Felix Brannigan present when the famous General was hit? (Currier & Ives)

Medal of Honor: Private Felix Brannigan, 74th New York Infantry

Felix Brannigan was one of a number of Irishmen who were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Chancellorsville. The circumstances behind Brannigan’s award are surely among the more unusual. A comrade would later claim that one of the reason’s Brannigan received the honour was that he was one of two Yankees actually present when […]

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The Union assault at Spotsylvania by Thure de Thulstrup (Library of Congress)

Medal of Honor: First Sergeant William Jones, 73rd New York Infantry

Some Medal of Honor citations are more detailed than others. That of Wicklow native William Jones is a case in point. It reads, simply, ‘Capture of the flag of the 65th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).’ His action took place at the Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia on 12th May 1864, as he and men from his regiment […]

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Civil War Era Army Medal of Honor (United States Army)

The 146 Irish Recipients of the Medal of Honor from the American Civil War

As part of the Irish-born Medal of Honor Project I have overhauled the Medal of Honor page to provide further information on the 146 Irish-born recipients from the Civil War I have thus far identified. A new introduction provides some background to the Irish awards, while more detailed entries for each of the men are also […]

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Private Patrick Ginley fires at advancing Confederates, Battle of Ream's Station (Story of American Heroism)

Medal of Honor: Private Patrick Ginley, 1st New York Light Artillery

The 25th November 1890 was undoubtedly one of the proudest days in the life of ‘Paddy The Horse.’ That evening the man from the west of Ireland was a guest at an Irish Brigade reunion being held at the Riccadonna Hotel, 42 Union Square, New York. The main event was to be the presentation of […]

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Civil War Era Army Medal of Honor (United States Army)

Irish-Born Medal of Honor Project

Although some 170,000 Irishmen served during the American Civil War, it is extremely difficult to gain a picture of what service was like for them across a broad spectrum. This is a symptom of the fact that for the majority of Irish troops their wartime experience occured outside ethnic Irish units. I have been considering […]

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The Temporary Field Hospital set up by Richard Curran behind Haystacks at Antietam (Deeds of Valor)

Medal of Honor: Assistant Surgeon Richard Curran, 33rd New York Infantry

In the late morning of 17th September 1862, the first elements of Major-General William B. Franklin’s Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac arrived on the Antietam battlefield after a forced march. The bloodiest day in United States history was already in full swing, and Franklin’s lead unit, Colonel William H. Irwin’s 3rd Brigade of the […]

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