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Colors of the 20th Maine Infantry (Image via Wikipedia)

‘Watch the Man’s Movements': Illegal Recruitment for the Union in Ireland, Part One

A previous post explored the case of the USS Kearsarge, which caused a major diplomatic incident when she illegally recruited in the port of Queenstown (now Cobh), Co. Cork during the war. It was not the only time when questionable recruitment tactics led to friction between Britain and the United States. In 1864 the actions of a […]

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American Civil War Recruitment Poster for The Phoenix Regiment (Civil War Treasures from the New York Historical Society, via Library of Congress

Federal Recruitment of Irish Militiamen during the American Civil War

Will Butler is currently undertaking research on the Irish amateur military tradition in the British Army between 1854 and 1945. As he explains below, Will has come across intriguing evidence for the efforts of Federal recruiters to tap into this manpower pool in Ireland, as they sought to augment Union armies during the Civil War. […]

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The USS Kearsarge (Library of Congress)

The USS Kearsarge and the ‘Queenstown Affair’, Co. Cork, 1863

On the morning of 3rd November 1863, the Federal sloop of war USS Kearsarge steamed into Queenstown harbour, Co. Cork. Anchoring to the east of the Spit Light, members of her crew crowded the deck to get a look at the town. While they waited to hear if any of them would be lucky enough […]

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Federal Recruitment in Ireland during the American Civil War

By 1864 there was very little popular support remaining in Ireland for the American Civil War. Added to this there was a perception (whether real or imagined) that Federal agents were extremely active in the country, either directly recruiting Irishmen for service in the Union army or duping them into taking passage across the Atlantic […]

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Irish Pressed into Federal Service?

The Irish Times runs a regular column entitled ‘From the Archives’ where stories from past issues of the paper are reprinted. A recent inclusion was a report from their correspondent in New York in 1864 which claimed that many Irish were being effectively abducted from the quayside by unscrupulous fellow countrymen, who sought to gain […]

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