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The first page of William Duffie's Letter to Ann Scanlan, informing her of her husband Patrick's death (Fold3)

‘I Hope…To See You Once More And Then I Would Die Contented': An Irish Mother Writes to Her Son

Bridget Burns married her husband William in Ireland on 18th August 1840. When her husband died eight years later, he left Bridget a widow and their only child, Henry, fatherless at the age of six. By the time 1861 came along, Bridget and her son were living 125 Greenwich Avenue, New York. On 19th August […]

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Seizing the Potato Crop of an Evicted Tenant (Library of Congress)

A Remarkable Famine Emigrant: Catherine Long and the Union Cause

This site covers the stories of numerous Irish Famine emigrants who later found themselves caught up in the American Civil War. Many of these stories deal with the consequences for those who suffered during the conflict, as thousands were forced to deal with a second great trauma in their lives. However, seismic disruptive events such […]

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A Union Sergeant and his Wife during the American Civil War (Library of Congress)

Broken Homes: Irish Soldiers’ Attempts to Reunite their Families

Previous posts have looked at the ‘Information Wanted’ ads placed in Irish-American newspapers during the 1860s, where family members sought to discover the fate of soldiers who went missing during the war (see here and here). The conflict split families apart, and papers like the Boston Pilot also carried ads from serving and recently mustered-out […]

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A Female Rag Picker in New York (Library of Congress)

The Sorry End of Catherine Mullens: Famine Emigrant, Mother of Veterans

The American Civil War touched the lives of many Famine-era Irish emigrants with tragedy. Although we frequently discuss the impact of the Famine in Ireland, rarely do we explore how hard the lives of those who escaped it via the emigrant ship could be. Life in the United States brought hope for many, but for […]

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Letter written to the father of Martin Ryan by John Sharkey from the Parole Camp in Annapolis, Maryland (Fold3)

Remembering Chickamauga: Researching the Fate of Six 35th Indiana ‘First Irish’ Soldiers and their Families

On 19th and 20th September, 150 years ago, the Battle of Chickamauga was fought. The titanic clash resulted in a resounding Confederate victory, sending William Starke Rosecrans’ Federal troops reeling back to Chattanooga. One of the Union regiments engaged during the fight was the 35th Indiana Infantry, otherwise known as the ‘First Irish.’ The 35th […]

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Liggon and Company's Tobacco Warehouse as it appeared in 1861, where Captain Hugh McQuade died on 26th December that year. (Wartime sketch by W.A. Abbott in 'Richmond Prisons 1861-1862' by William H. Jeffrey, 1893)

‘I Know That Your Poor Heart Trembles': An Irish Mother Receives Word of Her Wounded Son, 1861

For the families of soldiers in the American Civil War, the possibility that their loved ones might not have a ‘good death’ was a constant fear. In a society accustomed to experiencing death by their families bedside, the remoteness of many Civil War fatalities denied family members the opportunity to witness their relation’s all important final moments. An awareness of this ‘need […]

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'Michigan Bridget' as she was portrayed in post war illustrations (Livermore)

Bridget Diver: Custer’s Female Wolverine

Previous posts on the site have explored the stories of remarkable Irish women such as Jennie Hodgers, who served as Albert D.J. Cashier in the 95th Illinois Infantry, and Mary Sophia Hill, who accompanied her brother to the front and became known as the ‘Florence Nightingale of the Confederacy.’ Another such woman was Bridget Diver*, whose […]

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A Field Hospital after the Battle of Savage Station, 1862 (Library of Congress)

Nurse Mary McCoy, The Battle of Fair Oaks and a ‘Tin Dipper’ for President Lincoln

As the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fair Oaks approaches, it is interesting to note the contribution of one Irish woman to the battle, which was remembered long after the war. New York newspapers in 1899 carried the obituary of a clearly remarkable woman, who deserves to be better known amongst those Irish who […]

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