Brevet Generals

This page presents brief biographies of the 32 Irish born men who served the Union and were breveted to the rank of Brigadier-General as a result of service in the American Civil War. Their names are drawn from Roger Hunt and Jack Brown’s research which reached fruition in their 1990 publication Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue*. On this page the biographies as presented have been expanded upon with recourse to other sources, listed below each entry. These Irishmen never attained full general officer rank, and the majority served at Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel level during the war.

The brevet general rank bestowed a higher officer grade to these men, and if commissioned during the war made them eligible for assignment by the President at this higher rank. If the President did not assign them they did not receive the pay, advantages or seniority that came with a general’s rank. The majority of brevets were granted as a reward for gallant and meritorious conduct, and were often honorific in nature. Large numbers were awarded after the end of the war as a means of acknowledging good service.

In some cases the brevet rank was used where an officer could not be promoted due to restrictions on the number of allowable general officers, and in these instances it was a mechanism to allow talented lower grade officers to exercise command at a higher level. This was utilised by Grant late in the war, and in 1865 he was given authority to assign officers to their brevet ranks without Presidential approval.

The Irishmen detailed below fall into both of the above categories of brevet general. Some received the additional advancement of being breveted beyond the rank of Brigadier-General to that of Major-General. Of the officers listed, one turned the brevet down. Patrick Timothy Andrews was initially breveted in the regular army for his conduct in the Mexican War, and when the brevet Brigadier-General of volunteers rank was offered to him in 1865 he declined it.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, v-xx;

Andrews, Timothy Patrick

Born in Ireland in 1794, and served in the War of 1812 under Commodore Barney and with a District of Columbia volunteer company in the field. A regular army officer, he was breveted Brigadier-General U.S.A. on 13th September for meritorious conduct at the Battle of Chapultepec in Mexico. During the Civil War, Andrews served as a Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief Paymaster on the staff of Major-General Henry W. Halleck and later as Paymaster General with the rank of Colonel. He retired at this rank in 1864, and later served as President of the Board for the examination of Paymasters and also Inspector of the Pay Department. His son Richard Snowden Andrews served in the Confederate forces as a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 1st Maryland Artillery, subsequently writing a memoir of his service. Timothy Patrick Andrews declined a brevet Brigadier-General rank put forward on 13th March 1865 for long and faithful service in the army. He died on 11th March 1868 in Washington D.C., where he is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery (Section B, Lot 75).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 16; New York Times Obituary, Death of Col. Timothy P. Andrews U.S.A., 13th March 1868; Andrews, Richard Snowden 1910. Commanding The First Maryland Artillery (Andrews’ Battalion) Confederate States Army: A Memoir

Briscoe, Joseph Cuffe

Born in Willmount, Co. Kilkenny in 1835, and attended Trinity College, Dublin. A civil engineer by profession, he emigrated to the United States in 1854. His service in the Civil War included holding the rank of First Lieutenant in the 1st New York Infantry, a commission he received following gallantry at the Battle of Big Bethel, where he was wounded in the foot while carrying the regimental colors. He later served as a Captain in the 40th New York Infantry and as a Major and ADC to Major-General David B. Birney. He became the Colonel of the 199th Pennsylvania Infantry in 1864 and went on to command a brigade in the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg. After Appomattox he commanded the 188th Pennsylvania Infantry until their muster out at the end of 1865. He was appointed (but never nominated) brevet Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant conduct in the assault of Fort Gregg, Virginia. On 3rd November 1865 he was dismissed from the service for stealing U.S. Government funds. He died on 24th May 1869 in New York, and is buried in an unmarked grave in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn (Section 189, Lot 18708).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 77; New York Times Obituary, General Joseph C. Briscoe, 26th May 1869

Burke, Joseph Walter

Born on 18th February 1835 in Westport, Co. Mayo, Burke was a participant in the 1848 Young Ireland Rebellion. Following his arrival in the United States he settled in Ohio and studied at the University of Cincinnati Law School in 1858. Outwith the Civil War he worked as a lawyer, U.S. Customs collector and capitalist. He joined the 10th Ohio Infantry, organised in Cincinnati, at the rank of Major in 1861. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in January 1862 and to Colonel in February 1863. At one point he commanded the reserve brigade of the Army of the Cumberland. He mustered out with the regiment on 17th June 1864. Burke was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services. He died on 7th November 1900 in Jacksonville, Alabama, where he is buried in Jacksonville Cemetery.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 90; Bruce, Susannah Ural 2006. The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861- 1865, 72; Reid, Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 76;

Byrne, James J.

Born in Ireland in 1841, he emigrated to New York at a young age. During the American Civil War he first enlisted in the 11th New York Infantry, before rising to the rank of Major with the 163rd New York Infantry. He became Colonel of the 18th New York Cavalry in 1863 and Acting ADC on the staff of Brigadier-General John W. Davidson. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant conduct at the Battle of Pleasant Hill and Campti, Louisiana. This was followed by a brevet of Major-General of volunteers, also on 13th March 1865, for gallantry at the Battle of Moore’s Plantation on the 5th/6th May 1864 and at the Battle of Yellow Bayou on the 18th May 1864, as well as meritorious conduct during the retreat of the Army of the Gulf from Alexandria to Simmsport, Louisiana. Following the war he worked as a U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas and subsequent to that as a chief engineer with the Texas and Pacific Railway. He was killed when Apaches attacked a stage coach he was travelling in on 13th August 1880 at Fort Quitman, Texas. He is buried in Pioneers Rest Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 93; Cutrer, Thomas W. ‘Byrne, James J.‘ Handbook of Texas Online;

Collis, Charles Henry Tucky

Born on the 4th February 1838 in Cork, he emigrated to Philadelphia at the age of 15. He first served in the 18th Pennsylvania Infantry rising to Sergeant-Major, prior to becoming a Captain of an Independent Company of Pennsylvania Zouaves. He became the Colonel of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry which he raised in 1862. On 10th March 1893 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia on 13th December 1862. His citation reads: ‘Gallantly led his regiment in battle at a critical moment’. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 28th October 1864 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. On 13th March 1865 he was further breveted Major-General of volunteers for meritorious services during the war. His wife, Septima Maria Levy Collis, went on to write an account of her wartime experience. Collis worked as a lawyer after the war, dying on 11th May 1902 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 123; Broadwater, Robert P. 2007. Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients: A Complete Illustrated Record, 50; Congressional Medal of Honor SocietyAntietam on the Web: Captain Charles Henry Tucky Collis Entry; Collis, Septima Mary Levy 1889. A Woman’s War Record 1861- 1865;

Curley, Thomas

Born on 8th May 1825 in Tremaine, Co. Roscommon, he emigrated to the United States in 1851 and settled in St. Louis, Missouri. A policeman before the war, Curley became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 7th Missouri Infantry before rising to Colonel of the 27th Missouri Infantry, having raised that regiment in 1862. He served throughout the Western Theater, and was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for faithful and meritorious service during the war. Following 1865 he moved to Wisconsin, and worked variously as a farmer, railway postal clerk and Wisconsin State House employee. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1882 on the Democratic ticket representing Crawford, Wisconsin. He died on 24th February 1904 in Madison, Wisconsin and is buried in St. Gabriel’s Cemetery, Praire du Chien, Wisconsin.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 140; Butterfield, Consul Wilshere 1884. History of Crawford and Richland Counties, Wisconsin, 530; State of Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, 1999. Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848- 1999, 41;

Dillon, Richard

Born in Cootehill, Co. Cavan in 1832. Prior to the Civil War he was a merchant, joining the 115th Pennsylvania Infantry in 1861. He rose to the rank of Captain, losing his left arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in 1863. He later served as a Captain in the 12th Veteran Reserve Corps and 14th Veteran Reserve Corps. After the war he became a Clerk in the U.S. General Land Office. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services, and though not commissioned his rank was confirmed by the Senate on 3rd March 1869. Dillon died on 11th April 1881 in Washington D.C., and is buried in Old Cathedral Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in an unmarked grave (Section C, Range 4, Lot 33).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 163;

Ducat, Arthur Charles

Born on 24th February 1830 near Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire), Co. Dublin. He studied at Belmont College prior to emigrating to New York in 1850. He worked as a civil engineer and fire insurance agent before 1861. When war broke out he joined the 12th Illinois Infantry, rising to Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment. He went on to serve as Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of the Grand Guards on the staff of Major-General William S. Rosecrans, and later became Assistant Inspector General and then Inspector General of the Army of the Cumberland. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for faithful services. Ducat died on 29th January 1896 at Downer’s Grove, Illinois, and is buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois (Section 4, Lot 4).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 175; ‘Lindenwald’ 1897. Memoir of Gen. A.C. Ducat;

Flanigan, Mark

Born in Co. Antrim in 1825, Flanigan emigrated first to Canada in 1833 before moving to Detroit in 1845. A butcher by trade, he served as Alderman of Detroit’s Sixth Ward, Sheriff, Secretary of the Detroit Fireman’s Society, President of the Detroit Board of Education and a U.S. Internal Revenue Official. During the war he joined the 24th Michigan Infantry, part of the famous Iron Brigade. As the unit’s Lieutenant-Colonel he lost a leg at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 1st July 1863. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for meritorious conduct in the campaign of Gettysburg, and for services in that engagement. He died on 4th October 1886 in Detroit, Michigan, where he is buried in Elmwood Cemetery (Section D, Lot 66).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 206; Elmwood Historic Cemetery: Mark Flanigan Entry;

Flynn, John Hornbuckle

Born on 10th March 1819 in Waterford. He worked as a liquor merchant before joining the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry, rising to Colonelcy of the regiment in 1864. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. Following the conclusion of the Civil War Flynn became Superintendent of Little Rock National Cemetery, an office which he held between 1872 and 1875. He died on 25th December 1875 in Little Rock, Arkansas and is buried in Little Rock National Cemetery (Section 12, Grave 5825).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 209; Pennsylvania Roots 28th Regiment Entry;

Gleason, John Hasset

Born on 17th May 1838 in Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary. Gleason worked as a civil engineer before the war. He also had prior military experience, serving in the Irish Battalion of St. Patrick during the 1860 Papal War. His initial service was as a Private in the 69th New York State Militia with which he fought at the Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, in 1861. Gleason then became an officer in the 63rd New York Infantry, part of Meagher’s Irish Brigade, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war, and on the same day breveted Major-General of volunteers for the same reason. Following the Civil War Gleason joined other Fenians in returning to Ireland where he was arrested for complicity in disturbing the peace of Her Majesty’s Government. He returned to the United States and was involved in politics, unsuccessfully putting himself forward as a Democratic candidate for congress in New York. Gleason also worked as a watchman at the Government Printing Office. He died on 30th June 1889 in Washington D.C. and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia (Section 1, Lot 80-D).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 233; New York Times, Still Another Lie: The True Record of Gen. John H. Gleason, A Government Clerk, 29th October 1888;

Graham, Samuel

Born on 18th April 1813 in Belfast. He worked as a hardware merchant, builder and municipal official. He raised the 2nd Regiment Jackson Artillery which was consolidated with the Jackson Heavy Artillery on 6th March 1862, to become the 5th New York Heavy Artillery. Graham was made the Colonel of this unit. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services in the engagements in and around Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in 1864. He died on 30th May 1884 in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery (Section 95, Lot 1612).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 239; New York State Military Museum: 5th Heavy Artillery Regiment Entry;

Guiney, Patrick Robert

Born on 15th January 1835 in Parkstown, Co. Tipperary, Guiney emigrated to the United States when he was 7. He attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts before training to become a lawyer. At the outbreak of the war he joined the 9th Massachusetts Infantry, a predominantly Irish unit which he would eventually command as Colonel. Guiney was severely wounded in the head at the Battle of The Wilderness, Virginia in 1864, losing an eye as a result. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on the 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. Many of his wartime letters have been edited and published by Christian G. Samito in his 1998 book Commanding Boston’s Irish Ninth: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Guiney died on 21st March 1877 in Boston, Massachusetts; he is buried in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline, Massachusetts.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 248; Guiney, Patrick R. (edited by Christian G. Samito) 1998. Commanding Boston’s Irish Ninth: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, xi;

Gwyn, James

Born on 24th November 1828 in Derry/Londonderry. He emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 and settled in Philadelphia where he established a dry goods partnership with George H. Stewart under the name Gwyn & Stewart. At the outbreak of the war he became a Captain in the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry and later Lieutenant-Colonel in the 188th Pennsylvania, rising to Colonel of that regiment in 1863. Gwyn was wounded in the thigh at the Battle of The Wilderness, Virginia in 1864. He went on to command a brigade outside Petersburg. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 30th September 1864 for gallant and distinguished services in the battle of Poplar Spring Church, near Petersburg, Virginia. Gwyn died on 17th July 1906 in Yonkers, New York and is buried in Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Section E, Lot 33).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 250; New York Times Obituary, General James Gwyn Dead, 19th July 1906;

Halpine, Charles Graham

Born on 23rd November 1829 near Oldcastle, Co. Meath and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He emigrated to the United States in 1851, moving to Boston where he became the editor of the Boston Post. He later spent time as the Washington correspondent for the New York Times, before moving to New York and eventually becoming assistant editor of that paper. In 1857 he became principal editor of the Leader, before enlisting in the 69th New York State Militia at the outbreak of the war. He would go on to serve as Assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of Major-General John A. Dix, and Assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of Major-General David Hunter. From 1862 on he wrote a series of articles under the pseudonym of ‘Miles O’Reilly’, a fictitious private in the 47th New York. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for meritorious services during the war. He published two books made up of the Miles O’Reilly articles, The Life and Adventures published in 1864 and Baked Meats of the Funeral in 1866. He was elected registrar of the county of New York in 1867. Halpine died on 3rd August 1868 in New York City, and is buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York (Section 6, Lot 1484).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 256; Boase, George Clement 1890. Dictionary of National Biography: Volume 24, 136-137;

Keily, Daniel Joseph

Born in Newtownville, Co. Waterford on 6th September 1829. He served as a Lieutenant in the Irish Battalion of St. Patrick during the 1860 Papal War prior to moving to New York. During the Civil War he served as an Additional Aide-de-Camp on the staff of Major-General James Shields, and was wounded in the face at the Battle of Port Republic, Virginia on 9th April 1862. In 1864 he became Colonel of the 2nd Louisiana Cavalry (Federal).  He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services. Following the war he became a plantation manager, dying in October 1867 in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His exact burial place is unknown, but is most likely in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 325; Eicher, John H. and Eicher, David J. 2001.Civil War High Commands, 328;

MacIvor, James Patrick

Born on 26th November 1836 in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the 69th New York State Militia, later becoming Lieutenant-Colonel and then Colonel of the 170th New York Infantry, part of Corcoran’s Irish Legion. MacIvor was a leading Fenian in that regiment. He went on to command a brigade at Petersburg before the close of the war. MacIvor was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 9th April 1865 for highly meritorious services during the campaign terminating with the surrender of the insurgent army under General Robert E. Lee. On the same day he was also breveted Major-General of volunteers for gallant and meritorious services during the war. Following the conflict he worked as a school teacher before becoming an official in the Bond Division of the Custom House. He contracted cancer of the tongue and died at his home at 699 East One Hundred and Fortieth Street, New York, on 3rd November 1904. He is buried in the First Reformed Dutch Churchyard, Glenville, Schenectady County, New York.

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 374; Bruce, Susannah Ural 2006. The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861- 1865, 193; New York Times Obituary, Gen. James P. MacIvor Dead, 4th November 1904;

Malloy, Adam Gale

Born in Ireland on 10th September 1830. At the outbreak of the war he served as Captain of Company A in the 6th Wisconsin Infantry, rising to Lieutenant-Colonel in December 1861. He was appointed Colonel of the 17th Wisconsin Infantry in November 1862. Malloy was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services. He maintained a career in the army in the post-war period, being honorably discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant in 1870. He also worked as a manufacturer and a U.S. Government official in the Internal Revenue, Customs and Immigration service. He died on 10th November 1911 in Escondido, California and is buried in San Marcos Cemetery, San Marcos, California (Section 3, Lot 5).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 376; Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office, 1886. Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861- 1865, Volume 2, 49;

McGroarty, Stephen Joseph

Born in Mount Charles, Co. Donegal in 1830, he attended Xavier University, Cincinnati Ohio. He initially served as a Captain in the 10th Ohio Infantry before going on to become Lieutenant-Colonel of the 61st Ohio dating to April 1862, and it’s Colonel dating to September 1862. At the end of that year he took over command of the 82nd Ohio Infantry with whom he remained for the remainder of his service. He lost his left arm in the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia on 20th July 1864. Outwith the war he worked as a dry goods merchant and lawyer. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 1st May 1865 for gallant services during the war. He died on 2nd January 1870 at College Hill, Hamilton County, Ohio and is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio (Section 15, Lot 116).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 401; Reid, Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 362, 470;

McMahon, John

Born in Co. Cork in 1834. He initially served  in the 105th New York Infantry, and was taken prisoner as a Captain in that regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1863. He later joined the 94th New York Infantry rising to rank of Major in late 1863. On 21st October 1864 he became the Colonel of the 188th New York Infantry who he served with for the remainder of the war. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 30th June 1865 for meritorious services. In civilian life McMahon worked as a carriage manufacturer and building contractor. He died on 30th December 1891 in Rochester, New York, and is buried there in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Section 3, Lot 38).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 405; New York State Museum Unit Histories: 105th New York: Newspaper Clippings: Captain John McMahon a Prisoner ; New York State Museum Unit Histories: 105th New York: Sprague, Charles H. Historical Sketch 94th New York;

Minty, Robert Horatio George

Born in Westport, Co. Mayo on 4th December 1831. He initially followed his father into the British Army, serving as an Ensign in the West Indies, Central America and Africa. He left the British service in 1853 and eventually settled in Michigan. Following the outbreak of the American Civil War he became a Major in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, and later Lieutenant-Colonel of the 3rd Michigan Cavalry. In 1862 he became the Colonel of the 4th Michigan Cavalry, and would eventually exercise brigade command. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and distinguished service during the war, and on the same date was also breveted Major-General of volunteers for gallant and meritorious services during the war. Following the conflict’s conclusion Minty worked as a railway executive. His good service between 1861 and 1865 was long remembered; one of his commanders, Major-General James Harrison Wilson described him in 1912 as ‘an educated soldier of great intelligence and enterprise . . . (who) had gained the esteem of all who had served under him. Long before the close of the war his regiment had justly come to be regarded as one of the best in the army . . . From the time he fell under my command till the end of the war, he was in every respect a modest and obedient officer, an excellent disciplinarian, and as good a leader as Murat himself. He needed but the continuous chances of war to become famous as the best Irish soldier of his day.’ Minty was not alive to hear his former commander’s compliments- he had died on 24th August 1906 in Jerome, Arizona and was buried in Aultorest Memorial Park, Ogden, Utah (Block 10, Lot 6).**

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 417; Evans, David 1996. Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign, 408; Jones, James Pickett 1976. Yankee Blitzkrieg: Wilson’s Raid through Alabama and Georgia, 31; Robertson, Jno. 1882 Michigan in the War, 639; Wilson, James H. 1912. Under The Old Flag. Vol. II, 171-2; **Special thanks to James B. Swan for contributions towards this biography.

Mulcahy, Thomas

Born on 20th September 1822 in Ireland. Prior to the war he worked variously as a bookkeeper, in Brooklyn Navy Yard and as an alderman. In the war itself he served with the 139th New York Infantry, ending the war as a Lieutenant-Colonel and commanding the regiment. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and faithful services. Following the Civil War Mulcahy worked as clerk and forage master in the Quartermaster’s Department. He died on 25th November 1893 in Omaha, Nebraska where he is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Section 2, Block 4, Lot 14).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 435; New York State Military Museum: 139th New York Infantry Regiment Entry;

Mulholland, St. Clair Augustine

Born in Lisburn, Co. Antrim on 1st April 1839, he emigrated to Philadelphia at a young age. He initially joined the 116th Pennsylvania Regiment as a Lieutenant-Colonel, a unit that would become a part of Meagher’s Irish Brigade. He commanded the unit after the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862, an engagement in which he was wounded. When the regiment was consolidated into a Battalion in 1863 he accepted a reduction in rank to Major in order to stay with his men. He would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in 1863 (awarded on 26th March 1895) with his citation reading: ‘In command of the picket line held the enemy in check all night to cover the retreat of the Army.’ In early 1864 the 116th was brought back up to strength with Mulholland as its Colonel. He would eventually lead a brigade in the fighting around Petersburg. In civilian life he worked variously as an artist, U.S. Pension Agent, author and lecturer. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services, and breveted Major-General of volunteers on the same day for gallant and meritorious services in the Battle of Boydton Plank Road, Virginia on 27th October 1864. His would be the last Brevet Major-General commission issued, on 20th February 1869. In 1903 he published a history of his regiment, The Story of the 116th Regiment: Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of Rebellion. Mulholland died on 17th February 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he is buried in Old Cathedral Cemetery (South Border, Lot 154).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 436; Mulholland, St. Clair A. 1903. The Story of the 116th Regiment: Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of Rebellion p. 73, 177; Broadwater, Robert P. 2007. Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients: A Complete Illustrated Record, 144; Congressional Medal of Honor Society;

Murray, Edward

Born in Ireland in 1828. He worked as a clerk and U.S. Customs Inspector when not in the service. In November 1861 he was authorised to recruit the Jackson Heavy Artillery as its Colonel, with this unit being consolidated with the 2nd Regiment Jackson Artillery in 1862, becoming the 5th New York Heavy Artillery. The new unit was under the Colonelcy of fellow Irishman Samuel Graham, with Murray becoming the unit’s Lieutenant-Colonel. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for meritorious services. Murray died on 13th November 1876 in New York City, and he is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Brooklyn (Section 3, Plot A1, Range 2).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 439; New York State Military Museum: 5th Heavy Artillery Regiment Entry;

Nugent, Robert

Born on 27th July 1824 in Kilkeel, Co. Down, he emigrated to the United States at a young age. At the outbreak of the war he served as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 69th New York State Militia with which he fought at the Battle of Bull Run, Virginia in 1861. Following this he was commissioned in the regular army as a Captain in the 13th U.S. Infantry. He later became the Colonel of the 69th New York Volunteers, the first regiment of Meagher’s Irish Brigade. Nugent was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862, an injury which the New York Times stated was the eventual cause of his death after a ten year illness. Following his recovery he was appointed Provost Marshal for the southern district of New York, with responsibility for directing the draft. He served in this capacity during the 1863 New York Draft Riots, when his home was burnt to the ground. Nugent returned to the field and would eventually command of the Irish Brigade. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. At the conclusion of the conflict he rejoined the 13th U.S. Infantry with which he remained until 1876, before being promoted to Major of the 24th U.S. Infantry. He retired from the army in 1879, and died in Brooklyn, New York on 20th June 1901. He is buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York (Officer’s Section West, Grave 28).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 451; Bruce, Susannah Ural 2006. The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861- 1865, 180; Conyngham, David Power 1867. The Irish Brigade and its Campaigns ; New York Times Obituary, Gen. Robert Nugent Dead, 21st June 1901;

O’Beirne, James Rowan

Born on 25th September 1838 in Ballagh, Co. Roscommon. He emigrated to New York at a young age and was educated at St. Francis Xavier’s College and St. John’s College. At the outbreak of war he served as a Private in the 7th New York State Militia, later becoming a Captain in the 37th New York Infantry, the ‘Irish Rifles’. He was thought mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in 1863 when he was hit in the chest, head and right leg. He survived and became a Major and Provost Marshal of the District of Columbia. In this capacity he was in charge of President Lincoln’s deathbed in 1865, and led the hunt for his killer, John Wilkes Booth. Following the Civil War’s conclusion O’Beirne became Deputy United States Marshal and then Register of Wills for Washington D.C. He worked as a correspondent for the New York Herald and represented them on several of the Indian campaigns. His career continued with a period in charge of the immigrants at Ellis Island, and later as Commissioner of Charities in New York under Mayor Strong. He also became a Grand Master of the Grand Army of the Republic and was on the reception committee that welcomed Charles Stuart Parnell to the United States. O’Beirne was a Republican and had unsuccessfully sought election to a number of offices over the years. His last role prior to retirement was as Commissioner Extraordinary in the United States for President Kruger of the Boer Republic. On 20th January 1891 O’Beirne was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 31st May and 1st June 1862 at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. His citation reads: ‘Gallantly maintained the line of battle until ordered to fall back.’ He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 26th September 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war of the rebellion. O’Beirne died at his home at 352 West 117th Street, New York on 18th February 1917. He is buried in an unmarked grave at Calvary Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York (Section 7, Plot II, Range 9)

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 453; Broadwater, Robert P. 2007. Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients: A Complete Illustrated Record, 148; New York Times Obituary, Gen. Jas. R. O’Beirne Dies in 77th Year, 18th February 1917;

O’Brien, George Morgan

Born on 1st May 1828 in Garrymoile (most probably Garrymore) Co. Wexford. During the famine he was a clerk of works in the Barony of Scarawalsh, Co. Wexford. He participated in the 1848 Rebellion and emigrated to the United States in 1849. During the American Civil War he served as Major of the 7th Iowa Cavalry, a regiment organised in 1863. The 7th spent the war engaged in frontier duties and were involved in a number of engagements with the Sioux and other Native Americans. Following the war O’Brien became an attorney in Omaha, Nebraska practicing between 1866 and 1885. He was also involved in politics. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for faithful and meritorious services during the war. O’Brien died on 8th January 1887 in Omaha, Nebraska where he is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Section 1, Block 2, Lot 10).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 453; Andreas, A.T. 1882. History of the State of Nebraska: Douglas County (accessed via http://www.usgennet.org); Savage, James Woodruff and Bell, John Thomas 1894. History of the City of Omaha, Nebraska, 230, 231;

O’Dowd, John

Born on 24th June 1830 in Co. Roscommon. At the outbreak of war he enlisted as Captain in the 10th Ohio Infantry, resigning his commission on 13th July 1862. On 15th October 1864 he took command of the 181st Ohio as Colonel, a unit recruited in Cincinnati at that time and formed mainly from men of the old 10th, 5th, 6th and 9th Ohio Infantry Regiments. He served as its commander for the duration of the conflict. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant conduct in the defense of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at the attack of General Hood’s forces during the siege of Nashville, and for highly meritorious services during the war. When not in uniform O’Dowd worked as a postal clerk. He died on 30th January 1869 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is buried in New St. Joseph Cemetery (NE Plot, Range 11, Lot 29).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 454; Reid, Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 76, 720-721;

Sewell, William Joyce

Born on 6th December 1835 in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. He emigrated to the United States in 1851 and initially settled in Chicago, Illinois where he worked in the mercantile business. He moved to Camden, New Jersey in 1860. In the Civil War Sewell served as Captain of Company A in the 5th New Jersey Infantry, rising to Lieutenant-Colonel in July 1862 and to Colonelcy of the regiment on 21st October 1862. In August 1864 he took command of the 38th New Jersey Infantry with whom he served until the close of the war. On 25th March 1896 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in 1863. His citation reads: ‘Assuming command of a brigade, he rallied around his colors a mass of men from other regiments and fought these troops with great brilliancy through several hours of desperate conflict, remaining in command though wounded and inspiring them by his presence and the gallantry of his personal example.’ He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, and breveted Major-General of volunteers on the same day for gallant and meritorious services during the war. After the war Sewell worked as a railroad executive before becoming active in politics with the Republican party. He served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1872-1881, and as its President for 1876 and 1879-1880. He was a senator in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887 and again from 1895 until his death in 1901. He was also a national commissioner for New Jersey to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois in 1893 , commanded the Second Brigade of the National Guard of New Jersey and was a member of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. He died on 27th December 1901 in Camden, New Jersey, where he is buried in Harleigh Cemetery (Spring Grove Section, Lot 75).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 545; Broadwater, Robert P. 2007. Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients: A Complete Illustrated Record, 180; Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress: Sewell, William Joyce; New Jersey Adjutant General’s Office 1876. Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861- 1865 Vol. I, 228; New Jersey Adjutant General’s Office 1876. Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861- 1865 Vol. II, 1110; Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Slevin, Patrick Summerville

Born on 13th April 1815 in Co. Donegal. He became the Lieutenant-Colonel of the 100th Ohio Infantry which was organised in Toledo and mustered into service in September 1862, rising to command the regiment in May 1863. He was honorably discharged from the service on 30th November 1864 following wounds received at Atlanta. When not in the service he worked variously as a lawyer, U.S. Customs collector and a Methodist missionary. Slevin was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for faithful and meritorious services. He died on 9th September 1894 in Toledo, Ohio, where he is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery (Section 41, Lot 176).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 561; Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 546, 547;

Sullivan, Peter John

Born in Co. Cork on 15th March 1821, he emigrated to the United States while still a child, his family initially settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He saw service in the Mexican War and was breveted Major for meritorious services. He became an official stenographer in the United States Senate before moving to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848 where he became a lawyer. He was also a prominent opponent of the Know-Nothing movement in the city. When the Civil War broke out he was active in recruitment, paying for the organisation expenses of no less that four regiments. He became Colonel of the 48th Ohio Infantry when it was organised in February 1862. At the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee in April 1862 Sullivan’s left arm was shattered by a bullet. He returned to the regiment on the 1st August but was unable to continue and was appointed to a military board. The disability eventually forced him to resign on 7th August 1863. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. He went on to become the U.S. Minister to Colombia, returning to the legal profession in 1869. Sullivan died on 2nd March 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery (Section 20, Lot V).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 598; Reid, Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 296; Daniel, Larry J. 1997. Shiloh: The Battle that Changed the Civil War, 161; Catholic Encyclopedia: Peter John Sullivan Entry; Bering, John A. and Montgomery, Thomas 1880. History of the Forty-Eighth Ohio Vet. Vol. Inf., 26, 55, 60-61;

Young, Thomas Lowry

Born in Killyleagh, Co. Down on 14th December 1832. He emigrated to the United States with his family in 1847. Young enlisted in the army in 1848, rising from a musician to 1st Sergeant of Company A, 3rd Artillery. In 1858 he left the army and became an instructor in the State reform school in Cincinnati. When the Civil War broke out he served as a Captain in the Benton Cadets, Missouri Volunteers from September to December 1861. He joined the 118th Ohio Infantry in late 1862 as Major, was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in April 1863 and then to Colonel of the regiment in April 1864; ill health caused him to resign this position in September 1864. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia. Young went on to attend Cincinnati Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1865. He served as assistant city auditor for Cincinnati in 1865 and a member of the State house of representatives as a Republican between 1866- 1868. He was elected the recorder of Hamilton County in 1867, supervisor of internal revenue in 1868 and was also a delegate to the Republican Convention in 1868. Between 1871 and 1873 he was a member of the State Senate, was the Lieutenant-Governor of Ohio in 1875, and the Acting Governor of Ohio in 1877. He was elected and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1879 to 1883. After his failure to win re-election he returned to practicing law and also became a member of the board of public affairs of Cincinnati from 1886- 1888. Young died on 20th July 1888 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery (Section 36, Lot 76).

References: Hunt, Roger D. and Brown, Jack R. 1990. Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, 698; Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress: Young, Thomas Lowry; Reid, Whitelaw 1868. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers Volume II, 61;

*Hunt and Brown’s work is not the only source for Irish born brevet generals in the American Civil War. William F.K. Marmion has also produced a list, Generals of Irish Birth in the U.S. Civil War: The Complete List, which was published in the Summer 2002, Vol. 23, No. 91 issue of the ‘The Irish Sword’, the Journal of the Military History of Society of Ireland. He lists 30 General brevets to Irish born officers, but excludes Timothy Patrick Andrews (who did not accept the rank), Richard Dillon, Edward Murray and George Morgan O’Brien. He also includes two officers who are not in the above list, James A. Mulligan and James Jourdan. Although Irish-American (Mulligan commanded the 23rd Illinois Infantry) they are excluded from the above as both were born in the United States rather than Ireland.

11 Comments on “Brevet Generals”

  1. James B. Swan
    February 26, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    This is a valuable resource. Thanks for providing it. Perhaps these additional remarks would be of interest regarding Colonel Minty.
    Union Major General James Harrison Wilson highly complimented Colonel Minty, describing him as “an educated soldier of great intelligence and enterprise . . . (who) “had gained the esteem of all who had served under him. Long before the close of the war his regiment had justly come to be regarded as one of the best in the army . . . From the time he fell under my command till the end of the war, he was in every respect a modest and obedient officer, an excellent disciplinarian, and as good a leader as Murat himself. He needed but the continuous chances of war to become famous as the best Irish soldier of his day.”
    Reference: Wilson, James H. 1912. Under The Old Flag. Vol. II, 171-2.

    • March 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

      Hi Jim,

      Many thanks for that, and many thanks for the excellent reference. I will add same to Minty’s biography and credit you appropriately.

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  2. Liam McAlister
    March 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi Damien,
    This is a brilliant and valuable reference, I was in the process of actually trying to track down Brevets, but with over 1,000 listed, it sure was slow progress. Would it possible for me to use this information at some of our displays? USING YOUR SITE AS THE REFERENCE SOURCE.
    Liam

    • March 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      Hi Liam,

      There certainly is a huge number of them! Thats no problem at all please do- the more people who get to read the information the better!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  3. Barry Stapleton
    June 8, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    Thank you so much for your list, Like Liam above I would like to utilize this list for an exhibit we are doing. We will also give you credit along with other resources. I do have one question. Why is Meagher, Gamble, Kiernan, Sweeny and many other Irish born generals not on this list as they rose to the rank of Brigadier General and above?

    Thanks,
    Barry Stapleton

    • June 8, 2011 at 8:47 am #

      Hi Barry,

      That is no problem at all please feel free! With regard to the other Generals, thjey are there alright! You will find all of them on the full ‘Generals’ page also on the site.

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  4. Brendan
    December 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Hi Damian,

    Here’s another for your list (assuming his obit is accurate) and an interesting story to boot: Bvt Brig Gen John H McCunn:

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=71565594

    Regards,
    -Brendan

    • December 20, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Brendan,

      Thanks for this- I will have to do a bit of work on him and update accordingly!

      Kind Regards,

      Damian.

  5. September 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    I do not know how I had missed this entry (as well as some others). Concise and a great synopsis.

    • September 18, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      Hi Joe,

      THanks for that- an interesting bunch of men!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Irish Born Brevet Generals: A New Resource on Irish in the American Civil War | Irish in the American Civil War - February 24, 2011

    [...] in the American Civil War Skip to content HomeAfter Action ReportsAuthor ProfileBooksBrevet GeneralsFull GeneralsMedal of Honor ← Medal of Honor: Sergeant Thomas Plunkett, [...]

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