Tag Archives: Emancipation Proclamation
The Mud March as described by William McIntyre, drawn by Alfred Waud in 1863 (Library of Congress)

Mud Marches, Radical Abolitionists & River Assaults: Letters from the Last Campaign of An Irish-American Soldier

The widows and dependent pension files occasionally include groups of letters written by individual soldiers over a period of months or years. These can sometimes provide significant insight into the motivations, fluctuating morale and political allegiances of these Irish-American men. One such example are the writings of William McIntyre, a young Irish-American from Philadelphia. Through […]

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Recruiting Poster for the Excelsior Brigade (Civil War Treasures from the New York Historical Society)

‘The Fight Was for the Union, Not for the Abolition of Slavery’

A previous post began to examine the fractious relationship between the Irish-American and African-American communities during the Civil War era. The majority of Irish were supporters of the Democratic Party, and many retained strong views in later years about why the war was fought. The pre-eminence of the preservation of the Union as a motivator for Northern […]

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Draft Rioters Burn the Colored Orphans Asylum, New York, July 1863 (Harper's Weekly/Library of Congress)

‘To Hate And Despise The Negro’: Towards an Understanding of 1860s Irish Attitudes to African-Americans

150 years ago this month the one of the defining moments in nineteenth century American history occurred, when the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Abraham Lincoln shifted the war from one to preserve the Union to a struggle to both restore that Union and free the enslaved African-American people. Perhaps the most challenging task when looking […]

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Civil War Citizens

Book Review: Civil War Citizens- Race, Ethnicity and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict

The Irish experience of the American Civil War was not necessarily the same as that of the native-born white American majority who bore witness to the conflict. As a distinct ethnic grouping within 19th century America they often had different motivations for engaging (or disengaging) with the war, which tended to be grounded in their […]

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