Tag Archives: Overland Campaign
The William Higgins Pendant. Obverse to left, Reverse to right (Arrangement by Sara Nylund after original photograph by Cathy Nicholls)

Witnesses to History: A Memento of a Missing Man

The Witnesses to History series aims to connect an object or document which still exists today with the story of the people behind the item. Following the first post, which featured the 170th New York Bounty List, I was contacted by reader Cathy Nicholls in England. Some 40 years ago in Brooklyn, Cathy had purchased […]

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An unidentified soldier of the 5th New Hampshire Infantry (Library of Congress)

A Soldier’s Thoughts turn to Ireland- Petersburg, Virginia, 1864

In 1864 James McDonnell was a 27-year old Irishman serving in the 5th New Hampshire Infantry. His unit would end the war with the dubious distinction of having suffered more battle fatalities than any other Union regiment. James had not been an early volunteer- financially motivated, he enlisted as a draft substitute on 1st October […]

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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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Sketch showing portions of the Union secondary line at Petersburg, including Fort McMahon and Fort Patrick Kelly (Official Records Atlas)

Remembering The Fallen At Petersburg: Forts McMahon and Patrick Kelly

By September 1864 the Union forces at Petersburg had been facing their Confederate foe across a series of entrenchments and fortifications since mid-June. The Federals decided to commit to a strategy of continually extending their lines westward, seeking to exploit their advantages in manpower. With this stratagem they sought to stretch the Army of Northern Virginia to […]

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Saunders Field, Wilderness

Slaughter in Saunder’s Field: The 9th Massachusetts at The Wilderness

On the afternoon of 5th May 1864 Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick T. Hanley of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry stood with his men in the tangled and confusing wooded landscape that characterised the area known as ‘The Wilderness’ in Virginia. As battle raged, Hanley’s brigade commander Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer came rushing up to confront the Irishman, loudly […]

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