Looking into the Face of a Maimed Irish Soldier

At the close of the American Civil War, a photographer of the Johnson & D’Utassy company paid a visit to De Camp General Hospital on David’s Island in New York ...

Logo of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin (Wikipedia)

Naming Erin Hills: 19th Century Irish Emigrants & the 2017 U.S. Open

Today the eyes of the golfing world are turned to Erin Hills golfcourse in Erin, Washington County, Wisconsin, as the 2017 US Open draws to a conclusion. Though none of ...

Clara Barton (Library of Congress)

The International Pension Crisis of 1893

I was very honoured recently to be asked to provide a guest post for the blog of the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in Washington D.C. The request gave me an ...

Spotlight

A Milestone for Irish in the American Civil War

The last post represented the 500th on Irish in the American Civil War. ...
A Native-American soldier in Union uniform during the Civil War (National Park Service)

Mexican War Veteran, Civil War Veteran, Indian Officer: An Athlone Man’s Quarter Century on the American Frontier

During the height of the 1880 Presidential Election Campaign, a reporter from ...
Californian Bear Flag. Originally a symbol of the Republic, bear flags were flown by some Californian supporters of Secession in the early part of the war (Wikipedia)

“You damned Yankee sons of bitches…can kiss my arse”: A Less than Loyal Irish Union Soldier in California

The site has previously explored Irish motivations in fighting for the North, ...

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73rd New York (2nd Fire Zouaves) Memorial, Gettysburg (Damian Shiels)

An Interview on John Banks’ Civil War Blog

For anyone familiar with the excellent John Banks’ Civil War Blog you will be familiar with how he makes extensive use of the widow’s pension files to tell the stories of those impacted by the American Civil War. I recently did an interview with John, discussing both my background and my ongoing work on the Irish in […]

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Orphans decorate the graves of their fathers, 1873 (Library of Congress)

Last Chevalier of Mulligan’s Irish Brigade: A Poem for Decoration Day

James E. Kinsella was born in Ireland in 1865 and emigrated with his parents to America in 1872. Settling first in New York the family later moved on to Chicago, where James eventually took a position as a clerk in the Registry Division of Chicago Post Office. James’s true passion appears to have been poetry, […]

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Unidentified New Hampshire Soldier in the Civil War (Library of Congress)

“Rather Than Hear My Father’s Tongue”: The Sad Story of Why William Flaherty Fought

In late 1863 the town of Plymouth, New Hampshire needed men. One way or another they had a quota of enlistments to fill, and in anticipation of the draft they determined to add financial incentives in order to meet it. In August Plymouth voted to pay every drafted man– or his substitute– a $300 bounty. These […]

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Annapolis National Cemetery (Damian Shiels)

A Walk Among Storied Tombstones: The Irish of Annapolis National Cemetery

Whenever I get an opportunity to visit the United States I always try to make it to one or more of the National Cemeteries dating to the American Civil War. I walk the long straight rows of white grave markers, looking out for Irish names, and pondering the events that led to the end of […]

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Men of the 3rd Rhode Island at Fort Pulaski in 1863 (Photographic History of the Civil War)

“Your husband was torn almost to pieces”: A Cork Woman Learns of her Roscommon Husband’s Death

The site regularly returns to the topic of letters written to inform families of the death of a loved one (see Communicating Death & Creating Memory on Fredericksburg’s Streets). As we have seen, these communications occasionally didn’t hold back in providing the gruesome details of an Irish emigrants demise (e.g. Imagining the Horrors of Death: […]

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"Answering the Emigrant's Letter", an 1850 painting by James Collinson, depicting an English family replying to correspondence from Australia (Manchester Art Gallery)

The Death of a Regular: Revealing an Ireland/New Jersey/Missouri Emigrant Network

The key focus of my research is on examining the letters of Irish emigrants in the Widows Pension Files. These letters, and the stories which surround them, have an incredible amount to tell us about Irish emigrant life. One of the most important aspects concerns how emigrants maintained communications both between Irish-American communities in the […]

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A young Illinois soldier in the Civil War (Library of Congress)

“Hoping you will not take it to heart”: The Final Days of an Irish-American Boy Soldier

The site has consistently returned to the many members of the Irish community in the United States whose nativity was neither Irish or American. Many of these Irish-Americans had been born during the process of step-migration, in places such as Britain and Canada. Thousands of such men fought during the conflict, and generally identified with the Irish-American […]

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Map 2. Widows & Dependents in Receipt of American Military Pensions, Mainland Europe, 1883. Concentration Heatmap (Click on image to explore map)

Mapping Britain’s American Civil War Widows & Dependent Parents: An Online Resource

This is the second instalment of the ongoing mapping project detailing every widow and dependent parent in the world outside of the United States receiving a pension in 1883, and concentrates on Britain (you can see the first, looking at Mainland Europe, and learn more about the project here). In order to explore the maps, click on the […]

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“She Hates Men”: An Interview With A Troubled Irish Famine Emigrant

Perhaps the greatest value of the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files is in what they can tell us about the lives of female Irish emigrants in the 19th century. There is surely no other source that provides the same level of detail on Irishwomen in this period, particularly with respect to those who had fallen […]

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The Phelan Family Register (NARA/Fold3)

Document Focus: The Story of the Phelan Family Register

The last post (see here) was the first in a series called Document Focus, highlighting specific documents that are of interest in both their own right but also served a specific purpose in building the claim of a prospective pensioner. In this second post on that topic, we return once again to the Irish of Ohio, […]

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