Intelligence Map

The Other Bermuda Triangle: Invasion attempts in Ireland, America, and Bermuda

There is some superb research being undertaken into elements of the Irish diaspora at present, both at home and abroad. The site has been fortunate to feature a number of guest ...

Turf being taken home in Kerry at the turn of the 20th century. A scene that would have been familiar to Charles (Library of Congress)

‘All Abouth Home’: An Illiterate Emigrant’s Letters from America to Kerry in the 1850s

As I often reiterate, the greatest value of the widows’ and dependents’ Civil War Pension Files lies not in what they contain about the American Civil War, but in what ...

The 1901 Census of Ireland entry for Charly Gallagher, a veteran of the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry- Click to go to original record (National Archives of Ireland)

Returned Americans: Identifying American Civil War Veterans on the Irish 1901 Census

The site has often explored the stories of American Civil War pensioners who returned to Ireland, and their dependents (see for example here, here and here). I usually carry out this ...

Spotlight

A 49er on the American River (History of the United States)

‘Ireland at the Diggings’: The Irish of the California Gold Rush Celebrate Home, 1853

This site regularly explores aspects of the 19th century Irish emigrant experience ...
One of Fort Donelson's River Batteries (Hal Jesperson)

‘Beyond the Power of My Feeble Pen’: The Fate of a Limerick Octogenarian’s Sons in the West, 1862

Limerickman Patrick Vaughan had lived a long life by the 1860s. He ...
Chart of desertion rate in the 63rd New York Infantry, Irish Brigade, from 1861 to 1865 (Damian Shiels)

Charting Desertion in the Irish Brigade, Part 1

The Irish Brigade is rightly regarded as one of the finest units ...

Latest News

Irish in the American Civil War Needs Your Votes (Again!)

I am delighted to say that Irish in the American Civil War has been shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Blog Awards in the Arts & Culture category. This is the same category the site was fortunate enough to win in the 2015 Blog Awards, thanks in no small part to the many readers who voted for it. […]

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Portraits from the New York Irish-American Weekly: 1861

Every week the New York Irish-American brought it’s news to Irish readers not just in The Empire State, but all over the United States. Many Irish soldiers at the front remained loyal readers of the newspaper throughout the Civil War. From time to time, the Irish-American printed portraits and illustrations of famous Irish-Americans, Catholics and […]

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Punishment of Union soldiers, as depicted by Alfred Waud. In the case of Patrick Griffin, he was tied up by the thumbs, with his feet barely touching the ground, and gagged (Library of Congress)

Killed By Torture? The Story of an 18-Year-Old Irishman’s Death at the Hands of his Officers, New Orleans, 1865

In May 1860, 47-year-old Bridget Griffin stepped off the boat in the United States. Her husband John had died in their native Athlone in 1859, an event that likely precipitated her departure. With her was her 13-year-old son Patrick, a boy who grew to manhood during the years of the American Civil War. He would […]

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The Forgotten Irish Book: Cover and Contents

As many of you know, I have spent the majority of my writing time since the 2013 publication of The Irish in the American Civil War concentrating on one major source for the Irish experience of 19th century America, namely the widows and dependent pension files of Union soldiers and sailors. It soon became my intention to […]

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Salem Harbor in 1853, where John was a mariner before the war (Boston Museum of Fine Arts via Wikipedia)

Why They Fought: An English-Irish-American Soldier on Orangemen, Englishmen & Why he Died for the Union

My work on Irish in the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files has led me to read and transcribe hundreds of letters of Irish and Irish-American soldiers who lost their lives as a result of the American Civil War. There are many themes evident across much of these men’s writings; discussion of finances, health and family […]

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The fighting on Chinn Ridge at Second Bull Run as drawn by Edwin Forbes (Library of Congress)

“Mike, The Color Bearer”: How a Famine Emigrant Became an American on the Battlefields of Virginia

On the afternoon of 30th August 1862, the outcome of the Battle of Second Bull Run hung in the balance. James Longstreet’s Corps had been hurled against the Union left, and desperate fighting broke out along a key portion of the field known as Chinn Ridge. As Federal officers sought to buy time to organize […]

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South view of the Stockade at Andersonville Prison, 17th August 1864 (Library of Congress)

“We Irish had a Hard Time of it in Those Days”: An Irish Veteran Remembers Andersonville

In 1877 The National Tribune newspaper was founded. Aimed at Union veterans and their families, over the course of the following decades it provided many insights into not only veterans issues, but also their experiences of the American Civil War. There is much of relevance to those interested in the Irish experience of the conflict to be […]

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Roche's Point, Cork Harbour by Charles W. Bash

Celebrating American Independence in Cork Harbour, 4th July 1862

Just as Americans today celebrate 4th of July–their Independence Day– wherever they find themselves around the World, such was also the case in foreign climes during the American Civil War. Cork Harbour has long had strong connections with North America, and in 1862 many U.S. nationals found themselves there on their national day. Efforts to celebrate […]

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The Brierwood Pipe by Winslow Homer, 1864. This depicts the 165th New York's sister regiment, the 5th New York, but their uniforms were almost identical (Cleveland Museum of Art CVL491292)

“My Own Dearest Maggie”: The Last Letters of a Scottish Soldier of the American Civil War

My work on the widows and dependent pension files of American Civil War soldiers has revealed many hundreds of letters relating to Irish emigrants in the Union military. During the course of my research I have also come across files relating to other immigrant groups. Among them are many Scottish soldiers, whose dependents– like those […]

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“I want to see you before I die”: Last Letters of Ulster Emigrants in American Civil War Pension Files

Two years ago I had the great pleasure of speaking at the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium in Athens, Georgia. The Symposium alternates between Ireland and North America every two years, and this year was back at its spiritual home, the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park outside Omagh, Co. Tyrone. I was […]

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