Kieran Phelan (NARA/Fold3)

Whats in an Alias: Civil War Widowhood, Remembrance & Identity in the Words of an “Old Irishwoman”

On 6th September 1864, Private Kieran Fitzpatrick of the 11th Connecticut Infantry lost his battle for life at the 18th Corps Hospital in Point of Rocks, Virginia. His wife Elizabeth sought ...

Irish in the American Civil War YouTube

Video: Diaspora Ireland- Cobh & The American Civil War

I recently decided to launch a YouTube Channel associated with this page. My intention is to explore sites in Ireland specifically from the perspective of the diaspora, and to explain something of these ...

"Ships in Fog, Gloucester, Massachusetts". Painted by Fitz Henry Lane in 1860, the same year John began his fishing career in Gloucester. Currently part of the Princeton University Art Museum (Fitz Henry Lane)

“As If they Were Shooting Ducks:” An Irish Nova Scotian Gloucester Fisherman at War

Many of the Canadians who fought in the American Civil War were of Irish ancestry, often members of families who had first made their homes in British North America before ...

Spotlight

The Famine Irish

The Famine Irish: Emigration and The Great Hunger

Back in 2013 I was privileged to speak at the Third Annual ...
The grave of Andrew Power Gallway at Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Baton Rouge (Diane, Find A Grave)

“The Lives of Her Exiled Children Will be Offered in Thousands”: Edward Gallway, Fort Sumter & Foreseeing the Cost of Civil War

The first soldier to lose his life in the American Civil War ...
Gold miners in California in the late 1840s or early 1850s. Irish flocked from not only the United States but also from Ireland and Australia to participate (Library of Congress)

“I Saw San Francisco When it Was Only a Village”: The Voices of California’s Irish Pioneers

Laurence Macken was born in Slane, Co. Meath on 12th May 1828. In ...

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Fifth Street, Leavenworth, Kansas as it appeared in 1867.

“I was Forewarned by a Dream”: 1860s Emigrant Letters between Kansas & Kerry

On 3rd September 1863 Private John Shea of the 1st Kansas Infantry, Company B, died of Chronic Diarrhoea at Natchez General Hospital in Mississippi, having fallen sick just over a week before. The pension file his mother subsequently claimed based on his death centres around a series of letters written home to Ireland by John […]

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Captain Thomas David Norris, 170th New York Infantry, Corcoran's Irish Legion, and veteran of the 69th New York State Militia at the First Battle of Bull Run. Perhaps the most major advocate of the Irish language to serve during the American Civil War (New York State Military Museum).

“A Few Spoke Nothing But Gaelic”: In Search of the Irish Language in the American Civil War

In Philadelphia on 13th February 1868, Owen Curren and Mary Curren gave an affidvait relating to the case of Farrigle Gallagher. Gallagher, a member of the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry, had died a Prisoner of War at Andersonville. His wife Anne survived him by less than 6 months, dying– likely of T.B.– in December 1864. The […]

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Holloway's Ointment & Pills, the "Soldier's True Friend," New York, 1862 (Library of Congress)

War Prices! War Prices! Advertisements Aimed at Irish Soldiers & their Families from the American Civil War

We live in an age of seemingly incessant and increasingly intrusive advertising. In a world where algorithms monitor our online browsing to offer us individually tailored ads, it is easy to consider opportunistic advertisement as a relatively modern phenomenon. Of course that is not necessarily the case. A review of advertisements from periods like the 1860s demonstrates just […]

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A trooper of the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry in Fort Scott during the Civil War (Kansas Memory)

A Song For Mother: Last Letters of A 16-Year-Old Wisconsin Irish Immigrant

Some Irish soldiers of the American Civil War were little more than boys. Despite their youth, they often fervently supported the cause for which they fought. Timothy Dougherty was one such emigrant soldier. His antebellum family story is one of hardship and hard work– typical of that of many Irish immigrants in America. During the […]

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Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico as it appears today (National Park Service via Wikimedia Commons)

Exploring St. Patrick’s Day, 1866 in the “Wild West” – 150 Years Ago

Every year on the site we explore an aspect of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the 19th century United States. Previous posts have examined topics such as the great festival organised by the Irish Brigade in 1863 (see here) and the participants and pageantry surrounding the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1864 (see here). This year […]

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The grave of First Sergeant William Jones, Fredericksburg National Cemetery. A native of Wicklow. (Damian Shiels)

A Walk Among Storied Tombstones: Some Irish Dead in National Cemeteries

In 2014 I was fortunate enough to walk a number of the Eastern Theater battlefields of the American Civil War. I took the time to visit some of the National Cemeteries along the way, at places like Cold Harbor, Glendale, Fredericksburg and Antietam. Military cemeteries are fascinating places. The National Cemeteries created out of the […]

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The Malvern Hill Battlefield. David Mulcahy and the 9th Massachusetts fought in the vicinity of these guns, with the Confederate attack moving towards the camera (Damian Shiels)

‘We Have No Interest…in the Claim”: A Cork City Affidavit After A Death at Malvern Hill

The majority of posts on the site relate to information contained within the Widows and Dependents Pension Files. These files can contain dozens of different types of documents, ranging from military records to soldier’s letters. But the bulk of the social data is contained within the affidavits of family, friends, employers and others, which were […]

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A young soldier dressed in Chausseur uniform, possibly a member of the 65th New York (Library of Congress)

Imagining the Horrors of Death: An Irishwoman Learns of Her Husband’s Death at Gettysburg

The battlefields of the American Civil War claimed thousands of Irish Famine emigrants. The families of some were fortunate, in that comrades took the time to write to them of their loved one’s final moments. But these letters did not always spare grieving relatives the gruesome imagery of war. Thankful as they must have been […]

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"The Fenian Guy Fawkes" a caricature carried in Punch Magazine, December 1867, and reflective of the anxiety being caused by Fenian operations (Punch)

Union Rebels: Civil War Veterans & the Fenian Campaign in Britain & Ireland, 1866-1868

In Part 2 of the guest series on the participation of American Civil War veterans in the operations of the Fenian Movement, James Doherty takes a look at events such as the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the creation of the “Manchester Martyrs” the Temple Bar shootings and the Clerkenwell Bombing. Virtually every major Fenian incident […]

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