One of the main resources added to this site at an early stage was the list of Irish-born Medal of Honor recipients. Drawn from a number of different sources, I have found occasion to add the names of additional men over time, as it became apparent that they were in all probability of Irish birth. The list currently stands at 143 individuals, and to my knowledge is the most comprehensive listing of Irish-born Civil War Medal of Honor recipients currently available. 

The men that have been added to the initial list are those that do not at first appear Irish on the basis of their Medal of Honor records. These are men like Michael Ahern, from Queenstown, Co. Cork, who enlisted illegally aboard the USS Kearsarge prior to his act of gallantry in battle against the CSS Alabama. He is generally erroneously referred to as ‘Michael Aheam’ on Medal of Honor listings, with no place of birth recorded. Similarly, Nicholas Fox of the 28th Connecticut, who was awarded his medal for actions at Port Hudson, and for whom nativity is often not attributed, was from Co. Cork. (1)

Hugh Molloy, two time Irish-born Medal of Honor recipient (Deeds of Valor)

Hugh Molloy, Irish-born Medal of Honor recipient (Deeds of Valor)

The majority of additions resulted from men who were listed as born in the United States but appear to have in fact been born in Ireland; recent research has shown that Martin McHugh, awarded the Medal of Honor for actions aboard the USS Cincinnati at Vicksburg, was born in Ireland and not Ohio as is most often cited. The majority of these cases seem to result from confusing the place of enlistment with the place of birth. John Lafferty (or Laverty) was one of the few men to be awarded the medal twice, once aboard the USS Wyalusing in the Roanoke River, North Carolina, and once aboard the USS Alaska while on service in Peru. His first citation lists his birth as New York, but the second citation shows that he was in fact from Co. Tyrone. Another two-time recipient, Patrick Mullen of the USS Wyandank and USS Don, is listed as having been born in Baltimore, Maryland for his first award, but is shown as being of Irish birth on his second. (2)

It is thanks to these and a number of other additions that the total number of known Irish birth currently stands at 143- although it seems probable there may well be more men to be added to this list. Some 1,527 Medal of Honor awards were made for service in the Civil War, so based on these figures Irish-born recipients account for almost 10% of the total. Interestingly 50 of the Irish-born recipients were sailors, highlighting an aspect of Irish service in the American Civil War that remains seriously understudied. It is also apparent the majority of awards went to Irish-born men who served in non-Irish units, as fewer than 20 recipients served in what might be termed ‘green-flag’ ethnic Irish regiments.

A number of these mens stories have already been explored on Irish in the American Civil War, and more will follow. I am also embarking on a more detailed study of the Irish-born recipients of the Medal of Honor during the American Civil War; if any readers have information on any of the specific men on the list, or suggestions as to additions or corrections, I would be very eager to hear from you.

Allen, James16th NY Inf.South Mountain, Md.
Ahern, MichaelKearsargeCherbourg, France
Anderson, RobertKeokukCharleston, S.C.
Barry, Augustus16th US Inf.Various
Bass, David L.MinnesotaFort Fisher, N.C.
Begley, Terrence7th NY Hvy Arty.Cold Harbor, Va.
Blackwood, William48th PA. Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Bradley, CharlesLouisvilleVarious
Brannigan, Felix74th NY Inf.Chancellorsville, Va.
Brennan, ChristopherMississippiFts. Jackson & St. Philip, La.
Brosnan, John164th NY Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Brown Jr., Edward62nd NY Inf.Fredericksburg, Va.
Burk, Michael E.125th NY Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
Burke, Thomas5th NY Cav.Hanover Courthouse, Va.
Byrnes, JamesLouisvilleVarious
Campbell, William30th OH Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
Carey, Hugh82nd NY Inf.Gettysburg, Pa.
Casey, David25th MA. Inf.Cold Harbor, Va.
Cassidy, MichaelLackawannaMobile Bay, Al.
Colbert, PatrickCommodore HullPlymouth, N.C.
Collis, Charles H.T.114th PA. Inf.Fredericksburg, Va.
Connor, ThomasMinnesotaFort Fisher, N.C.
Connors, James43rd NY Inf.Fisher’s Hill, Va.
Cooper, JohnBrooklynMobile Bay, Al.
Cooper, JohnBrooklynMobile Bay, Al.
Corcoran, Thomas E.CincinnatiVicksburg, Miss.
Cosgrove, Thomas40th MA. Inf.Drury’s Bluff, Va.
Creed, John23rd IL. Inf.Fisher’s Hill, Va.
Cullen, Thomas82nd NY Inf.Bristoe Station, Va.
Curran, Richard33rd NY Inf.Antietam, Md.
Delaney, John C.107th PA. Inf.Dabny’s Mills, Va.
Donoghue, Timothy69th NY Inf.Fredericksburg, Va.
Doody, Patrick164th NY Inf.Cold Harbor, Va.
Doolen, WilliamRichmondMobile Bay, Al.
Dougherty, Michael13th PA. Cav.Jefferson, Va.
Dougherty, PatrickLackawannaMobile Bay, Al.
Downey, William4th MA. Cav.Ashepoo River, S.C.
Drury, James4th VT. Inf.Weldon Railroad, Va.
Dunphy, Richard D.HartfordMobile Bay, Al.
English, Edmund2nd NJ Inf.Wilderness, Va.
Fallon, Thomas T.37th NY Inf.Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Va.
Flood, ThomasPensacolaFts. Jackson & St. Philip, La.
Flynn, Christopher14th CT. Inf.Gettysburg, Pa.
Ford, George W.88th NY Inf.Sailors Creek, Va.
Fox, Nicholas28th CT. Inf.Port Hudson, La.
Gardner, WilliamGalenaMobile Bay, Al.
Gasson, Richard47th NY Inf.Chapins Farm, Va.
Ginley, Patrick1st NY Light Arty.Reams Station, Va.
Gribben, James H.2nd NY Cav.Sailors Creek, Va.
Haley, JamesKearsargeCherbourg, France
Harrington, DanielPocahontas
Havron, John H.1st RI. Light Arty.Petersburg, Va.
Highland, Patrick23rd IL. Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Hinnecan, WilliamAgawamFort Fisher, N.C.
Horne, Samuel B.11th CT. Inf.Fort Harrison, Va.
Howard, MartinTaconyPlymouth, N.C.
Hudson, MichaelBrooklynMobile Bay, Al.
Hyland, JohnSignalRed River, La.
Irwin, Patrick14th MI. Inf.Jonesboro, Ga.
Jones, AndrewChickasawMobile Bay, Al.
Jones, William73rd NY Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
Kane, John100th NY Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Keele, Joseph182nd NY Inf.North Anna River, Va.
Kelley, JohnCeresHamilton, N.C.
Kelly, Thomas6th NY Cav.Front Royal, Va.
Kennedy, John2nd US Arty.Trevilian Station, Va.
Keough, John67th PA. Inf.Sailors Creek, Va.
Kerr, Thomas R.14th PA. Cav.Moorefield, W.Va.
Lafferty, JohnWyalusingRoanoke River, N.C.
Laffey, BartlettMarmoraYazoo City, Miss.
Logan, HughRhode IslandMobile Bay, Al.
Lonergan, John13th VT. Inf.Gettysburg, Pa.
Mangam, Richard C.148th NY Inf.Hatchers Run, Va.
Martin, Edward S.GalenaMobile Bay, Al.
Martin, JamesRichmondMobile Bay, Al.
Martin, WilliamVarunaFts. Jackson & St. Philip, La.
McAdams, Peter98th PA. Inf.Salem Heights, Va.
McAnally, Charles69th PA. Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
McCarren, Bernard1st DE. Inf.Gettysburg, Pa.
McCormick, MichaelSignalRed River, La.
McEnroe, Patrick H.6th NY Cav.Winchester, Va.
McGough, Owen5th US Arty.Bull Run, Va.
McGowan, JohnVarunaFts. Jackson & St. Philip, La.
McGraw, Thomas23rd IL Inf.Petersburg, Va.
McGuire, PatrickIL Light Arty.Vicksburg, Miss.
McHale, Alexander U.26th MI Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
McHugh, MartinCincinnatiVicksburg, Miss.
McKee, George89th NY Inf.Petersburg, Va.
McKeever, Michael5th PA. Cav.Burnt Ordinary, Va.
Molloy, HughFort HindmanHarrisonburg, La.
Monaghan, Patrick48th PA. Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Montgomery, RobertAgawamFort Fisher, N.C.
Moore, CharlesMarbleheadLegareville, S.C.
Morrison, John G.CarondeletYazoo River, Miss.
Morton Charles W.BentonYazoo River, Miss.
Mulholland, St. Clair A.116th PA. Inf.Chancellorsville, Va.
Mullen, PatrickWyandanakMattox Creek, Virginia
Murphy, Dennis J.F.14th WI. Inf.Corinth, Miss.
Murphy, John P.5th OH. Inf.Antietam, Md.
Murphy, Michael C.170th NY Inf.North Anna River, Va.
Murphy, PatrickMetacometMobile Bay, Al.
Murphy, Thomas C.31st IL. Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
Murphy, Thomas J.146th NY Inf.Five Forks, Va.
Nolan, John J.8th NH Inf.Georgia Landing, La.
Nugent, ChristopherFort HenryCrystal River, Fl.
O’Beirne, James R.37th NY Inf.Fair Oaks, Va.
O’Brien, Peter1st NY Cav.Waynesboro, Va.
O’Connell, ThomasHartfordMobile Bay, Al.
O’Connor, Timothy1st US Cav.
O’Dea, John8th MO. Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
O’Donnell, Menomen11th MO. Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
Platt, George C.6th US Cav.Fairfield, Pa.
Plunkett, Thomas21st MA. Inf.Fredericksburg, Va.
Preston, JohnOniedaMobile Bay, Al.
Quinlan, James88th NY Inf.Savage Station, Va.
Rafferty, Peter69th NY Inf.Malvern Hill, Va.
Rannahan, JohnMinnesotaFort Fisher, N.C.
Reynolds, George9th NY Inf.Winchester, Va.
Riley, Thomas1st LA. Cav.Fort Blakely, Al.
Roantree, James S.OniedaMobile Bay, Al.
Robinson, John H.19th MA. Inf.Gettysburg, Pa.
Robinson, Thomas81st PA. Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
Ryan, Peter J.11th IN. Inf.Winchester, Va.
Scanlan, Patrick4th MA. Cav.Ashepoo River, S.C.
Schutt, GeorgeHendrick HudsonSt. Marks, Fl.
Sewell, William J.5th NJ Inf.Chancellorsville, Va.
Shields, Bernard2nd WV Cav.Appomattox, Va.
Smith, WilliamKearsargeCherbourg, France
Spillane, Timothy16th PA. Cav.Hatchers Run, Va.
Stewart, Joseph1st MD. Inf.Five Forks, Va.
Sullivan, TimothyLouisvilleVarious
Tobin, John M.9th MA. Inf.Malvern Hill, Va.
Toomer, William127th IL. Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
Tyrrell, George William5th OH. Inf.Resaca, Ga.
Urell, M. Emmett82nd NY Inf.Bristoe Station, Va.
Walsh, John5th NY Cav.Cedar Creek, Va.
Welch, Richard37th MA. Inf.Petersburg, Va.
Wells, Thomas M.6th NY Cav.Cedar Creek, Va.
Welsh, Edward54th OH. Inf.Vicksburg, Miss.
Welsh, James4th RI Inf.Petersburg, Va.
White, Patrick H.IL Light Arty.Vicksburg, Miss.
Williams, WilliamLehighCharleston, S.C.
Wilson, Christopher W.73rd NY Inf.Spotsylvania, Va.
Wright, Robert14th US Inf.Chapel House Farm, Va.

*Names in italics represent naval vessels

*With thanks to John Fay for information regarding Martin McHugh and Brendan Hamilton for information on Nicholas Fox

(1) Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Broadwater 2007: 7, Marvel 1996: 204-5, Medal of Honor Winner Highlights Town’s Civil War Role; (2) Medal of Honor Recipient Found in Unmarked Grave, Owens 2004: 40, Deeds of Valor;

References & Further Reading

Beyer, Walter F. & Keydel, Oscar F. 1901. Deeds of Valor

Broadwater, Robert P. 2007. Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients

CommercialNews.Com 5th November 2011: Medal of Honor Recipient Found in Unmarked Grave

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

GreenwichTime.Com 12th April 2011: Medal of Honor Winner Highlights Town’s Civil War Role

Marvel, William 1996. The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor’s Civil War

Owens, Ron 2004. Medal of Honor: Historical Facts and Figures