Speaking Engagement: Ulster-American Heritage Symposium, Athens, Georgia, June 26-28

I am delighted to announce that I will be speaking as part of the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium, taking place in Athens, Georgia from June 26–28. This is the 20th occurrence of the biennial Symposium and is titled ‘Contacts, Contests, and Contributions: Ulster-Americans in War and Society.’ The event, which takes place in the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries, is sponsored by the T.R.R. Cobb House, the Scotch-Irish Society of the USA, the Georgia Humanities Council, the UGA Department of History and the Willson Center. The aim of the symposium is to explore transatlantic emigration, settlement, and continued experience of people from the north of Ireland. The keynote speaker is Dr. David Gleeson, author of The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America (see review here) and The Irish in the South 1815-1877. I will be speaking on my work on pension files, with a particular focus on both visualisation techniques and Civil War pensioners who returned to Ulster. Registration for the three days is $110 and is open to all- if you are interested in checking it out you can get further details on the program by clicking here. I hope some of you may be able to join me for what promises to be an extremely interesting few days!

Cobb's and Kershaw's Troops Behind the Stone Wall at Fredericksburg, by Allen Christian Redwood c. 1894 (Library of Congress)

Cobb’s and Kershaw’s Troops Behind the Stone Wall at Fredericksburg, by Allen Christian Redwood c. 1894 (Library of Congress)


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Categories: Events, Research, Update

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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8 Comments on “Speaking Engagement: Ulster-American Heritage Symposium, Athens, Georgia, June 26-28”

  1. kjbudell@aol.com
    June 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Very cool engagement! They will love you!


  2. reillysj@aol.com
    June 5, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    I guess you already know, it’s the same weekend is the 150th of the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Also, a union encampment on the sq at the local town. About 1 hour from you will be. Just put in kennesaw NBP.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail Regards Steve Reilly Kennesaw camp suvcw

    • June 9, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Steve,

      I would love to take in some of those events and would love to see Kennesaw, although I think I will probably not be able to make it- I imagine it will be a great weekend. I am looking forward to reading Earl Hess’s new account of the battle, it is high on my reading list!

      Kind Regards,


      • Steve Reilly
        June 22, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

        Just in case you start thinking of running over to Gen. Cleburne’s Pickett Mill Battlefield. Not much to see, he was on one hill, the union on the other. Both heavy woods, no signs just little hand me out at the visitor center. Easy walk down on the confederate side to the river and mill, then a monster walk up the union side. Only open Thur – Sun.

  3. john sharkey
    June 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Dear Damien……I have a general interest in the American Civil War and a particular interest in John Joseph Coppinger from Midleton, Co Cork who fought in the Papal army at Spoleto against a numerically superior Piedmontese force and later in upwards of thirty battles of the American Civil War, being brevetted twice. He was recruited to the US regular army and spent most of his post-bellum career fightintg Indians. In 1960 I received a volume from an old friend in the USA. It had been presented to Coppinger by Horace Plunkett in Jan 1898, some months before Coppinger retired, due to age. The title of the volume is “With Essex in Ireland” by Emily Lawless, a significant poet and novelist of the late 19th century. The accompanying letter from Plunkett is pasted inside the front cover and the title page is inscribed by Plunkett. Inside the back cover is pasted the file-copy of Coppinger’s lengthy reply. I was informed that the volume was picked up in a second hand bookshop in New York long after Coppinger’s death.

    Brig Gen Coppinger was commander of the Dept of the Platte based in Omaha, Nebraska when the volume was sent to him by Plunkett and the file-copy of his letter is typed on official army notepaper for Dept of the Platte. I guess he and Plunkett could have met in Omaha when Plunkett was ranching in Powder Valley, Wyoming. Coppinger was promoted to Major General of Volunteers – one of five core commanders in the Spanish – American War of 1898. His core comprised more than 20000 men and he reported to the Army Chief, General Nelson Miles.

    Coppinger married Alice Blaine in 1883. She was the daughter of James Gillespie Blaine who was Secretary of State and the narrowly defeated Republican candidate in the Presidential election of 1884. Blaine had strong Ulster Scots lineage .Both his father’s and mother’s ancestors came from Co Donegal – his father being Presbyterian and his mother being Catholic. His cousin “Mother Angela” Gillespie played a major role in setting up hospitals for the wounded in the Civil War. His daughter Alice had converted to Catholicism before she met Coppinger. She died age 30 and her funeral Mass was celebrated in St Matthew’s by Fr Tom Sherman, son of Gen William Tecumseh Sherman. The President and entire cabinet were present at the Mass. When he was no longer a member of government Blaine made a wonderful speech in Augusta, Maine in support of Gladstone’s home rule proposals for Ireland – a copy of which I have. Blaine twice visited Ireland, first in 1867 when he landed in Cobh. Little could he have known then that sixteen years later his daughter would marry a man from Middleton, a few miles up the road.

    I have a lot of material gathered over the years, mostly on-line, on Coppinger and the Blaine family.

    John Sharkey

  4. June 11, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Congratulations on the booking! I sincerely wish that I could be there, I would like to hear the presentation. I am envious of those that will be able to attend. Say “hello” to Sam Thomas of the T.R.R. Cobb House for me while you are in Athens.

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