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On the evening of 6th April 1862, at Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee, the men of the 12th Illinois Infantry trudged back to their quarters after a hard day’s fighting. Having just endured the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, the soldiers gathered around their tents to discuss what they had just experienced. The danger, though,......
I am pleased to say that the Irish in the American Civil War has been shortlisted in two categories for the Blog Awards Ireland. Many thanks to those who nominated the blog for the long-list initially, and to all of who you have taken the time to read my posts over the last five years.......
The widow’s and dependent pension files reveal the stories of Irish families from counties up and down the island of Ireland. But the files also provide an insight into another, rarely considered element of Irish service in the American Civil War– the contribution of the Irish of Britain. Although we know that many Irish emigrants to......
The nature of the Widow’s and Dependent’s Pension Files means that the stories they tell are most usually ones of sorrow. The experiences they relate generally pertain specifically to the Civil War, but on occasions the information within them can be combined with a range of other sources to provide a much wider picture of......
In September 2011 I had the great pleasure of meeting Mark Dunkelman and his wife Annette in Cork, Ireland. Many readers will be aware of Mark’s exceptional and inspiring work on the 154th New York Infantry, which is surely unsurpassed by any other regimental scholar of the Civil War. Mark’s incredible grasp of the history of......
As I am currently on a few days leave I have been taking the opportunity to catch-up on some reading. A book I am particularly enjoying is John J. Hennessy’s Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas. I was struck by the savage intensity of much of the fighting on 29th August, 1862,......
Perhaps one of the best known of all Irishmen to serve during the American Civil War was Buster Kilrain of the 20th Maine Infantry. Buster plays a major role in Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels, and was portrayed by actor Kevin Conway in the film Gettysburg. Kilrain, a loyal soldier and confidant of Joshua......
Many of the posts on this site explore elements of the Irish experience at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, fought on 17th September 1862. Many of the widow’s pension files that I now concentrate on were created as a result of those day’s events. It was also a......