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The Corporal Warrant for Joseph Donovan (NARA/Fold3)

Document Focus: The Story of the Corporal’s Warrant

Many of the pension files I explore contain one or two particularly interesting documents or pieces of evidence. These tend to be historically eye-catching in their own right, but also always served a very specific purpose in the case being built by a prospective pensioner. Such documents were usually included to provide proof on a particular aspect […]

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The Crater as it appeared in 1865 (Photographic History of the Civil War)

“I am so heartily sick of this life”: The Civil War Letter of Daniel Crowley, Part 3

I am pleased to bring to readers the third and final instalment of Catherine Bateson’s guest posts charting the correspondence of Cork’s Daniel Crowley, who served in the 28th Massachusetts Infantry, Irish Brigade in 1864-5. If you have missed the earlier articles, you can catch up on them here and here. As the protracted operations […]

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“I am the Same Boy yet”: The Civil War Letters of Daniel Crowley, Part 2

The site welcomes back Catherine Bateson of the University of Edinburgh for the second in her series on the 1864 letters of Cork native Daniel Crowley, who served in the 28th Massachusetts Infantry, Irish Brigade (read the first post here). As the regiment pushes on to Petersburg, Daniel writes home of hand-to-hand combat, on his […]

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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 a widow’s pension based on his service; a lack of documentation meant it would be 1869 before she received it. Then, 35-years after her husband’s death, […]

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Wadsworth's division in action during the Battle of The Wilderness (Library of Congress)

“Their Cries Were Most Agonizing”: An Irish-American’s Overland Account, from The Wilderness to Petersburg

Between 11th June and 9th July 1864, the New York Irish American Weekly ran a series of letters from a young man to his brother back in New York. Taken together, they offer a highly detailed account of his experiences with the 147th New York Infantry during the Overland Campaign. Written on almost a day-by-day […]

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Thomas Barry (National Museum of Health & Medicine CP 0960)

Photographs of Wounded Irishmen from the American Civil War

The sometimes captivating, sometimes horrifying images of wounded soldiers taken in Washington D.C.’s  Harewood Hospital in 1865 have featured in a number of posts on this site (see Looking into the Face of a Dying Irish Soldier, One of Our Brave Men Twice Wounded: An Image of Corporal William Kelleher, 125th New York Infantry and Recruited Straight […]

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69th New York Soldiers Captured on 30th October 1864 by Muster Date.

‘Our Pickets Were Gobbled’: Assessing the Mass Capture of the 69th New York, Petersburg, 1864

On 30th October 1864 the famed 69th New York Infantry suffered one of it’s most embarrassing moments of the war, when a large number of its men were captured having barely fired a shot. In the latest post I have used a number of sources to explore this event, seeking to uncover details about those […]

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Lieutenant-Colonel James J. Smith and officers of the 69th New York, an image exposed just a few weeks after the Battle of Skinner's Farm (Library of Congress)

‘I Trust the Almighty Will Spare Me My Life’: Charles Traynor & the Battle of Skinner’s Farm, 25th March 1865

In March 1865, Charles Traynor wrote home to his mother Catharine in New York. A veteran of some of the most famed Irish Brigade actions of the war, he was still at the front as the conflict began to enter its final days. ‘I trust the Almythy will spear me my life’ he confided to […]

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Corporal William Kelleher displays his wound (National Museum of Health & Medicine)

‘One of Our Brave Men Twice Wounded’: An Image of Corporal William Kelleher, 125th New York Infantry

In the first of a couple of guest posts coming up on the blog, friend of the site Brendan Hamilton brings us the story behind a fascinating image of a young wounded Irishman. Brendan has spent a lot of time looking at images of wounded Irish soldiers and also researching the 25th New York Infantry. […]

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Parliament Street in Dublin, looking towards City Hall. This is where First Sergeant O'Driscoll's letter from Petersburg arrived to the newspaper offices in 1864 (Wikipedia)

Reporting the War in Irish Newspapers: Correspondence from the Petersburg Front

A constant stream of information about the American Civil War made its way to Ireland between 1861 and 1865. This came in forms such as family letters home, but it was also a hot topic for Irish newspapers. Some, such as James Roche’s strongly pro-Union Galway-American (later printed in Dublin as the United Irishman and […]

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