Posts filed under: Battles & Units

I have just returned from a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield, a journey that will be the subject of a number of posts over the coming weeks and months. While there I had the opportunity to stay in the wonderful...
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My posts have been less frequent than normal of late due to a range of book and conference commitments, so apologies to readers for the longer than normal gap! I will shortly be heading to the United States for the...
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The Irish Brigade is rightly regarded as one of the finest units to take the field during the American Civil War. However, just like all other Union formations, they had their ups and down in battle, and like other formations, they...
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In May 1860, 47-year-old Bridget Griffin stepped off the boat in the United States. Her husband John had died in their native Athlone in 1859, an event that likely precipitated her departure. With her was her 13-year-old son Patrick, a...
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On the afternoon of 30th August 1862, the outcome of the Battle of Second Bull Run hung in the balance. James Longstreet’s Corps had been hurled against the Union left, and desperate fighting broke out along a key portion of...
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The main focus of attention when it comes to Irish service in the American Civil War is understandably on ethnic Irish regiments and brigades. However, as has been highlighted many times on this site, the vast majority of Irish servicemen...
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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...
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The widows and dependent pension files occasionally include groups of letters written by individual soldiers over a period of months or years. These can sometimes provide significant insight into the motivations, fluctuating morale and political allegiances of these Irish-American men....
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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...
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Corporal John Doherty of the Irish Brigade wrote a series of letters home to his family from Virginia and Maryland in the summer of 1862. Transcribed here for the first time, the letters detail John’s pride in the Irish Brigade–...
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