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Annapolis National Cemetery (Damian Shiels)

A Walk Among Storied Tombstones: The Irish of Annapolis National Cemetery

Whenever I get an opportunity to visit the United States I always try to make it to one or more of the National Cemeteries dating to the American Civil War. I walk the long straight rows of white grave markers, looking out for Irish names, and pondering the events that led to the end of […]

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Men of the 3rd Rhode Island at Fort Pulaski in 1863 (Photographic History of the Civil War)

“Your husband was torn almost to pieces”: A Cork Woman Learns of her Roscommon Husband’s Death

The site regularly returns to the topic of letters written to inform families of the death of a loved one (see Communicating Death & Creating Memory on Fredericksburg’s Streets). As we have seen, these communications occasionally didn’t hold back in providing the gruesome details of an Irish emigrants demise (e.g. Imagining the Horrors of Death: […]

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“She Hates Men”: An Interview With A Troubled Irish Famine Emigrant

Perhaps the greatest value of the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files is in what they can tell us about the lives of female Irish emigrants in the 19th century. There is surely no other source that provides the same level of detail on Irishwomen in this period, particularly with respect to those who had fallen […]

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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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The Green House in Midleton (Damian Shiels)

Exploring the 1867 Fenian Rising in Cork

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Fenian Rising in Ireland. Though the attempt ended in failure, it played an important role in influencing future revolutionaries who undertook the 1916 Rising. East Cork, where I live, was one of the areas of the country where some of the most significant disturbances took place. […]

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The fields over which the Union assault on the Mule Shoe salient took place at Spotsylvania, as dawn breaks on the 150th anniversary of the battle, 12th May 2014 (Damian Shiels)

“…I don’t care about dancing on the bodies of dead men”: The Civil War letters of Daniel Crowley, Part 1

Friend of the site Catherine Bateson of the University of Edinburgh has previously contributed a guest post on her work relating to Irish Songs in the American Civil War. I am delighted to welcome her back, this time to share some research she has carried out on the fascinating letters of Daniel Crowley, a young Cork […]

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Cork Harbour as it appeared in the early 1870s (Library of Congress)

“My Cousin told me…that all my family were in America”: A Search for 1860s Cork Emigrants

The widows and dependent pension files often give us an extraordinary insight into 19th century emigration. Occasionally these are from the perspectives of those who remained in Ireland. I recently came across just such a letter, written in late 1863 by Dan McCarthy in Cork to his brother Ted in America. Its detail reveals just how […]

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Seamus Condon with the handwritten and handillustrated memoirs of his grandfather, Andrew J. Byrne, 65th New York Infantry

The Distant Past? Ireland’s American Civil War Grandchildren

I have had the good fortune to deliver dozens of lectures around Ireland discussing local connections to the American Civil War. Wherever I am, I always highlight two factors; the reality that for many Irish counties, the American Civil War saw more locals in military uniform than any other conflict in their history, and the […]

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henry_livermore_abbott_in_uniform

Communicating Death & Creating Memory on Fredericksburg’s Streets

I have recently had a conference paper accepted on the topic of letters communicating bereavement to those on the Home Front. Since I began my work on the widow’s and dependent pension files, I have become particularly interested in these types of document, and in exploring the multitude of questions we can ask of them. How was […]

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