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Maids draw water from a well, 1864. Johanna spent the majority of her life in domestice service in Ireland and America (Oscar Gustave Rejlander)

Johanna Barry: The Story of an Emigrant Domestic in Ireland & America, 1836-1916

On 17th September 1862, 27-year-old tailor Denis Barry from Dunmanway in West Co. Cork ventured into Antietam’s West Woods with the 19th Massachusetts Infantry. He never came out again. One of the legacies of Denis’s death is the extraordinary detail it has left us about the life of his wife Johanna, covering her time in […]

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Engine House of the Mountain Mine, Allihies, West Cork. Many of the emigrants from where the O'Learys (and likely the Harringtons) hailed from were already part of mining communities (Peter Bell)

“I Will…Avenge His Death”: Shared Community, Life, & Death through the Battle of Chickamauga

The afternoon of 20th September 1863 found Privates Daniel Harrington and Denis O’Leary facing into a maelstrom. Fate and circumstance had placed them on the line at Chickamauga, as a tide of Confederate infantry swept towards the position they had been rushed forward to hold. With the crescendo of battle reaching fever pitch, Company E […]

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The second telegraph sent to the Callahans. Three days after the first, it informs them that Cornelius is dead (NARA/Fold3)

Document Focus: Life & Death at Antietam in Telegraphs

Cornelius Callahan was an early enlistee in the Union cause. He was barely 18-years-old when he volunteered in Philadelphia. A founder by trade, he was described as having a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair. Knowing that Cornelius’s parents Timothy and Johanna (née Nagle) were married in Ireland during the late 1830s allows us […]

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Looking into the Face of a Maimed Irish Soldier

At the close of the American Civil War, a photographer of the Johnson & D’Utassy company paid a visit to De Camp General Hospital on David’s Island in New York Harbor. He was there to capture images of surgical cases then being treated at the site, to preserve a record of the wounds and their […]

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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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