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Unidentified New Hampshire Soldier in the Civil War (Library of Congress)

“Rather Than Hear My Father’s Tongue”: The Sad Story of Why William Flaherty Fought

In late 1863 the town of Plymouth, New Hampshire needed men. One way or another they had a quota of enlistments to fill, and in anticipation of the draft they determined to add financial incentives in order to meet it. In August Plymouth voted to pay every drafted man– or his substitute– a $300 bounty. These […]

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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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Second Wisconsin Infantry Memorial in the Herbst Woods, Gettysburg (Damian Shiels)

Emigrant Irish Badgers: With the Second Wisconsin in Herbst’s Woods

A focus of my recent trip to the Gettysburg battlefield was to look at some of the stories of Irishmen who were among that majority who undertook their war service in non-ethnic Irish units. A number of them were to be found in the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry– part of the famed Iron Brigade– who on […]

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Galway

Audio Lecture: Galway and the American Civil War

During the course of each year I normally give a number of county-focused lectures around Ireland, concentrating on specific Irish emigrant stories from different localities. I an conscious that many of the readers of the site do not have an opportunity to attend these, so I was pleased to be alerted to the fact that one is […]

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Patriotic letterhead on one of James Finnerty's wartime letters (Fold3/National Archives)

Grieving for an Emigrant Son: The Story of the Finnertys of Galway City

This week I will be continuing my county-specific examinations of the Irish experience of the American Civil War, when I give a lecture in Galway City Museum on the impact of the conflict on the Tribesmen (and women!). I come across large numbers of Galway people in my research, and have little doubt that the […]

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Congress Avenue looking towards the Capitol in Austin, Texas. John Hannon died on this street. (Wikipedia)

‘Tears Ease the Heart’: A Teenage Galwegian Civil War Veteran in Texas, 1866

Many Famine emigrants found themselves on the front lines of the American Civil War. Others watched as the children they had taken to America in search of a new life marched off to war. One couple who endured this was John and Mary Hannon, who saw their underage son, John Jr., ride to Virginia in […]

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The Landscape of Inisheer, where John Donohoe grew up (Thomas Winter, Flickr Creative Commons)

Aran Islanders Abroad: An Inisheer Family and the American Civil War

If you had met John Donohoe in early 1861, it would have meant you were a visitor to one of the remotest locations in Europe. Thats because you would have been on Inisheer (Innis Oírr), a Gaelic speaking island off Ireland’s west coast. At only 2 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, it is the smallest of the Aran […]

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Galway

The #ForgottenIrish of Co. Galway

The latest #ForgottenIrish story is now available on Storify. It forms part of the continuing effort to raise awareness in Ireland of the c. 200,000 Irishmen who fought in the American Civil War, and their families. As with the previous Storify stories it is based on a Twitter tweetathon. So far #ForgottenIrish has covered Cork, Kerry and […]

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Separation. Many Irish families could not afford to emigrate together. For whatever reason, all three of these women's husbands left their family home for America, never to return (Library of Congress)

‘The Hard Industry of My Own Hands’: Three American Civil War Widows in Ireland Struggle to Survive

On the face of things, Irishwomen Honora Cleary, Eleanor Hogg and Maria Sheppel had little in common. For a start, they were from different parts of Ireland; Honora hailed from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Eleanor lived in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and Maria had grown up in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Neither did the women share the same religion; Honora and Eleanor were […]

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The White House of the Confederacy in 1865 (Library of Congress)

The Irish Nanny in the (Other) White House

The fundamental purpose of the Irish in the American Civil War site is to engage people with the history of Irish-America, principally through the stories of those who experienced life around the middle of the nineteenth century. I am always delighted to get opportunities to feature guest posts on the blog, which often provide different perspectives on this history. I was recently […]

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