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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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Orphans decorate the graves of their fathers, 1873 (Library of Congress)

Last Chevalier of Mulligan’s Irish Brigade: A Poem for Decoration Day

James E. Kinsella was born in Ireland in 1865 and emigrated with his parents to America in 1872. Settling first in New York the family later moved on to Chicago, where James eventually took a position as a clerk in the Registry Division of Chicago Post Office. James’s true passion appears to have been poetry, […]

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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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The Illinois Monument at the Dead Angle, Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield (Damian Shiels)

Tired of the Killing of Men: An Irish Family’s Story of Assisted Emigration, Missing Children & Letters Under Fire

The nature of the Widow’s and Dependent’s Pension Files means that the stories they tell are most usually ones of sorrow. The experiences they relate generally pertain specifically to the Civil War, but on occasions the information within them can be combined with a range of other sources to provide a much wider picture of […]

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Illinois Prairie Grass, from which the Murphy Family made their livelihood (Robert Lawton)

‘Debilitated By Having Borne 13 Children’: An Irish Emigrant Recounts Her Family Story, 1871

In May 1871 an elderly Monaghan woman, ‘infirm and broken in body’, came into Chicago from her ‘Irish Shanty’ on the open prairie outside the city. Possessing little other than ‘her scanty wardrobe’, she had come to meet her attorney. It was not her first visit. Earlier that year, she had dictated the story of […]

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Civil War Veterans on their way to meet President Hoover in 1931 (Library of Congress)

Michael Casey: The Dublin Emigrant & Civil War Veteran Who Met President Roosevelt

Previous posts on the site have looked at Irish veterans of the American Civil War in the 20th century (see for example here and here). As their numbers dwindled, many newspapers ran stories about local old soldiers, who were transformed into cherished heroes with the passage of time. Many of these articles are factually flawed, but […]

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A squad of men from Battery A, 1st Illinois Light Artillery and their gun (Library of Congress)

‘Touch Her Off Azy!’: An Incident at Chickamauga with Private ‘Buffalo’ Finnell

Thomas Finnell was a 35 year-old Private in Battery I of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery at the Battle of Chickamauga. During the heat of the fighting on 20th September, his battery was worked especially hard. The stress and confusion of the occasion led to a humourous incident that would be remembered by ‘Buffalo Tom’s’ […]

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The furling of a Civil War era flag at the Martin McHugh Ceremony, April 21, 2012

Medal of Honor: Seaman Martin McHugh Remembered

A recent post told the story of Landsman Thomas E. Corcoran, a Dubliner who received the Congressional Medal of Honor having helped to save the lives of some of his crewmates aboard the stricken USS Cincinnati on 27th May 1863. The vessel had been disabled by fire from the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, having been repeatedly struck by enemy shells. […]

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The Battle of Fort Donelson, 1862 (Kurz and Allison 1887)

Captain Lawrence Collins, 58th Illinois Infantry, and the Fall of Fort Donelson

In 1860 the Collins family lived in LaSalle, Illinois. The head of the house, Jeremiah, was a blacksmith, and he and his wife Ellen had done well for themselves. This was despite the fact that they had moved to their new home relatively late in life- the couple and their four adult sons had all been […]

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General Michael Kelly Lawler Memorial, Equality, Illinois

Fighting Mike Lawler: Abe Lincoln’s Lilywhite General

As part of continued efforts to raise awareness in Ireland of the Irish contribution during the American Civil War, members of the Irish American Civil War Trail team have been attempting to highlight local figures across the country. This piece on Kildare man General Michael Kelly Lawler was prepared by Robert Doyle, and appeared in this […]

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