Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

Many of the pension files I explore contain one or two particularly interesting documents or pieces of evidence. These tend to be historically eye-catching in their own right, but also always served a very specific purpose in the case being built...
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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...
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In 1895, thirty years after the end of the American Civil War, Ann Nugent went in search of a pension. The 75-year-old Irish emigrant had lost her son James to the conflict in 1864. A Second Class Boy aboard the USS Granite...
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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...
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I am currently working through the New York unit casualties at Gettysburg to draw together all those of Irish-birth or Irish ethnicity who lost their lives as a result of that engagement. Four men of the 65th New York Infantry...
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As I often reiterate, the greatest value of the widows’ and dependents’ Civil War Pension Files lies not in what they contain about the American Civil War, but in what they tell us about 19th century Irish emigrants and emigration....
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Limerickman Patrick Vaughan had lived a long life by the 1860s. He was born sometime around 1783, the year that the conflict between the American Colonies and Britain had finally drawn to a close. When rebellion broke out in Ireland and...
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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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My work on Irish in the Widow’s and Dependent Pension Files has led me to read and transcribe hundreds of letters of Irish and Irish-American soldiers who lost their lives as a result of the American Civil War. There are...
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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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