Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

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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My work on the widows and dependent pension files of American Civil War soldiers has revealed many hundreds of letters relating to Irish emigrants in the Union military. During the course of my research I have also come across files...
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Two years ago I had the great pleasure of speaking at the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium in Athens, Georgia. The Symposium alternates between Ireland and North America every two years, and this year was back at its spiritual home, the Mellon...
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On 13th October 1863 Irishwoman Margaret Martin of 84 Fourth Street, East Cambridge, Massachusetts applied for a widow’s pension. Her husband Michael, a private in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, had lost his life at the Battle of Chancellorsville on 3rd...
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During the Civil War, newspapers frequently published correspondence written by soldiers and sailors at the front. Some servicemen took the opportunity to act as quasi-reporters for particular publications, ensuring that their views and opinions regularly appeared in print. In May 1864,...
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On 6th September 1864, Private Kieran Fitzpatrick of the 11th Connecticut Infantry lost his battle for life at the 18th Corps Hospital in Point of Rocks, Virginia. His wife Elizabeth sought a widow’s pension based on his service; a lack of documentation...
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Many of the Canadians who fought in the American Civil War were of Irish ancestry, often members of families who had first made their homes in British North America before slowly moving down to the United States. In the early...
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On 3rd September 1863 Private John Shea of the 1st Kansas Infantry, Company B, died of Chronic Diarrhoea at Natchez General Hospital in Mississippi, having fallen sick just over a week before. The pension file his mother subsequently claimed based...
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Some Irish soldiers of the American Civil War were little more than boys. Despite their youth, they often fervently supported the cause for which they fought. Timothy Dougherty was one such emigrant soldier. His antebellum family story is one of...
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The majority of posts on the site relate to information contained within the Widows and Dependents Pension Files. These files can contain dozens of different types of documents, ranging from military records to soldier’s letters. But the bulk of the...
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