Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

The battlefields of the American Civil War claimed thousands of Irish Famine emigrants. The families of some were fortunate, in that comrades took the time to write to them of their loved one’s final moments. But these letters did not...
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Between 11th June and 9th July 1864, the New York Irish American Weekly ran a series of letters from a young man to his brother back in New York. Taken together, they offer a highly detailed account of his experiences...
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This month is Black History Month in the United States. To mark that occasion, I wanted to once again explore an aspect of the often-fraught relationship between Irish-Americans and African-Americans during the Civil War era. It is a topic we...
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The main focus of attention when it comes to Irish service in the American Civil War is understandably on ethnic Irish regiments and brigades. However, as has been highlighted many times on this site, the vast majority of Irish servicemen...
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As regular readers are aware, I have long been an advocate of the need to study the thousands of Irish-American letters contained within the Civil War Widows & Dependent Pension Files. This unique resource offers insights into 19th Century Irish emigration...
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As we discovered in the excellent recent guest post by University of Edinburgh scholar Catherine Bateson (see here), poetry and song could be extremely important methods for Irish-Americans to communicate their views and experiences. Readers regularly sent in their efforts to be...
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Over recent years I have been compiling a database of those widows’ and dependents pension files which contain primary correspondence from Irish and Irish-American soldiers and their families. As regular readers are aware, these letters feature frequently on the site,...
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The widows and dependent pension files occasionally include groups of letters written by individual soldiers over a period of months or years. These can sometimes provide significant insight into the motivations, fluctuating morale and political allegiances of these Irish-American men....
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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...
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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...
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