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"Answering the Emigrant's Letter", an 1850 painting by James Collinson, depicting an English family replying to correspondence from Australia (Manchester Art Gallery)

The Death of a Regular: Revealing an Ireland/New Jersey/Missouri Emigrant Network

The key focus of my research is on examining the letters of Irish emigrants in the Widows Pension Files. These letters, and the stories which surround them, have an incredible amount to tell us about Irish emigrant life. One of the most important aspects concerns how emigrants maintained communications both between Irish-American communities in the […]

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The fighting on Chinn Ridge at Second Bull Run as drawn by Edwin Forbes (Library of Congress)

“Mike, The Color Bearer”: How a Famine Emigrant Became an American on the Battlefields of Virginia

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 the field known as Chinn Ridge. As Federal officers sought to buy time to organize […]

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New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City & the Hoboken Waterfront as they appeared in a Currier & Ives sketch of 1877 (Library of Congress)

The Creation of an Irish Widow: The 33rd New Jersey at Peachtree Creek, 20th July 1864

On the 20th July 1864, the 33rd New Jersey Infantry of the Army of the Cumberland found themselves at Peachtree Creek, outside Atlanta. They were gathered on a hill some 300 yards in front of the main Union position acting as an outpost for their brigade. Their divisional commander, John White Geary, thought attack unlikely. He […]

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Sgt. Thomas Fallon captures a Confederate Officer at Big Shanty, Georgia in 1864

Medal of Honor: Private Thomas T. Fallon, 37th New York Infantry

Thomas T. Fallon was born in Co. Galway on 12th August 1837. He emigrated to the United States in 1859, and just two years later found himself in the midst of the American Civil War. In 1861 he enlisted in Company K of the 37th New York ‘Irish Rifles’, beginning a wartime service that would span […]

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