Posts filed under: Social History (Famine Era)

During my research I have repeatedly encountered the consequences of the 1866 Cholera epidemic that swept through the U.S. Army. By the time it was over, the military had suffered almost as many deaths as were experienced in the entire...
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The event which led to the recording of the lives of the three Mary Driscolls occurred along the Gulf Coast of Texas in September 1863. On the 8th of that month, a small contingent of largely Irish American Confederates under...
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A special podcast that features a talk I gave to the Lough Gur Historical Society in December 2019. It describes why I believe the American pension files are such a major resource for uncovering the ordinary lives of the 19th...
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I am delighted to be in a position to share another piece of innovative work undertaken by Brendan Hamilton, long-time contributor to the site. It serves as a preview of some of the intriguing original research he has been conducting...
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I have given numerous talks at historic sites over the years, particularly locations associated with conflict. Where I can, I always try to take opportunities to look beyond the military moment, explore the impact of these events on individuals and...
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The men who entered the Union military as substitutes from 1863 onwards are among the most neglected and maligned groups associated with the American Civil War. History–and many historians–have overwhelmingly focused on the negative aspects of their service, highlighting their...
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The first months of the newly dawned 20th century found Peter Keefe drawing his final breaths in his rural home of Corloughan, Co. Kilkenny. The 60-year-old had the comfort of his nearest relative Betsy by his side, and the knowledge...
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In 1869 the New York Irish-American Weekly came out on Christmas Day. As with every week’s issue, a portion of the paper was given over to “Information Wanted” advertisements. Most often placed by family and friends, these notices were usually...
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Amputation, as one historian has noted, is the “symbolic wound” of the American Civil War. One estimate places the number of wartime amputations at 60,000, three-quarters of all the operations undertaken during the conflict. Around 45,000 of these men are...
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In 1865 Ellen McCann of 87 Mulberry Street in New York’s infamous Five Points district went in search of a pension. She was not a typical widow. By the time her husband Francis had elected to join the Union cause...
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