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Portraits from the New York Irish-American Weekly: 1861

Every week the New York Irish-American brought it’s news to Irish readers not just in The Empire State, but all over the United States. Many Irish soldiers at the front remained loyal readers of the newspaper throughout the Civil War. From time to time, the Irish-American printed portraits and illustrations of famous Irish-Americans, Catholics and […]

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John Warren, Captain of Company B, 63rd New York, Irish Brigade. Born in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, he was discharged in September 1862. (Kane 2002: 134)

Union Rebels: The Erin’s Hope– Fenian Gunrunning by Civil War Veterans

Large numbers of Irish and Irish-American Civil War soldiers were also members of the Fenian Brotherhood. The workings of this movement, and how it interacted with the conflict of 1861-65, has been the topic of a number of posts on this site. However, we have not previously looked in any detail at the participation of Civil […]

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A soldier springs the trapdoor, with men looking on from the trees beyond (Library of Congress)

Edward Wellington Boate: The Andersonville POW Who Came to the Defence of Henry Wirz

Waterford’s Edward Wellington Boate belongs to the large cohort of Irish journalists who ended up fighting, or in someway participating, in the American Civil War. His story is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating. A member of the Tammany regiment, the 42nd New York, his capture and incarceration as a POW set him on a path […]

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Boatswain's Mate Patrick Murphy (Erie Maritime Museum)

Medal of Honor: Boatswain’s Mate Patrick Murphy, U.S.S. Metacomet

It has been a while since the site has looked at one of the Irish-born Medal of Honor recipients from the American Civil War. Issues regarding recording of nativity means there is, as yet, no definitive total number for Irish-born men who earned this award during the conflict. Each time I investigate the figure evidence […]

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The Battle of Fair Oaks by Currier & Ives (Library of Congress)

‘A Deep Blow to Your Heart’: Patrick Clooney’s Newly Uncovered Description of the Irish Brigade at Fair Oaks

On 16th September 1862, 33-year-old Ann Dunnigan appeared before an Albany judge to begin the process of claiming a widow’s pension. Her husband Patrick had been mortally wounded in the Irish Brigade’s first major engagement- the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia- on 1st June 1862. As part of her evidence, Ann handed over a detailed […]

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Separation. Many Irish families could not afford to emigrate together. For whatever reason, all three of these women's husbands left their family home for America, never to return (Library of Congress)

‘The Hard Industry of My Own Hands’: Three American Civil War Widows in Ireland Struggle to Survive

On the face of things, Irishwomen Honora Cleary, Eleanor Hogg and Maria Sheppel had little in common. For a start, they were from different parts of Ireland; Honora hailed from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Eleanor lived in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and Maria had grown up in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Neither did the women share the same religion; Honora and Eleanor were […]

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Fort Mitchel, Spike Island (Courtesy Cork County Council)

A Yankee and Rebel Side by Side in Cork Harbour

Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the World. This coupled with its strategic location meant that it was of key significance for the British Empire over the centuries. The harbour’s importance to the Royal Navy led to the construction of a major series of defences at key locations around the anchorage. […]

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Sketch showing portions of the Union secondary line at Petersburg, including Fort McMahon and Fort Patrick Kelly (Official Records Atlas)

Remembering The Fallen At Petersburg: Forts McMahon and Patrick Kelly

By September 1864 the Union forces at Petersburg had been facing their Confederate foe across a series of entrenchments and fortifications since mid-June. The Federals decided to commit to a strategy of continually extending their lines westward, seeking to exploit their advantages in manpower. With this stratagem they sought to stretch the Army of Northern Virginia to […]

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Officers and men of the 9th Massachusetts (Library of Congress)

Irish in the American Civil War Podcast

I had the pleasure recently of participating in a discussion on Irish involvement in the American Civil War as part of the 1848 Tricolour Celebrations in Waterford. It took place in the Granville Hotel, on the site of Thomas Francis Meagher’s birthplace, and was organised as part of History Ireland magazine’s ‘Hedge School’ series. The […]

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An 1862 Harper's Weekly engraving of captured blockade runners: The 'Circassian' is in the right foreground (Naval History and Heritage Command)

Appeal: The Blockade Runner Minna and The Malcomsons of Co. Waterford

One of the roles of the Irish in the American Civil War site is to assist researchers exploring different aspects of the Irish experience of the conflict. To that end James Doherty, of  Waterford Civil War Veterans and a founder of The 1848 Tricolour Celebration is seeking information relating to the Confederate Blockade Runner Minna, which had […]

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