Fighting Irish in the American Civil War and the Invasion of Mexico



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About the Book

As mid–19th century America erupted in violence with the invasion of Mexico and the outbreak of the Civil War, Irish immigrants joined the fray in large numbers, on both sides. They sometimes were disruptive elements. In Mexico, a body of Irish artillerymen defected to the other side. During the Civil War, Patrick Cleburne stirred controversy in the Confederacy when he proposed enlisting slaves in exchange for their freedom. The New York draft riots, a violent insurrection by a predominantly Irish mob, raged for three days before Federal troops restored order. Despite turmoil and contention, the Irish soldiers who fought in the Union army contributed significantly to the preservation of the United States. This collection of essays examines the involvement of Irish men and women in America’s conflicts from 1840 to 1865.

About the Author(s)

Arthur H. Mitchell is a distinguished professor of history at the Salkehatchie Campus of the University of South Carolina. He lives in Allendale, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Arthur H. Mitchell
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6480-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2726-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I: Mexican War
The Irish Soldiers of Mexico (Michael F. Hogan) 13
Irish Americans and the War with Mexico (Arthur H. Mitchell) 24
Part II: American Civil War
The New York Irish Brigade Recruits and Their Families in the Era of the Civil War (Marion Truslow) 37
Philadelphia Irish During the Civil War (Phillip G. Pattee) 60
Preserving the Union: Shaping a New Image of Chicago’s Irish Catholics and the Civil War (Lawrence J. McCaffrey) 78
The Boston Irish and the Civil War (Arthur H. Mitchell) 96
What Made the “Fighting Irish” Fight (D.R. ­O’Connor Lysaght )114
Irish Women in the Civil War (Eileen M. McMahon) 121
Judge Charles Daly and the New York Irish in the Era of the Civil War (Aidan ­O’Hara) 140
Irish and African Americans in the Civil War Era (Andre Fleche) 156
Christopher Byrne, Civil War Soldier, Writes Home (Ruth-Ann Harris) 163
Bishop Patrick Lynch of Charleston and the Confederacy (David Heisser) 169
John Mitchel and the Confederacy (Kelly ­O’Grady) 182
Patrick Cleburne, Irish Confederate General (Mauriel P. Joslyn) 193
Dick Dowling, Texas Irishman (Ann Caraway Ivins) 203
Mahan and Son: Master Purveyors of U.S. Policy for Over a Century (Desmond Travers) 215
Twice in the Gap of Danger (Frank Boyle) 225
The American Civil War, the Fenians and Ireland (Owen McGee) 238
About the Contributors 259
Index 261

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A welcome contribution to the scholarship on the Irish in the U.S., Mitchell’s anthology expands knowledge of Irish involvement in the Civil and Mexican-American Wars and enriches the Irish American historical narrative in the process. Mitchell’s engaging, approachable anthology of Irish soldierly and associated involvements addresses evident gaps in the Irish American field…recommended”—Choice
  •  “well written and carefully documented”—Civil War News
  •  “This book is a great source of information for those looking to understand Irish participation during these two major conflicts. The issues it explores are relevant to anyone looking to understand the involvement of Irish men and women in American conflicts from the late 1840s to the late 1860s.”—H-Net Reviews