Civil-War-Irish-L: Books (and other Media) for Research

Books (and other Media) to aid in Research

How-to Guides:

BEERS, Henry P. & MUNDEN, Kenneth W.: Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War.  First published by the US National Archives in 1962, it's an in-depth list and description of the various record groups held by the US National Archives and Records Administration which apply to not only the Federal Army and Navy, but the entire U.S. Government as well during the Civil War period.

BEERS, Henry P.: Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America. First published by the US National Archives in 1968, this is the companion volume to the Federal guide, this time covering Confederate records at NARA. 

GROENE, Betram Hawthorne: Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor, John F. Blair, Pub., Winston-Salem, NC.  Originally published in 1973, this book has been revised as needed several times (as recently as 1995).  It's still a very good one-stop guides for tracing individuals who served on either side in the Civil War.  Topics covered are what's available and how to use the US National Archives, the various State Archives, the Army & Navy Official Records, bibliographies, personnel files and rosters.  The author includes examples of how he himself did research.  An added bonus is a chapter on acquiring and identifying Civil War equipment.  Included are listings of institutions holding microfilmed service records from NARA and/or complete indexes, and a bibliography.

HOLZER, Harold (editor) and LORELLO, Daniel (compiler): The Union Preserved - A Guide to Civil War Records in the New York State Archives, Fordham Univ., New York, 1999, 172pp.  Of the approximately 150,000 Irish-born who fought for the Union, over a quarter (42,095) were credited to New York.  This book describes in detail the records held by the State Archives, a resource which anyone doing New Yorker research should not overlook.
MOREHEAD, Nancy Justus: Locating Union & Confederate Records - A Guide to the Most Commonly Used Civil War Records of the National Archives and Family History Library, HeritageQuest, North Salt Lake, UT, 2001, 152pp.  This book compliments and supplements Groene's guide, and is written more with the genealogist in mind.  Includes microfilm numbers for records available from NARA or the Family History Library (LDS), what info is available on CD-ROM, and includes chapters on amnesty papers, Soldiers' Homes, and Veterans' organizations. 
SAUERS, Richard A.: How to Do Civil War Research, Combined Publishing, Conshohocken PA, 2000, 160pp.  Originally published in 1995 under the title Research Secrets of a Civil War Historian, this is yet another general guide, but includes many other resources not covered by Groene or Morehead.


Official Records:

AIMONE, Alan C. & Barbara A.: A User's Guide to the Official Records of the American Civil War, White Mane Pub. Co, Shippensburg PA, 1993, 125pp.  This gives a history and overview of the Army and Navy Official Records (described below) along with the Atlas that accompanied the Army records.  An excellent researcher's bibliography is included.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  Usually referred to as the Official Records, OR-Army or simply OR, it's a massive collection of selected reports and correspondence in 127 books plus index.  It's also been published on CD-ROM by several sources and is available on-line.  An atlas was included as part of the original publication; it's usually available as a reprint (and CD-ROM) but is separate from the books themselves.  Comparatively few individuals are mentioned - the lower one's rank, the less likely he would appear in these reports.  Main benefit to genealogists is researching the military history of the ancestor's unit. 
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies.  Usually referred to as the OR-Navy or ORN, it has 31 volumes, plus index.  Like the OR-Army, the main benefit to genealogists is researching the activities of the ancestor's ship, not so much the ancestor himself.  However, crew lists of Confederate vessels are included.  This is also available on-line and CD-ROM.

General Studies and Statistics:

DYER, Frederick H.: A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. First published in 1909 and reprinted several times, Dyer's is an exhaustive compilation of facts and statistics dealing with the Federal Army.  Includes summary histories of all Federal regiments, organization tables, lists of engagements, casualty tables.

CRUTE, Joseph H., Jr.: Units of the Confederate States Army, Derwent Books, Midlothian VA, 1987, 423pp.  Gives capsule histories of most Confederate units (while all regiments appear to be listed, some smaller units are not included).  Unfortunately, nowhere near as in-depth as Dyer's.

SIFAKIS, Stewart: A Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Facts on File, New York, 1994.  Haven't seen this myself, but it's been described as "The South's answer to Dyer at last!"  11 Volumes.

EVANS, Clement A., General Editor:  Confederate Military History.  First published in 1899 as a 12 volume set, a recent reprint by Broadfoot Publishing with additional material consists of 19 volumes, including the 2 volume index.  Each volume covers a State with one devoted to the CS Navy.  Each written by a different author who set his own format, the quality and amount of information varies from one volume to the next.

BURTON, William: Melting Pot Soldiers. The Union's Ethnic Regiments, Fordham Univ. Press, New York, 1998, 282ppniv. Covers much more than just Irish units but a large portion is devoted to them.  With Lonn's study being long out of print, this more than adequately tfills the gap.

LONN, Ella: Foreigners in the Confederacy, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2002 (reprint), 566pp.  First published in 1940, Professor Lonn's pioneering study shattered the myth that the South was a homogenous land of WASPs.  Not only the Irish contribution is covered here, but that of Germans, French, Poles, even Chinese as well.

LONN, Ella: Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy. First published in 1951, this compliments Lonn's Confederate study. (out of print (and rare))

McDONALD, JoAnna M, editor: The Faces of Irish Civil War Soldiers,  Rank and File Publications, Redondo Beach, California, 1999.  This is a collection of identified photographs of 200 soldiers, both Union and Confederate, both the well known and the obscure, but all Irish.  Besides the name, with each photo comes information (when known) on- rank, organization, age at enlistment, and whether the soldier was killed, wounded, captured, paroled, or survived the war. 


Unit Studies - Confederate:

GANNON, James P.: Irish Rebels, Confederate Tigers - A History of the 6th Louisiana Volunteers, 1861-1865, Savas Pub., Mason City IA, 1998, 388pp.  This predominately Irish unit served in the Army of Northern Virginia and saw action from First Manasses/Bull Run to Appomattox, dwindling to a shadow of its original compliment of almost 1000 men.   A complete roster with biographical information is included.

GLEESON, Ed: Rebel Sons of Erin - A Civil War Unit History of the Tenth Tennessee Infantry Regiment (Irish) Confederate States Volunteers, Guild Press, Zionsville IN, 1993, 400pp.  Recruited in and around Nashville, the 10th was a green flag unit which saw action at Forts Henry and Donelson, the Vicksburg campaign, then served with the Army of Tennessee for the rest of the war. 

O'GRADY, Kelly J.: Clear the Confederate Way! The Irish in the Army of Northern Virginia, Savas Pub., Mason City IA, 2000, 348pp. A study of what was until recently a largely overlooked subject - the Irish Confederates.  O'Grady concentrates on telling the story of those who served in Lee's army, but also delves into Irish society - South, North, and in Ireland - during the 1860s.  Appendix includes a listing and short biography of Irish officers, and a list and description of Irish companies. 


Unit Studies - Federal:

BILBY, Joseph G.: Remember Fontenoy! The 69th New York and the Irish Brigade in the Civil War, Longstreet House, Hightstown NJ, 1995, 269pp.  History covers the 69th NYSM at the first battle of Bull Run and then goes on to the Irish Brigade from its formation to its final muster out.  A very well illustrated book: over 100 photographs, prints, sketches, and lithographs.  A real treat is that the quarterly ordnance reports - when available - for each company are included; these state what type and quantity of rifle or musket was being used.

BILBY, Joseph G. & O'Neill, Stephan D., editors: "My Sons Were Faithful and They Fought" - The Irish Brigade at Antietam: An Anthology, Longstreet House, Hightstown NJ, 1997, 131pp.  This is a collection of 12 essays and first-person accounts, written or edited by several authors.  Includes a biography of Thomas F. Meagher and a list of the Irish Brigade dead with final resting place, if known.  (Note: as far as I've determined, all of the enlisted men of the Irish Brigade who were killed in action - rather than mortally wounded - on 17 September 1862 are in graves marked "Unknown".)

BOYLE, Frank A.: A Party of Mad Fellows - The Story of the Irish Regiments in the Army of the Potomac, Morningside, Dayton OH, 1996, 419pp.  Author examines the history of the "Green Flag" regiments in the Army of the Potomac: 9th & 28th Massachusetts Infantry Regiments; 37th, 63rd, 69th (Militia), 69th (Volunteers), 88th, 155th, 164th, 170th, & 182nd New York Infantry Regiments; 69th & 116th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments.
CONYNGHAM, David P.: The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns. First published in 1869 and recently reprinted.  Captain Conyngham served with the Irish Brigade and acted as the brigade historian.  Appendix includes short biographies of the officers of the brigade staff and regiments.

ERNSBERGER, Don: Paddy Owen's Regulars: A History of the 69th Pennsylvania "Irish Volunteers". Xlibris Corporation, Philadelphia, 2004, 1091pp in 2 volumes.  An exhaustive study, lots of information on the private soldiers who served with the regiment.  Vol 1 covers the period from the regiment's being organized through 2 July 1863 at Gettysburg, while Vol 2 takes the story from 3 July 1863 to muster out and beyond.  (Note: This is printed on-demand and is only available directly from the publisher.)

GOTTFRIED, Bradley M.: Stopping Pickett - The History of the Philadelphia Brigade. White Mane Book, Shippenberg PA, 1999, 270pp.  The story of the 69th, 71st, 72nd and 106th Pennsylvania Infantry regiments, which were raised in and around Philadelphia, and many of whose recruits were Irish, especially those of the 69th.  Posted in "The Angle" on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, the regiments of the brigade also fought from Ball's Bluff to Petersburg.

JONES, Paul: The Irish Brigade, Robert B. Luce, Inc., New York, 1969, 255pp.  Recently reprinted.  This is a light account, with a lot of focus on General Meagher.  Jones is enthusiastic about his subject, sometimes maybe a bit too much so, but it's a fun read with lots of human interest stories included.  Unfortunately, nothing is cited nor is there a bibliography.  Not really much use for genealogical purposes, but a good starting point for family history stories.
LYSY, Peter J.: Blue for the Union & Green for Ireland - The Civil War Flags of the 63rd Regiment New York Volunteers, Irish Brigade, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, South Bend IN, 2001, 60pp.  This booklet is a remarkable study on the flags used by the Sixty-third and, by extension, the other New York regiments in Meagher's Irish Brigade.  Also has the story of how the Second Irish color (by Tiffany) has been conserved at Notre Dame.  (Note: This title does not appear to have been put into distribution.  New copies are available from the publisher.)

MACNAMARA, Daniel George: The History of the Ninth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  Reprint of 1899 edition by Fordham Univ., New York, 2000, 543pp.  Includes introduction by Christian G. Samito.  A outstanding study of Boston's Irish Ninth by one of its surviving members.  Complete roster with individual service summaries in the appendix.

MACNAMARA, Michael H.: The Irish Ninth in Bivouac and Battle; or, Virginia and Maryland Campaigns, Lee and Shepard, Boston, 1867, 306pp.  This is an earlier work on the 9th Massachusetts written by D. Macnamara's brother Michael, who also served in the 9th.  Less scholarly than David's later effort as many records were not available at the time it was written, but more anecdotal.  (out of print (and rare))

MULHOLLAND, St. Clair A. (edited by Lawrence Frederick Kohl): The Story of the 116th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, Fordham Univ., New York, 1996, 480pp. This is a new edition of the book first published in 1903. Mulholland rose to command of the 116th PA and was breveted Major General. This is his history of his regiment.  Appendix includes regimental roster.

MURPHY, T.L.: Kelly's Heroes - the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg, Farnsworth House, Gettysburg PA, 68pp.  For a small booklet, this has a lot of info on what the Brigade did at Gettysburg, with many first-person accounts.  Several b&w photos of the regimental flags and commanders.  A history of the Fr. Corby and the three regimental monuments (New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania) is included.

MURRAY, Thomas Hamilton: History of the Ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, "The Irish Regiment," in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865.  Originally published by the Price, Lee & Adkins Co. of New Haven in 1903 and reprinted by Higginson Book Company (Salem, MA) in 1998, 446pp.  The 9th CVI was raised shortly after Fort Sumter.  Most of its service was in the Lower Mississippi Valley.  When it veteranized in 1864, it was reorganized as a battalion of 4 companies and took part in Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign.  Published by the regiment's veteran association, the volume includes detailed muster list, rolls of dead, biographical sketches, and a list of known survivors and their residence.

PRITCHARD, Russ A., Jr.: The Irish Brigade - A Pictorial History of the Famed Civil War Fighters, Courage Books, Philadelphia, 2004, 96pp.  Oversized and with lots of pictures - including most of Don Trionai's artwork of Irish Federals.  Includes some limited info on other Irish units.

SEAGRAVE, Pia Seija, editor: The History of the Irish Brigade - A Collection of Historical Essays, Sergeant Kirkland's Museum and Historical Society, Fredericksburg VA, 1997, 225pp.  Seven essays include biographies of Michael Corcoran and Richard Byrnes, the 69th New York State Militia at 1st Bull Run, an overall history of the Brigade, the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, weapons carried by the Brigade, and the Green Flags.

WRIGHT, Steven J.: The Irish Brigade, Steve Wright Publishing, Springfield PA, 1992, 60pp.  Summary history of Meagher's Brigade in softcover.  While not in-depth, it is very well written and lavishly illustrated.  Includes lists of general officers of Irish birth (both North and South) and Irish-born recipients of the Medal of Honor. 


First Person Accounts:

BEAUDOT, William J. & HERDEGEN, Lance J. : An Irishman in the Iron Brigade - The Civil War Memoirs of James P. Sullivan, Sergeant, 6th Wisconsin Volunteers, Fordham Univ., New York, 1993, 189pp.  Mainly a series of articles by "Mickey, of Co. K" for the Milwaukee Telegraph, Sullivan wrote his recollections beginning in 1883. 
CHISHOLM, Daniel (edited by W. Springer Menge & J. August Shimrak): The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm - A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865, Orion, NY, 1989, 198pp.  Although not Irish himself, Chisholm was a member of Company K of the 116th Pennsylvania, a regiment of the Irish Brigade.  His diary covers the period 25 Feb 1864 to 3 Jun 1865.  Info on other members of the Company is included in the Appendix. 
CORBY, Fr. William, C.S.C. (edited by Lawrence Frederick Kohl): Memoirs of Chaplain Life - Three Years with the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac, Fordham Univ., New York, 1992, 412pp.  First published in 1893 by Notre Dame University.  Fr. Corby served as chaplain to the 88th New York Infantry.  He is best remembered for the general absolution he gave at Gettysburg. 
DOOLEY, John E. (edited by Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, S.J.): John Dooley, Confederate Soldier - His War Journal, Georgetown Univ., 1945, 244pp.  Born in Richmond to Irish immigrant parents, Dooley enlisted as a private in the 1st Virginia Infantry and rose to become Captain before being wounded and captured at Gettysburg.  His very well-written journal covers the period from August 1862 to May 1865.  (out of print)

GALWEY, Thomas Francis (edited by Col. W. S. Nye): The Valiant Hours - An Irishman in the Civil War, Stackpole, Harrisburg PA, 1961, 262pp.  Galwey was only 15 when he enlisted as a private in the 8th Ohio Infantry.  By muster out, he was a 1st Lieutenant and had been breveted Captain.  Born in London, England, to Irish parents, his family   The book is the diary he kept during the war, from his enlistment in April 1861 to when the regiment received orders home in June 1864.  Interspersed through the text are maps he had done himself.  Included is a "what happened after the war" reminiscence by the author's son. (out of print)

GILDEA, James (compiled by Julian Mohr & edited by Gary Piatt): A Magnificent Irishman from Appalachia: The Letters of Lt. James Gildea, First Ohio Light Artillery, Battery L, Little Miami Pub., Milford OH, 2003, 114pp.  After the war, Gildea's commander requested several of his officers to provide input material for a proposed unit history of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery.  Gildea sent him several letters, probably better described as essays, giving his own story.  Although pretty rough, not exactly meant to be published as-is, this is still a very good account. (Note: This title does not appear to have been put into distribution.  New copies are available from the publisher.)

GUINEY, Patrick R. (edited by Christian G. Samito): Commanding Boston's Irish Ninth - The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Fordham Univ., New York, 1998, 280pp.  These are Col. Guiney's wartime letters, sent home to his wife and daughter. Guiney rose to command of the 9th MA, a predominately Irish regiment, which served in the Army of the Potomac.  Although not assigned to Meagher's Irish Brigade, he had a close relationship with Gen. Meagher.  He was one of the few Irish to actively support the policies of the Lincoln Administration, including emancipation.  He survived the war, though severely wounded in the face shortly before the 9th mustered out of service.  Samito does an excellent job placing the letters in context and fleshing out Guiney's story. 

McCARTER, William (edited by Kevin E. O'Brien): My Life in the Irish Brigade - The Civil War Memoirs of Private William McCarter, 116th Pennsylvania Infantry, Savas Pub., Campbell CA, 1996, 257pp.  This is a very lively, well written account by an enlisted man of his military career.  McCarter was detailed to Gen. Meagher's staff and took part in the charge on Marye's Heights in Dec 1862, where he was severely wounded.

O'BRIEN, John (edited by Brian K. Robertson): Things Grew Beautifully Worse: The Wartime Experiences of Captain John O'Brien, 30th Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A., Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Little Rock, 2001, 69pp.  A Westmeath man, O'Brien kept a wartime diary which opens just prior to the battle of Murfreesboro (Stones' River).  He writes of going into action, being wounded, and his hospital and POW experiences.  The editor has done an outstanding job providing biographical details, notes identifying individuals mentioned in O'Brien's diary, and a roster of Company F of the 30th Arkansas.

REGAN, Timothy J (edited by David C. Newton & Kenneth J. Pluskat): The Lost Civil War Diaries: The Diaries of Corporal Timothy J. Regan, Trafford Publishing, Victoria BC, 2003, 341pp.  An 1854 immigrant, Regan settled around Boston and was one of the first to enlist in Company E of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry (aka Boston's Irish Ninth).  He served with the regiment throughout its term of service and was faithful in keeping his diary, even during a period as a POW.  The diary begins 15 April 1861 and extends well beyond the war's end, with the last entry being 10 March 1876. (Note: Some additional material not published with the book is located on the editors' website.)

RYAN, John (edited by Sandy Barnard): Campaigning with the Irish Brigade: Pvt. John Ryan, 28th Massachusetts, AST Press, Terre Haute IN, 2001, 199pp.  The son of Irish immigrants, Ryan enlisted in Company C of the 28th on 1 January 1862, when he was still only 16.  These are his memoirs of his Civil War service with the 28th, as well as the 61st Massachusetts which he later served with after recovering from wounds received at Reams Station.  Excellent commentary and biographical details by the editor. 

SHEERAN, Rev James B., C.SS.R. (edited by Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, S.J.): Confederate Chaplain - A War Journal,  Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1960, 164pp.  Fr. Sheeran, a native of Co. Longford, served as Catholic chaplain to the 14th LA Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia.  Beginning in August 1862, he began keeping a journal of his experiences during the rest of the War.  While most battle accounts were edited out, his tale is still very lively and engrossing; besides serving with the 14th, Fr. Sheeran went on a tour of South while on furlough, and later suffered imprisonment by order of Phil Sheridan. (out of print)
TRIMBLE, Richard (editor): Brothers 'til Death - The Civil War Letters of William, Thomas, and Maggie Jones, 1861-1865, Mercer Univ., Macon GA, 2000, 173pp.  Thomas and William, born in County Down, enlisted in the 48th New York Infantry.  The book is a collection of over 100 letters written to and from their sister Maggie, a school teacher in New Jersey, along with others Maggie received from friends in the 48th.

WELSH, Peter (edited by Lawrence Frederick Kohl and Margaret Cossé Richard): Irish Green & Union Blue - The Civil War Letters of Peter Welsh, Fordham Univ., New York, 1986, 170pp.  Welsh, born in Canada of Irish parents, was Color Sergeant of the 28th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  These are the surviving letters he wrote, mainly to his wife, from 14 September 1862 to 15 May 1864.  Welsh died 13 days later due to pyemia resulting from being wounded in the left arm at the Battle of Spotsylvania VA



BENNETT, Brian A.: The Beau Ideal of a Soldier and a Gentleman - The Life of Colonel Patrick Henry O'Rorke from Ireland to Gettysburg, Triphammer Publishing, Wheatland NY, 1996, 196pp.  Born in County Cavan in 1836, O'Rorke's family emigrated to the US a year later and settled in Rochester NY.  O'Rorke secured an appointment to West Point, graduating first in his class in June 1861.  After serving in several posts as an engineer and staff officer, he was commissioned colonel of the 140th New York Infantry.  He was killed at Little Round Top, Gettysburg, on 2 July 1863.

CALLAN, J. P. Sean: Courage and Country: James Shields - More than Irish Luck. Irishquill Publishing, Libertyville IL, 2004, 294pp.  Lawyer, politician, judge, soldier, Tyrone native James Shields came very close to fighting a duel with Abraham Lincoln in 1842, served in the Mexican War, and during the Civil War was the only Union general to drive Stonewall Jackson from the field.

CAVANAGH, Michael: Memoirs of Gen. Thomas Francis MeagherFirst published in 1892 and in reprint since.  Despite how the title sounds, this is how Cavanagh remembers the General, not Meagher's autobiography.

FAHERTY, William Barnaby, S.J.: Exile in Erin - A Confederate Chaplain's Story: The Life of Father John B. BannonMissouri Historical Society, St. Louis, 2002, 239pp.  Fr. Bannon served as chaplain in the First Missouri Brigade and later performed diplomatic duties in Europe, including as a secret agent in Ireland and envoy to the Vatican.  Includes a short chapter on Catholic chaplains during the ACW in general.

GLEESON, Ed: Erin Go Gray! A Trilogy of Irish Rebels, Guild Press, Zionsville IN, 1998, 150pp.  Essays on General Joseph Finnegan of Florida, Father Joseph Ryan (poet laureate of the Confederacy), and Randall McGavock of the 10th Tennessee Infantry.

HANCHETT, William: IRISH / Charles G. Halpine in Civil War America, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse NY, 1970, 208pp.  Poet, author, newspaperman, satirist, humorist, politician, reformer and soldier, Halpine was born in Co Meath in 1829 and emigratedto the US in 1850.  Perhaps better known by his pen name Pvt. Miles O'Reilly, most of his military service was on General David Hunter's staff. (out of print)

PURDUE, Howell and Elizabeth: Pat Cleburne - Confederate General.  First published by Portals Press, Tuscaloosa AL in 1973, revised in 1977 and since in reprint, 372pp.  Irish-born Cleburne of Arkansas rose to division command in Hardee's Corps, Army of Tennessee and is justly referred to as the "Stonewall of the West." 

SPINK, Barry L.: From Cavan to Cold Harbor - The Life of Colonel Richard Byrnes, Irish Brigade Association, Fort Schuyley, Throggs Neck NY, 1994, 56pp.  Emigrating to the US in 1845 when he was 12 years old, Byrnes enlisted for 5 years in the 1st US Dragoons.  A year after his discharge, he enlisted again, this time in the 1st US Cavalry.  When the Civil War began, he received an officer's commission in the 5th US Cavalry.  In September 1862, he took command of the 28th Massachusetts Infantry, which soon after was assigned to Meagher's Irish Brigade.  He was mortally wounded at Cold Harbor VA on 3 June 1864, passing away on the 12th.  Along with the thoroughly researched biography, information on his wife and descendants is included. (out of print)

TUCKER, Phillip Thomas: The Confederacy's Fighting Chaplain - Father John B. Bannon, Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, 1992, 247pp.  As opposed to Fr. Faherty's biography of Fr. Bannon, this concentrates more on his wartime service. 


Irish on the Home Front:

BERNSTEIN, Iver: The New York City Draft Riots - Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War, Oxford Univ., New York, 1990, 347pp.  In July 1863, the beginning of conscription in the North triggered a riot in New York that lasted five days and left at least 105 dead.  Unfortunately, many if not most of the rioters were Irish.  Bernstein argues the cause of the riot went much deeper than just the draft.

GALLMAN, J. Matthew: Mastering Wartime - A Social History of Philadelphia During the Civil War, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2000 (first published by Cambridge Univ. in 1990), 354pp.  The City of Brotherly Love was home to a large Irish population.  Although this volume studies the city as a whole rather than just the Irish experience, it provides an insight by extension. 

GLEESON, David T.: The Irish in the South, 1815-1877, Univ. of Norh Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2001, 278pp.  An in-depth look at the Irish immigrants who settled in the Southern states from the end of the Napoleanic Wars in Europe to the end of Reconstruction.  Emphasis is on social history rather than military - only about 30 pages are devoted specifically to the war itself. 

HERNON, Joseph M., Jr.: Celts, Catholics & Copperheads: Ireland Views the American Civil War, Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 1968, 124pp plus biblio & index.  An excellent study on how the Irish back home in Ireland viewed the war from various perspectives (Fenian, Unionist, etc.) and at various times, and why. (out of print)

MAHER, Sr. Mary Denis: To Bind Up the Wounds - Catholic Sister Nurses in the US Civil War, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge, 1999 (first published by Greenwood in 1989), 178pp.  Of at least 617 Sisters who served as nurses during the war, 320 were Irish born or of Irish descent.  If you are researching someone who was a Sister during this period, this book is a gem. Bibliography includes a wealth of resources for further research.

OAKES, Sr. Mary Paulinus, R.S.M. (editor): Angels of Mercy - An Eyewitness Account of Civil War and Yellow Fever, Cathedral Foundation Press, Baltimore, 1998, 114pp.  Concentrates on the activities of the Sisters of Mercy in Vicksburg during and after the war, and provides biographical detail for several of the individual Sisters.

O'CONNOR, Thomas H.: The Boston Irish - A Political History, Back Bay Books, Boston, 1995, 363pp; Civil War Boston - Homefront & Battlefield, Northeastern Univ., Boston, 1997, 313pp; Boston Catholics - A History of the Church and Its People, Northeastern Univ., Boston, 1998, 357pp.  Taken together as a set, O'Connor has painted an excellent picture of the Irish experience in Boston and more.  The first and third titles cover the period from Boston's early days up to the modern era, not just the mid 19th century.  While it's true that Irish does not equal Catholic, the fact is the Catholic Church provided the main leadership for the Irish community for some time - particularly early on - and the Church in America was in turn led mainly by the Irish. Civil War Boston, as the title implies, does not study just the Irish, but Boston Yankees (businessmen in particular), blacks, and women as well.  Of course, overlap in subject matter occurs between the titles, and I even noticed some passages are copy and paste jobs between books, but I think all three books are worth reading.  A word of caution: O'Connor is a social historian rather than a military one, and his battle and campaign accounts in Civil War Boston aren't very accurate.

Irish in Sight and Sound:

GAELIC PRODUCTIONS: The Irish Brigade in the American Civil War, VHS, TMW Media Group, 1998, 30 minutes, viewer guide included.  While this has all the right ingredients - an interesting subject, period photos and modern artwork, historian Brian Pohanka giving a tour of the Sunken Road area at Fredericksburg - and really tries, to be perfectly honest the production never quite manages to pull itself together.  Only part of the history of the Brigade is covered: no mention of the Peninsular Campaign at all, and nothing at all about what happened to it after Meagher left.

GALLANT SONS OF ERIN: No Irish Need Apply, CD, Gallant Sons Music, 2003.  The Gallant Sons are a group of musicians associated with Company K, 28th Massachusetts Infantry (recreated).  The selection of 14 songs from the mid 19th century covers much of the Irish experience of the time - immigrant, laborer, military service - and is very nicely done.  40 page insert with lyrics and historical background.  Additional historical notes at the 28th Mass. website

GREYSTONE COMMUNICATIONS: Gettysburg Irish Soldiers, VHS, Greystone, 2000, 60 minutes.  Part of Greystone's The Unknown Civil War series and narrated by Kevin Conway (Buster Kilrain of Gettysburg), this production is very good, both from a historical viewpoint and quality-wise.  Units both North and South are depicted, with a battery of historians to add commentary.

KINCAID, David: The Irish Volunteer - Songs of the Irish Union Soldier 1861-1865, CD, Haunted Field Music, 1995.  A collection of 12 songs, only one of which is a modern composition, the rest being written during the Civil War period.  Lyrics and historical info included with insert.

KINCAID, David: The Irish-American Song - Songs of the Union and Confederate Irish Soldiers, 1861-1865, CD, Haunted Field Music, 2003.  12 more songs on this CD, 6 for Yanks, 6 for Rebs.  Lyrics and historical info (by Joseph Bilby) included with 36 page insert.

WARFIELD, Derek: Sons of Erin - Irish Songs, Ballads & Music of the American Civil War, CD, Cill Dara Music, 2000.  Warfield (of the Wolfe Tones) compiled this CD of 20 songs and poems, mostly from the Civil war period.  Insert has lyrics and historical background.

WARFIELD, Derek: Clear the Way - Irish Songs, Ballads & Music of the American Civil War (Vol 2), CD, Kells Music, 2002.  20 more songs to add to the Irish in the ACW repertoire.  Again, lyrics and background info included.

NOTE: There's some overlap of selections between Gallant Sons, Kincaid and Warfield, but their arrangements and the  melodies the lyrics are set to often differ.


Where to Locate This Stuff:

No, I'm not a front for, Barnes & Noble, or anyone else for that matter, although many of the titles I've listed can be obtained there.

First off, as far as books go, try your local library.  If they don't have the book you need, don't hesitate to ask your librarian about inter-library loan.  But if you wish to obtain a copy of your own, there's lots of sources.  The ones listed here specialize in Civil War books; I myself or other list members have used them and can recommend them personally for honesty and outstanding service. 

Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1907 Buena Vista Circle, Wilmington NC 28411 - Tom B. offers a whole lot more than just the high-ticket sets shown on his web site, and he has lots of out-of-print books; if you're looking for something in particular, drop him an email.  He also has a soldier research service which costs only a few dollars more than NARA and the turn around is a few weeks rather than several months.

Morningside Books, 260 Oak St., Dayton OH 45410 - Gotta confess, this is my favorite source; I've been buying books from Bob & Mary Younger since the early 70s and there's absolutely no one in the market who beats their service or quality in what they publish.  On-line catalog has search or browse capabilities.

Shamrock Hill Books, 12725 Bethany Rd., Alpharetta GA 30004-1080  - "The BookGuy" specializes in Irish and Civil War subjects.  If it's about Irish in the ACW and in print, chances are very good he has it.

Tara Hall, PO Box 2069, Beach Haven NJ 08008 - Not really too much in way of books, but carries lots of Fightin' 69th and Irish Brigade thingies and is a good source for music CDs.

20th Maine Civil War Store, 49th West St., Freeport ME 04032 - Pat & Ron Hodgdon have a great selection of books and other items.  I've been very pleased with them. 

A couple of exceptions:

Morehead's  Locating Union & Confederate Records is more likely to be found at a genealogy book seller rather than a seller of ACW books.  It is definitely available from the publisher, HeritageQuest, PO Box 540670, North Salt Lake UT 84054 .

New copies of Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War and Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America are available through the National Archives Trust Fund, NWCC2, P.O. Box 100793, Atlanta GA 30384-0793

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Page last updated 01 October 2005