Monday, April 10, 2017

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

New Arrival:
Fighting Irish in the American Civil War and the Invasion of Mexico: Essays edited by Arthur H. Mitchell (McFarland, 2017).

"This collection of essays examines the involvement of Irish men and women in America's conflicts from 1840 to 1865." There are eighteen scholarly essays in total. The pair of Mexican War chapters in Part I address those Irish soldiers that fought on the American and Mexican sides, the latter including the men of the (in)famous San Patricio battalion.

The great majority of contributions (16 in total) are Civil War related and are contained in Part II. In this section, essays explore groups, movements, and individuals from both sides. Chapters discuss the Irish of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston, along with Irish women and the relationship between the Irish and African Americans in the U.S. Also covered are motivations for fighting in the Civil War and the Fenian movement. Biographical pieces on Judge Charles Daly of New York, the Mahans (Dennis Hart and son Alfred Thayer), the 10th Minnesota's Christopher Byrne, Charleston Bishop Patrick Lynch, and other Confederate figures like Irish nationalist and Richmond newspaper editor John Mitchel and famous Irish-American military officers Patrick Cleburne and Dick Dowling. Looks like a suitably diverse collection.

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