The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861-1865

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NYU Press, 2006 - History - 309 pages
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On the eve of the Civil War, the Irish were one of America's largest ethnic groups, and approximately 150,000 fought for the Union. Analyzing letters and diaries written by soldiers and civilians; military, church, and diplomatic records; and community newspapers, Susannah Ural Bruce significantly expands the story of Irish-American Catholics in the Civil War, and reveals a complex picture of those who fought for the Union.

While the population was diverse, many Irish Americans had dual loyalties to the U.S. and Ireland, which influenced their decisions to volunteer, fight, or end their military service. When the Union cause supported their interests in Ireland and America, large numbers of Irish Americans enlisted. However, as the war progressed, the Emancipation Proclamation, federal draft, and sharp rise in casualties caused Irish Americans to question—and sometimes abandon—the war effort because they viewed such changes as detrimental to their families and futures in America and Ireland.

By recognizing these competing and often fluid loyalties, The Harp and the Eagle sheds new light on the relationship between Irish-American volunteers and the Union Army, and how the Irish made sense of both the Civil War and their loyalty to the United States.

  

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This monograph is an unsentimental examination of the realities of the Irish experience during the American Civil War, in that their real contributions could not trump the realities of conditional ... Read full review

Contents

The Irish in America 17001860
7
Volunteering for Ireland and America
42
The Decline of IrishAmerican Supportfor the War in 1862
82
Battles Raging in the Field and atHome 18621863
136
The Decline and Consequence of IrishAmericanSupport for the War
190
Irish Veteransand the Creation of an IrishAmerican Identity
233
Conclusion
263
Notes
265
Bibliography
285
Index
293
About the Author
309
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Susannah Ural Bruce is assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University, in Huntsville, Texas. She is the editor of Ethnicity and the American Civil War.

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