Commanding Boston's Irish Ninth: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

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Fordham Univ Press, 2002 - History - 280 pages
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Christian Samito writes in his introduction: "In reading Guiney's words, one can have a fuller appreciation of what motivated civilians to volunteer to fight a war and of the privations they suffered in service to their country."

These are the collected Civil War letters of Patrick Robert Guiney, an Irish immigrant from Country Tipperary who relocated to Boston, Massachusetts. When the Civil War broke out, Guiney volunteered to defend the Union and, quickly rose from First Lieutenant to Colonel, to command the ninth Massachusetts regiment. A fervent supporter of Lincoln and passionately opposed to slavery, Guiney felt that, in his service to his new country, he was doing his part to gain freedom for the slaves. Being politically outspoken, Guiney was often criticized for his views by other Irish-Americans. His letters reveal not only the experiences and thoughts of an Irish Catholic soldier, but also the hidden tensions within his immigrant community. His views and observations not only illuminate his personal independence of thought, but also the political landscape which he tried to improve.


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Commanding Boston's Irish Ninth: the Civil War letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

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The Ninth Massachusetts Infantry, which saw duty with the Army of the Potomac, was composed primarily of Irish immigrants and their descendants who hailed from Boston. One officer, Patrick R. Guiney ... Read full review


a cause bright and grand as the Sun
We are now engaged in war The holidays are over
the pain of separation from you draws heavily upon the heartstrings
God gave me an opportunity to shed my blood for our beloved Republic
The Good Knight of Boston
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Page 13 - Jarvis," in Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone (eds.), Dictionary of American Biography (22 vols.; New York, 1928-44), IX, 621-22, and Robert W.
Page 266 - Acts and Resolves passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, in the Year 1858 ; together with the Messages, Changes of Names of Persons, &c.
Page xxv - We Catholics have only one course to adopt, only one line to follow. Stand by the Union; fight for the Union; die by the Union."96 Both publicly and privately, however, Bishop Fitzpatrick expressed the hope that somehow war could be avoided.
Page xviii - Thomas H. O'Connor, The Boston Irish: A Political History (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995), 65.

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About the author (2002)

Christian G. Samito is editor of Commanding Boston's Irish Ninth: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and History of the Ninth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Fordham).

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