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About the Author: Damian Shiels

I am a professional archaeologist who specialises in ‘conflict archaeology’, particularly where it relates to Ireland. I was formerly one of the curators at the National Museum of Ireland where I worked with the military collections and in the preparation of the Soldiers and Chiefs military history exhibition. I have a particular interest in the Irish experience of the American Civil War.


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Irish Emigrant Experiences in America by

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Paperback, Published in May 2017 by The History Press

ISBN10: 1845883330 | ISBN13: 9781845883331

Page count: 288

On the eve of the American Civil War 1.6 million Irish-born people were living in the United States. The majority had emigrated to the major industrialized cities of the North; New York alone was home to more than 200,000 Irish, one in four of the total population. The research for this book has its origins in the pension records of the Civil War, which included birth and baptismal certs, medical records, and letters and private correspondence between family members. The treasure trove of material made available by the widows and dependent files comes, however, at a cost. In every instance, the file only exists due to the death of a soldier or sailor. From that as its starting point, colored by sadness, the author has crafted the stories of 35 Irish families whose lives were emblematic of the nature of the Irish emigrant experience.

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