Four Years of the Irish at War in Poetry & Song

Irish in the American Civil War

As we discovered in the excellent recent guest post by University of Edinburgh scholar Catherine Bateson (see here), poetry and song could be extremely important methods for Irish-Americans to communicate their views and experiences. Readers regularly sent in their efforts to be printed in newspapers like the New York Irish American Weekly, allowing us to chart how key events of the day were portrayed in lyrical form. Although undoubtedly of varying quality, they often provide intriguing insights into how Irish people viewed the conflict that engulfed America. I have decided to take a range of these poems and songs from the pages of the Irish-American and reproduce them here. The 17 I have selected date from 1861 to 1865, and chart major events that impacted on Irish-Americans through the course of the conflict. What is notable is that so many were composed within days or weeks of the events which they…

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