Analysing 19th Century Emigration, A Case Study: Dissecting One Irishman’s Letter Home

Irish in the American Civil War

As regular readers are aware, I have long been an advocate of the need to study the thousands of Irish-American letters contained within the Civil War Widows & Dependent Pension Files. This unique resource offers insights into 19th Century Irish emigration that do not exist anywhere else. Their value to Irish, as well as American, history reaches far beyond our understanding of the Irish experience of the conflict itself. They have much to tell us about multiple facets of Irish life, both in Ireland and America. In order to demonstrate this potential, I have broken down one Irish letter into its component parts, in an effort to highlight just how invaluable these primary sources can be for those interested in Irish emigrants. 

The envelope which contained Peter Finegan's letter to his parents, which is analysed below (Fold3.com/NARA) The envelope which contained Peter Finegan’s letter to his parents, which is analysed below (Fold3.com/NARA)

On 13th December 1862, 21 year-old immigrant Private Peter Finegan of the 116th Pennsylvania Infantry, Irish Brigade…

View original post 3,068 more words

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s