“The Blacks Fought Like Hell”: Exploring Racism & Racist Violence through the Words & Actions of Two Union Irish Cavalrymen

What a great post

Irish in the American Civil War

This month is Black History Month in the United States. To mark that occasion, I wanted to once again explore an aspect of the often-fraught relationship between Irish-Americans and African-Americans during the Civil War era. It is a topic we return to regularly on the site (e.g. see here, here,here and here).  The concept for this post arose from a recent discovery I made during my work on the letters of Irish soldiers contained within the Widows & Dependents Pension Files. Among the correspondence I identified was that of a Limerick man in the 10th Illinois Cavalry, which vividly demonstrate his views on African-Americans soldiers both before and after the 1863 Battle of Milliken’s Bend, in which black troops participated. Any examination of the 10th Illinois Cavalry quickly highlights the racial-conflict that occurred during the unit’s stationing at Milliken’s Bend. One particularly unsavory violent rampage by a…

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