A Walk Among Storied Tombstones: Some Irish Dead in National Cemeteries

Irish in the American Civil War

In 2014 I was fortunate enough to walk a number of the Eastern Theater battlefields of the American Civil War. I took the time to visit some of the National Cemeteries along the way, at places like Cold Harbor, Glendale, Fredericksburg and Antietam. Military cemeteries are fascinating places. The National Cemeteries created out of the American Civil War stand to rival anything I have seen on European battlefields. Their scale and uniformity impart the cost of war in a way that it is often visually more forceful than the vestiges of the battlefield themselves. Conversely, they have an inherent beauty that can sanitize our vision of the horrors of death in conflict. As I walked through the rows of white headstones, I photographed any of those which bore “Irish” names. I have had the chance to go back through some of those images, seeking to learn more of the men…

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