‘Beyond the Power of My Feeble Pen’: The Fate of a Limerick Octogenarian’s Sons in the West, 1862

Irish in the American Civil War

Limerickman Patrick Vaughan had lived a long life by the 1860s. He was born sometime around 1783, the year that the conflict between the American Colonies and Britain had finally drawn to a close. When rebellion broke out in Ireland and French troops marched to their support in 1798, Patrick was a teenager. He was in his early twenties when Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor in 1804, and in his thirties by the time the ‘Little Corporal’ had his last hurrah on the battlefield of Waterloo. There are many details we don’t know about Patrick Vaughan’s life, but there is no doubting the momentous times he lived through. However, it seems unlikely that anything impacted him quite like events that took place in Tennessee and Arkansas in the spring and summer of 1862. By then in his eighties, it might have been expected that he had survived the worst life had to throw at him…

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