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  This is an updated version of a page that had been on my 2006/2007 Irish website. Since the time that I created the following digital print from two tintypes in our family’s collection, I have come to believe that they may contain the images of Naugatuck’s Peter Leary and my Martin relatives, James and John, who served in the Spanish-American War, and who died World War I, respectively.

Imagined Ancestors: Irregulars ©2007 Janet Maher, original digital collage, archival inkjet print, Epson pigmented ink, 13″ x 17 1/2″

MAHERS IN THE CIVIL WAR

  Thomas Hamilton Murray’s 1903 History of the Ninth Regiment C. V. The Irish Regiment is online at Quinnipiac University in New Haven, CT, and is also available in print. I have gleaned much of the following information by studying the roster that is included. The Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was an Irish Regiment of the Civil War that originated in New Haven, Connecticut, in September 1861. Two John Mahers, one from Derby, one from East Windsor, CT, were members of Company E; a Patrick Maher served in Co G; and a James Maher served in Co F.

John Maher, from East Windsor, CT, mustered in with a group from Derby and New Haven, CT, on Sept. 27, 1861. They were joined by others from Derby, New Haven, and a musician from New Orleans in October and November. John Maher from East Windsor died on Oct. 21, 1862. John Maher from Derby, CT, mustered in on Nov. 25, 1861. He died August 14,1862. I find it interesting that several soldiers mustered into the various Connecticut units from Louisiana, where battles were fought between 1862 and 1864. It would appear that some Irish immigrants who had initially settled in the south joined up with their comrades in the North during the war, perhaps to be among their own extended families.

While each company within the Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry included people from within several Connecticut cities and some in Massachusetts, the cities that predominated in the companies were:

Company A – New Haven, CT (mixed cities); Company B – Meriden, Cheshire, CT (mixed); Company C – New Haven, CT; Company D – Bridgeport, CT; Company E – New Haven, CT (several Derby); Company I – Mixed (several MA); Company F – Waterbury, CT; Company G – Hartford, CT; Company H – Norwich, CT; (No Company J); Company K – Mixed.

On October 12, 1864 many of the soldiers transferred to Company B, Ninth Battalion, including some who had previously transferred to Company K in March.

Major Patrick Maher, New Haven, also mentioned in Joseph Casimir O’Meagher’s publication, Some Historical Notices of the O’Meaghers of Ikerrin, was explained by Neil Hogan to have been intended as major for the Connecticut Ninth, although he ended up in the Twenty-Fourth Regiment instead. (This Patrick Maher was from Cahir, County Tipperary, and information about him is included in a vignette in my book, From the Old Sod to the Naugatuck Valley: Early Irish Catholics in New Haven County.) From statistics Hogan obtained from Murray’s Connecticut Record of Service, Ninth Regiment, he determined that the Ninth Regiment lost the most men of all Connecticut regiments and battalions, almost 250—predominantly from disease—with an additional seventeen captured and two missing in action.

Neil Hogan is the author of the publication, Strong In Their Patriotic Devotion, Connecticut’s Irish in the Civil War. He is also the editor of Shanachie, the newsletter of the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society, in which information about Irish of New Haven who served in the Civil War was featured for an edition recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the war.

A Soldiers Monument for Naugatuck veterans stands prominently in the center of the Town Green in honor of the Naugatuck, Connecticut residents who served in the Civil War. (Behind the green is Salem School, where our Josephine A. Maher taught and was principal for so many years.) A Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers Monument was erected in 1903 at Bayview Park, New Haven, for which Naugatuck’s Michael P. Coen posed for the sculpture of the standing soldier.

Michael P. Coen, of Queen’s County, Ireland, resident of Naugatuck, Connecticut, from the 1903 souvenir of the unveiling of the New Haven Civil War monument, for which he posed for the image of the soldier, courtesy of Bob Larkin.

ADDITIONAL NINTH REGIMENT & CIVIL WAR LINKS:

• Lieutenant-Colonel John G. Healy provided an in-depth history of this regiment that is housed online. (He was the president of the Monument Committee for the Ninth Regiment C.V. Monument, per the 1903 souvenir. Richard Fitzgibbon was the Chairman, Michael P. Coen was the Secretary-Treasurer; William Gleeson and John E. Healy were also on the committee.)

• See Jim Larkin’s Connecticut website for the Ninth Regiment.

• To find individuals and information about them, see the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database. According to this database there were twenty-six Mahers who served in the Union army from Connecticut, five Mahars and five Meaghers. Thomas Maher of Naugatuck, however, served in the Third Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Company E. He was the O.G. of the Isbell Post division of the Grand Army of the Republic veterans’ group between 1898 and 1900. (Information about him is also included in my book.)

• Damien Shiels, of Ireland, is the owner of a perhaps the best website of all, Irish in the American Civil War.

Capt. John G. Healy, New Haven, CT, Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, image from 1903 souvenir of monument dedication, courtesy of Bob Larkin.

CIVIL WAR IRISH BRIGADES – THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER

  In July, 1865, before his departure to Montana, where he would become, initially, Secretary of the Territory and, later, Acting Governor, Bridgadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher (Sixty-Ninth New York Infantry) was given a tribute from the officers of the Civil War New York Brigades. Written by Col. James E. McGee, the address stated in part:

“We regard you, General, as the originator of the Irish Brigade, in the service of the United States; we know that to your influence and energy the success which it earned during its organization is mainly due; we have seen you, since it first took the field—some eighteen months since—sharing its perils and hardships on the battlefield and in the bivouac; always at your post, always inspiring your command with that courage and devotedness which has made the Brigade historical, and by your word and example cheering us on when fatigue and dangers beset our path; and we would be ungrateful indeed did we forget that whatever glory we have obtained in many a hard-fought field, and whatever honor we may have been privileged to shed on the sacred land of our nativity, that to you, General, is due to a great extent, our success and our triumphs…  It was signed by his ‘countrymen and companions in arms’:”

P. Kelly, Col. 88th NY Irish Brigade; James Saunders, Capt. 69th NY; R. C. Bently, Lieut-Col. Com’d’g 63rd NY; John Smith, Major, 88th NY; James E. McGee, Capt. Commanding 69th NY; Miles McDonald, 1st Lieut. and Adjt. 63rd NY; Wm. J. Nagle, Capt. Commanding, 88th NY; P.J. Condon, Capt. 63rd N.Y., Co. G; Richard Moroney, Capt. 69th NY; John H. Donovan, Capt. 69th NY; John H. Gleeson, Capt. 63rd N.Y. Co. B; John J. Hurley, 1st Lieut. 63rd N.Y. Co. I; Maurice W. Wall, Capt. & A.A.A. G. Irish Bridgade; Edw. B. Carroll, 2nd Lieut. 63rd N.Y., Co. B; Thomas Twohy, Capt. 63rd N.Y., Company L; James Gallagher, 2nd Lieut., 63rd N.Y., Co. F; John I. Blake, Co. B, 88th NY; John Ryan, 1st Lieut., 63rd N.Y. Co. G; Robert H. Milliken, Capt. 69th NY; Matthew Hart, 2d Lieut. 63rd N.Y., Co. K; Garrett Nagle, Capt. 69th NY; Bernard S. O’Neil, 1st Lieut. 69th NY; John Dwyer, Capt. 63d NY; Matthew Murphy, 1st Lieut. 69th NY; Michael Gallagher, Capt. 88th, NY; Luke Brennan, 2d Lieut., 69th NY; Lawrence Reynolds, Surgeon, 63rd NY; Robert Lafin, 2d Lieut. 69th NY; F. Reynolds, Surgeon, 88th NY; W.L.D. O’Grady, 2d Lieut. 88th NY; Richard Powell, Asst. Surgeon 88th NY; P.J. O’Connor, 1st Lieut. 63rd NY; James J. Purcell, Asst. Surgeon, 63rd NY; Edward Lee, 1st Lieut. 63d NY; Chas. Smart, Asst. Surgeon, 63d NY; Patrick Maher, 1st Lieut., 63rd NY; Richard P. Moore, Capt. 63d N.Y., Co. A; David Burk, Lieut. 69th NY; John C. Foley, Adjt. 88th NY; Martin Scully, 1st Lieut. 69th NY; John W. Byron, 1st Lieut. 88th N.Y., Co. E; Richard A. Kelly, 1st Lieut. 69th NY; D. F. Sullivan, 1st Lieut. & B.Q.M. 69th NY; Joseph M. Burns, Lieut. 88th NY; James I. McCormick, Lieut. Quartr. 63rd NY; James E. Byrne, Lieut. 88th NY; John O’Neil, Lieut. 88th NY; Dominick Connolly, 2nd Lieut. 63rd NY; Wm. McClelland, 2d Lieut. 88th N.Y., Co. G; John J. Sellors, 2d Lieut. 63rd NY; John Madigan, Lieut. 88th NY; William Quirk, Capt. 63rd NY; James I. Smith, 1st Lieut. & Adjt. 69th NY; Patrick Chamber, 1st Lieut. 63rd NY; Edmund B. Nagle, Lieut. 88th N.Y., Co. D; Patrick Callaghan, 1st Lieut. 69th N.Y. Co. G; Patrick Ryder, Capt. 88th NY; P.M. Haverty, Quarter-Master 88th N.Y.

This information is from Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher by Captain W.F.Lyons, published in 1886. The book is Lyon’s glowing testament to the life and character of his close friend, with several of Meagher’s speeches included. Lyons explained that the Sixty-Ninth New York Brigade was one of the first regiments to enter the Civil War and was originally commanded by Colonel Michael Corcoran. Under his leadership the regiment became infamous early on for declining to parade during a New York visit by the Prince of Wales. Lyons explained, “The Sixty-Ninth was composed exclusively of Irishmen, all of whom had experienced the malignity of British rule in Ireland, and some of them being political exiles from their native country. Under these circumstances their refusal to participate in a fulsome ovation to the representative of the British Crown, was heartily sustained by the great majority of the people.”

Thomas Francis Meagher recruited Irishmen for the side of the Union, acknowledging that, as in previous battles in Ireland, it was inevitable that brothers and friends would be paired against one another in this war. Even as there were Irishmen (and Mahers) fighting for the Confederacy, there were many more on the side of the Union. In this book Lyons included many eloquent speeches of Meagher’s, including that in which he, although initially of heavy heart about committing to the war, defended the cause of the Union in retaliation against the South.

According to Lyons, Meagher’s intention had been to assist General Shields on the battleground, not to lead the troops, but he was urged by the officers to be the commander when Shields was on route to Mexico at the same time that the Sixty-Ninth New York troops were eager to go back into battle, even without Shields. President Lincoln conferred Meagher’s rank on Feb. 3, confirmed by the Senate. In this way Meagher joined the military and commanded a three month campaign, fighting alongside his men, “the first into battle and the last out.”

Lyons described the many battles in great detail, noting the accolades that followed them for the bravery and conduct of the troops. Among the battles:  Fair Oaks, Battle of Mechanicsville, Gaines’ Mill, Battle of Peach Orchard, Battle of White Oak Swamp, Battle of Glendale, Malvern Hill, Antietam (fourteen hours long), and the final battle of Chancellorsville and Scott’s Mills. About the last battle Lyons wrote, “Reduced in numbers from its once flourishing condition, it presented now not men enough to comprise a regiment. From the first moment that it became a component part of the Army of the Potomac it shared every danger, and participated in almost every conflict.”

(There is also a section about Thomas Francis Meagher in my book, From the Old Sod to the Naugatuck Valley: Early Irish Catholics in New Haven County.)

OTHER WAR/CONFLICT-RELATED MAHER LINKS:

Daniel J. Meagher, Civil War, 5th NY, Co H

John William Meagher, Medal of Honor, WWII

Tipperary War Dead

Jack Wilson’s List of Mahers and Meaghers Sent to Australia

Irish Rebels to Australia 1797-1806

Irish Convicts to  New South Wales 1791-1834

Tithe Defaulters

Release of Mrs. Meagher, Ballingarry

 

©2012 Janet Maher/Sinéad Ní Mheachair

All Rights Reserved

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