‘How I Came to Kill Your Brother': A Confederate Reveals an Irish-American’s Final Moments

Originally posted on Irish in the American Civil War:

I have come across many extraordinary stories during my time researching the Irish in the American Civil War. None surpass that of Sergeant Peter Donnelly of Company C, 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery. Almost uniquely, the historical record has combined to provide us with details of this ordinary Irish-American’s death from the perspectives of both friend and foe. I am extremely grateful to Peter Patten for initially alerting me to this remarkable account.* 

A soldier of the 11th Vermont (1st Vermont Heavy Artillery) poses with soldiers from three other regiments (Library of Congress)

A soldier of the 11th Vermont (1st Vermont Heavy Artillery) poses with soldiers from three other regiments (Library of Congress)

John Donnelly and his wife Rose emigrated to the United States from the parish of Drumlane, Co. Cavan sometime before the mid-1840s. By the time of the 1850 Census they were living in Castleton, Rutland County, Vermont. John was then a 43-years-old and working as a laborer, his wife Rose was 36. 80-year-old Molly Hoy Donnelly (probably John’s…

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About Gunny G

GnySgt USMC (Ret.) 1952--'72 PC: History, Poly-Tiks, Military, Stories, Controversial, Unusual, Humorous, etc.... "Simplify...y'know!"
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