The Irish Catholic Soldier in the American Civil War

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER XXV (16) start of chapter

There was one other influence, potent in dispelling the dark prejudices imbibed in infancy, and fostered by fanatical teachers; this was the faith, the piety, the resignation of the Irish Catholic soldier, of whatever rank, as he lay wounded or dying in the hospital. In the devotedness of the Sister and the Priest there was a beautiful exemplification of the spirit of Christian Charity; in the unmurmuring resignation of the Catholic Soldier there was the irresistible evidence of Christian Faith. Many a proud scoffer, to whom the very name of Catholic had been odious, received his first impression of the truth from the edifying demeanour of some Irish soldier who lay in anguish by his side, and who, before he rushed into the thickest of the fight, had not been ashamed to crave the blessing of his priest. It was the same in the hospitals of the States as in the hospitals of the Crimea.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

Paperback: 700+ pages The Irish in America

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