The Blue, Gray and Green


The Blue, Gray and Green

Gathering by the fireside of those of us passionate about the Irish experience during America's Civil War.

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Latest Activity: Sep 16, 2021

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Discussion Forum

Civil War Photo Sleuth

Started by Nollaig 2016 Dec 1, 2018. 0 Replies Their mission is to rediscover the lost names and stories of every photo of American Civil War soldiers and…Continue

An Appeal for Civil War Descendants

Started by Nollaig 2016. Last reply by William J. Donohue Feb 10, 2017. 1 Reply

"Mind the Gap Films is developing a documentary about the personal experiences of Irish men who served in the American Civil War, for broadcast on RTÉ. We’re looking for descendants who have letters,…Continue

Comment Wall

Comment by Cynthia Neale on February 24, 2014 at 8:02pm

Does anyone know how many Irishmen volunteered for the 8th New York Volunteers after the fall of Ft. Sumter? And anything about this regiment? And Charles Knox of Knox Hatters had a son, Edward M. Knox who joins. Was the Knox family Irish Catholics? Charles Knox had come from Donegal originally (fascinating story).

Comment by Brendan Hamilton on February 24, 2014 at 8:40pm

I couldn't find Edward Knox in the roster of the 8th NY Vols. This regiment was known as the "First German Rifles" and was primarily recruited among New York City's German community, so they probably didn't have many Irishmen in their ranks, though I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few. Maybe Knox served in the 8th New York State Militia? Could he be the same Edward M Knox who served as an officer in the 15th NY Artillery Battery and was wounded at Gettysburg? His muster roll abstract says he was a hatter. I'd love to learn more either way.

Comment by Gerry Regan on February 24, 2014 at 9:05pm

Recall vaguely that the regiment was commanded by German immigrant Louis Blenker, who was later drummed out of service, accused of some kind of malfeasance, perhaps financial. For some reason, I also associate the 8th with Rockland County, in upstate New York. Can't recall why -- perhaps Blenker recruited a company there, or lived there after the war. Cynthia, the hatmaker nexus to the unit is fascinating. Did you know that recruitment for these early war regiments was so fierce that a company from one regiment fired on men from their own regiment who were attempting to transfer to another regiment, this in the fall of 1861, at their encampments in Willets Point, Long Island?

Comment by Cynthia Neale on February 24, 2014 at 9:07pm

Yes, is Edward M. Knox because he was wounded in Gettysburg and received a medal of honor. His father, the hatter who made Lincoln's famous top hat, went to look for him on the field. I love the story of Charles Knox and how he came from Donegal to NYC and became a success.I'm reluctant to state why Edward is so important to me, but I will say that it has to do with a new novel I'm currently writing. Anyway, the sources are not consistent about the 8th New York State Militia and the 8th NY Volunteers. And there was another Edward Knox, but not the Edward M. Knox I'm trying to gather information on. I found a photo of him, as well, and he was deemed very handsome (not to me). It's all thrilling to learn about these people and I find that they are very much alive in many ways. Thanks. And if there is anything else, please let me know.

Comment by Gerry Regan on February 24, 2014 at 9:08pm

Like many, Knox may have joined on a 3-month enlistment in a militia unit that was federalized, and when then commitment ended, joined a 3-year regiment, in this case, the 15th New York Artillery. It is possible that, if it was actually equipped as a heavy artillery unit, the 15th might have seen its first combat as infantry. Perhaps Brendan can inform us.

Comment by Cynthia Neale on February 24, 2014 at 9:31pm

Thanks, Ger! Yes, I believe he was only in for three months. I have copious notes here and there and should be more organized with references. I have that he was a Private from April 20th to July 25th (hence, the three month enlistment) and then was in the Irish Brigade May 14, 1862 and promoted to First Lt/Captain 14th NY and Independent Battery Jan. 27, 1864, served in VA and dangerously wounded i Gettysburg and resigned Oct. 23, 1863 because of being dangerously wounded. The medal was issued in 1892.His father was from Donegal and lived across the street from the Devlins who eventually came to NYC. They both had department stores that were successful, but Knox lasted longer. Isn't the name, Knox, a Scottish Presbyterian name? And yet in my research, I find he was involved in the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick's. Confusing...but in the end, I write fiction and as long as I don't have them sitting in the wrong chair for the times, there should be freedom. That's another discussion about having real people represented in one's novels.I've already done this in my other novels and so far, no back lash. And so what!

Comment by Cynthia Neale on February 24, 2014 at 9:49pm

Brendan, I looked at some of your earlier comments and see you are writing a novel set during the Civil War. In regards to speech patterns, idioms, etc., there was a lot of "flash" as in the BBC series, Copper, but after reading a novel set in NYC in the Civil War period whereby the author used all "flash," I kept having to refer to her glossary and it was so annoying that I hated the novel. It can become too contrived. You're writing for people today and people today simply need to relate to that period without such a contrast in speech patterns. However, immersing yourself in some slang, idioms, speech patterns, etc. is very helpful. I've used The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s for years and have found it to be quite helpful. And reading books in the same time period, as well.

Comment by Gerry Regan on February 24, 2014 at 9:55pm

I've come across Devlin and his department store, an article somewhere years ago. Is the entrepreneur buried in Calvary Cemetery or Woodlawn?

Comment by Brendan Hamilton on February 25, 2014 at 11:44am

Cynthia, thanks for the tips! I'll definitely check that book out. It's funny you should mention the whole glossary issue; I might have to put one in my work as annoying as that might be.

The 8th NY State Militia mustered into Federal service for 3 months in '61 and again in '62, so it might be worth looking into.

The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick' are, I believe, a non-denominational organization, so it doesn't mean Knox was Catholic. But you can't necessarily go by name alone. There were then, and still are, many Irish Catholics with Scottish and English surnames. My own Hamilton ancestors were NY Irish Catholics, despite having a Scottish name. A lot can happen over the centuries however. Somebody may have simply converted to marry a Catholic girl eons ago. There were also Irish who "Anglicized" their Gaelic names through the years as well.

To find Knox's religion, I would recommend looking for obituaries for Knox and his family members in the NY papers:

Obits would mention the church where the service was held as well as the cemetery where the person was buried, which will clue you into their religious denomination.

Comment by Brendan Hamilton on February 25, 2014 at 12:02pm

I just looked at your website, Cynthia--your books sound really fascinating! Will definitely need to add them to my reading list.


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