As regular readers will be aware we are pretty fond of a map here on Irish in the American Civil War. One of our previous initiatives was the Mapping Donegal Veterans project, which plotted American Civil War links to that county onto an interactive map. It generated a lot of online and media interest, and many requests for us to add other Irish counties to the list. I am pleased to say we are now hoping to do so, thanks to the efforts of University of Limerick Master’s in history student Ben Wrafter. Ben is focusing his efforts on Co. Leitrim, and is appealing to our readers to help him.

Ben is writing a thesis concentrating on the impact of the American Civil War on Leitrim people and is eager to hear from any of the community who know of any. His emphasis is on those who also experienced the Famine- people born before 1835 who emigrated between 1847/8 and 1864 who fought in the conflict are of particular interest. To date approximately 135 men have been identified by previous researchers who were born in Leitrim and who fought in the American Civil War. Of these 43 have were born before 1835. Ben is particularly interested in the following information:

  1. What was the nature of the lives of these men in Ireland before they emigrated to America.
  2. What districts of Leitrim were they born in.
  3. What were their family circumstances.
  4. What form of employment did they or their parents have while they lived in Ireland.
  5. When did the emigrate to America.
  6. What ports did they leave from in Ireland and arrive at in America.
  7. Did the emigrate on their own or in families.
  8. What were their circumstances in America when they arrived.
    a. Where did they live.
    b. What type of employment did they have,
    c. Did they Marry and have family.
    d. Why did they join the army.

We are very pleased to be helping Ben out with this project, and hope to share some of his results with readers in due time. If anyone feels they have information which might help, you can contact Ben at benwrafter@gmail.com or Damian Shiels at shielsheritage[at]gmail.com.

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