“A Few Spoke Nothing But Gaelic”: In Search of the Irish Language in the American Civil War

Irish in the American Civil War

In Philadelphia on 13th February 1868, Owen Curren and Mary Curren gave an affidvait relating to the case of Farrigle Gallagher. Gallagher, a member of the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry, had died a Prisoner of War at Andersonville. His wife Anne survived him by less than 6 months, dying– likely of T.B.– in December 1864. The Currens were giving evidence in 1868 in an effort to secure a pension on behalf of the Gallagher’s three minor children. However, the Pensions Bureau were concerned that this “Farrigle” Gallagher was not the same man as the “Frederick” Gallagher of Philadelphia they had recorded. The Currens, who had been acquainted with Farrigle for 25 and 30 years respectively, explained the reason behind the confusion:

…Frederick and Farrigle are the one and the same person. That in Ireland, where the said soldier was born and raised, he was called Farrigle which is the same as…

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