Surgeon to the Irish Brigade

Dr Lawrence Reynolds was born in Waterford in 1803. He learnt his medicinal trade in Liverpool where he was a keen supporter of the Chartist movement which campaigned for equal rights to all men. During the unrest of 1848 Reynolds gave a speech that was widely reported in Liverpool where he promised to become involved in the Ironmongery Business and start distributing Swords and Pikes. He was true to his words and started to give away swords to dissatisfied men. These actions proved to much for the local judiciary and they moved to arrest him.

After falling foul of the English authorities he moved to New York and enlisted on the 26th of February 1862

Reynolds was a keen Fenian and also a the unofficial poet laurete of the Irish Brigade. In his 60s Reynolds served at every battle field that the Irish Brigade fought on. In the book “Boys of Old Erin” there was a description of Reynolds ” an old man with long white hair, and a patriarchal although unkept beard, ” the young officers thought that Reynolds was a sort of “Rebel Rip Van Winkle” and debated whether they should arrest him for being a spy. Only later when they saw him chatting amicably with General Meagher did they realise that it was ” Old Larry” surgeon to the Irish Brigade.

Reynolds was universally liked and regarded amongst the officers and men of the Irish Brigade after the war Reynolds retired to Oswego where he died in his 84th year on 28 of April 1887

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Daniel Joseph Keily

Keily, Daniel Joseph

Born in Newtownville, Co. Waterford on 6th September 1829. He served as a Lieutenant in the Irish Battalion of St. Patrick during the 1860 Papal War prior to moving to New York. During the Civil War he served as an Additional Aide-de-Camp on the staff of Major-General James Shields, and was wounded in the face at the Battle of Port Republic, Virginia on 9th April 1862. In 1864 he became Colonel of the 2nd Louisiana Cavalry (Federal). He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services. Following the war he became a plantation manager, dying in October 1867 in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His exact burial place is unknown, but is most likely in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.

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John Hornbuckle Flynn

Flynn, John Hornbuckle

Born on 10th March 1819 in Waterford. He worked as a liquor merchant before joining the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry, rising to Colonelcy of the regiment in 1864. He was breveted Brigadier-General of volunteers on 13th March 1865 for gallant and meritorious services during the war. Following the conclusion of the Civil War Flynn became Superintendent of Little Rock National Cemetery, an office which he held between 1872 and 1875. He died on 25th December 1875 in Little Rock, Arkansas and is buried in Little Rock National Cemetery (Section 12, Grave 5825).

Thanks to Damien Shiels for providing this information.

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Thomas Francis Meagher memories of Waterford

After an absence from Ireland Thomas Francis Meagher wrote his impressions on returning to his home city. One I read during the week was an account of the City and County Club ( site of the present Tower hotel). In this piece he shows his eloquence and humour.

Purely a social club- a club for pleasant intercourse and merry meetings- politics were rigorously excluded from its walls. No one entered with his repeal buttons or Orange Sash. Both were left in the umbrella stand at the outside door. Whatever they were without- however widely they differed in the streets- within all were Irish gentlemen, cordial, generous and jovial. Very nearly three-fourths of the club were Conservatives or Tories. Only two or three were repealers. I had the honour to be one of the latter. Politically considered, it was a desolate minority. But so true were the members to the fundamental principles of the Club, that they might all have been Repealers for anything offensive ever heard to the contrary. The Majority were loyalists to the marrow and never lost a opportunity to assert the fact. They were sincerely so. Truthful, high-toned, gallant, their loyalty won my respect, though it failed to invite my concurrence. Loyal as they were however, they were friendly and affectionate to the rebel. Inwardly condemning his insubordination to the Queen, they openly loved him for his fidelity to the club. A staunch friend of a pleasant institution they knew me to be. Of the principle on which it was established they knew I warmly approved. They knew that in public, over and over again, I had prayed for that tolerant, genial, generous brotherhood amongst Irishmen, of the feasibility and beauty of which, in a little sphere, they themselves had furnished such delightful evidence, and, to the last moment, for these reasons, I believe I continued to be their favourite.

Well do I remember how cordially they used to drink my health and cheer my stammering speeches at their dinners. Well do I remember the jovial welcome and the shuffling of chairs around the fireplace every night I came in. Early or late- the latter the better-they always had a chair and a cheer for me.

Of this club and all belonging to it I cherish the liveliest remembrance. Many a time do the old faces I so often saw there re-appear to me, sparkling and laughing, grinning or frowning, darkened into horror at some catastrophe. Or bursting into boundless mirth at some rich joke, as they used to do night after night, in that magic circle round the fireplace in the smoking room.

It was indeed a pleasant thing to drop in there about nine or ten o’clock at night. A little while after you opened the door, you could discern nothing plainly. The smoke was dense filling the four corners. The group about the fireplace was but a darker cloud. As you approached it resolved itself into several distinct fragments. Each fragment was a gentleman; the gentleman had his cigar, his short clay pipe, his manila or his chibouque.  Night after night for the twelvemonth, it was always the same. For the last twenty years it had been the same. The habitués of that cosy and capacious fireplace formed a stock company of the pleasantest performers on the provincial stage of life.

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Letter from the Papal war

While based in Spoleto Patrick Clooney  wrote to Dr.Tobias Kirby ( a fellow Waterford man) rector of the Irish College in Rome seeking to acquire a medal blessed by the holy father himself. Thanks to Robert Doyle for finding this in the vatican archives.

“Citadel Spoleto, August 21 1860

Very Rev Sir,

You will excuse me, I hope, for the trouble I am now seeking to give you but my only plea for excuse is that I was born in the city that glories in your birth and feels some pleasure in the assistance and advice that you have been able to render to the Irish Volunteers. Also, another cause why I would trouble you is that I have cost the Papal Government very little in coming out here as I left Waterford by myself when the movement failed to send them out and the letter I brought you from the Rev. Rich. Fitzgerald of the Cathedral Waterford will bear me out as to my intentions. I will never desert the cause I have sworn to maintain. By complying with the request I make, if it is possible for you to do so, would place me under a debt of gratitude I would never forget. It is this. I have been given to understand that medals were given by his holiness to some of the first arrivals of volunteers in Rome. If it is a fact and that one of them remained, I could never forget our kindness if you could procure it for me. I would cherish it to my heart and never part with it till death. I would keep it from the knowledge of some or if you like, all parties to prevent anything like annoyance. If you can succeed you will never never be forgotten in the prayers of your most

Devtd. Sevt.

Patk F Clooney
No 1 Company Irish Battalion
Spoleto”

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Officers of the Irish Brigade

Thanks to Damien Shiels for helping identifying the men in this photo “It was taken sometime between May and August in 1862 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia by Alexander Gardner. Three of the men are religious standing at back left is Father Patrick Dillon CSC (who was visiting his brother Father James at the time), seated centre is Father James Dillon CSC and seated right is Father William Corby CSC (of Gettysburg absolution fame). Many of the reproductions of the image list the men standing at back right and seated at front left as unidentified (although he is an officer), though Joe Bilby in his book ‘The Irish Brigade and the Civil War: The 69th New York and Other Irish Regiments of the Army of the Potomac’ identifies the man standing at back right as James J.McCormick, Quartermaster of the 63rd New York”. In the Decies journal of Waterford Pat McCarthy wrote ” The papers of the late John Garland, A renowned expert on Irish participation in the American Civil War identified some of the officers and quoting WD o Grady who served in the 88th, identifies the officer seated on the left as Capt Clooney”.

Thanks again for help with this Damien.

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Irish Brigade Association visit to Waterford

In March 1992 a group of forty American civil war enthusiasts visted Waterford. Whilst staying in the Granville hotel they payed a visit to the Patrick Clooney memorial. The group included a civil war brass band, eight confederate re-enactors and four federal, the group fired a salute to Clooney in the graveyard.

Thanks to Gerry Regan of www.thewildgeese.com for the excellent photo.

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