Category: Research

New Perspectives on the Union War

I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new edited volume of essays on the North’s war effort titled, New Perspectives on the Union War. The book will be released in June 2019 as part of Fordham University Press’s “The North’s Civil War” Series. From the publisher: “Edited by Gary Gallagher and Elizabeth Varon, two of the most prominent… Read more →

Habemus Cover!

I am pleased to announce that Father David J. Endres and I have signed a contract with the University of Notre Dame Press to publish our scholarly-edited edition of David P. Conyngham’s Soldiers of the Cross: The Heroism of Catholic Chaplains and Sisters in the American Civil War. This book, never finished in the author’s lifetime, tells the story of… Read more →

A Holy Grail: The Story of Father Cooney and his Civil War Chalice

Descendants of the sister of Robert Gould Shaw, colonel of the famous 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment, recently rediscovered his long lost sword. The family then donated the weapon to the Massachusetts Historical Society, whose president dubbed it “the holy grail of Civil War swords.”[1] When it comes to important Civil War artifacts, however, some “holy grails” are more literal… Read more →

Soldiers of the Cross: David Conyngham’s Unpublished Tribute to Catholic Priests and Nuns in the Civil War

David Powers Conyngham (1825-1883) was an Irish Catholic immigrant, journalist, writer, and Civil War soldier who served in both the Irish Brigade and in Sherman’s army during the Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea. Shortly after the war ended, he wrote important works about the brigade and Sherman’s campaigns before turning his attention to religious and Irish history. He… Read more →

Between Two Extremes: The Boston Pilot on Slavery and the Civil War

Informally known as “the Irishman’s Bible,” The Boston Pilot was the leading Catholic journal in the United States during the 19th century. Although not the official organ of the Diocese of Boston during much of this period, the paper was read widely across Catholic and Irish communities throughout the U.S. Eventually it reached a circulation of over 100,000 in the… Read more →

Concept Cover Art for Excommunicated from the Union (2015), by William Kurtz.

Excommunicated from the Union Now Available

My first book, Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America, is now available from Fordham University Press. The journey of completing this work has been a long one. It first started in 2005, when as an undergraduate student on the advice of Dr. Dottie Pratt (then at the University of Notre Dame), I decided… Read more →

Concept Cover Art for Excommunicated from the Union (2015), by William Kurtz.

Advance Praise and Author Appearances

Having just learned from Fordham that my book is now at the printers, I wanted to take a moment to share some advance praise that Excommunicated from the Union has received from two leading historians of religion during the American Civil War. “A significant contribution to scholarship on both American Catholicism and the American Civil War. Excommunicated from the Union fills… Read more →