Tag: Catholic

Soldiers of the Cross: David Conyngham’s Unpublished Tribute to Catholic Priests and Nuns in the Civil War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

William S. Rosecrans and the Politics of Reconciliation

In the spring of 1865, as prospects for Union victory became brighter with each passing week, Major General William Starke Rosecrans found himself and his once promising military career in utter ruin. Despite winning a number of battles between the fall of 1861 and the summer of 1863, “Old Rosy” had been spectacularly defeated at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863,… 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 →

History Comes for the Archbishop (Part II)

In Part I, I discussed how Archbishop John Hughes’s high reputation with Catholic scholars fell precipitously after the Second Vatican Council, thanks in large part to the scholarship of Fr. Andrew Greeley. Part II argues that the long-lasting impact of Greeley’s negative portrayal of Hughes greatly influenced other scholars. Recent historians, however, have begun to reevaluate more positively Hughes’s role… Read more →

History Comes for the Archbishop (Part I)

At a recent Nau Center event, J. Matthew Gallman asked a room of UVA graduate students who they thought was the most important 19th century American without a recent biography. As one might expect, the names that came forward were a combination of political, abolitionist, and other liberal figures popular with modern academic scholars. If I had been bold enough… Read more →

Papal Parody: A Humorous Take on Pius IX’s Peace Letter to Jefferson Davis

It cannot be denied that many 19th century Americans looked unfavorably on the growth of Catholicism in their country. Large-scale Catholic immigration, especially to the North and Midwest, stoked fears of future papist meddling in America’s democracy and society. When Pope Pius IX wrote a friendly letter in December 1863 to Confederate President Jefferson Davis hoping for the speedy end… Read more →

Irish Bravery, Catholic Sacrifice

Many Irish Catholic Americans hoped the Civil War would prove their loyalty to the nation once and for all. Enlisting in the Union Army in order to show they were just as American as their native-born, Protestant neighbors, they knew they would be judged by how they conducted themselves on the battlefield. Patrick Donahoe, owner and editor of the Boston… Read more →