The Search for Irishmen

As I was reading this blog post about Irish family members, it really made me think about the “simpler times” during the Civil War and how heartbreaking it must have been for the Irish families searching for their loved ones. Since there was no mass media or internet, it was more difficult to keep track of soldiers within the battles of war. Some Irish families would pay $1 to put in an advertisement to help search for loved ones lost in battle in the New York Irish-American. The advertisements contained some information on the soldier (age, hometown, rank, etc.) and where he was last seen and the ads would be put up in three issues. Not only is it hard to send off a loved one to war, but also having to sit and wonder when or if he will come back. Sometimes, men would be dead for months before their families even found out about him. In today’s world, when you have someone close to you sent off to war, you usually find out their current state on a regular basis. Back in the Civil War days, it wasn’t the case. Since finding out about soldiers was seen as a waiting game to these Irish families, I could only imagine the grief they must have felt as the months went on, constantly wondering whether their son or brother was dead, captured, or (hopefully) alive and well. Although receiving news of a loved ones death is tragic, we are lucky to be living in a time of advance communication because back in those days, the waiting of that kind of news could almost be just as bad as the news itself. 

Reference: http://irishamericancivilwar.com/2013/08/26/any-information-will-be-most-thankfully-received-by-his-mother-tracing-missing-irishmen-in-1860s-new-york/

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