St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. Civil War

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day dates back more than 1,000 years, and Irish soldiers and emigrants brought that tradition with them to the British colonies in North America, and later to the USA.

During the Civil War in the United States, the soldiers joined in honoring Ireland’s patron saint, regardless of their religion. The northern sector still being in winter quarters, and little or no fighting going on, the day could become one of amusement and celebratory events, including horse racing  (and no doubt “a plenty of Whiskey in camp”).

St Patricks Day horse race in Virginia

St. Patrick’s Day horse race in Virginia during the Civil War. Illustration from The Soldier in Our Civil War. (Leslie, 1893)

But the events didn’t always end in merriment, as evidenced by Oney F. Sweet’s diary entry for March 17, 1865, while stationed near Petersburg, Virginia:

 St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrated a grand time. Horse racing. Two men killed and one Colonel by horses running over them.

What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster SweetRead more about the daily life of a Union soldier during the War of the Rebellion in the forthcoming book, What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters and Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet. The book will be released on April 9, 2015, the 150th anniversary of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.

The previously unpublished letters and diaries offer a unique glimpse of the American Civil War from the bottom looking up; that is, from the view of a private simply trying to survive a deadly war in which one in five combatants perished.

This first-hand account of what the private saw will be a delightful and informative addition to the many existing volumes on the American Civil War.

For more information about and excerpts from the book, visit the website http://whattheprivatesaw.com . . .

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About Polishing Your Prose

Larry M Edwards is an award-winning investigative journalist, author, editor and publishing consultant. He is the author of three books, and has edited dozens of nonfiction and fiction book manuscripts. Under Wigeon Publishing, he has produced six books. As author, "Dare I Call It Murder? A Memoir of Violent Loss" won First Place in the San Diego Book Awards in 2012 (unpublished memoir) and 2014, Best Published Memoir. The book has also been nominated for a number of awards, including: Pulitzer Prize, Benjamin Franklin Award, Washington State Book Award, and One Book, One San Diego. As Editor, "Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources" won the Gold Award in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, Self-Help. For a sample edit and cost estimate, contact Larry: larry [at] larryedwards [dot] com -- www.larryedwards.com -- www.dareicallitmurder.com -- www.wigeonpublishing.com
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