A previous post examined the large sums of money that were collected from Union military personnel in 1862 and 1863 for the relief of the poor in Ireland. Despite the horrors of the ongoing war, the potential crisis in Ireland saw Irish Relief Funds emerge across the war-stricken North. Thousands of men in uniform took the time to make a contribution to save the vulnerable across the Atlantic, despite the fact that they themselves faced a potentially imminent death. I have created a database of the names of 871 of these donors, and have attempted to explore their fate. What became of these good samaritans in the final years of the war?
The majority of the military donors handed over anything between $1 and $5 for the Relief of the Irish Poor, with officers generally contributing greater amounts. All would have been forgiven for concentrating on their own situation, rather than concerning themselves with the plight of those still in Ireland. The desire for units to have their contribution recorded in newspapers such as the Irish-American allows us to examine the profile of some of these men, and explore what became of them during the war. This is an undertaking not without limitations; for example further work is required to discover what became of those men of the 4th United State Infantry and the sailors of the USS Kennebec.