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Capital District Council for the Social Studies  (Albany, NY)

The Irish Brigade in the Civil War

  • 16 Sep 2012
  • 2:00 PM
  • Irish American Heritage Museum, in the historic Meginniss Building at 370 Broadway, Albany 12207, with free parking on weekends all along Broadway on both sides.

Siena College Professor Emeritus Thomas O. Kelly II to Present Lecture Sept. 16

As part of the story of the Irish Brigade, Siena College Professor Emeritus Thomas O. Kelly II will present the history of the famed unit with a focus on the Brigade’s action in the Civil War, at the Irish American Heritage Museum at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 16 – the day before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, one of the deadliest in the Civil War’s history.  Following his presentation, he will answer questions from the audience.

The legendary Irish Brigade played a key role in all the major battles of the Civil War, including the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Appomattox.   During the Civil War, the soldiers who fought in the all-Irish units that made up the “Irish Brigade” were known for their courage, ferocity and toughness in battle.  The Brigade was full of larger-than-life characters, including Lieutenant Colonel James Kelly of the Sixty-ninth New York.  Some say that the Irish Brigade lost more than 4,000 soldiers during the War, one of the largest body counts of any brigade, if not the largest. Its legacy is a tale of a critical and incredible fighting force, packed with immigrants that helped win the War and preserve the Union.  It’s a story that not only all of Irish heritage should want to learn, but also every Civil War history buff should want to know.

Professor Emeritus Thomas Kelly began his professional career at Siena College in 1963.  During his years at Siena as Professor of History and American Studies, he served as Assistant Dean and then Acting Dean of the Division of Arts, Head of the Department of History, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, and three terms as Chairman of the General Faculty Committee.   Professor Kelly is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Siena Research Institute.  Further at Siena, he originated and taught for twenty years a course on the Adirondacks – the region of his birth in Port Henry, Essex County – combining the history, literature, economics, art and music of the region.  In addition to his commitment to the Siena College community, he has served many Capital Region media outlets as a military analyst – especially during the Gulf War – and thereafter functioned as military, political and general analyst.  Professor Kelly is well known for his “Rating the Presidents: A Tracking Study” and many publications on the history of the United States.

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