Chicago's Irish Legion: the 90th Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War
James B. Swan

                      James B. Swan

A retired professor of Agronomy from Iowa State University with a lifelong passion for the Civil War and an Irish heritage, Swan tells the story of Chicago's Irish Legion in a style that reflects both his scholarship and his understanding of the Irish.  Although Swan never knew his grandfather, the presence of Simon Swan in the 90th Illinois gave his grandson additional grounds for examining the experiences of this regiment. 

The 90th Illinois is frequently overlooked by historians, but as the only Irish regiment in W.T. Sherman's XVth Corps, it was often noticed and mentioned by members of other regiments who served alongside the Legion.  One of these, Theodore Upson of the 100th Indiana, described the Legion's tumultuous arrival at their 1863 summer camp in Mississippi where they got into a big ruckus while putting up their tents.  It required Colonel O'Meara's using the side of his big broadsword over the men's heads to settle them down, but Upson noted that they adored their colonel.  

Chicago's Irish Legion brings to life and firmly establishes the 90th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the annals of Civil War history, while following the Irishmen as they marched across 7 Confederate States, fighting, guarding wagons, and finding ways to enjoy themselves through it all.  This story  provides an interesting contrast to the better known stories of the Irish regiments that fought in the Eastern Theater, thus providing a fuller description of the experience of the Irish in the American Civil War.

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Southern Illinois University Press
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11030 S Langley Ave
Chicago IL 60628-3830

Phone: 800-621-2736; Fax: 800-621-8476

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