The Green and the Gray

The Irish in the Confederate States of America

By David T. Gleeson

328 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 halftones, 7 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2724-3
    Published: February 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0757-3
    Published: September 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7954-7
    Published: September 2013

Civil War America

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Why did many Irish Americans, who did not have a direct connection to slavery, choose to fight for the Confederacy? This perplexing question is at the heart of David T. Gleeson's sweeping analysis of the Irish in the Confederate States of America. Taking a broad view of the subject, Gleeson considers the role of Irish southerners in the debates over secession and the formation of the Confederacy, their experiences as soldiers, the effects of Confederate defeat for them and their emerging ethnic identity, and their role in the rise of Lost Cause ideology.

Focusing on the experience of Irish southerners in the years leading up to and following the Civil War, as well as on the Irish in the Confederate army and on the southern home front, Gleeson argues that the conflict and its aftermath were crucial to the integration of Irish Americans into the South. Throughout the book, Gleeson draws comparisons to the Irish on the Union side and to southern natives, expanding his analysis to engage the growing literature on Irish and American identity in the nineteenth-century United States.

About the Author

David T. Gleeson is professor of American history at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
For more information about David T. Gleeson, visit the Author Page.


"[An] eye-opening account. . . . As [Gleeson's] analysis unfolds, there is much that will surprise, perhaps even unsettle."--Boston Globe

“An extremely important and significant study. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the Irish in the Confederacy by some distance, and stands to remain so for some time to come.”

"A 'must have' book for your Confederate library!"--The Lone Star Book Review

“Gleeson has written an exemplary study that is at the crossroads of several different historical fields. . . [and] has provided [an] important piece in the jigsaw of nineteenth-century Irish American identity.”--Dublin Review of Books

"Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and general readers."--Choice

“Gleeson persuasively demonstrates how the southern Irish readily assumed a Confederate identity but perhaps just as easily cast it aside once the Civil War ended. . . [A] solidly executed volume.”--Virginia Magazine

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @dgleesonhistory.

Stay connected through the author's blog, The Atlantic Irish.

Watch: Gleeson talks to The Civil War Monitor in their "Behind the Lines" video series. (10/31/2013. Running time 17:15).

Read In a guest blog post, Gleeson explains how studying Irish identity in the Civil War can shed light on American identity as well. Read "Irish Confederates and the Meaning of American Nationalism" In another guest blog post, Gleeson describes how Irish Charlestonians’ participation in Lost Cause mythologizing helped solidify their acceptance into southern culture. Read "Immigrants and American Wars: The Irish Confederate Experience".

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