Nurse Margaret Kehoe, The Rising's 'First Martyr'


A descendant of one of the most heroic and dashing figures from American military history died in the fighting in Dublin during the 1916 Easter Rising, and was immediately commemorated, not without controversy, by republicans as the Rising's "first martyr."

Nurse Margaret Kehoe, slain during an exchange of rifle fire between Irish and British forces in South Dublin Union, was the niece of Myles Walter Keogh, a captain in the Seventh U.S. Cavalry who perished in June 1876 alongside his commander George Armstrong Custer and about 220 troopers in "Custer's Last Stand."

In Dublin on Easter Monday, April 24,1916, the first day of fighting during the Rising, Kehoe was on duty at the public workhouse and hospital. The 1916 Rebellion Handbook, first published by The Irish Times not long after the Rising, mentions Kehoe, more or less in passing, as an innocent bystander. She was "accidentally killed by a stray shot whilst discharging her duty." However, accounts vary as to how Margaret died in the bloody fight at the South Dublin Union, a place for Dublin's destitute, infirm and insane.

The South Dublin Union (now St. James' Hospital)
The complex was spread over 50 acres and consisted of an array of buildings. Records show that in April 1916, 3,282 people, including patients, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff, were housed or working among the buildings.

Most sources and witnesses stated that Kehoe had been on duty that Monday in one of the hospital buildings, Hospital 2-3, as the battle raged all around. Six republican riflemen, who had been firing from a top floor on the British soldiers, vacated their position and there was a lull in the firing.

Nurse Kehoe decided to look into the safety of any patients or wounded on the lower floor. At the foot of the stairs, the corridor was occupied by two British soldiers kneeling out of sight, covering the open doorway with their rifles. As she entered the corridor, they both fired, killing her instantly.  

The First Martyr - Nurse Margaret Kehoe by Declan Kerr
A distraught colleague rushed to her aid but it was too late. Her body was placed on a table in the corridor. Shortly afterwards, Irish Volunteer Dan McCarthy, who had been badly wounded in the volley of gunfire that caused Margaret Kehoe to descend, was laid beside her on the table. McCarthy survived, becoming president of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) from 1921 to 1924.

Eamonn Ceannt, the commander of the garrison, addressed the men afterward, and declared that the nurse was the "first martyr" of the rebellion, and asked those present to remember her sacrifice. Ceannt stated: "She died for Ireland just as surely as if she'd worn the Volunteer's uniform." 

Since her death, Kehoe has been claimed by republican sources as one of their own, a member of the Irish women's republican movement, Cumann na mBan. Yet the assertion that she was an active participant has never been verified by the canonical listing prepared for the National Graves Association, nor in any reputable sources of the 1916 Rising. 

The ownership, as it were, of Kehoe's death remains disputed. Perhaps her fate - doing her duty while caught in crossfire during the Rising - provides an apt metaphor for the experience of women in the Irish revolution.

Margaret was born in 1867, the daughter of Patrick (Myles' older brother) & Marion Kehoe. She lived on the family farm at Orchard, Leighlinbridge, County Carlow, Keogh's birthplace. Nurse Kehoe was initially buried on the grounds of the hospital where she was shot but later exhumed and reinterred in Ballinabranna cemetery, near her native parish of Leighlin. Commemoration ceremonies in honour of her memory and sacrifice commonly take place there.


Original painting and prints of "The First Martyr - Nurse Margaret Kehoe" available at

March 25th 1840

On this day, 175 years ago, Myles Keogh was born at Orchard House just outside Leighlinbridge, County Carlow in Ireland. We continue to honour his life and his military career:
"A man who defends his own country or attacks another is no more than a soldier. But he, who adopts some other country as his own and makes offer of his sword and his blood, is more than a soldier. He is a hero."
Emile Barrault, French author and philosopher

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Stoneman's 1865 Raid - Part 1: The Sacking of Boone

Major Myles Keogh with Tennessean Robert Morrow, also of Stoneman's staff, circa 1865.

On March 21, 1865 and after months of planning, including Keogh's lengthy stint in Kentucky refitting prospective regiments, George Stoneman could finally report to Generals Thomas and Grant that his whole command was now on the road. "It is a long, rough, bad road where we are going" he continued, "and every precaution and care has been and must continue to be taken in order that our horses may not be broken down in the first part, which is over a country destitute of subsistence."

Among the precautions that Stoneman alluded to were, in part, influenced by Grant's requirement that the raiders march light. Circulars from HQ dictated that each company of cavalry was allowed only two pack mules - one for ammunition and the other for the officers' mess and company cooking utensils. Each man was to carry 63 rounds of ammunition, two horseshoes and nails, kitchen utensils, a canteen and horse-grooming tools.

This cavalry division of the District of East Tennessee, under the immediate command of Brig. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem (left), was composed of three brigades: Colonel William J. Palmer's First Brigade, Brevet Brig. Gen. Simeon B. Brown's 2nd Brigade, and Colonel John K. Miller's 3rd Brigade, as well as a battery of artillery under Lieutenant James M. Regan. As commander of the East Tennessee district, Stoneman personally accompanied Gillem's cavalry division to oversee the mission. Alongside the general would be his senior aide-de-camp, Major Myles Keogh.

While Stoneman's raid was a cavalry expedition, a two brigade infantry division - Brig. Gen. Davis Tillson's 4th Division of the Department of the Cumberland (4500 soldiers) - marched behind the mounted troopers with the express role of repairing railroad tracks and holding captured terrain and mountain passes.

As the raiders progressed through East Tennessee, little occurred of significance apart from battling the unkind elements of wind, rain and frost. By Sunday, March 26, Stoneman's raiders had reached Doe River Cove near the North Carolina Road. The general and his staff spent the night bunking in a nearby cabin where they were sought out by John J. Wickham, an expert telegraph operator. Apparently, Wickham entered the dimly lit cabin, saw Stoneman at the opposite end of the dwelling and proceeding to tip-toe over the slumbering figures on the ground, unwilling to disturb their rest. Unfortunately for the visitor, he clumsily trod on none other than Myles Keogh. The Irishman angrily awoke from his sleep and confronted poor Wickham. Harsh words were initially exchanged between the two men but the matter soon ended and they eventually bunked down together, grabbing a few hours of much needed rest. A presumably bemused Stoneman continued with his planning.

The following day, Stoneman issued orders for a rapid push across the Watauga River and into North Carolina. As the evening wore on and darkness fell, the mountain roads over which the line of cavalry men rode would be particularly treacherous. Some loyal citizens lit fires by which the men were guided over the winding tracks. Soldiers later vividly recollected these evenings where the "fires were lighting up everything about, and the troopers looked like mounted specters, moving silently along."

After an exhausting night's ride, Stoneman awoke on March 28 to news that a meeting of Confederate Home Guard would be taking place in Boone, the Watauga County seat, that very day. Home Guard units were, essentially, the last defence against any invading Union forces and, in those final stages of the war, took on a more active role as the South had few fighting-fit regular army personnel to spare. Many of the Home Guard volunteers were wounded soldiers who had returned to home to recuperate.

Stoneman directed Major Keogh to take command of a detachment of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry and proceed to Boone to investigate the reports. The 12th Kentucky had a poor record for behaviour such as desertion and a habit of "insulting and otherwise doing violence to peaceable citizens." Much of the blame for this has been laid at the feet of their commander, Major James B. Harrison. Regardless, the 12th could fight and it is likely that Keogh was given command to ensure discipline while carrying out reconnaissance on a civilian town. The Union detachment was guided to Boone by lead scout, William McKesson Blalock (right) ; a southerner who had become a Unionist after initially fighting for the Rebels. A North Carolina native, Blalock was only itching to exact some retribution on locals who had persecuted him for abandoning the Confederate cause.

The Watauga County Home Guard, Major Harvey Bingham's 11th Battalion, were no ramshackle unit. Bingham, a twice-wounded veteran, had raised two companies and created "Camp Mast" were the men could be stationed. This Home Guard had been battling Unionist sympathisers like Blalock with some degree of success until just weeks before Keogh and the 12th Kentucky rode into town. The previous month, "Camp Mast" had been attacked by around one hundred "Tar Heels" - a title bestowed on Unionists from the North Carolina area. The outpost was captured and Bingham's men were routed. The meeting on March 28 was the locals first step in reorganising their militia. Unfortunately for them, the Union cavalry would put paid to those aspirations.

Boone was nestled in a valley surrounded by tree-covered hills and mountains. Although not large, it did consist of several log cabins, some larger homes, a court house, an inn and a general store. A little after eleven o clock in the morning, its peace was shattered as Major Keogh led the Kentucky boys straight into the town centre. About one hundred Home Guardsmen were armed and drilling at that time near the courthouse and, despite Keogh attaining the element of surprise, the militia resolved not to be defeated for a second time in as many months. The locals opened fire and the blue-coated troopers were welcomed with a hail of bullets.

Major Keogh ordered a charge and, with sabers drawn, the raiders galloped up the main street at the Confederates. According to one of the Union participants, the skirmish became "hotly contested." Unslinging their carbines and letting loose a number of volleys of their own, Keogh's men blasted away at any thing that moved. One of the townsfolk, Mrs. James Councill, stepped onto the doorway of her porch, her child in her arms, and into an enfilade of fire. The wooden porch around her was peppered with bullets but miraculously, she and the child escaped unharmed. The Home Guardsmen quickly realised that their attackers were more than just local Unionists springing another attack and that the enemy to their front were, in fact, part of Stoneman's dreaded raiders. The militia began to flee but were shown little mercy by some of the Union cavalry. The bodies of some fallen Confederate volunteers indicate that they were shot in the back. Evidence also suggests that the scout, William Blalock, shot one of the locals, a Mr. Warren Green, while he was trying to surrender. In the heat of battle, some discipline was discarded when the opportunity for vengeance presented itself.

The fight did continue in the town as a series of running street skirmishes where some of the Rebels refused to flee. The local sheriff, A. J. McBride, gave as good as he got. Intent on seeking out Blalock, the lawman fought until he was incapacitated by a bullet to his chest. Fifteen-year-old Steel Frazier led the cavalrymen on a cat and mouse chase around the outskirts of the town, eventually escaping and later claiming that he had "hit two bluejackets."

Historical Marker on East King Street, Boone, North Carolina

When the gunfire finally ceased, the injured were treated and a morgue was set up in a local dwelling. Keogh's men suffered few casualties; likely a handful of wounded but no fatalities. In later reports, both Generals Stoneman and Gillem recorded that nine Home Guardsmen had been killed and a little over sixty captured. Gillem was clear as to who should attain any glory from this lively skirmish: "Much credit is due to Major Keogh and the gallant officers and men of the Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry engaged in this affair." Before leaving the town, General Gillem ordered that the local jail be burned to the ground. As the black smoke rose above Boone, the rest of the cavalry division approached from the west, reuniting Stoneman's command for the next stage of their mission.

Source and additional recommended reading:

'Stoneman's Raid 1865' by Chris J. Hartley.

Keogh's Medals and the Galt House Fire

Galt House Hotel, Louisville, as it looked before the 1865 fire.

Stoneman's command trooped wearily into Knoxville, Tennessee, on 29 December 1864, having fulfilled a large part of the mission they began nineteen days earlier. By now, Sherman had completed his famed march to the sea, and Grant was tightening his stranglehold on Lee's army at Richmond and Petersburg. It was now becoming clear to Myles Keogh that the upcoming spring campaign would see the final actions of the war.

Soon after returning to Knoxville, Keogh, possibly in the company of General Stoneman, journeyed to Louisville, Kentucky, arriving in the early days of 1865. While in the city, the Irish officer boarded at the famous Galt House Hotel on the northeast corner of Second and Main streets. Acclaimed as Louisville's best hotel at that time, Galt House was originally the residence of Dr. W.C. Galt but by 1835, had been refurbished and opened as a 60-room hotel. Prior to Keogh's stay, Galt House had already quite a history. In 1842, the English author, Charles Dickens, wrote of his time as a guest at the hotel when he described himself "as handsomely lodged as though we had been in Paris."

Two decades later, the controversial killing of Major General William "Bull" Nelson in the foyer of this Louisville hotel would make headlines around the nation. Wounded in defeat at the Battle of Richmond, Nelson convalesced in Louisville while holding command of its defences when Confederate General Braxton Bragg threatened the city. On 29 September, 1862, Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis confronted General Nelson in the foyer of the hotel in an ongoing row over military authority. Their argument escalated and Nelson slapped Davis in the face, challenging him to a duel. Within a few minutes, Davis had returned with a pistol he had borrowed, and shot and killed Nelson. The General whispered, "It's all over," and died fifteen minutes later. The controversy arose as Davis was arrested but never tried for killing Nelson.

During the Civil War, the Galt House was commonly used for meetings of Union generals. In March 1864, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman met at the hotel to plan the invasion that led to the successful capture of Atlanta, Georgia and Sherman's March to the Sea.

Keogh's presence in Louisville, a city that he would visit regularly in the future, was likely related to organising the various Kentucky regiments under General Stoneman's command. The United States Subsistence Department was just at the back of the hotel which might offer another reason for Keogh/Stoneman to be there, kitting the command out for the forthcoming campaign.

In the early hours of 11 January, 1865, a fire took hold in the hotel and seems to have swept through the building at frightening speed. According to newspaper reports of the day, by 3.30 a.m. that Wednesday morning, Galt House was almost entirely in ruins. 'The New York Times' reported that the aggregate loss was "nearly a million of dollars." The remains of two bodies were discovered among the debris, one of whom was identified as "William Hanna, of Shelby County, Kentucky."

The suddenness of the event seems to have caught Myles Keogh by surprise as he had to escape from the flames leaving behind his cherished papal medals, the Pro Petri Sede and the Cross of St. Gregory, and some important personal papers. All were lost in the inferno and it would be two and half years later before Keogh had the medals replaced. On 30 September, 1867, Myles wrote home telling his brother Tom:
"My decorations that I lost in the fire in 64 [actually 1865] have been forwarded to me from Paris by a kind friend."
Keogh did indeed receive a full-sized set of replacements and replica miniatures from Paris through his "kind friend", Mr. Dexter Bradford of New York. This "Dexter Bradford" is presumably S. Dexter Bradford Jr., son of acclaimed Massachusetts writer, Samuel Dexter Bradford. Once described by 'The New York Times' as a "noted turfman and New-York society clubman", Bradford Jr. was a wealthy playboy who would have had the necessary contacts to arrange for the reproduction of Keogh's papal war medals in Paris. How Myles became acquainted with Bradford Jr., or the extent of their friendship, is yet unknown.

In this 1870 photograph, Keogh can be seen posing with an assortment of papal medals, including the miniature replacements as well as a Fifteenth Corps badge.

As for Galt House - within weeks, noted architect R. Whitestone began plans for the construction of a new hotel a block away from the original site, at First and Main. The project cost $1.5 million, an extraordinary sum considering the country was still recovering from the Civil War. The new Galt, which opened in 1869, was once again the centre of Louisville's community. However, after falling on hard times at the end of the century, Galt House II was closed in 1919 due to financial difficulties and soon after, in 1921, the building was demolished. 

Plaque at the site of the original Galt House, Louisville
Plaque at the site of the original Galt House, Louisville

Almost half a century later, in 1973, the Galt House was re-established by developer Al Schneider as part of Louisville's Riverfront Urban Renewal Project. An east tower was added in 1984, and the hotel is now one of the largest hotels in the Southeast United States.

Over the first months of 1865, Stoneman refitted his command in the hope that he would have one more chance to conduct a raid. By March, Stoneman's cavalry was finally prepared to drive old Dixie down...

Lest We Forget

JUNE 25-26, 1876

 7th U.S. Cavalry Killed in Action  

Commissioned Officers
Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, Commanding Regiment
Captain Myles Walter Keogh, Commanding Company I
1st Lieutenant William Winer Cooke, Regimental Adjutant
Captain George W. Yates, Commanding Company F
Captain Thomas Ward Custer, Commanding Company C
1st Lieutenant Donald McIntosh, Commanding Company G
1st Lieutenant James Calhoun, Commanding Company L
1st Lieutenant Algernon E. Smith, Commanding Company E
1st Lieutenant James E. Porter, Second-in-command, Company I
2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Hubert Hodgson, Adjutant to Major Marcus A. Reno
2nd Lieutenant Henry Moore Harrington, Second-in-command, Company C
2nd Lieutenant James Garland Sturgis, Second-in-command, Company E
2nd Lieutenant William Van W. Reily, Second-in-command, Company F
2nd Lieutenant John J. Crittenden, (20th U.S. Inf.), Second-in-command, Company L
Assistant Surgeon George E. Lord
Acting Assistant Surgeon James M. DeWolf

Non-Commissioned Staff
 Sergeant Major William H. Sharrow
Chief Trumpeter Henry Voss

Company A
 Corporal James Dalious
Private John E. Armstrong
Private James Drinan
Private James McDonald
Private William Moodie
Private Richard Rollins
Private John Sullivan
Private Thomas P. Sweetser

Company B
Private Richard Dorn
Private George B. Mask

Company C
1st Sergeant Edwin Bobo
Sergeant Jeremiah Finley
Sergeant George August Finckle
Corporal Henry E. French
Corporal John Foley
Corporal Daniel Ryan
Trumpeter Thomas J. Bucknell
Trumpeter William Kramer
Saddler George Howell
Blacksmith John King
Private Fred E. Allan
Private John Brightfield
Private Christopher Criddle
Private George Eiseman
Private Gustave Engle
Private James Farrand
Private Patrick Griffin
Private James Hathersall
Private John Lewis
Private Frederick Meier
Private August Meyer
Private Edgar Phillips
Private John Rauter
Private Edward Rix
Private James H. Russell
Private Ludwick St. John
Private Samuel S. Shade
Private Jeremiah Shea
Private Nathan Short
Private Alpheus Stuart
Private Ygnatz Stungewitz
Private John Thadus
Private Garrett Van Allen
Private Oscar L. Warner
Private Willis B. Wright
Private Henry Wyman

Company D
Farrier Vincent Charley
Private Patrick M. Golden
Private Edward Housen

Company E
1st Sergeant Frederick Hohmeyer
Sergeant John S. Ogden
Sergeant William B. James
Corporal Thomas Eagan
Corporal Henry S. Mason
Corporal George C. Brown
Corporal Albert H. Meyer
Trumpeter Thomas McElroy
Trumpeter George A. Moonie
Private William H. Baker
Private Robert Barth
Private Owen Boyle
Private James Brogan
Private Edward Conner
Private John Darris
Private William Davis
Private Richard Farrell
Private John S. S. Forbes
Private John Heim
Private John Henderson
Private Sykes Henderson
Private William Hiuber
Private Andrew Knecht
Private Herod T. Liddiard
Private Patrick O'Connor
Private William H. Rees
Private Edward Rood
Private Henry Schele
Private William Smallwood
Private Albert A. Smith
Private James Smith, 1st
Private James Smith, 2nd
Private Benjamin Stafford
Private Alexander Stella
Private William A. Torrey
Private Cornelius Van Sant
Private George Walker

Company F
1st Sergeant Michael Kenney
Sergeant Frederick Nursey
Sergeant John Vickory
Sergeant John R. Wilkinson
Corporal Charles Coleman
Corporal William Teeman
Corporal John Briody
Trumpeter Thomas N. Way
Farrier Benjamin Brandon
Blacksmith James R. Manning
Private Thomas Atcheson
Private William Brady
Private Benjamin F. Brown
Private William Brown
Private Patrick Bruce
Private Lucien Burnham
Private James Carney
Private Armantheus D. Cather
Private Anton Dohman
Private Timothy Donnelly
Private John Gardiner
Private George W. Hammon
Private John P. Kelly
Private Gustave Klein
Private Herman Knauth
Private William H. Lerock
Private Werner L. Liemann
Private William A. Lossee
Private Christian Madsen
Private Francis E. Milton
Private Joseph Monroe
Private Sebastian Omling
Private Patrick Rudden
Private Richard Saunders
Private Francis W. Sicfous
Private George A. Warren

Company G
Sergeant Edward Botzer
Sergeant Martin Considine
Corporal James Martin
Corporal Otto Hagemann
Trumpeter Henry Dose
Farrier Benjamin Wells
Saddler Crawford Selby
Private John J. McGinniss
Private Andrew J. Moore
Private John Rapp
Private Benjamin F. Rogers
Private Henry Seafferman
Private Edward Stanley

Company H
Corporal George Lell
Private Juilien D. Jones
Private Thomas E. Meador

Company I
1st Sergeant Frank E. Varden
Sergeant James Bustard
Corporal John Wild
Corporal George C. Morris
Corporal Samuel F. Staples
Trumpeter John McGucker
Trumpeter John W. Patton
Saddler Henry A. Bailey
Private John Barry
Private Joseph F. Broadhurst
Private Thomas Connors
Private David Cooney
Private Thomas P. Downing
Private Edward Driscoll
Private David C. Gillette
Private George H. Gross
Private Adam Hetesimer
Private Edward P. Holcomb
Private Marion E. Horn
Private Patrick Kelly
Private Henry Lehman
Private Edward W. Lloyd
Private Archibald McIlhargey
Private John Mitchell
Private Jacob Noshang
Private John O'Bryan
Private John Parker
Private Felix James Pitter
Private George Post
Private James Quinn
Private William Reed
Private John W. Rossbury
Private Darwin L. Symms
Private James E. Troy
Private Charles Von Bramer
Private William B. Whaley

Company K
1st Sergeant Dewitt Winney
Sergeant Robert M. Hughes
Corporal John J. Callahan
Trumpeter Julius Helmer
Private Elihu F. Clear

1st Sgt. Butler's Battlefield Marker

Company L
1st Sergeant James Butler
Sergeant William Cashan
Sergeant Amos B. Warren
Corporal William H. Harrison
Corporal John Seiler
Corporal William H. Gilbert
Trumpeter Frederick Walsh
Blacksmith Charles Siemon
Saddler Charles Perkins
Private George E. Adams
Private William Andrews
Private Anthony Assadaly
Private Elmer Babcock
Private Ami Cheever
Private William B. Crisfield
Private John L. Crowley
Private William Dye
Private James J. Galvan
Private Charles Graham
Private Henry Hamilton
Private Weston Harrington
Private Louis Haugge
Private Francis T. Hughes
Private Thomas G. Kavanagh
Private Louis Lobering
Private Charles McCarthy
Private Peter McGue
Private Bartholomew Mahoney
Private Thomas E. Maxwell
Private John Miller
Private David J. O'Connell
Private Oscar F. Pardee
Private Christian Reibold
Private Henry Roberts
Private Walter B. Rogers
Private Charles Schmidt
Private Charles Scott
Private Bent Siemonson
Private Andrew Snow
Private Byron Tarbox
Private Edmond D. Tessier
Private Thomas S. Tweed
Private Johann Michael Vetter

Company M
Sergeant Miles F. O'Hara
Corporal Henry M. Cody
Corporal Frederick Stressinger
Private Frank Braun
Private Henry Gordon
Private Jacob Gebhart
Private Henry Klotzbucher
Private George Lorentz
Private William D. Meyer
Private George E. Smith
Private David Summers
Private Henry Turley
Private Henry C. Voight

Boston Custer, brother of George and Thomas
Henry Armstrong Reed, nephew of George
Mark Kellogg, Newspaper Reporter for the Bismarck Tribune
Frank C. Mann, Chief Packer
Charley Reynolds, Chief Scout
Isaiah Dorman, Negro-Indian Interpreter
Mitch Bouyer, half-breed
Bloody Knife
Bob-Tailed Bull
Little Brave
Battlefield Monument

Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Myles Keogh

Myles Walter Keogh (March 25, 1840 – June 25, 1876) was an Irishman who fought in Italy during the 1860 Papal War before volunteering for the Union side in the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). During the war years, he was promoted from the rank of Captain to that of Major, finally being awarded the brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the Civil War ended, Keogh received a permanent commission as Captain of Company I, 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment commanded by George Armstrong Custer during the Indian Wars of the 1870s. Myles Keogh was killed with Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25th 1876.

We will be analysing Keogh's life and career in chronological order - scroll down the opening page or click on the black triangles under 'Previous Articles' to access past research. If you wish to have an quick overview, watch the video below or visit the following recommended articles:

The Civil War Battles of Myles Walter Keogh

From 1862 to the end of the American Civil War, Myles Keogh fought in almost 80 separate engagements. He was never wounded in combat until the day he died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1876.


Keogh & Comanche - New Painting

Commissioned for the National Museum of the Morgan Horse, this original oil painting is now on display at that museum in Middlebury, Vermont. It was the artist's intention that the details relating to period, uniform, accessories and horse tack were accurately represented in the painting. The artist, signed as Lazarus, even modeled a horse in similar tack to get the posture correct.

Behind Captain Keogh and 'Comanche' are
Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and, left to right, Crow King, Rain In The Face, Gall & Sitting Bull.

It is expected that prints in two sizes will be commercially available in the near future.

Ireland & the American Civil War

A new and noble cause. More Irish fought in the American Civil War than in WWI and WWII combined. It's time for Ireland to recognise their sacrifice...

A number of like-minded individuals, who wish to promote Irish involvement in the American Civil War, have begun to commemorate this iconic conflict in Ireland. The aim is to develop a Civil War Trail and Memorial to those from the entire island who were caught up in the conflict. A site has now been developed to further this goal, called the Irish American Civil War Trail. It provides the project’s mission statement, and also a drop down list of potential trail locations within Ireland categorized by county.

The site is still under development and there are many images and locations to be added, particularly concerning the birthplaces of Colonels and Medal of Honor recipients. However, it will be added to over time and it is hoped it will act as a catalyst for the development of local interest at these locations. Please drop by and have a look at the site, and feel free to make suggestions as to potential additions, clarifications or to provide further detail on entries. We would also welcome any photographs of sites in Ireland that could be added. If you would like to contact the group you can do so on the Civil War Trail site or by emailing

Kildare's James Martin May Be Garryowen's Unknown Soldier

The Peace Memorial at Garryowen. 

 In 1895, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad established a tiny station on the edge of the Little Bighorn battlefield and called it "Garryowen," after the Seventh's regimental marching song. By the mid-1920s, Garryowen was in private hands and was little more than a small market town. In May 1926, almost 50 years after "Custer's Last Stand," construction work was being carried out on an irrigation ditch just east of this station, along the line of retreat Major Marcus Reno's men took early in the battle. While digging, workmen discovered a near complete set of skeletal remains, accompanied by 7th Cavalry uniform buttons. The dead soldier appeared to be have been decapitated after death as no skull or skull fragments were ever found.

Looking down on Major Reno's retreat route

At the time of the battle, the Santee Sioux still ritually practiced decapitation instead of scalping, and Martin may have encountered them. His remains were never identified, but Private John Foley from Dublin made the grisly discovery of a head under a kettle in the Indian village days after the battle. Foley went on record as stating that it belonged to a corporal from G Company.

The remains were buried in Garryowen with full military honours that year and overlain with a granite memorial inscribed: "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God." But was this dead trooper American-born? Possibly not.

It's likely, in fact, he was a native of Ireland. James Martin was born just outside Kildare Town in 1847. He enlisted in the 7th Cavalry on February 6, 1872, at age 24, and is recorded as having gray eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, standing at 5'5" tall. He met his end during Major Reno's retreat when he was shot from his horse and killed by a group of warriors.   

As only two corporals from Co. G were killed during the battle — Martin and a German called Otto Hagemann — Foley's identification of the head probably stems from his recognition of James Martin's facial features and his knowledge that this fellow Irishman was a corporal in the Seventh's Company G. The intriguing possibility is that the skeletal remains uncovered in 1926 and buried in Garryowen as the "soldier known but to God" could, in fact, be Martin's. The bones were discovered near the spot of his death, and the lack of a skull with the skeleton further suggests that the remains could be those of the Kildare man, one of only a few soldiers whose severed heads were found in the abandoned Indian village.

Certainty might be established by an exhumation and the use of DNA evidence, but it is probably more fitting that this soldier rests with honors near the monument to the fight in which he gave his life.