ACP 29


Brigadier-general thomas meagher (see main description for short history)

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Brigadier-general thomas meagher (also part of set acx 48)thomas francis was born in no. 19, the mall, waterford city, ireland. Meagher was educated at catholic boarding schools. His father regarded trinity college, the only university in ireland, as being both anti-irish and anti-catholic. At the age of eleven his family placed him in the care of the jesuits at clongowes wood college in county kildare. It was at clongowes that he developed his skill of oratory, becoming the youngest medalist of the debating society. These oratory skills would later distinguish him as a leading figure in irish nationalism. It was while in dublin that he met the writers of the, the nation newspaper and became a worker in the repeal movement. At a repeal meeting held in waterford on december 13, at which his father presided, meagher acted as one of the secretaries. He soon became a popular figure on burgh quay, his eloquence at meetings making him a celebrated figure in the capital. Any announcement that meagher would be speaking would ensure a crowded hall. Following the incident known as the young irelander rebellion of 1848 or “battle of ballingarry” in august 1848, meagher and, others were arrested, tried and convicted for sedition. Meagher and his colleagues were sentenced to be “hanged, drawn and quartered”. It was after his trial that meagher delivered his famous speech from the dock. However: the sentence of death was commuted to deportation to van diemen’s land, (australia). On july 20, the day after being notified of his exile, meagher announced that he wished henceforth to be known as thomas francis o’meagher. Meagher escaped van diemens land in 1852, leaving a wife and baby. He arrived in new york in may 1852, where he pursued law and journalism, and became a noted lecturer. Soon after, meagher became a united states citizen. He eventually founded a weekly newspaper called the irish newsin 1856, meagher married for the second time to elizabeth townsend, the daughter of peter townsend and caroline (ne) parish of monroe, new york. The townsend family was drawn from wealthy protestants, who did not approve of meagher marrying their daughter. Eventually, the townsend family relented and, elizabeth converted to catholicism, and she and meagher married. During this time, prior to the outbreak of the american civil war, meagher traveled to costa rica, in part to determine whether central america would be suitable for irish immigration, and also to write travel articles for harper’s magazine. Prior to the outbreak of war he had become a captain within the new york state militia. On april 12, 1861, with the first shots were fired at u.S. Held fort sumter in charleston harbor, south carolina. This action by the south pushed meagher into support of the union cause.[43] in lectures, including a famous speech made at the boston music hall in september 1861, he implored the irish of the north to defend the union. He also began recruiting, taking out advertisements in local newspapers to form company k of the 69th regiment (which would be known as the “fighting 69th”) of the new york state militia. His civil war appointments were as follows: major 69th new york militia (april 1861); brigadier general u.S.V. (3rd february 1862); commanding 2nd (irish) brigade 1st division, 2nd corps, army of the potomac, (13th march 8th may 1863). After the battle of fredericksburg meagher became involved in democratic politics angering many union generals with republican sympathies. His refusal to recruit for the decimated caused meagher to resign, although his resignation was not accepted, causing his removal from the irish brigade and appointments within the western theatre. He was allowed to resign from the army on 15th may 1865.After the war, meagher was appointed secretary of the new territory of montana, and soon after arriving there was designated as acting governor. In this office meagher attempted to create a working relationship between the territory’s republican executive and judicial branches, and the democratic legislative branch. He failed, making enemies in both camps. Further, he angered many when he reprieved a fellow irishman who had been convicted of manslaughter. In the summer of 1867 meagher traveled to fort benton, montana, to receive a shipment of guns and ammunition sent by general sherman for use by the montana militia. On the way to fort benton, the missouri river terminus for steamboat travel, meagher fell ill, stopping six days en route to recuperate. When he reached fort benton he was still ill. Sometime in the early evening of july 1, 1867, meagher fell overboard the steamboat g. A. Thompson, into the missouri river. The pilot described the waters as “…Instant death water twelve feet deep and rushing at the rate of ten miles an hour.” his body would never be recovered.