Insignia Veteran’s 11th Corps Badge to an Irishman in the 33rd Massachusetts

CyleKostello

Private
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Location
Boston Mass/ Seattle Wa
Hi all! Thought I'd share my newest arrival. As y'all know I can't resist an identified item with a Massachusetts connection! Slowly but surely my collection is taking on an Irish theme.

Pictured is an 11th Corps Veteran's badge named to a Adjutant T. F. Finneran. Made by John Harriot of Boston. The only T Finneran in the 11th Corps was Thomas Finneran (also borne on the rolls as Fennarn -believe it's the same name with traditional Irish spelling). Finneran was born in Dublin, about 1843. This puts Finneran as just the right age to be a refugee from the disastrous Potato Blight. Like a great many immigrants young Finneran found work in the factories of Lowell where he processed Southern Cotton into consumer goods for Northern markets.

Come 1862 young Finneran was struck with a patriotic fever. On August 5 1862 Finneran mustered into Company G of the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry. With the 33rd Finneran would see more than his fair of hard fighting. He would also lose his fair share of equipment, ending the war with a considerable debt to the government. ( I suppose 19 year olds never change).

Upon going south Finneran and his regiment were attached to the newly formed 11th Corps. During the Corps first engagement the 33rd was on detached duty with the 3rd Corps. They thus avoided the shellacking the rest of the corps received in the battle.
As a result the 33rd went into the Gettysburg campaign relatively green. On July 1 the 33rd was held in reserve on Cemetery Hill. Doing the crucial work of securing the high ground for the Army of the Potomac. On the second day they were more hotly engaged standing firm against repeated Rebel assaults. Engaging in dogged fighting with the Louisiana tigers. The 33rd were pulled back and played no role in repulsing Pickett's charge. Though there was some minor skirmishing on the 4th. At Gettysburg the 33rd demonstrated their courage. Suffering 8 killed and 38 wounded. About 8% of the regiment.

After Gettysburg the 11th Corps was broken up. Finneran's regiment was sent west under Joe Hooker. It was in the west where the 33rd would do their hardest fighting. The 33rd distinguished themselves in the midnight Battle of Wauhatchie, losing 27 men killed and 57 wounded. Despite these heavy losses the 33rd carried the day (or night rather). Reinforcing the "Cracker Line" and paving the way for the eventual relief of the rebel siege of Chattanooga.


The 33rd would further distinguish themselves on Sherman's Atlanta campaign. Attached to the 20th Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The Massachusetts men further distinguished themselves. Taking heavy casualties at Resaca, Dallas and Lookout Mountain. The 33rd would follow the Corps into the Carolinas, ending the war at Bentonville.

After marching in the Grand Review. Private Finneran mustered out 6/11/1865. Post war Finneran settled in Marlborough, Massachusetts where he was a member of GAR Post 44 (John Rawlins). Finneran must have been quite active in Vets affairs. As his badge names him as Post Adjutant. Finneran passed away in 1908 at the age of 1865. Based on some preliminary research I believe Finneran is buried Saint Joseph's Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

I also believe that post war Finneran Anglicized his name, dropping the more overly Irish Fennarn for Finneran and perhaps adopting a middle name. As was common for immigrants both back then and today. Though this is merely reasoned conjecture.

At any rate. Hope y'all enjoy the neat little badge!

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Gary Morgan

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Don't automatically assume that Finneran changed the spelling of his name once he got to America. One of the ways the English kept the Irish "down" was to keep them uneducated and illiterate. The spelling may well have been up to the person hearing the name and writing it down. My own Irish family name (Hanahue, Hannahoo, Hanaghue, etc) did not have a consistant spelling until after the seven sister made it to America, starting in 1906.

(My great grandfather was completely illiterate. His daughter once told me that a boy wrote a "racy" poem in her yearbook that ended with "What's that I see upon the line?/Your pajamas touching mine...." and when her father demanded to know what it said, she lied through her teeth rather than tell him the truth!)
 

CyleKostello

Private
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Location
Boston Mass/ Seattle Wa
Don't automatically assume that Finneran changed the spelling of his name once he got to America. One of the ways the English kept the Irish "down" was to keep them uneducated and illiterate. The spelling may well have been up to the person hearing the name and writing it down. My own Irish family name (Hanahue, Hannahoo, Hanaghue, etc) did not have a consistant spelling until after the seven sister made it to America, starting in 1906.

(My great grandfather was completely illiterate. His daughter once told me that a boy wrote a "racy" poem in her yearbook that ended with "What's that I see upon the line?/Your pajamas touching mine...." and when her father demanded to know what it said, she lied through her teeth rather than tell him the truth!)
Thank you for that perspective! I find the immigrant experience in the civil war (and early America in general) to be super interesting!

Love the anecdote as well. Very clever!

Very Nice Corp badge

Thanks as always!
 

CyleKostello

Private
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Location
Boston Mass/ Seattle Wa
Nice find !! I will have to see what I have from Mass. that's Id'd .
Thanks! Would love to see whatever you've got!

Edit: Forgot to mention. The Battle of Wauhatchie (where the 33rd distinguished itself) was the scene of one of my favorite CW anecdotes. During the night's fighting some teamsters' mules had broken free. Startled by the sounds of battle the mules ran pell mell towards the rebel lines. In the dark the rebs thought a cavalry charge was bearing down on them. Facing this "charge" the rebs broke. In the aftermath of the battle the quartermaster sent the following communique:

"I respectfully request that the mules, for their gallantry in this action, may have conferred upon them the brevet rank of horses."
 
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Joined
Mar 19, 2018
Thanks! Would love to see whatever you've got!

Edit: Forgot to mention. The Battle of Wauhatchie (where the 33rd distinguished itself) was the scene of one of my favorite CW anecdotes. During the night's fighting some teamsters' mules had broken free. Startled by the sounds of battle the mules ran pell mell towards the rebel lines. In the dark the rebs thought a cavalry charge was bearing down on them. Facing this "charge" the rebs broke. In the aftermath of the battle the quartermaster sent the following communique:

"I respectfully request that the mules, for their gallantry in this action, may have conferred upon them the brevet rank of horses."

Thanks! Would love to see whatever you've got!

Edit: Forgot to mention. The Battle of Wauhatchie (where the 33rd distinguished itself) was the scene of one of my favorite CW anecdotes. During the night's fighting some teamsters' mules had broken free. Startled by the sounds of battle the mules ran pell mell towards the rebel lines. In the dark the rebs thought a cavalry charge was bearing down on them. Facing this "charge" the rebs broke. In the aftermath of the battle the quartermaster sent the following communique:

"I respectfully request that the mules, for their gallantry in this action, may have conferred upon them the brevet rank of horses."
When I have time I have been adding some of my Id'd collection to " Find a grave web site " 1) Henry Ripley 12th Mass. ornate appreciation print from the state . 2) Benjamin Savery Keys 32nd Mass. GAR cabinet card photo. 3) Lyman Nichols 15th. Mass. letter. 4) Daniel Anderson 5th Mass. Discharge 5) Taylor Parker Rundlet 38th. Mass. and 4th Mass. Militia CDV. I probably have more un-Id'd cdv's and GAR items . If interested in looking at the these items just google example " Taylor Parker Rundlet Find a Grave ." Once there you can click on "Rupnow" and then "photos added " and that would show all photos that I have added so far .
 
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