1862: Patrick James Madden to Patrick O’Shea

This letter was written by Patrick James Madden (1838-18xx) who served in Co. B, 69th New York Volunteers — the first regiment of Thomas Meagher’s vaunted Irish Brigade. Pvt. Madden enlisted on 11 November 1862 but was discharged for disability on 24 October 1862 at Washington D. C.

He wrote the letter to his brother-in-law, Patrick O’Shea (1832-1906) — a book publisher located at 104 Blinker Street in New York City. Patrick was married to Ann Josephine Madden (1840-1906). Patrick was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1832. He came to the United States when he was 19 and found employment with Dunigan Brothers — a Catholic publishing house. In 1854 he went into business for himself publishing Catholic story, school, and standard text books. He was an earnest advocate for the Union during the Civil War and many of his letters were published in The Boston Pilot signed “An American Citizen.”

1860 US Census, New York City


June 4th [1862]
Near Cloud’s Mills, Virginia

Dear Patrick,

Our regiment encamped at this place on Monday. We met with several accidents in [     ] killed several wounded on the way. I got off the cars at Baltimore. I wanted to see my Uncle Ned but failed to see him. I understand he lives some distance in the country. Before I got back, the train left. I had to stay in Baltimore Monday. I arrived at this [   ] very fatigued. I will stay here a few days, I hope.

The weather is very bad. It rained for [illegible — faint pencil]

The regiment has not been mustered in yet. no more at present/

From your brother, — Patrick J. Madden

Remember to my mother and sisters and [your children] Johanna and Eddy.

The following two letters were exchanged between Owen Healy and his brother-in-law, Patrick J. Madden of Co. B, 69th New York Infantry. Owen was married to Katherine (“Kitty”) Madden.


June 9, 1862

Dear Patrick,

A report has reached here that Larry Walsh was killed on the way out. Mr. Devlin is anxious to know if the report is true.

Will you please write when you receive this and let me know whether it so or not.

I wrote you on Saturday. I hope you received the letter. We are all well and hope that you are well too. God protect you and save you.

I am your affectionate brother, — Owen Healy



Clouds Mills, Va.
June 15th 1862

Dear Owen,

I received your two letters on Friday the 13th and was glad to hear that you and all the folks was well. I wrote to Patrick the day after I got to this place. I expected a letter any day but received none yet. A great many of the men wrote as many [as] six letters and have got no answer. There must be something wrong with the Post Office Department.

Larry Wilch — he is not very well. He has a very bad cough. His captain has excused him from duty. As for myself, I am getting along very well. I don’t feel quite as bugged as I did in the other camp and I have not done any guard duty since I came here. I have got promoted to sergeant which takes off some of the tough work. When you receive this letter, go up and see the folks. I know they are uneasy to hear from me.

The regiment has not been mustered in yet. Tell Kitty that I have all the under clothing that is necessary. I want them to send me a box of little things that is much needed here such as cheese and pickles, and a little tea as soon as possible. Direct it for me in care of Capt. Thomas Lynch. Write as soon as you receive this and often as a letter from my mother and sisters helps to pass the time away. Tell Patrick I expect him to write often and send me the Irish American. There is a great rush for it i camp. Remember me to my dear other and sisters.

I remain your affectionate brother, — Patrick J. Madden

Direct your letter to Camp Cook, Clouds Mills, Va.


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