Francis Finnegan was born February 28th 1837 in Ballintemple, Co. Armagh, Ireland. He was the 9th of 10 born to Peter Finnegan and Margaret Vallely.
My grandfather always told the story that Peter Finnegan died falling off his donkey, my grandfather liked to say ass, while coming home from the pub. Subsequently the family emigrated to North America. My Aunt always said that they arrived in Canada and then illegally entered the U.S. to settle in Hyde Park, Vermont.
|Francis Finnegan c. 1860|
He mustered in to Union service on June 20th 1861 with the 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company D. This regiment was part of the 1st Vermont Brigade (Old Brigade) and took part in most of the major battles of the Eastern theater as part of the Army of the Potomac,VI Corp, 2nd Division, 2nd Brigade.
The following is the list of battles from the regiment's wikipedia page
The website Civil War in the East gives a nice table showing the Regiments movements and involvement here and there are synopses of the regiment on Vermont in the Civil War here and Antietam on the Web here.
My grandfather always told two stories about his grandfather's experience in the Civil War. The first was about how he lost his toenails after retreating from the battle of Bull Run and the other was how he was wounded in the arm while reloading his musket at the battle of Gettysburg. In my research it became clear that he was not injured at Gettysburg as the regiment appeared to see very light action until then and was held in reserve with no casualties during that battle. In fact I could not find Francis Finnegan listed as a casualty in any of the online resources I found. So I began to question the whole story. After consultation with my 1st cousin once removed I found out that the end results (ie lost toe nails and musket injury) were true, just the timing and battles were incorrect. He said it was the Wilderness campaign and the battle of Spotsylvania where these things occurred. Over the 4th of July holiday I had some time on my hands during the 6 hour drive to San Diego, so I found and ordered a book on the 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantry from Amazon. In it I found written confirmation that he had in fact been injured on May 12th 1864 ( Zeller 271). This corresponds with the units involvement in the assault on the Bloody Angle.
So there you have it. This now gives me a template for fighting a campaign using various rules sets. I'm mostly thinking of using it as a way to link skirmishes using Rifles & Rebels from THW.
So no glory here. Just a guy who did his bit, humped his gear around the theater, and didn't get killed. The story of many a participant I think.
|Francis Finnegan and Jane Smith wedding photo c. 1870|
|Finnegan Family August 6th 1917. Francis is the white beard on the right, my grandfather is the boy with the tie on the left.|
Zeller, Paul G. The Second Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861 - 1865 Jefferson: McFarland & Co., 2002. Print.
Welcome to Captain Richard of Captain Richard's Miniature Civil War. He has an impressive collection of ACW memorabilia and a fantastic setup. The detail of his table is mind boggling.