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Patrick Henry Jones

Irish American, Civil War General, and Gilded Age Politician

Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

288 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 9 halftones

ebook available

Civil War

  Hardcover / 9780807159668 / May 2015

Patrick Henry Jones’s obituary vowed that “his memory shall not fade among men.” Yet in little more than a century, history has largely forgotten Jones’s considerable accomplishments in both the Civil War and the Gilded Age that followed. In this masterful biography, Mark H. Dunkelman resurrects Jones’s story and restores his rightful standing as an exceptional military officer and influential politician of nineteenth-century America.

Patrick Henry Jones (1830–1900), a poor Irish immigrant, began his career in journalism before gaining admittance to the New York bar. When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Jones volunteered for service in the Union Army, where he rose steadily through the ranks of the 37th New York, became colonel of the 154th New York, and eventually attained the rank of brigadier general. Jones was one of only twelve native Irishmen ever to reach that rank in the federal forces.

When the war ended, Jones’s reputation as a military hero granted him entry into politics under the mentorship of editor Horace Greeley and politician Reuben E. Fenton. He served in both elective and appointed offices in the state of New York, navigating the corruptions, scandals, and political upheavals of the Gilded Age. Ultimately, his entanglement with one of the most sensational crimes of his era—a high-profile grave-robbing from the cemetery of St. Mark’s Church—tainted his name and ruined his once-respectable career.

In the first full-length biographical account of this important figure, Patrick Henry Jones tells the quintessentially American story of an immigrant who overcame both his humble origins and the rampant xenophobia of mid-nineteenth-century America to achieve a level of prominence equaled by few of his peers.

Mark H. Dunkelman is the author of Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment; War's Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers; and Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York.

Praise for Patrick Henry Jones

“Despite leaving no personal papers, destroyed it seems in a fire after his death, General Patrick Henry Jones has finally got the recognition he deserves in a full-length biography. Mark Dunkelman has done an admirable research effort in trying to piece together the varied life of this very interesting Irish American through public records and bits and pieces from of the papers of Jones’s contemporaries.”—Civil War Book Review

“This superb biography is precisely what we have come to expect from its author. It is deeply researched and elegantly written. The narrative is all the more impressive because Jones left behind no significant collection of manuscripts. This book is the result of microfilm reels dutifully cranked and obscure leads painstakingly chased. Dunkelman has done his subject justice, all while augmenting our understanding of politics, ethnicity, and the seamy scandals of the Gilded Age.”—Civil War News

“This book is a superb biography of a little-known Civil War general who although largely forgotten today, was a giant in his times. As always, Dunkelman has done a fantastic job mining long-forgotten archives to bring Jones back to life. The result is a readable and detailed biography of a forgotten warrior.”—Blue & Gray

Extras for Patrick Henry Jones

LISTEN: Mark Dunkelman discusses Patrick Henry Jones on Civil War Talk Radio.

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