wetplate image by William Dunniway
Image by William Dunniway.

Find out what it's all about! Contact a member of the New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society. You'll find a very warm welcome waiting for you.

Current Officers:

Janine Flagg

Peggy Walters

Katie Drake

The New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society Welcomes You!

One of several civilian units in the NCWA, the New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society (NYISRS) is an association dedicated to supporting the soldiers of the 69th New York State Volunteers, a Union military unit. Historically, thousands of such relief organizations existed on both sides of the conflict, largely composed of the wives, sisters, mothers, children and sweethearts of soldiers who toiled on the fields of battle. These associations were formed to supply some comfort-such as mending, cooking, knitting bandages, doing laundry, writing letters home, and many other activities-to soldiers from particular towns or districts. The New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society represents family members and friends associated with Irish immigrants from New York, who together joined the Union forces to fight for their adopted country by forming the 69th New York State Volunteers-the "Fighting Irish," the senior regiment of the famed Irish Brigade.

The New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society invites all interested individuals to join us, either individually or because you are associated with a member of the 69th New York or any other military unit. (Being Irish is not a requirement!) Group activities for public view at NCWA events often include scenarios such as laundering, soap or candlemaking, letter writing, and group meal preparation, as well as a few quiet moments for teatime, needlework and conversation. There's also plenty of opportunity to develop your own character based on historical precedent, and create scenarios for the public that highlight your personal skills and interests in the early Victorian period. While most of our members are women and children, men are welcome to join us to portray their own interpretations of civilian life.

Your experience can be as simple or complex as you like. Many new members start by coming to an event to see what we do, and then explore their own particular interests. You don't need to have a complete 1860s wardrobe-we can help you find a few things to get started. All the members of the New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society are glad to offer support and assistance.