On the face of things, Irishwomen Honora Cleary, Eleanor Hogg and Maria Sheppel had little in common. For a start, they were from different parts of Ireland; Honora hailed from Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Eleanor lived in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and Maria had grown up in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Neither did the women share the same religion; Honora and Eleanor were Roman Catholic, while Maria was Church of Ireland. What they did share was that all were married with children, all were illiterate, and all were extremely poor. All three were also specifically referred to in correspondence that U.S. Consul William West sent to America in July 1865. The reason for this was that they had all had suffered the same experience; each of their husband’s had died while in Union service on the other side of the Atlantic.
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