The Life and Times of an Irish Patriot
When Thomas Francis Meagher arrived in New York in 1852, he was already a hero-"Meagher of the Sword"-known to every Irishman in the New World. His role as leader of the Irish Uprising of 1848 against British rule, combined with his revolutionary fervor, had earned him exile to the British penal colony of Van Diemen's Land , off the coast of Australia. He escaped and found passage to America, where he was celebrated as a man who had risked death to end the suffering of his native land.
In New York, Meagher became an attorney, married wealthy Libby Townsend, engaged in Tammany politics, supported Franklin Pierce's bid for the presidency, and gave brilliant "Young Ireland" speeches until the onslaught of the Civil War. Fighting for the Union, Meagher helped organize and command the Irish Brigade, and stood, sword in hand, at the forefront of its battles on such bloody ground at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.
The war took its toll on Meagher's soul and spirit. By its end he was ruined spiritually and financially-until President Andrew Johnson appointed him acting governor of the Montana Territory. In this isolated outpost, the redoubtable Irishman faced formidable foes-hostile Indians, controlling vigilantes, and a government paralyzed by factionalism.
The Exile is the story of this dashing man of action, a man who inspired ballads and songs, a man who risked everything on behalf of his ideals. His legacy carries on through his name--Thomas Francis Meagher-still revered among the Irish everywhere.
Only Richard S. Wheeler, who has brought to life such historical characters as Bat Masterson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, could do justice to this giant of Irish history and folklore.
New York : Tom Doherty Associates, c2003.