Charles Graham Halpine

Life
1829-1868 [pseud. ‘Private Miles O’Reilly’]; b. Oldcastle, Co. Meath; son of ed. The Dublin Evening Mail. ed. TCD, worked in London, then NY from 1851; contrib. The Boston Post; ed. shortlived The Carpet Bag; contrib. Herald, Times, and Tribune; served in Civil War in 69th Regt. under Corcoran, and as Adj-General to General David Hunter, being raised to Brig.-General; drew up order for formation of first black regiment and threatened with summary execution in the event of capture by Southern forces; prop. of New York Citizen; appt. Registrar of County of New York, 1867;

he wrote psuedonymous satires and humorous sketches in prose and verse; also historical novels incl. Mount Cashel’s Brigade, or The Peace of Cremona (1882) and The Patriot Brothers (1884), many editions; both published in Dublin; private secretary to P. T. Barnum; prominent member of Democratic party; adviser to President Andrew Jackson and foremost in the fight against municipal corruption; d. of accidental chloroform poisoning. CAB PI JMC IF DIW DIL OCIL

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Works
Poetry
  • Poetical Works of Charles Graham Halpine (Miles O’Reilly), ed. R. B. Roosevelt (NY 1869).
Fiction
  • The Patriot Brothers (Dublin: A. M. Sullivan [1869]); Mountcashel’s Brigade [5th edn.] (Dublin: T. D. Sullivan 1882).
Miscellaneous
  • A Collection of Essays, Poems, Speeches, Histories and Banquets (NY 1886);
  • The Life and Adventures, Songs, Services ... of Private Miles O’Reilly (NY 1864; NY 1926).

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Criticism
William Hanchett, Charles G. Halpine in Civil War America (Syracuse U.P. 1970), xv, 208pp., front. port.. See also Irish Book Lover, Vol. 32.

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), lists Lyrics by the Letter H (NY 1854), Baked Meats of the Funeral (NY 1866) etc.; stories, Mountcashel’s Brigade, or the Rescue of Cremona (1882); The Patriot Brothers ... Page from Ireland’s Martyrology (Dublin 1884). Justin McCarthy, Irish Lit., gives, under Halpine, Charles Graham, ‘Irish Astronomy’ and ‘Not a star from the flag shall fade’.

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), notes that he drew up order by which Hunter raised the first negro [sic] regiment, and was proclaimed for immediate execution on capture by Southerners; retired with ill-health; active as leader in Democratic party politics; died of cholorform used as soporific for sleep problem. JMC cites pseudonymic poetry of Private Miles [sic] O’Reilly, ‘Not a Star from the Flag Shall Fade’ [‘... The fight it grows think, an’ our boys they fall,/An’ the shells like a banshee scream;/An the flag – it is torn by many a ball/But to yield it we never dhream.’]; ‘Irish Astronomy; a veritable myth touching the constellation of O’Ryan, ignorantly and falsely spelled Orion’ [‘O’Ryan was a man of might/Whin Ireland was a nation/But poaching was his heart’s delight/And constant occupation/He had an ould militia gun/And sartin sure his aim was/he gave the keepers many a run/And wouldn’t mind the game laws//St Patrhick wanst was passin’ by ... ‘Bedad’, says Mick, ‘the huntin’s rare/St Patrick , I’m your man, sir // ... ‘You’ll see O’Ryan any night/Amid the constellations/And Venus follows in this track/Till Mars grows jealous raally/But faith he fears the Irish knack/Of handling the shillaly/]. CAB selects ‘A Vesper Hymn’; ‘Not a Star form the Flag’; ‘Irish Astronomy; Adieu’.

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), cites bio-data, viz., pseud. ‘Private Myles O’Reilly’, b. Oldcastle, Co. Meath, son of Rev. N.J.H.; ed. TCD; knew Young Irelanders in London; fought Civil War in USA; songs well-known in Union; lists Mountcashel’s Brigade, or The Peace of Cremona (1882), Irish Brigade in service of France; The Patriot Brothers, or, The Willow of the Golden Vale (6th ed. 1884) sub-titled a page from Ireland’s Martyrology, deals with the Sheare’s brothers. BML lists Baked Meats of the Funeral (1866); BELF CEN holds Patriot Brothers.

Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979), calls poems sentimental citing and example: ‘O’Ryan’ says [St. Patrick], ‘avick!’ / ’Tis at Thurles I’m going, / So let me have a rasher quick, / And a dhrop of Innishowen’]; historical novels justifiably neglected [Works as supra.]

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