Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke: An Irish Immigrant Story

This book is available to purchase at our exhibition

'Irish immigrant Florence Burke has lived in Massachusetts for more than a decade but he's still a tenant farmer and his family lives in near-poverty. He came to America for a better life, but finds his adoptive country less than hospitable. Florence recognizes that owning land is the path to prosperity, but the bank won’t grant him a loan and he’s running out of options. 

An opportunity arises that could make his dreams come true, but it involves great personal risk to both himself and his family. He recalls the gamble he took when he fled the Potato Famine in Ireland, and wonders if he could make a gamble on his life one more time?  Will his wife and children understand his decision to join the war?'

 

Reviews from Goodreads.com :

'Best book that I have read in a very long time. Author made me feel that I was there and wrote with descriptive writing that brought me to that time in history. I could not wait to finish the book and find out what happened and see the story unfold. A must read'

'Great characters, vivid descriptions, and totally believable. Wonderful story based on letters found in an attic. Highly recommended.'

'I had not read a book that focused on the Irish immigration to Massachusetts. It was well written and very interesting.'

'Wonderful story based on a box of found letters sent by a Civil War Soldier to his wife. This book is set in West Springfield, MA and tells of the struggles of a young family who emigrated from Ireland.'

 

Florence Burke in Union Army Uniform

 

 

'It is five years since Ellen Alden found a small mahogany box in the attic of her home in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The box contained 19 original letters written by her great-great-grandfather Florence Burke to his wife, who is also called Ellen. They bear extraordinary testimony to an Irish immigrant’s involvement in the American Civil War.'

 

Ellen Alden, author of Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke

 

'At the outbreak of the civil war in 1861, there were 1.6 million Irish-born living in the United States. Of those, 180,000 joined the Union Army and 20,000 the Confederates.

The civil war was bloody beyond the imaginings of any of its combatants. Damian Shiels, the foremost Irish historian of the war, estimates that between 25,000 and 35,000 Irishmen were killed in it.'