By Niall O'Dowd
Abraham Lincoln’s long-standing and colorful history with the children of Ireland played a major role in his political rise, his presidency, and ultimately the Union victory in the Civil War. Much of that history has never been told, such as the near duel between Lincoln and rival — and future Union general — James Shields, reminiscent of Hamilton — Burr.
James Shields is one of the most amazing Irishmen of any era. He became a US senator from three different states, a feat never again accomplished, and he was the only Union general to out think and defeat Stonewall Jackson. He also had a “man-of-mystery” image with allegations of a torrid affair with a Confederate informer. He was a hero to Irish Americans who bitterly blamed Lincoln for not keeping and promoting him as a Civil War general of the highest rank. In later life, he sought to establish Irish townships in Minnesota.
He is most famous, however, because he came within minutes of possibly taking Abraham Lincoln’s life in a duel that could have changed American history forever.
with author's permission. Copyright © 2018 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.