Thomas Gilleran was born in County Roscommon, Ireland around 1819. When he was approximately 21 years old, he married Honora on May 23, 1840. Eventually, the couple made their way to the States like many other Irish did during the Potato Famine and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. By 1860, Thomas worked as a day laborer in the city.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Thomas volunteered for the Union Army and was mustered in the 61st Ohio Infantry on September 18th, 1861, joining Company F. Thomas participated in many of the well-known battles of the Eastern Theater with the 61st, starting with the 1862 Shenandoah Campaign through 2nd Manassas and Chancellorsville. Moving north in Summer 1863, the 61st Ohio was part of Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig's brigade in the Union Eleventh Corps.
On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 61st Ohio battled Confederates north of the Pennsylvanian town before being driven back through the streets to Cemetery Hill.
|The 61st Ohio's Monument at Gettysburg (Stone Sentinels)|
|The Marker for Thomas Gilleran, located in Gettysburg National Cemetery, Ohio Plot C-9|
August 17 of 63
Camp at Warrenton Junction
W H Scott
Sir in answer to your
letter of the 15th inst in relation to the
death of Thos Gilleran the circumstances
are these he was killed on the 2nd of
July in the evening being detailed to help
the cooks bring coffee to the men he was
killed whilst carrying the kettles back to where
they were cooking after the men had finished
their supper the reason of his helping the cook at
the time was on account of one of them being sick
I Remain yours
W H Mcroarty
Capt Co F 61 Regt OVI
Honora Gilleran soon applied for a widow's pension due to her husband's death, which is where the majority of the information for Thomas Gilleran and the letter above was found. Mrs. Gilleran eventually was approved to recieve a $8 a month pension for her husband's "last measure of devotion" on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Thanks to Thomas Gilleran, who gave his life in the service of his country on July 2, 1863, and all the other soldiers, known and unknown, who died fight for the cause of freedom. On this Veteran's Day, thank you for your service.
Widows' Pension File for Thomas Gilleran (WC16221), National Archives
1860 Census, National Archives
John Busey, These Honored Dead: Union Casualties at Gettysburg, Longstreet House, 1989.