Napoleon McCafferty?

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Where: Unknown

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When: 01 January 1870

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Given the pose a comparison with the late French Emperor was inevitable, but who was Captain John McCafferty? He certainly looks like a dashing character with a high opinion of himself. Was that an accurate description of the man? Who was he, and what happened to him?

Photographers: Adolph Lesage

Collection: Invincibles cartes de visite Photographic Collection

Date: Well after 1838

NLI Ref: NPA INV20

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 8120
nationallibraryofireland cartedevisite theinvincibles phoenixpark fenians personalities invinciblescartesdevisitephotographiccollection 1800s johnmccafferty captainjohnmccafferty adolphelesage chestercastle chestercastleraid deathsentence commuted kidnapprinceofwales kingedwardvii 19thcentury

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    sharon.corbet

    • 25/Jun/2020 07:04:08

    He seems to have been an interesting fellow - there's some information on him starting from page 15 of article on Fenian treason trials. He was an Irish-American who fought for the Confederacy during the US Civil War. While he was sentenced to death in 1867 for the Chester Castle raid, it seems his execution was commuted, and TCD has a photo of him from 1890/1.

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    sharon.corbet

    • 25/Jun/2020 07:07:05

    There's more information on the Chester Castle incident in this post about one of the co-conspirators John Flood.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 25/Jun/2020 07:37:37

    Captain John McCafferty was the Confederate soldier who coined the phrase - "The gun is mightier than the sword". According to - www.rareirishstuff.com/irish-historical-memorabilia-/feni...

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 25/Jun/2020 07:47:40

    Fleas. Another VERY FAMOUS Irish fellow sided with the Confederacy, John Mitchel, while Thomas Meagher sided with the Union. Everything you want to know- www.google.com.au/search?source=hp&ei=aFb0XvTsIc66rQG...

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 25/Jun/2020 07:48:13

    Via Trove, this anecdote about a Fenian plot to kidnap King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/167021852?searchTerm=C... - including "... He is described as a thorough type of a guerilla leader, with a well-proportioned and strongly-knit frame, and handsome, resolute-looking, . bronzed face. ... " Edit - John Denvir's book "The Life Story of an Old Rebel" is available online - www.gutenberg.org/files/16559/16559-h/16559-h.htm The original quote (Chapter VI) - "He was a thorough type of a guerilla leader. With his well-proportioned and strongly-knit frame, and handsome resolute-looking bronzed face, you could imagine him just the man for any dashing and daring enterprise." So NLI Mary's blurb carefully phrased introduction above is accurate! ... "The mission he was engaged on was one that can only be described by the word amazing. So daring was it, so hedged around with apparent impossibilities, that to the ordinary man its very conception would be incredible. But McCafferty was perfectly serious and determined about it, and to him it seemed practicable enough, provided only he could get a few more men like himself: and indeed if the collection of just such a company of conspirators were practicable, no doubt the impossible might become possible enough. But the hypothesis is fatal, for the McCafferty strain is a rare one indeed, so that his project never got further than an idea. I think, however, that I cannot be accused of exaggeration in saying that if he had been successful in carrying out his idea, his achievement would have formed the most extraordinary chapter in English history—for it was no less than the abduction of the then Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII., and the holding of him as a hostage for a purpose of the Fenian organisation. The plan was to take him to sea in a sailing vessel, and to keep him there, until the Fenian prisoners still at that time unreleased were set at liberty. He was to be treated with the utmost consideration and—the recollection is not without its humorous side—McCafferty had a memorandum to spare no pains in finding what were the favourite amusements of the Prince, so that he might have a "real good time" on board."

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 25/Jun/2020 09:19:47

    If you like Irish music- www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/mccaffer...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Jun/2020 10:25:09

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Blurb??? I'm glad you changed that after me spending half the morning trying to do justice to the delightful Mr. McCafferty!

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    Inverarra

    • 25/Jun/2020 15:57:31

    Some great information on your subject. Thanks to all involved.

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    suckindeesel

    • 25/Jun/2020 16:18:39

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/cassidyphotography] I see poor John's reputation is up for reappraisal following the 'black lives matter' campaign, he may even be 'de-statued' in his adopted hometown down south. www.balls.ie/gaa/john-mitchel-racist-pro-slavery-gaa-club...

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    sharon.corbet

    • 25/Jun/2020 19:43:25

    I just realized that the bit about the Chester Castle affair, and the execution sentence is only referenced on the photo page and not here. It reads: Photographers details on verso: "The Royal Photographic Institution [...]" and partially obscured by a sticker "Lesage, 40 Lr Sackvilles, Artist's Repository, Dublin". Inscription on verso: "Chester Castle Affair. Sentenced to death 1867 April".. This photo is in the Invincibles collection, though there seems to be some debate what his role in the group was (if any). I've found a few articles in British newspapers where he’s wanted in connection with bombings in the London Underground Railway in the 1880s, along with a William O'Riordan.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 25/Jun/2020 21:42:56

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbet] From that Denvir book he changed his appearance and name - "... a few years after this [an 1871 letter] an extremely mild and inoffensive-looking, dark-complexioned person, with black side whiskers, came into my place—I was carrying on a printing and newsagency business—in Byron Street, Liverpool, and, though I did not recognise him at first, I was pleased to find that this Mr. Patterson, as he called himself, was no other than my old friend John McCafferty. ... " www.gutenberg.org/files/16559/16559-h/16559-h.htm#Page_88

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    silverio10

    • 25/Jun/2020 22:10:04

    Buenas fotos antiguas .

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    CASSIDY PHOTOGRAPHY

    • 26/Jun/2020 15:00:56

    fírinne = saoirse

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    njtjsetx40

    • 20/Jul/2020 00:45:10

    It is interesting that the portrait identifies him with the initials F.B., for the Fenian Brotherhood. The Crown’s administration in Ireland was watching these former Civil War officers closely, suspecting them, correctly, to be Fenian conspirators. Why advertise your affiliation with F.B.? I am a student of Michael Kerwin/Kirwin and Denis F, Burke. They were arrested at 33 Mt. Pleasant Square, Dublin 17 Feb 1866 in that sweep of American F.B. officers following the suspension of habeas corpus. Many of these F.B. Prisoners were released in July 1866, begrudgingly.

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    njtjsetx40

    • 20/Jul/2020 01:08:35

    Aha! If McCafferty participated in the Fenian bombing campaign in Britain then he was recruited by associates of Jeremiah O’Donovan (O’Dynamite) Rossa or by associates of Alexander Sullivan. Depends on the year of his involvement. The first phase of the bombing campaign is attributed to O’Donovan Rossa, the second phase attributed to Sullivan. Kerwin is associated with the Sullivan phase.