Captain Timothy Deasy

Timothy Deasy (seated at the far left), in 1863 at Culpepper, Virginia during the American Civil War

Timothy Deasy, 29, came from Clonalkilty, Co. Cork. He emigrated to the US and served in the 9th Massachusetts Infantry in the US civil war. He was wounded at The Battle Of The Wilderness in 1864. He returned to Ireland after the war to take part in the Fenian Rising, where he commanded Fenian troops at during the uprising in Millstreet in 1867.

… The most important and prominent of the Ninth’s Fenians was Timothy Deasy (also spelled Dacey), whose story MacNamara included in his regimental history. Deasy attained the rank of first lieutenant in the Ninth and received a wound at the Wilderness, As a Fenian overseas, he led an uprising at Millstreet, Co Cork, and was later assigned to oversee activities in Liverpool. At three o’clock in the morning on September 1867, Col Thomas J. Kelly and Deasy were arrested by the by the English while loitering on the street after a meeting of Fenian officers in Manchester. Both were brought before a magistrate, and the case was remanded for a week while a rescue attempt was organised. On September 18, the two prisoners were being transferred from the Manchester Court House to the county jail in a police van, handcuffed, separated and guarded by twelve unarmed police officers. As the van passed under a railway arch, thirty Fenians armed with revolvers stopped it, shot one of its horses, and called for the prisoners freedom. When this request went unheeded, the small mob shot Sergeant Charles Brett dead inside the van, took his keys, and released Kelly and Deasy. Despite a reward of three hundred pounds for their recapture, the liberated Irishmen escaped to America while three Fenians were executed for Brett’s death… [1].

The uprising was a raid upon the “Castle of Mount Leader”, and they took what arms were in it, as arms supplies promised from America were not forthcoming [2].

The three men executed for the death of Sergeant Brett famously became known as the Manchester Martyrs [3].

Lt.Timothy Deasy (USAMHI, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania)

Engraving depicting the rescue of Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy from a prison van during the Fenian Outrages-1000-800

Engraving depicting the rescue of Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy from a prison van during the Fenian Outrages. [*]

Smashing of the Van, 1867. Escaped Fenian Captain Timothy Deasy Smashing of the Van, 1867. Escaped Fenian Captain Timothy Deasy was buried in Immaculate Conception Cemetery, in Lawrence Massachusetts in 1880 [*]


History of the 9th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (available free online, HERE):

Company I
Timothy Dacey, age 21, hatter, single, resident Lawrence, Mass, born Ireland
Enlisted and mustered as Corporal, 11 June 1861, for 3 years
Promoted Sergeant
Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (Sept. 1862), and 1st Lt. (June 1863)
Slightly wounded at Laurel Hill, Va., 9 May 1864
Mustered out 21 June 1864.

“This Irish man fought with the 9th and was wounded in the Wilderness battles.”


— from the Lowell Daily Citizen, 22 July 1878:


Deasy died in 1880 (aged 40–41), and was buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. The above headstone which was erected in 1992 reads:

Patriot – Irish ~ American
Born in County Cork, Ireland, February 20, 1839. He fought oppression, tyranny, and foreign domination on the battlefields of three nations.
As a member of the Lawrence City Council and Massachusetts House of Reperesentatives, he was a man to whom the Irish looked for leadership, action and direction as a soldier, statesman, businessman.
Fenan Captain Timothy Deasy served his country, homeland, state and city well.

Captain Deasy was a member of the following:

. Irish Republican Brotherhood/Fenians
. Irish Republican Army.
. 9th Mass. Volunteer infantry (1861-1864)
. 6th Mass. State Militia (1871-1876)
. Needham Post 39 G.A.R., Lawrence
. Division 8. A.O.H. Lawrence
. Clan Na Gael, Lawrence
. Knights of St. Patricks, Lawrence
. St. Mary’s Parish, Lawrence

Remembered Captain Deasy

Deasy’s legacy is carried on his Great-Grandson Bob Batemen who has visited Ireland on numerous occasions and has left historical items with Millstreet Museum as well as other museums. He has also written a paper on the life and times of Deasy which can be read here.

Remembering West Cork Fenians and the Rescue at Manchester – In the early hours of September 11, 1867, two young men were arrested for loitering outside of a storefront on Oak Street in Manchester. Unknowingly, the apprehending officers had set into motion a series of events that would prove to be one of the great dramas of 19th-century Irish history …(West Cork People)

Kelly and Deasy Descendants Meet on Easter Sunday 2015 – For the first time in since 1867, descendants of Colonel Thomas J Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy meet. This happened at the grave of Colonel Kelly… (



On July 1st 2016, new Cork Mayor Seamus McGrath accepted a number of historical items from Mr. Bob Bateman, great-grandnephew of Capt. Timothy Deasy. Mr Bateman travelled from the US. The items will be on display in the museum in Millstreet:

2016-07-01 Tim Deasy historical items donated by his great grandnephew Bob Bateman


Descendant of Captain Timothy Deasy visits Cork … (West Cork Times, 5th July 2016)



8 thoughts on “Captain Timothy Deasy”

  1. Hi, I will be publishing a book on the Fenian movement in Munster with Lilliput Press this autumn, Is there any chance of getting a high quality scan of the photo of Capt. Deasy? Not copied from the internet, which doesn’t come out well in print, but a scan of the actual photo?

    Any help will of course be acknowledged, kind regards

    Eva O Cathaoir

    1. Hi did Captain Deasy live in Manchester, my great great grandfather Laurence Woods hid either Deasy or Kelly on the day of the prison van breaking and his wife was summonsed to the trial. He was involved with the IRB, I was trying to establish which of the prisoners he was most connected with. I have his obituary but it refers to one of the fugitives but not by name. Laurence was a tailor and lived in Deansgate, Bridge St areas.
      Any comments welcome

    2. I’m trying to find my Great Grandfather Timothy Deasy who fought in the Civil War my mother had a picture of him in a newspaper, My Grandfather was Jane’s and he had a Suster Nell who taught in levels d Sxhools- she had a brogue. There was also Mamie I think- I was little. At any rate I remember the newspaper clipping my Grandfather was wnderful now ever died when I was 4 Any help would be appreciated
      Thank You-Looking for Fanily
      Kathie O’Connir Stringer

  2. He was actually my great great great grandad he is actually listed in my family tree but there is nothing listed in my tree after he escaped back to the u.s after plotting to blow up the houses of Parliament he apparently sent footsoldiers over but were caught when entering England hence the prison escape back to the u.s

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