Letters from the Battlefield by Historian & Author John Dwyer

march, 2019

28mar6:30 pm7:30 pmFeaturedLetters from the Battlefield by Historian & Author John Dwyer6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Gunn Memorial Library, 5 Wykeham Road, Washington CT, 06794

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Event Details

Author and Southbury’s Municipal Historian, John Dwyer, will lead visual presentation and signing on his recently released book Giving Johnny Cold Iron: A Connecticut Yankee-Irishman’s Wartime Letters Home.

When the Civil War began, Frederick Gunn sought to prepare his students at the Gunnery in Washington for service in the Union Army and is credited for successfully inspiring a number of them to enlist. Mr. Dwyer’s book tells the story of one of these soldiers, John O’Brien, as deduced from a study of the numerous extant letters which he sent from the battle-lines.

The letters written over four years’ time, as he is witness to the defense of the Nation’s Capitol, the Peninsula Campaign against Richmond, the tightening noose about Petersburg and the Rebel’s last ditch attack against “Fort Hell.” Dwyer supplements these letters with historical findings of the man, the letters’ recipient and their close family relationships that are frequently mentioned. The intent is to unfold for the reader some of the unstated understandings between the corresponding partners. The collection is rounded out with historic photographs of many of the subjects—the families, the people, the places and events—hoping to heighten intimacy with the story. This book is both military history plus family and genealogical research.

John Dwyer relocated from New Haven to Washington where he graduated from the public school. Upon completion of his college studies he embarked on a long career in Food Science as a technical marketing and sales manager. His interest in history was influenced by his mother’s long-time passion for genealogy. The restoration of his antique home in Southbury, where he serves as Municipal Historian, was recognized with a Merritt Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. More recently he was featured in the documentary film “Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said No to the Nazis.” Dwyer’s previous presentation at The Gunn Library was a program of 19th century songs as performed on his hand-crafted reproduction musical instruments.

The author will provide books for sale and signing at the event.


(Thursday) 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Gunn Memorial Library

5 Wykeham Road, Washington CT, 06794