Joe Hennissey
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States (born in Ireland)
Date of Birth: 19th century (year unknown)
Date of Death: Unknown
Occupation: Soldier
Military Branch: Union Army
Turtledove Appearances:
Fort Pillow
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct

Joe Hennissey was an irish-born sergeant with Company A of the Sixth U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery during the American Civil War. He was stationed at Fort Pillow in April, 1864. Just prior to the Battle of Fort Pillow, fellow sergeant Ben Robinson expressed concerns that the parapet of the fort was too thick to allow the heavy guns to be depressed low enough to aim at attackers who were close to the fort. Hennissey dismissed Robinson's concerns, primarily because the ship the USS New Era was anchored on the Mississippi River, ready to support the fort.

Although of equal rank, Robinson, a black man, tended to defer to the white Hennissey. Robinson was aware that many whites believed the Irish were only a half step up from blacks, but he didn't see much grounds for the distinction. Robinson could appreciate that there may have been a certain equality of status between them viewed from other perspectives, but as for himself he recognized that the Irishman, no less than any white man, had the status of being his social superior.[1]


  1. Fort Pillow, pgs. 13-14.