i want to welcome everybody togettysburg national military park. my name's angie atkinson. so what we'regoing to look at tonight is a very popular unit here at gettysburg andother battlefields like antietam and fredericksburg but we're not going tolook at all the technical fighting, we're really going to look at the history ofhow they came about, why were they formed, what are some of the stories behind them what are some of the men thinking asthey participate with this unit and eventually then we'll end with what theydo here at at gettysburg, okay? and with that we'll get started. alrightso the irish brigade. one might question,
how do you get interested in this topic?i mean why would you choose the irish brigade? well when istarted here as an intern in 1998 in my summer of my junior year in college iwas all about history and i wanted to delve more into some of my ancestry andall the stories that i had heard was that we were of irish descent and iwasn't a great genealogist at that point but it still interested me anyway. so ihad a chance and opportunity over the next couple summers as i worked here atgettysburg as an intern and then as a seasonal ranger to really look at thispart of the battle and i got interested and did a campfire program on it ofsomewhat similar to the one you see now.
but later on what i was able to do wasget married and then eventually take a honeymoon to ireland and so what aperfect chance to kind of go visit the the mother country. so we traveled allaround. did a huge tour of the country and the country is actually the size ofmississippi, ironically where i was living prior to getting married. so wewent all through eastern and western parts of ireland through the ring ofkerry, the cliffs of moher, went to the waterford factory, of course, ended up indublin had a couple great days there and almost, almost by the skin of our teeth got the opportunity to see one of theirish brigades flags still housed in one
of the government buildings in dublin. the only problem was tony blair wasthere, former prime minister of england, so we couldn't quite get in. security was a little tight at thatpoint. so after that i came home and really wanted to find out more about, youknow, who i was, where i came from. had a friend who offered her services to dothe genealogy. she was really into it and i thought, "wow that's that's quiteawesome". so she goes, she goes through ancestry.com, goes through all therecords, comes back with this beautiful binder of material stuff that i probablywould have never found and upon opening
the binder i very quickly found out thatmy people were not irish. i have not a drop of irish blood in me, my people are dutch. in fact, they'renot even german. they're actually french. they're from the alsace lorraine region offrance that tends to have a german dialect and speak german.so though myhusband was kind of upset that we spent all that money going to ireland and it'snot even, you know, related to me and, you know, 13 years later he still brings thisup. nonetheless, i still find the history ofthe irish brigade fascinating and i think that they are representative of somany aspects of the civil war. the fact
that it's not clean cut, that it's notsimply this answer or that answer. there was a myriad of reasons why these menwould join, why they would fight, and for the men who joined the early irishbrigade the reasons are probably not what you're going to expect and that'ssomething that again we'll look at through this evening. so now, who are themen of erin? who are these men arriving on the shores of america, coming fromireland and eventually getting embroiled in america civil war? well if you look at some of the citypopulations, some of the larger cities in the united states at that time, placeslike new york, philadelphia, brooklyn,
boston, you can see a breakdown of thepercentages that of the irish-born versus the citypopulation. some almost a quarter. as in new york city, almost a quarter of thatpopulation was native born to to ireland. so there's a significantpresence here in the states of these individuals and you can imagine that, youknow, information is flowing back home, back to the country of irelandand as things evolved through the 1850s with the election oflincoln and eventually with the own coming of the civil war, one of thelarger questions is going to be for some of these irishmen, who were born inireland who would just happen to be
living in the united states, why fightfor a war that is not your own? why would you join upfor this thing if you literally arrived here a few months ago, had no vestedinterest, as far as you could tell, you're not familiar with the politics, you'renot familiar with some of the backstory, why in the world would you join up tofight in this war? and that's what we'll look at this evening. couple things thatare happening on the political side of the spectrum. the irish will side withthe democrats, now keep in mind political parties back then were different than theyare now and so the democratic party in the 19th century was anti-abolition. theyin no way shape or form wanted to free
the slaves that were, you know, living inchattel slavery down in the south and the democratic party was very muchagainst republicans who encouraged abolition, the freeing of the slaves. butwho also weren't really concerned with the struggles of the poor irish. therewas also a very significant movement throughout the country called theknow-nothing party and it was, one of the main tenants was that it had a verylarge degree of nativist thinking. we don't want anybody coming from theoutside okay? put up the walls, keep your own within those. anybody from the outside is dangerous orscary and you know there are there could
be potential problems and the irish arefacing that as well. i'm sure many of you have heard and you know later on inhistory that there would be signs on the doors, you know, irish need not apply. this willhave it's roots, you know, in the 19th century. but one of the bigger aspects ofthe concern that the irish have for abolition and the one reason they willsupport the democratic party who is anti- abolition is that in the socialstructure, in the social hierarchy, the irish are probably just above thoseliving in chattel slavery. they're not thought highly of. they're notgiven a lot of opportunities. they're
not going to be in a number ofhigh-ranking positions depending on where they're living, and so if you freethose slaves, that's going to be primary competition for those lower wage payingjobs because the irish are probably not going to be as educated, thoseindividuals that will be freed from slavery will have very little educationand so now you have literally two classes butting heads looking for thesame employment and that is one thing that the irish did fear. they feared thatcompetition for the lower-paying jobs. so what is going to happen? that is going tobe one reason why the irish will join up. seems kind of ironic that they wouldjoin the union army but there's actually
a deeper reason to that and probablymore important reason to the irish as we'll discuss here. this gentleman is michael corcoran. hewas born in sligo, ireland in 1827, arrives in the states 1849. now he'sgoing to grow up in ireland, he's going to see the devastating effects of thegreat famine and he's actually going to join a group that's going to reign terrorthroughout the country on landlords that are preventing irish families fromsustaining themselves just as, here in gettysburg, mostof these civilians are subsistence farmers, much of the irish weresubsistence farmers as well. he would
like to avenge persecution that was feltby the irish catholics and by being embroiled in a lot of this conflict hewill eventually, to avoid punishment, move to the united states. he arrives inoctober of 1849. he joins the fenian brotherhood and becomes involved in theirish nationalist movement as well as, of course, democratic politics. eventuallywhat he will do is he will organize a small unit of men known as the 69th newyork state militia. a unit out of the state of new york that's going to beprepared in a sense to fight in this american civil war. but sometimes theirish were caught leaning both ways. they wanted the union to remain togetherbecause of course that's where they're
living now but they could sympathizewith the southerners want to succeed. ireland was always under attack or underpressure from outside entities itself. they wanted to remove themselves fromenglish control. so some of these men are going to look at the opportunity of theamerican civil war as a means to gain military experience to later fight forireland's freedom. so it's a training ground. they probably don't have a vestedinterest in one sense on who wins or who loses, but this is primeopportunity for them to join in, to get the skills, to learn the weaponry, maybemove up in command, and then possibly take those skills back to ireland. oncethere's a firing on fort sumter the 69th
new york state militia will depart forservice. small crowds gathered to send them off and they would walk past flagsand banners streamed from the windows and the housetops as the ladies wave theirhandkerchiefs from balconies and flung bouquets on the marching column. now one of thepeople, along with michael corcoran, that's going to be involved inrecruiting for the irish brigade is going to be this gentleman thomasfrancis mehar. mehar is a native of ireland, he has some of his own issues. he wasalso involved in some of the plots over in ireland. he is actually exiled and willarrive in the united states. but he is
charismatic. he is going to be one thatcan rally people with speeches through his voice and one thing that he willbring to them is this: it is a moral certainty that many of our countrymenwho enlist in the struggle for the maintenance of the union will fall inthe contest. but even so, i hold the differently 1 in 10 of us come backwhen this war is over. the military experience gained by that one will be ofmore service in a fight for ireland's freedom than with that of the entire 10as they are now. and so mehar is looking at this experience as opportunity totrain men on the american dime and take what they learn, take some officers thatare eventually made, take them back to
ireland and overall win ireland's freedom. so 1861, the war begins in april of 1861 with the firing on fort sumter. what are these men to do? now keep in mind inthe united states, there was no standing army. there was no paid professional armythat you you went into as a career or as a job. it was very, very small and not somethingthat most people did. now we've got all these volunteers, all these men that arewillingly enlisting in the army from all sorts of backgrounds and they're goingto be very new. pardon the pun, they'll be very green whenit comes to fighting and one of the
places that the irish, that the 69th gois a place called, eventually, fort corcoran down around washington d.c.washington d.c. is the capital, right? you're going to put a series of fortsaround that capital to protect it and this is going to eventually be one ofthem. michael corcoran is here on the far leftand thomas mahar is there kind of leaning on the siege cannon. while these men are camped at fort corcoran,president lincoln, you know, times ticking on. just because you enlist in the armydoesn't mean you're going out to fight right away.
lincoln is getting concerned as aprilgoes by, as may goes by, as june goes by that nothing's happening. there's been no battles. so what arethese guys doing? and he's going to start to push some of the army commanders toget involved. get this thing going because what was the union belief? thisthing would last a week, right? maybe a month, you know, the civil war is notgoing to be a big deal. well we'll show the confederates, youknow, what we're made of and move on from there. most of these men and many other menwill sign three-month papers. so once the
firing on fort sumter starts, what's 3months after that? april to may, may to june, june to july. once those 3 months are done, you're good to go home, right? all you did wasenlist for 90 days and lincoln knows this, which is why he has to start to push theidea of battle. to buy their time, they will drill,they will march, but they're also build fortifications on arlington heights downnear arlington, virginia today. supposedly to build some of these fortifications,engineers figured it would require 3000 men and 3 weeks to buildthe fort. corcoran and his 1200 irish accomplish the task in 1 week. but aswe said the men were green. in fact one
of the visitors who was riding aroundone of these camps said he was impressed with the layout of the camp. however, when he came upon some soldiershim his enthusiasm waned. as what he witnessed were men running up toward asoldier who was about to enter a small hut shape structure, much like an icehouse, these men were shouting to their friend to gain his attention and rescuehim from his oblivion before he entered the powder magazine with his lit pipe.but battle will come for these men. they're not going to stay in camp all this timeand eventually they will move on toward battle. the first battle, the firstland battle being the first battle of
manassas or the battle of bull run. asthey are marching toward that, this gentleman, general william tecumsehsherman is going to be there brigade commander. he's unimpressed by theseirish and in fact when one gentleman actually shot himself in the foot sherman didn't even blink twice. he saidbandage it up and move on and that's not really going to endear the irish to thisgentleman at all. but they will arrive for the battle of first bull run july of1861 and they will be engaged that afternoon. they'll be advancing past a stonebridge and up a hill when they come upon louisiana troops. now again early in thewar
things weren't quite always figured outand clear-cut. unfortunately some of the new york state militia troops arewearing gray uniforms and the louisiana troops didn't fire and allow the newyork men very near to their lines and they were greatly surprised when infact they did. the 69th is also going to prepare for assault on henry hill.they'll see union elements and charge would be pushed back. the 69th willremove their jackets and shirts due to the july heat and charge the hill. a writer forharper's weekly wrote, during this furious fight that the irish, i quote,strip themselves and dashed into the enemy with the utmost fury, difficultywas to keep them quiet.
it appeared that the 69th held for ashort time but wasn't able to really push the confederate troops back. as theyattempted to retreat, they were attacked by the confederate cavalry who caused theunit to disintegrate. colonel corcoran the colors, which are the flags and about30 members of the 69th were all captured. one soldier after witnessing this battlewould say, quote, it was after all but a training school to open men's eyes tothe real necessities and responsibilities of war. well there's 2 realities that are nothitting some of these irishmen. number 1, that this war is not going to beeasily won. it's going to linger on and
continue and number two, if you're goingto lose your kernel, if you're going to lose a number of men during a battle, you'regoing to need more to start with. but also, their papers are up. once thatbattle of manassas occurs these 90 days have taken place so it's time for thesemen to go home. what happens now? what happens now to thedesire to get the irish to fight for ireland's freedom? they're no longer enlisted in the unionarmy. that's where mehar, general mehar comes in. though the 69th will muster out onaugust 1861, mehar will be charged with forming the irish brigade. most of the69th men did not want to re-up and
reorganize. so mehar had to reorganize a new 69thfrom all new volunteers and he eventually became it's captain. he spentthe month of september and october focused on recruiting. now though, this new 69th new yorkinfantry was to reenlist for 3 years, much longer than the original 69thdid and mahar was to recruit 4 additional regiments to form the brigade.eventually he would incorporate the 29th massachusetts, the 63rd, 69th, 88th new yorkand one regiment from pennsylvania and one common thread that he used duringhis recruiting speeches was that he said for my part i asked no irishman to dothat which i myself am not prepared to
do. now i mentioned earlier about thisnativist thinking, this idea that we don't want anybody else in the countryduring this time and that will come directly into play with mehar and hisrecruiting efforts. what starts to happen is people inwashington dc are starting to get a little jittery at this idea of an allirish brigade. why do we want this many irishmen all together in one place atone time? that's not good. that's not what we'relooking for. and as a result, they will pick an american they would say, allright fine. you can have the brigade, however, it will not be led by anirishman. it will be led by an american,
and the folks down in washington dc willselect james shields. he had served in the mexican war. he was a brigadiergeneral and the senator from two different states. the only problem though, is that hewasn't anywhere in the united states when this decision was handeddown. shields was, in fact, in mexico tending to a mining operation but it was soimportant to the powerhouses in dc that he be pulled into the irish brigade thathe was retrieved from mexico and brought back to the states. general mehar hadbeen or colonel mehar had been fulfilling the role of acting brigadier and he began tohear rumors that an american would
eventually fill the role and this isgoing to provide even more fuel to the fire because now thatthere was a fear the irish contribution will be lost unless an irishman led them.and the fuel to the fire is how are we going to rally these troops to fight inireland, if an irishman is not leaving them. this american guy isn't really whatwe need to have happen. so james shields is going to end up in some discussionswith thomas mehar and i think trying to save face, trying to placate andpacify, shields will come up with this statement. it says, i wish to say a few wordsrelative to myself and the brigade. i was in the western states of mexicoendeavoring to recruit my shattered health
when i received intelligence of myappointment as general of the irish brigade. on my arrival, in new york i wassorry to find that there was a misunderstanding relative to generalmehar and myself. i know general mehar well. you did right in selecting him tocommand your brigade, he is much better qualified for that position thanthree-fourths of the men who have been appointed to similar commands. so whatdoes he say? he says i hope to have the irish brigade with as gallant brigadier atsome future day in my division of the army. basically what shields has donehas said, okay, you can give mehar your brigade of roughly you know 1,200, 1,300,1,400, guys i'll take your promotion and
now become commander of the divisionthat will hold the irish brigade. while pacifying mehar, he then proceeds to, in a sense, promotehimself. but mehar is going to realize that the american irish had loyalties to both countries. he's going to realize thisvery quickly. however, he needs to stress england'sabandonment of ireland and the threat of the confederacy linking england, linkingthe confederacy with during the civil war. the 28th massachusetts was having ahard time feeling the ranks just because you asked for volunteers doesn't meanyou get
them and didn't complete theirrecruiting until december and they had started in september of 1861. and someleaders are going to feel that organizing strictly irish units did moreharm than good. they felt that the irish needed toassimilate into protestant units and if they kept to their own it would appearthat they were rejecting american traditions. you can see how some of thatnativism thinking is kind of coming in to play. he needs 2,000 men tofill the ranks. he wants to keep the irish brigade aliveto further the irish cause. he wants to demonstrate to america that the irishwere dedicated to the fight. he wants to
be able to provide a home here in thestates for the future irish immigrants and the reality during this recruitingtrip is that only 250 answer the call. mehar will state july 25th, 1862 during arecruiting trip to new york, you know, talking about him being charismatic,being able to rally a crowd, he said it should be the vehement desireand the intense ambition of every irishman who has one chord within himthat vibrates to the traditions of that old lyric and marshall land of his, notto permit its flag so visibly emblematic of the virtue of its oil andmortality of its faith to be compromised in any just struggle in which it isdisplayed. a quick paraphrase of that is
rally around the flag, boys, rally aroundthat flag and fight for what it represents. the counterpoint though, to mehar isthis: the letters that are coming home, the letters that are coming home arenot talking about rallying around the flag. the letters coming home are sayingthis, from captain james b. turner, he said, as to any idea you may have ofjoining the army give it up at once. unless a man occupiesa position among the very highest, the amount of vulgarity profanity and other tyrannythat exists is to a man of any regiment a perfect hell. he basically said don'tbother. unless you're going to be someone of substance that enlisting in this war,enlisting in the army is not easy, not
fun, and certainly not enjoyable. the war progresses and still there's no victor. there's no winner that's beendecided. for the battle of antietam in september of 1862, there's a number ofconfederate issues that are facing the confederate army. one is,should the confederate army continue on a western approach towards the capitalof washington dc? should they move up the cumberland valley into the north?possibly on the way to harrisburg, or is there another opportunity for them todraw the troops out of washington in a way that left the door open for afast and furious assault? well these 2 armies will eventuallyclash near sharpsburg, maryland. general
george mcclellan is now in charge of theunion army of the potomac. always believing he's outnumbered, mcclellanwas wondering if he should attack lee right where the creek could be forwardedaway from confederate fire. mcclellan though is loved by the irish brigade andthe one reason is that he's loved by the irish brigade is because he's slow anddeliberate. for a soldier on the ground, it means that there's no rash decisions. there's no point where he's justthrowing men into battle just to see what happens. you can imagine that thoseguys probably appreciate that. however he will move slowly. he will beindecisive, and he will eventually not
walk away a major victor at the battleof antietam. but where are the irish in this conflict? they are attacked toward the sunken road, which is held by the confederates. the sunken roadis going to be that area in black. irish brigade, they'recircled in green, led by thomas mehar. as they crested theridge just north of the sunken road, they're assailed with by confederateinfantry, which basically stops them in their tracks. the 63rd is going to takeheavy casualties, most of the survivors, will begin to fall to the ground forprotection. mehar who had gone into battle on hishorse was thrown from it.
unfortunately, the animal waskilled. of the 3 regiments of the 3 new york regiments that had beenrecruited, one of them is going to be the 88th new york. led by a gentleman that yousee in the painting there, named captain clooney. they are poised to attack thesunken road, which is heavily fortified by the confederates and held up about600 yards away from that position. one of the reasons that theirish needed to get close to the fighting was that they were not fightingwith rifled muskets. rifled muskets allow that bullet to spin as its ejected out the barrel but they are fighting with 69 caliber smoothbore muskets.basically smooth inside, much like a
bouncing ball exiting out the muzzle of the barrel. soreally requires close range fighting. as they advanced to the hail of gunfire,lieutenant james turner of the 88th will say this, he said, the shot and shell ofthe enemy poured over our heads and crashed in the hollow to the rear. thebullets are whirring about. an occasional wounded man falling down and is born tothe rear, but we have not yet been commenced to fire. they're walking throughthis hail storm and yet they can't fire their guns because they aren't closeenough if the enemy is fully open fire upon them. as they continue men felt allaround, the acting major the 69th fell
dead in the succession of color bearers forthe 88th new york fell. captain clooney will grab the 88th new york's colors andadvance them while enduring a shot through his knee. his courage will come to a quick endwhen he was hit both in the head and chest and they advanced to within 30feet of the sunken road, but cannot breakthrough. this is a picture of thesunken road there at antietam after the battle. it seems that the irish had put up someheavy fire on the confederates but when the confederates abandon the position, the irish probably do not claim the road
but remain near the crest above it. one mississippi soldier would write,remarking about the battle that they, the irish, stood in line on the ridge inplain view with 3 flags' colors. one, the stars and stripes, one, a state flag andone, the green flag with the harp of erin. our men kept those flags fallingfast but just as fast they raised again. several times, the deadly fire of ourrifles broke the ranks of those men and they fell behind the ridge. but quicklyreformed each time and appeared with shorter lines but still defiant. onesoldier who was heading, one union soldier heading out into battle would write thatas we passed the 69th new york or what
is left of them, about a hundred men withit's colors and tatters. they cheer and we return it. so now what is the cost ofthe fighting? the bloody cost of the bloody lane. they will be significant forthese men. the 63rd will lose 60 percent, 69th 61 percent, and the 88th willactually lose 38 percent of it's fighting force. antietam is known asthe bloodiest day in the american civil war. 23,000 casualties total in one day.that's killed, wounded, missing, captured. with the casualties that comefrom these irish regiments, that's all the fuel that a lot of people need tocontinue to grow the discontent with the american civil war. on top of thatpresident abraham lincoln will also
issue the emancipation proclamationwhich will stir the ire that much more. so for the soldiers many of them,they're now caught with the love of their commander, general george mcclellan. therank-and-file soldier didn't care too much for their new commander but theirish loved him and many cried as, unfortunately, for george mcclellan, hewould be removed shortly after the battle of antietam and replaced by a newcommander. lincoln will actually visit him on the fields nearantietam. they'll have some discussions. you can only imagine what was said betweenthe two. but lincoln, i'm sorry, mcclellan, will no longer be in commandof the union army and the war is still
not decided. it will continue. it willcontinue on to fredericksburg, virginia in december of 1862. mcclellan isreplaced by the gentleman on the left there, ambrose burnside, and men of theirish brigade are still nursing their wounds. the flags that they will carrywere very elaborate flags; gold thread, silk flags, but they are in suchtatters by the end of the battle of antietam that they really are unusable.they'll be sent back to new york city for replacements. a new regiment hadjoined the ranks, the 28th massachusetts will now replace the 29th. they will be oneof the only regimens that does have an emerald green flag to engage within thebattle of fredericksburg. flags are what
you rally around. flags are what youfollow into battle because you sure can't hear your commander telling you tomove left move right. but if you don't have these what are you going to do? there's a story that comes out of theirish brigade that says that without their flags, without an object to rallyaround, what would they follow and as soon many of the men began puttingsprigs of green box wood in their caps to indicate the green of irelandand to stand in place off those beautiful flags that had now gone back tonew york city. this is the town of fredericksburg. union army wouldeventually build a bridge called a
pontoon bridge across the river andattack the town. by december 11th, they're finally starting to receiveorders to maneuver and prepare for battle around fredericksburg, which willopen up on december 13th. the men as they will cross the pontoon bridge willwalk through open fields attacking the hills of fredericksburg, the heights offredericksburg and basically it's attacking over an open plain toward afortified position. sinclair mulholland will rate this. he said, the hills rain with fire and themen advance with heads bowed as when walking against a hailstorm, stillthrough the deadly shower, the ever thinning
lines pressed on, the plane over whichthey had passed was thickly spotted with the men of the second corps, dead in twosand threes and in groups, regiments and companies have their 3rd and 4thcommander and the colors were born to the front by the 3rd or 4th gallantsoul who had raised them. so these men are walking up an incline toward aconfederate fortified position and who is behind that position but cobbsgeorgians, behind the stone wall. for these men, this civil war now becameblood against blood, brother against brother because as mulholland would write,bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, the soldiers of cobbs brigade wereirish like ourselves.
they were southern irish, but irishnonetheless. in total, as the union army would assault this stone wall that theconfederates were behind, there would be 13 different assaults. the 69th will get roughly 50yards from that stone wall but not be able to take it. father william corby, one of the chaplains for the irishbrigade will say the place into which mahar's brigade was sent was simply aslaughter pen. and again here is the wall, maurice heights in fredericksburg after the battle. mahar will amass about 300 men still left of theirish brigade as he searched for stragglers after their attack. many wouldwrite that the irish were actually
closest to the stonewall. even theconfederate soldiers of the washington artillery mentioned their courage. theysaid our fire was murderous and no troops on earth could stand the fir we were giving them and the foremost like we distinguish the green flag witha gold heart of old ireland and we knew it to be mahar's irish brigade. thegallantry of the enemy pushed on beyond all former charges and fought and lefttheir dead within 5 and 20 paces of the sunken road. the armies will fallinto what we refer to as winter camp. fighting is now over, soldiers will buildlog huts in winter camps but mahar has a bigger problem than just winter. hehas very low morale in some of these
troops and he needs to find a way torevive that energy because remember that overall plan? why are these men fighting? to gainexperience to take back to fight for ireland's freedom and yes while he islosing almost, you know, 9 out of the 10, as he mentioned earlier, he's hopingthe experience that that one gains will be enough to carry over for ireland'sfreedom. but he has to balance the reality with the needs of these soldiers.in march of 1863, they will put on st. patrick's day activities. these areactual drawings of some of the events that took place.
mehar will instigate a party ofrevelry, of gayety, and he will look to revive the men and keep their interestnot only in fighting in the american civil war but eventually for ireland'sfreedom. many contests held. you had different contests forenlisted men versus some of the officers. for the enlisted men, they would have footraces, weight throwing, irish dancing wheelbarrow races, sack races, and one ofmy favorites, someone oiled up a pig and the prize went to the one who caught it.for some of the officers and you can see that here in the drawing, there would behorseback riding competitions in steeplechase competitions. now generalmahar had entered his horse into the
competition. mahar himself did notenter but his horse did and an aid actually handled the horse but, unfortunately, thathorse was not a winner and it's surprising that the aid even made it all,as he was the one making the whiskey punch the night before. all races areopen to everyone. at 1pm, there was an intermission for lunch of ham, roast ox,and stuffed pigs, chicken, turkey, duck, and various other game animals. now, for thoseof you that might be interested, the whiskey punch recipe that thesemen used.10 gallons of rum, 8 magnums of champagne and 22 gallons of whiskey. so needless to say, the celebration wasin full swing and the men needed that.
and i would think you could eventranslate that to today's modern army, you know, in the midst of battle,when there's a lull, everyone tries to find some sort of release. in this casefor mahar's men, that fell around st. patrick's day. now eventually, the wintercamps will end, the spring season will begin and the fighting will commenceonce again. i didn't place the battle of chancellorsville in here because iwanted to bring us up to gettysburg. they fought through a number of battles thusfar. they've been losing men left and right, having significant casualties. bythe time they get to gettysburg, pennsylvania, the irishbrigade is really a brigade only in name
only, not in numbers. it's very much just a handful ofcompanies that are barely held together. but here at gettysburg, this is a map ofgettysburg, the union army will lose the first day of the battle and they willend up retreating to an area known as cemetery hill and i've sort of outlinedthe horseshoe-shaped there on both culp's hill and cemetery hill. by july2nd, the goal is to extend the union line down cemetery ridge and eventuallyhold the high ground which is little round top. general george meade, who hastaken over from general burnside and general joe hooker, who we skipped over,is now the 4th commander these
guys have had a series of months. general meade takes over june 28th, 1863. hesees the precariousness of the union position. he wants this high ground heldto the south. he gives his order to a gentleman nameddan sickles. now dan sickles is also out of new york city but he is not a westpoint graduate. he's a politician and he decides that he prefers a differentposition, much to the front of the actual union line. what this does is it forces a need forreinforcements down here on little round top because now there is a very largegap that general meade had not planned
for and general meade had definitely notplanned for this bump on a log out here in front of the main union line. numerousreinforcements will be called, multiple waves will head into battle. one of thoseis going to be members of the irish brigade. members of the irish brigade nowincluding the 116th pennsylvania, the 63rd, 69th, 88th new york, 20th massachusetts.before they head into battle they will receive their final absolution. their numbersdwindled down significantly from when they first enlisted and in fact this wassuch a moving moment prior to them entering the battle, thateven a number of protestant men who
witnessed this final moment for many ofthese soldiers, doffed hats out of respect. these men lined up on what isnow hancock avenue. in fact, the gentleman here, father william corby, we have amonument to him on hancock avenue and roughly the area where these menreceived absolution and then they would head off to the wheatfield and the areaof the stony hill where they would clash with confederates and be repulsed aspart of the action on july 2nd 1863. and as i mentioned just a few momentsago, the reality for this irishman though is that they were the irish brigade inname only. the reality for the officers like michael corcoran and thomas francis mehar, was that there was no larger plan
to go back to ireland for that fight.they were losing so many men, losing so much strength. they were literally downto the last few members of the irish brigade, that i think it was very quicklybecoming a reality that they were embroiled now in the american civil warand not so much the irish civil war. so with that, we'll conclude the program. iwould like to thank everyone for coming out tonight if you have any questions,come on down, more than happy to chat but if not, again thank you for coming outand i hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here at gettysburg.Full Page Captain America Civil War coloring pages