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The Irish Brigade at Gettysburg and their Monument

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, May 16, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    The Irish Brigade was one of the legendary Units of the Civil War. It was comprised of the 63rd, 69th, 88th New York Infantry regiments, the 28th Massachusetts and the 116th Pennsylvania. The numbers for the brigade had been thinned at Antietam and Fredericksburg. The three New York regiments could barely muster two companies each. But in any case they were a unit to be reckoned with when they were thrown in to support Sickles' Corps on July 2.

    From the monument: "The brigade entered the battle under Command of Colonel Patrick Kelly 520 strong, of which this contingent composing three battalions of two companies each, numbered 240 men. The original strength of these battalions was 3000 men. The brigade participated with great credit to itself and the race it represented, in every battle of the Army of the Potomac in which the Second Corps was engaged, from Fair Oaks, July 1, 1862, to Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865."

    The Irish Brigade was the 2nd Corps-1st Division_2nd Brigade. It's New York Regiments were:

    63rd New York Infantry commanded by Lt. Colonel Richard Bentley until he was wounded on July 2nd. Command was then by Captain Thomas Touhy. The 63rd brought 112 men to the field in two Companies (A and B). There were 5 killed, 10 wounded and 8 missing.

    69th New York Infantry was commanded by Captain Richard Moroney until he was wounded on July 2. Lt. James Smith took command. The 69th brought 75 men to the field, companies (A and B) and lost 5 killed, 14 wounded and 6 missing.

    88th New York Infantry was commanded by Captain Denis Francis Burke. It brought 126 men to the field in two Companies (A and B). It lost 7 killed, 17 wounded and 4 missing.

    Chaplain Father William Corby moments before the battle stood atop a boulder and gave general absolution to the men. They then launched themselves into the battle.

    The monument was dedicated on July 2, 1888. It was sculpted by a former Confederate soldier, William R. O"Donovan who had fought at Gettysburg. It's front consists of an ornate bronze front, ornamented by a 2nd corps trefoil, the numbers of the three New York regiments, the Seal of the State of New York, and a harp flanked by American flags. At its foot lies an Irish wolfhound, a symbol of honor and fidelity.

    Father William Corby attended the dedication, held mass for the veterans and blessed the monument..
     
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  3. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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  4. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks so much for the photos. They add so much to the history of the Brigade and monument.

    Father William Corby ( 1833-1897) was a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1833 of an Irish father and Canadian mother. Corby and six other priests of the Holy Cross Order joined the the Union as clergy. Corby was the first Catholic priest with the Army of the Potomac. He chose to serve with the Irish Brigade but later extended his ministry to the entire Army.

    At Gettysbury Father Corby stood on a large rock in front of the brigade. "The brigade was standing at order arms! As he closed his address, every man, Catholic and non-Catholic, fell on his knees with his head bowed down. Then stretching his right hand toward the Brigade, Father Corby pronounced the words of absolution: 'Dominus noster Jesus Christus vos absolvat...' "

    Recalled to Notre Dame near the end of the War, Corby served his University and his nation for the rest of his life. He was vice president at Notre Dame in 1865 and when the Rev. Patrick Dillon died the next year, he became the third president of the University.

    In 1872 he moved to Sacred Heart College in Wisconsin. After taking care of its financial affairs, he returned to Notre Dame.

    Father Corby died in 1897. Corby Hall at Notre Dame is named for him and a statute of him similar to one at Gettysburg stands outside this building on Notre Dame Campus.

    The statue of Father Corby was the first statue of a non-general erected on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

    An interesting story on Father Corby is that the veterans of the Irish Brigade nominated Father for the Medal of Honor in 1893. Father was never awarded the medal but the Brigade gave him a chalice for his work with them. It was among his most cherished possessions.
     
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  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    William Rudolf O'Donovan ( 1844-1920 ) who was sculptor of the Irish Brigade Monument was born in Preston County, Virginia. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate Army and probably was in the Stauton Artillery until the end of the war. He was at the Battle of Gettysburg.

    O'Donovan was a self taught sculptor. After the War, he opened a studio in New York City. He became a well known sculptor of memorial pieces.

    Besides the Irish Brigade Monument, he did the statue of George Washington in Caracas, the Lincoln and Grant statues in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, the statue of captors of Major Andre (Tarrytown, N.Y.) located in Patriot's Park and the Archbishop Hughes statue at Fordham University. He also did busts of Walt Whitman and General Joseph Wheeler.

    In 1878 he became an associate of the national Academy of Design. He died in 1920.
     
  6. Fifer

    Fifer Private

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    Father Corby

    The statue on the Notre Dame campus is known as " Fair Catch Corby" as though his hand blessing the troops is in fact signaling a fair catch on a punt.

    If you saw the movie " Rudy" it is Corby Hall that Rudy Ruttiger enters when he first arrives on campus. It's right next door to the Bassilica of the Sacred Heart.
     
  7. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    Holy Cross Father William Corby, seated at right, poses with men from the Irish brigade in a photo from Harrison’s Landing, Va., dated 1862. In the picture are two other Holy Cross priests, Father Patrick Dillon, standing at left, and Father James Dillon, seated at center. The other men are unidentified. Father Patrick Dillon and Father Corby served as the second and third presidents of the University of Notre Dame in the years following the Civil War. CNS photo / University of Notre Dame Archives / Library of Congress



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    Father Corby's statue on Notre Dame campus - South Bend, Indiana




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    Father Corby delivers absolution to the Irish Brigade before battle at Gettysburg - July 2, 1863.
     
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  8. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Never seen movie, Rudy. Will have to look for it. Never been to Notre Dame but would like to visit. Our daughter went several times because of school trips when she was attending Indiana University. She told me the campus was beautiful.

    Thanks for additional photos and picture. I wonder who did the one of Father Corby at Gettysburg.
     
  9. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Sorry, the artist who painted the above of Father Corby and the Irish Brigade is Bradley Schmehl. http://www.imaart.com/schmehl.html


    While researching that I found another painting of the absolution, this one is by Paul Wood, done in 1891. This one portrays the brigade under fire while Father Corby gives absolution. Not sure if that was the case or not, but it's still a great painting.

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    Absolution Under Fire: Father Corby Blesses the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863
     
  10. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Bradley Schmehl has some very nice prints. Besides the one on Father Corby like his Robert E. Lee. He did nice job on Grant too. I also like Columbia Bridge Burning.

    The Paul Wood print is very nice. Tried to find out more about him but as of yet haven't. I just wonder if he painted near time of civil war or shortly after, since Father Corby print 1891. Maybe some on forum familiar with him might know.
     
  11. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Hadn't heard of Schmehl before today...I got these off his website that I thought were especially good: http://www.imaart.com/schmehl.html

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    Devil's Den



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    Erin's Sons (Irish Brigade at Antietam)


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    Forrest takes a hostage (Shiloh)
    Shiloh, Tennessee, April 1862. While no official report of this part of the battle of Shiloh exists, Forrest's authorized biography notes that he was at the head of a charge against Sherman on the final day. A zealous cavalryman, Forrest so outdistanced the rest of the Confederate attackers that he found himself surrounded by Union Troups. Although wounded, he was able to haul a rather small Yank onto the rear of his saddle and hold him there for protection while shooting his way out of the fray.


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    Bedlam in the Brickyard (Gettysburg)
     
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  12. Freddy

    Freddy 2nd Lieutenant

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    . 1st 28th Mass Flag.jpg


    Tiffany Flag Presented to 28th MA.jpg

    Flags of the 28th Massachusetts, above is the flag presented by Gov. John A. Andrew and below is the flag presented by General Thomas Meager.

    "[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Before the Battle of Fredericksburg, Meagher had sent the tattered and torn green flags of the three New York units back home so that replacements could be made for them. As the Irish Brigade was ordered up the hill at Marye's Heights in that legendary charge, all four of its regiments closed ranks behind the inspiring green flag of the 28th Massachusetts. Seen by combatants on both sides as the Irish went up the slope time and again in spite of withering fire from the rebels at the top, the banner came to symbolize the sacrifices that Irish-American patriots made so readily for their newly adopted country.[/FONT]"

    http://www.28thmass.org/flags2.htm
     
  13. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Guess which one I like :smile:

    It's always been one of my favorites. I like the Devil's Den one as well....funny the 8th graders were doing their relief map of the battlefield today and working on their Devil's Den....I need to show them this one!
     
  14. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    Yeah I think I can guess which is your favorite. :eek: The painting is an awesome depiction of that moment. I can't really speak to its accuracy but from what I've read about the incident, the painting seems to do a good job in illustrating the confusion, the extreme danger of the moment, and the bold, brazen manuevering by Forrest which led to his escape from that predicament. Forrest simply had no equal, on either side really when it came to making the correct decisions on the spur of the moment, and thinking on his feet. As Shelby Foote put it, by 1865 two geniuses had emerged from the war - Forrest and Lincoln.
     
  15. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Some Traditions and Customs of the 69th New York:

    Regimental Nickname: "The Fighting 69th" This name was given by General Robert E. Lee at hearing that the 69th NY faced his troops across the battlefield at Fredericksburg in Dec. 1862. Lee remarked, "Ah yes, that Fighting 69th".

    Regimental Battle Cry: "Faugh A Bailagh". This was first used by the Regiment during the American Civil War. It is a Gaelic phrase meaning "Clear The Way".

    Regimental Battle Flag Motto: "Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Iann" This phrase appeared on the original 69th New York Regimental Colors under a Sunburst and Irish Harp. It means "Who never retreated from the clash of spears".

    Regimental Mascot: the Irish Wolfhound and the Regimental Motto . The Irish Wolfhound is known as the Great Dog of Ireland. The wolfhound is traditionally known to be "gentle when stroked, and fierce when provoked. Thus this phrase became the Regimental Motto.

    Regimental Patron Saint and Regimental Day: St. Patrick and date March 17th.

    Regimental Cocktail: Tradition has it that General Thomas Meagher , Commander of the Irish Brigade was very fond of Irish Whiskey and Vichy Water. While campaigning in Virginia, an orderly was sent out by Meagher to obtain Vichy Water, He couldn't find any. As a replacement the orderly suggested champagne, which General Meagher mixed with the Irish Whiskey to form a drink even more pleasing to his tastes. It has been a regimental tradition ever since and is served by the officers at all functions. The recipe is one part Whiskey to two parts Champagne.
     
  16. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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  17. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Paul Henry Wood who painted "Absolution Under Fire" was born in 1872 in Elgin, Illinois. In 1887 he went to Notre Dame to study painting. He was a very talented painter and one of the patron of Notre Dame paid him $100 to paint the picture of Father Corby at Gettysburg giving absolution. It now hangs in Corby Hall and is one of Notre Dame's prize possessions.

    The young artist was so talented he was invited to Italy to study. However, before he could go he had gone home to see his parents. A fire broke out in their apartment building. He and his parents and several other residents got on the elevator to get out. The elevator fell and Paul was crushed. He was only 19 years old. It would seem he would have been a great painter but at least they have the painting "Absolution Under Fire".
     
  18. prroh

    prroh Captain

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    In NYC every St Patrick's Day, except for wartime deployments including Iraq, the 165th Inf Regiment NYNG (the Fighting 69th) starts the day by attending 8 O'clock Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral and then are the first unit in the parade with their colors and two Wolfhounds in the lead. The battle honors of their regimental flag can make the flag carrier's job daunting task , fit only for the strongest, especially in the March wind.

    The 69th is now staffed with many "honorary" Irishmen from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including members of their bagpipe band.

    As may be noted from my Avator, the Irish Brigade Gettysburg monument is one of my favorite sculptures.
     
  19. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks Prroh for the additional information. The 69th Regiment known as the Fighting Sixty-Ninth is part of the New York National Guard. Between 1917 and 1992 it was also designated as 165th Infantry regiment. The regiment currently consists of a single light infantry battalion (1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment) and is part of the 27th Brigade Combat Team of the 42nd Infantry Division. Its history dated back to 1849, when it was created as the 9th Regiment of the New York State Militia, and A Company, 1/69 can trace its roots to the American Revolution.

    The regiment has seen combat in five wars: the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Iraq War and Afghanistan War. It has also participated in 23 campaigns. There are so many campaigns that the staffs of the regimental colors are authorized to be one foot longer than normal to accommodate them.

    As was stated in previous post, they are first Regiment in St. Patrick's Day parade in New York with their Irish Wolfhounds.

    In some ceremonies the regiment officers and senior non-commissioned officers carry shillelaghs as a badge of rank. It is also tradition to wear a small sprig of greenery on ones headgear in combat. This was first done in Civil War.

    As can be seen from its combat history, the regiment takes pride in its aggressiveness to achieve its objectives. One war correspondent in Civil War said: "When anything absurd, forlorn, or desperate was to be attempted, the Irish Brigade was called upon".
     
  20. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    The poet, Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) wrote the poem, "When the Sixty-ninth Comes Back". The poem was written about the 69th in World War I. Kilmer was a sergeant in the 165th US Infantry Regimen ( the fighting 69th) in World War I. He was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at age 31.

    Part of poem refers to 69th in the Civil War. Joyce wrote:

    "The men who fought at Marye's Heights will aid us from the sky,
    They showed the world at Fredericksburg how Irish soldiers die.
    At Blackburn Ford they think of us, Atlanta and Bull Run;
    There are many silver rings on the old flagstaff but there's room for another one."

    If you want to read the entire poem go to: http://poetry.elcore.net/CatholicPoets/KilmerJ/KilmerJ04.html
     
  21. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    The Fighting 69th at Antietam with Father Corby on horseback - Don Troiani





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    The Irish Brigade crossing the pontoon at Fredericksburg - 'Garryowen' painting by Don Troiani





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    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]This painting depicts the brave charge of the 28th Massachusetts Regiment of the hard fighting Irish Brigade as they assault Marye's Heights just outside the town of Fredericksburg Virginia. The 28th Massachusetts being the newcomers to the brigade was the only regiment to carry the green silk embroidered Irish flag with harp and cloud burst made by Tiffany and Company of New York City. The green flags of the New York regiments of the brigade had been sent home and were in the process of being replaced by new ones which had not yet arrived. The men of the Irish Brigade are shown in this oil painting moving forward at right shoulder shift in the face of the most intense Confederate artillery and musket fire yet seen in war; caps adorned with green Virginia Boxwood shouting "Faugh-a-Ballagh!" which means "Clear the Way" in Gaelic. This beautiful painting immortalizes the valor of that famous charge. Painting by Mark Maritato[/FONT]

    http://www.delawarerivergallery.com/artists/maritato/order_maritato_chargeirishbrigade.htm
     
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