Irish Brigade & The Wheatfield

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Union_Buff

Major
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Location
New Zealand
Hey y'all.

Went to Gettysburg yesterday and it was mind blowing. Anywho, I am currently doing research on the Irish Brigade and their actions in The Wheatfield. From what the tour guide told me, they weren't in the line during the first and third days, and were only used on the second day. Can you guys and gals help me with their involvement over the three days' battle?
 
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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
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Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
I'm not all that familiar w/ the Irish Brigade orthe rest of the AoP troops for that matter but I have read a set of letters in a private collection that detailed some of (IIRC) the 69th's actions on day two. The author was badly wounded on day 2 and noted that he was far from alone stating that when he returned to service from the hospital the Regiment was at best a strong company. Ouch.
 

judi

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Location
East Earl PA
I can tell you that they faught Kershaw's Carolinians 3 and 7 regiment. Also their guns were smoothbore muskets loaded with buck and ball. Kershaw and Wofford joined together and were on both flanks of the Irish. They did not do much fighting on the 3rd day were in reserve.
A good book is "the Irish Brigade in the Civil War" by Joseph G Bilby. That is where I got this info. There is a section in that book on Gettysburg.
Sorry that it's not more info
 
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TinCup

Cadet
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Mar 18, 2010
Location
LI, NY
The Irish brigade was so mauled at Fredericksburg, that if memeory servres correctly, their number was only about 690 men at Gettysburg. I beleive after Fredericksburg, they barely had 300 men fit to fight, and even after the lesser wounded were returned to the ranks for Gettyburg, they were a brigade in name only.

Sorry, that is all I have for now, very busy time of the year for me. Work and sleep are 22 hours a day, the other 2 hours are for eating, feeding and walking the dog and relaxing. Time for bed, even as I type. On Sunday, I will have more time to hopefully make your trip slightly more duley recognized and might be able to expound on some of your questions. I hope you are enjoying your trip.
 

Glorybound

Major
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Location
Indiana
Don't really know all that much about the Irish Brigade, aside from them being mainly westerners,but I've always admired their monument at Gettysburg. The Irish Wolfhound rests peacefully at the foot of it, eternally vigilant and watchful over his charges who died there on that field.


Lee
 

prroh

Captain
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Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Location
Maryland
Don't really know all that much about the Irish Brigade, aside from them being mainly westerners,but I've always admired their monument at Gettysburg. The Irish Wolfhound rests peacefully at the foot of it, eternally vigilant and watchful over his charges who died there on that field.
Lee
The Irish brigade was composed of NYC, Phila and Boston residents. Hardly Westerners

Their monument is a fine work of art as my avatar attests.
 
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prroh

Captain
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Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Location
Maryland
The Irish brigade was so mauled at Fredericksburg, that if memeory servres correctly, their number was only about 690 men at Gettysburg. I beleive after Fredericksburg, they barely had 300 men fit to fight, and even after the lesser wounded were returned to the ranks for Gettyburg, they were a brigade in name only.

Sorry, that is all I have for now, very busy time of the year for me. Work and sleep are 22 hours a day, the other 2 hours are for eating, feeding and walking the dog and relaxing. Time for bed, even as I type. On Sunday, I will have more time to hopefully make your trip slightly more duley recognized and might be able to expound on some of your questions. I hope you are enjoying your trip.
They numbered about 500 (out of about 580 on the rolls) at the battle in Gettysburg and lost 200. Calling hem a shell would be kind
 

Union_Buff

Major
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Location
New Zealand
They numbered about 500 (out of about 580 on the rolls) at the battle in Gettysburg and lost 200. Calling them a shell would be kind.
Thanks again for your help Pat - it's a shame I didn't get to actually walk The Wheatfield and get a deeper sense of feeling for my story.
 

Glorybound

Major
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Location
Indiana
The Irish brigade was composed of NYC, Phila and Boston residents. Hardly Westerners
Yes, you are right. My mistake, I was thinking of the Iron Brigade.


Lee
 
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Glorybound

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Thanks again for your help Pat - it's a shame I didn't get to actually walk The Wheatfield and get a deeper sense of feeling for my story.
You can walk the Wheatfield next time, Buff. You got to take in a lot of Civil War history this week, more than a lot of folks. Don't feel bad.


lee
 

Elennsar

Colonel
Joined
May 14, 2008
Location
California
A lot of good, brave men gave the last full measure there (the Wheatfield).

True in other places, but given how thin the ranks of Caldwell's division already were at Gettysburg, it makes me at least feel especially horrified. At least at say, Little Round Top, no regiments had shrunk below the size of companies.
 

1SGDan

Captain
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
New Hampshire
Let us not forget that the Irish brigade did fight in the Wheatfield alone.
The 5th New Hampshire was called back from guard duty behind the Round Tops and left in such a hurry that 16 pickets were left to wonder what happened to their regiment. In front of the ridge there was confusion as units jockeyed for room. The 5th, part of Caldwell's division, counter-marched only to be called forward again at around 5pm. On the move forward a poor set of orders had the file closers in front of the regiment. The experienced men of the 5th corrected the problem and moved on. The Brigade climbed a fence and headed for a field of ripe wheat. They stopped at a small clump of trees to dress their line and then moved forward without deploying skirmishers. The rebel pickets had no time to react and 20 became prisoners. The 5th's bugles signaled the attack and the brigade lunged into action. The 1st Texas and 15th Georgia were waiting. The two forces collided and casualties mounted. Col Edward Cross was targeted by a rebel sharpshooter. A mortal stomach wound removed the fiery leader from the ranks forever. The 5th and the 148th Pennsylvania moved through the rebel position with fixed bayonets driving them back beyond Rose Run. The two badly depleted units attempted to hold on to their hard won gains, but were running low on ammunition. Gen Caldwell desperately searched for reinforcements. They remained in action for over two hours before they were relieved by BG Ayres regulars. The first of Caldwell's troops on the field the 5th was the last to leave. The retreat was a disaster. Disorganized, battle weary men herded to the rear by the dozens. Units became scattered and accountability was impossible. Lt Liscomb called the role of A Co and of the 23 assigned only 3 answered.
The Granite Staters had done their duty but they were wrecked as a combat unit.The 5th's role at Gettysburg encompassed about four hours of actual combat but they came at a terrific price. Major Cross listed 26 men killed and 53 wounded from less than 200 that began the battle.
 
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Glorybound

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Dan, thanks for that vivid account of the fighting in the Wheatfield.


Lee
 

1SGDan

Captain
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
New Hampshire
GB
The tiny state of New Hampshire provided many units to the Union cause that performed admirably but none to the extent of the 5th. As most ACW fans know they suffered more casualties than any other regiment. They saw action from the Peninsular Campaign to Gettysburg and were then reformed by Charles Hapgood to return for the bloody assault at Cold Harbor. The last action by the 5th was at Farmville where they actually surrendered their colors only to have them recovered the next day. A finer group of fighting men could not be found anywhere amongst all the units that fought this war.
Dan
 
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1SGDan

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Dec 13, 2009
Location
New Hampshire
Went to Gettysburg yesterday and it was mind blowing

Yes it is. I thought that nothing could compare to the emtional experience of that field until I went to Antietam. Fortunately for me I went there with an experienced and knowledgable guide. IMHO until you have placed yourself in the sunken lane you have not yet experienced the real ACW from a rifleman's viewpoint. It is very haunting.
Dan
 
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