Irish Brigade & The Wheatfield

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Mdiesel

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 28, 2010
Location
Maryland
The fighting in the Wheatfield was so brutal that 1/3 of all combatants became casualties.

I very much agree with Dan's sentiment about Antietam's 'Bloodylane'. Hhowever, for me walking the Wheatfield @ Gettysburg reminds me more of The Miller Cornfield (which one can't walk do to crops framers still grow there). Antietam, by the way is the best preserved battlefield I've ever seen.
 
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jay gale

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
kirkland, washington
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?
The Wheatfield is a heavy place to visit, when I'm there it draws me like a magnet.....

I'm not sure, but I believe that they were part of Hancock's center line on Cemetary Ridge before the fight in the Wheatfield. They didn't arrive in time to take part in any action on the first day and....like.....other more knowledgeable ones here have already stated.....they were decimated in the Wheatfield.

There is a monument out there to Father William Corby, the chaplain for the brigade. He blessed the soldiers as they were preparing to join the battle, giving them absolution as a regiment. Here is his monument, taken at sunrise.

_MG_0357.jpg
 

Rad2duhbone53

Corporal
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
The Wheatfield is a heavy place to visit, when I'm there it draws me like a magnet.....

I'm not sure, but I believe that they were part of Hancock's center line on Cemetary Ridge before the fight in the Wheatfield. They didn't arrive in time to take part in any action on the first day and....like.....other more knowledgeable ones here have already stated.....they were decimated in the Wheatfield.

There is a monument out there to Father William Corby, the chaplain for the brigade. He blessed the soldiers as they were preparing to join the battle, giving them absolution as a regiment. Here is his monument, taken at sunrise.

View attachment 47157
http://rad2duhbone53.blogspot.com/2011/11/hand-raised-at-egttysburg.html
 

Billy Yank

First Sergeant
Joined
May 31, 2013
Location
Putnam County, IL
The Wheatfield is a heavy place to visit, when I'm there it draws me like a magnet.....

I'm not sure, but I believe that they were part of Hancock's center line on Cemetary Ridge before the fight in the Wheatfield. They didn't arrive in time to take part in any action on the first day and....like.....other more knowledgeable ones here have already stated.....they were decimated in the Wheatfield.

There is a monument out there to Father William Corby, the chaplain for the brigade. He blessed the soldiers as they were preparing to join the battle, giving them absolution as a regiment. Here is his monument, taken at sunrise.

View attachment 47157
Find somebody from Notre Dame and they'll tell you this is "Fair Catch Corby."
 
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Rad2duhbone53

Corporal
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
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?
http://www.gettysburgdaily.com/irish-brigade-at-gettysburg/

LBG John Fitzpatrick will explain it all in his many parts story of the Irish Brigade.
 
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Scott Hann

Private
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
I'm not all that familiar w/ the Irish Brigade or the 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.
Recently I've begun researching, in earnest, the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg. I'd love to learn more about those 69th NY letters.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
The Irish Brigade was officially the Second Brigade, First Division, Second Corps. The Brigade was commanded at Gettysburg by Col Patrick Kelly. They took only 532 officers and men into the fight at Gettysburg, 198 of whom were killed wounded or reported missing.
The Brigade consisted of 5 regiments, 4 of which numbered less than 100 men each. The Irish Brigade Monument only celebrates the 3 NY regiments: the 63rd, 69th and 88th. [The 63rd and 69th had 90 officers and men each, and the 88th 90 officers and men.] At Gettysburg the brigade also included the 28th Massachusetts (224 officers and men) and the 116th Pennsylvania (66 officers and men).

On the night of July 1, the Brigade along with the rest of the Second Corps stopped about 2 or 3 miles south of Gettysburg along the Taneytown Road. The next morning they moved into position along Cemetery Ridge, perhaps in the general vicinity of where the Pennsylvania memorial stands today. In that position, the left of the Division should have connected with the right of Sickles Third Corps, but Sickles had moved his command out toward the Peach Orchard.

In the late afternoon, probably between 5:00 and 6:00 (you will see various estimates as to the time), they moved with the rest of the Division toward the Wheatfield, with the First Brigade in front of them. The Irish Brigade participated in a counter attack that drove the Confederates back some distance. However, with additional Confederates coming into the fray, the entire Division was eventually forced back. They spent the night of July 2 and all of July 3 in about the same position on Cemetery Hill that they had occupied that morning. Although they probably suffered a bit from some of the Confederate artillery bombardment on the afternoon of the third, they were not engaged in repelling the Confederate assault commonly called Pickett's Charge. They remained in that position all day on the 4th.

Father William Corby was the chaplain of the 88th NY, and gave general absolution to the entire brigade before they went into battle in the Wheatfield. It is believed that the rock his statue now stands on was moved to its present location in order to make room for the Pennsylvania Memorial. After the war, Father Corby became the President of Notre Dame. It is said that when Father Corby died, rather than the customary 6 brother priests as pall bearers, he had 6 Union Civil War Veterans. I have been told more than once that the copy of that statue on the Notre Dame Campus is nicknamed "Fair Catch Corby" because of the posture of his right hand. The sculptor of the statue was Samuel Murray, and it was dedicated in 1910.

If you visit Gettysburg again, be sure that in addition to the Irish Brigade Monument you also get to see the monuments for the 28th Massachusetts and the 116th Pennsylvania. The 116th Monument is a stone carving of a soldier lying dead behind a stone wall. It is a truly fine work and is all too often missed.
 
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