Say What Anniversary Special: Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg

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Mar 15, 2013

The writer was an eye witness to the charge of the Irish brigade at Fredericksburg. General Lee had, at the time, the finest army in history. Two formidable lines of battle were protected by a rock wall and defended by Cobb's and Kershaw's brigades of McLaw's division (one fourth of whom, I suppose, were Irishmen or of Irish extraction), and the famous Washington Artillery. In our immediate front one could walk on the dead for hundreds of yards. We were pained to see the noble fellows coming up in steady columns to be mowed down before our lines of solid flames of fire from our entrenched position behind the rock wall and the terrible fire from the Washington Artillery on Marye's Hill, just in our rear and commanding every inch of approach.

The Irish Brigade would receive our well-directed fire steady and firm, and when great gaps were cut through their ranks by the artillery, would reform under the incessant fire, come again, sink down and rise again, trample the dead and wounded under foot and press the stone wall of liquid fire, then recede a few feet and come again, like an avalanche into the very jaws of death, until strength and endurance failed, having been forced back by shell and the deadly minie ball that no human being could withstand. The field of battle ran great streams of blood, and the immortal Irish Brigade recoiled before the living wall of fire in glory.

I know of no charge upon the field of battle in history to compare to the charge of the Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg, unless it was Pickett's Division at Gettysburg, or the Old Guard at Waterloo. The immortal Irish Brigade were soldiers indeed... [The Georgia Cracker. (Gainesville, GA.), September 25, 1897, page 3.]

Christopher Columbus Sanders, then Lieutenant Colonel of the 24th Georgia Infantry, Cobb's Brigade, was on the "receiving end" of the charge that day, behind the stone wall, beneath Marye's Hill. Sanders was of Irish descent himself - his maternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant from Dublin. In 1861, CC Sanders graduated from the Georgia Military Institute (Marietta) and was commissioned Lt Col of the 24th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. @Kyle R @Podad
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