Thomas Francis Meagher Resigns As Commander of the Irish Brigade May 8, 1863 "That Brigade no longer exists"

Pat Young

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Thomas Francis Meagher bust, Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher had organized the Irish Brigade in 1861. On May 8, 1863 he tendered his resignation as its commander.

Daily National Intelligencer
Friday, May 15, 1863
Washington (DC), DC
Vol: LI
Issue: 15830
Page: 2

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Pat Young

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The vocal parts of the irish community saw Meagher's resignation as a response to poor treatment of the Brigade by the Republican administration in Washington. After the disaster at Fredericksburg, Meagher had not been allowed to return to New York to recruit the Brigade back up to strength.

Irish American Weekly
Saturday, May 23, 1863
New York, NY
Page: 2

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Pat Young

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New York's Irish community added the ill treatment of the Irish Brigade to a growing list of grievances against the Lincoln Administration. These included:

1. The reckless use of Irish troops at Antietam and Fredericksburg
2. The transformation of the War for the Union into the War for Emancipation
3. Perceived discrimination in promotion of Irish officers
4. Legislation announcing the Draft
5. The removal of protection from conscription by Seward for foreign-born men who were not intending to become citizens
 

Pat Young

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Meagher's departure was widely reported, and not just in the North. Pro-Confederate newspapers saw it as a sign that the sizeable Irish community was giving up on the war.

Macon Telegraph
Saturday, May 23, 1863
Macon, GA
Issue: 1015
Page: 2

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Pat Young

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The mechanics of Meagher's departure attracted national press attention. Many papers republished his resignation and subsequent exhanges.

New York Herald
Friday, May 22, 1863
New York, NY
Vol: XXVIII
Issue:141
Page: 5

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Pat Young

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Newspapers published recounts of Meagher's career.

New York Herald
Friday, May 22, 1863
New York, NY
Vol: XXVIII
Issue:141
Page: 5

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