previous next

[83] historic reputation attached in Europe to the name he bears. His demeanor and the high spirit he displayed, his words and looks, all were such as could not fail to encourage and incite his men on that day.

Major James Cavanagh, also of the Sixty-ninth, most ably and daringly supporting his Colonel, fell severely wounded, but I trust and pray not fatally; for never was there a truer heart, never was there a bolder arm, never was there a brighter or sounder brain. It is impossible, however, for me to enumerate, in the terms of affectionate appreciation I desire, and which they deserve, the losses which the brigade has incurred. Hereafter, should an opportunity be afforded me, I shall write and speak of such men as Lieutenants Buckley and Birmingham-men who on that day, at Fredericksburgh, most worthily supplied the place of the officers who fell on the battlefields before Richmond, and in the great repulse of the rebels at Antietam.

Looking along the ranks of the Eighty-eighth New-York volunteers, as I did with a mournful pride, the day after the assault, I missed, besides Major William Horgan, Lieut. Thomas Murphy, Adjutant John R. Young, and Lieut. McCarthy; and the only consolation to me in the contemplation of these losses arises from the fact that such men as Col. Patrick Kelly, Licut.-Col. Quinlan, Captain Patrick K. Horgan, Captain John Smith, Capt. Burke, Capt. Nagle, and other intelligent and brave officers like them are still to the good work.

In the Sixty-third New-York volunteers I have lost, for some time at all events, the efficient services of Major Joseph O'Neill--services that were ever most promptly and heartily rendered where-ever and whenever his military obligations or patriotism required them. Had I time it would be, indeed, a pleasing duty for me to speak, in connection with the Sixty-third, of such officers as Captains Gleason, Condon, Moore, and Lieut. James R. Brady, and others, whom it would be difficult for me now to mention without having the leisure to speak of them with adequate commendation.

Within the last three months two regiments were incorporated in the brigade. Pennsylvania contributed the One Hundred and Sixteenth; Massachusetts contributed the Twenty-eighth. The fact that Col. Heenan, Lieut.-Col. Mulholland and Major Bardwell, of the first named regiment, were badly wounded, speaks filly for the intrepidity and mettle of the men of which it is composed. Where there are such officers there must be staunch men.

The Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers was raised for the Irish Brigade, but, owing to some mistake, was kept aloof from it until, by a most fortunate vicissitude of the war, it was restored to us three or four weeks ago. It is a substantial and splendid accession to the brigade. It has sinew, heart and soul. It is commanded by an officer (Col. R. Byrne) than whom it would be difficult to find one of superior aptitude for such a command, combining, as he does, the practical experience and matured capacity of a soldier of some years' standing with the natural qualities which enable one to figure prominently and successfully in military life. I have not a word but one of unqualified commendation to bestow on this well-regulated and admirably disciplined regiment. Major Carraher, one of the best of its excellent officers, was wounded in the head.

The chaplains and surgeons of the brigade could not be excelled in their devotion to the wounded. Their services were unremittingly and most zealously rendered. Dr. Francis Reynolds, Dr. Pascal Smith, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, with their assistant-surgeons, behaved nobly.

The first-named officer again vindicated the brilliant reputation he brought with him from the Crimea, and his conduct is all the more deserving of eulogy and gratitude that a day or two before the battle he had obtained leave of absence for a fortnight, but much to his inconvenience, remained with the brigade, rather than be absent from his post at such a time.

A correct return of the killed, wounded, and missing of the brigade has been forwarded to the headquarters of the division. For individual instances of courage and good conduct, on the day in question, and the more minute incidents and details of the assault, so far as the brigade took part in it, I respectfully refer you to the reports of the colonels and other regimental commandants.

I most cordially recommend to the favorable notice of the General commanding the division every member of my staff Capt. Wm. G. Hart, of the Eighty-eighth, was as brave and active under the heaviest fire as he is faithful, diligent, and indefatigable in the discharge of his duties as Acting Assistant Adjutant-General of the brigade. Lieutenant John Blake, of the same regiment, displayed courage and soldiership of the highest order, but in doing so only continued to display those qualities which have brilliantly characterized his conduct in nine desperate engagement.s. Lieut Richard Emmet, who, in the earliest dawn of manhood, hardly yet emerged from boyhood, stood for the first time on the field of battle, astonished all who witnessed his artless bravery-fearlessly and brightly, with sunshine in his heart, and joyousness in his every glance, wearing unconsciously throughout the storm, laurels which many an older brow might well be proud to win. In connection with the staff, I should be doing a serious injustice to an admirable officer, were I to omit the name of Capt. Malachi Martin, the able and indefatigable Quartermaster of the brigade, who, on different occasions, accompanied me to the field, and under fire, in the midst of the worst perils of the fight, rendered me essential service in the most generous and gallant style.

I have the honor to be, very truly, your obedient servant,

Thomas Francis Meagher, Brigadier-General Commanding the Irish Brigade.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: