History of the 69th New York

by Claire Morris




On the twenty fifth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, the veterans of the Irish Brigade returned to the Wheatfield on the 2nd July 1888.  Father Corby addressed the soldiers gathered there.  Accounts of the sombre meeting state that Corby’s eyes brimmed with tears as he noted how few of the Irish Brigade had survived the war.  After a moment to compose himself he said, “Here is what is left of us; where are the others?”  Many of the congregation broke down in tears as they remembered their fallen comrades.

Denis F Bourke at the dedication ceremony in Gettysburg stated, “Comrades we have seen these two banners wave at Gaines’ Mill when despair and defeat were imminent; they waved at Malvern Hill when the ground shook beneath the charging legions of Lee; we have seen them at Antietam breast the shock of death, when their folds became as gory as the ground over which we bore them, and, though reddened and stained with the smoke and blood of battle, they still maintained their position in the front.  They waved together here when a Continent was at stake; they flashed in the Wilderness amid the revel of death; they were the first flags planted on the angle at Spotslyvania; and at each and every place, begirt by patriotism and battalioned by their valor, they never wavered, never faltered, never quailed until they blazed in the sunlight victory at Appomattox,” (Pritchard pg 91).



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