127

Civil War Broadside Advertising Meeting for the Irish Brigade

Approx. 12.75 x 19.75 in. Printing date 2 Nov. 1861, Plattsburgh; for a meeting on the 4th. The ethnically based unit was approved by the Secretary of War in September. It was composed initially of the 69th New York Militia, which became the 69th NY Vol. Infy. To that was added the 63rd and 88th New York regiments, but to get to brigade strength it needed five, so the 29th Mass. (non-Irish) and 116th PA Volunteer Infantries were added. Massachusetts had pledged an Irish unit, but it was not up to strength when the brigade took the field. The 69th New York Militia served at the first Battle of Manassas even before being mustered into federal service.

The Union commanders saw an Irish unit as important to keep this minority supporting the cause. Since Ireland was struggling for its independence from Britain across the Atlantic, they tended to be sympathetic to others seeking independence. The minority also did not want the freed slaves competing for the few jobs available to the Irish, so while not exactly pro-slavery, their inclination was to keep them in the South. By organizing Irish units and giving them Irish Catholic chaplains, the federal side was signaling a support for the Irish and Catholics in general that was eluding them in the general culture.

And the unit fought valiantly in return - in the Seven Days Battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg (where their numbers were reduced from 1600 to less than 300, and allegedly earned the moniker the "Fighting 69th," which has continued to the present day, although no longer an Irish unit), Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Mine Run, Wilderness, Cold Harbor. It was disbanded in June 1864, having been reduced to regimental strength, but a Second Irish Brigade was reformed shortly thereafter and served with the Army of the Potomac right up to Appomattox Court House.

Condition:Some paper loss along central fold, which has been professionally repaired. There is a water stain at the point of the worst damage. There is slight scuffing along the left side and top. Typical toning.

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$3,173
06/11/2010

 

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