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Item #: CWB13076
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Sixty-ninth Infantry.—Cols., Robert Nugent, William Wilson; Lieut.-Cols., James Kelly, James E. McGee, John Garrett, James J. Smith; Majs., James Cavanagh, John Garrett, Richard Moro-ney. The 69th, the 1st regiment of the Irish brigade, was the outgrowth of the 69th militia (q. v.) and contained members from New York city, Chicago, Il1., Brooklyn and Buffalo. It was mustered into the U. S. service at New York city Sept. 7 to Nov. 17, 1861, for three years, and left for Washington on Nov. 18. It was stationed at Fort Corcoran near Washington and became a part of the Irish brigade under Gen. Meagher in December. At the time of the general advance under Gen. McClellan in March, 1862, the Irish brigade became the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 2nd corps, and moved to the Peninsula in April after having its first encounter with the enemy at Rappahannock Station, Va. The part taken by the brigade in the siege of Yorktown was not especially prominent, but its prompt action at Fair Oaks helped to save the day, and during the Seven Days' battles it was constantly in action, the 69th alone losing 208 in killed, wounded and missing. At the second Bull Run the division arrived too late for the battle but at Antietam the Irish brigade was in the midst of the fight at the "Bloody Lane," where the loss of the regiment was 196 in killed, wounded and missing out of 317 engaged. After the battle the regiment was withdrawn to Charlestown, W. Va., and then moved via Snicker's gap and Hartwood Church to Fredericksburg, where it again suffered severely in the desperate but unsuccessful assault on Marye's heights, the total loss being 128. The winter was passed in camp near Falmouth; the regiment was prominent in the Chan-cellorsville campaign and again at Gettysburg; then fought at Auburn and Bristoe Station; shared in the Mine Run campaign; and went into winter quarters near Brandy Station. The loss of the regiment was so severe that in June, 1863, it became necessary to consolidate it into two companies. In Dec. and Jan., 1863-64, a large number of these tried soldiers reenlisted and upon their return from veteran furlough received the addition of many new recruits, which insured the continuance of the regiment in the field as a veteran organization. The regiment bore a heavy part in the battles of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor; lost heavily in the first assault on Petersburg; remained in position before Peters-burg during the long siege; was active at the Weldon railroad, Strawberry Plains, Reams' station, Hatcher's run and the Appo-mattox campaign, and was finally mustered out at Alexandria, June 30, 1865. The 69th lost the greatest number of men killed or wounded of any of the New York regiments. It ranks 6th in total loss among all the regiments in the Union army and 7th in percentage of loss to total enrollment. The total number enrolled was 1,513, of whom 261 died from wounds and 151 from other causes, 63 dying in prisons.
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