“Independent Irish Regiment”

“3rd Regiment Irish Brigade”

The 63rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 15 officers and 141 elisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 officer and 92 enlisted men to disease. It and its fellow regiments of the Irish Brigade are honored by a monument at Antietam and another monument at Gettysburg.

1861
August 7 –
November 4
Organized at New York City under Colonel Richard C. Enright, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Fowler and Major Thomas Lynch as part of Meagher’s Irish Brigade.
November 28 Left State for Washington, D.C.
November 30 Attached to Meagher’s Brigade, Sumner’s Division, Army of the Potomac for duty in the Defenses of Washington
1862
January 31 Colonel Enright discharged. Lieutenant Colonel John Burke of the 37th New York Infantry Regiment transferred in as colonel
February 12 Major Thomas Lynch died of disease at Fairfax Seminary
February 14 Adjutant Richard Bentley of the 13th New York Infantry Regiment transferred in as major
March 10-15 Advance on Manassas, Va. attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
March 12 One man was wounded at Union Mills
April 16-May 4 Ordered to the Virginia Peninsula. Siege of Yorktown, Va.
May 31-June 1
Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks

One enlisted man was wounded

June 19 Two enlisted men were wounded near Burnt Chimneys
June 24
Fair Oaks

One enlisted man was wounded

June 25-July 1 Seven days before Richmond
June 27 Battles of Gaines’ Mill
June 28-29 About Fair Oaks
June 29 Peach Orchard and Savage Station
June 30 White Oak Swamp Bridge and Glendale
July 1
Malvern Hill

One officer and 18 enlisted men were wounded, 1 officer and 50 men missing

July At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-30 Moved to Fortress Monroe, then to Alexandria and Centreville
August 31-
September 2
Cover retreat of Pope’s Army to Washington, D.C.
September 6-22 Maryland Campaign
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

The regiment was commanded by Colonel John Burke. Captain John Kavanaugh, Lieutenants Patrick Lydon, George Lynch, James Mackay, Henry McConnell, Cadwallader Smith, 1 other officer and 57 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Fowler, Captain Michael O’Sullivan and 134 men wounded, and 2 men missing out of 341 men engaged in the attack on the Sunken Road, or “Bloody Lane.”

When General Meagher was stunned by a fall from his horse Colonel Burke was to take over the brigade. Burke, however, had disappeared. Lieutenant Colonel Fowler took over the regiment but was wounded, leaving command to Captain Joseph O’Neill, who was the only officer not killed or wounded in the attack. After the battle Burke was charged with abandoning his regiment (see October 20).

From the Irish Brigade monument at Antietam:

On 17, September 1862, the Brigade crossed Antietam Creek (9:30 a.m.) at Pry’s Ford. As it formed at the edge of a cornfield Father William Corby, Chaplain rode along the line, giving absolution to the soldiers. The 69th New York occupied the right then the 29th Massachusetts, the 63rd and 88th New York crossing the cornfield, the command encountered a rail fence which was torn down under severe fire an opposing Confederate column advanced within 300 paces of the brigade . After several volleys, the Irish Brigade charged with fixed bayonets. At 30 paces it poured buck and ball into General George B. Anderson’s Brigade (2nd, 4th, 14th and 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiments) which fell back to ‘Bloody Lane’. After fierce combat its ammunition exhausted the Irish Brigade was relieved.

From the brigade marker at Antietam:

Meagher’s Brigade led the advance of Richardson’s Division and, in the field just north of this, became engaged with the Confederate Brigade of Geo. T. Anderson, which was forced to retire to the Bloody Lane.

At this point, Meagher’s advance was checked and a severe contest ensued, but 30 yards separating the opposing lines.

Its ammunition having been exhausted, the Brigade was relieved by Caldwell’s but, later in the day, advanced to a position on the high ground, south of this point, in suport of Caldwell and Brooke.

September 22-October 29 Duty at Harper’s Ferry
October 16-17 Reconnaissance to Charlestown
October 20 Colonel Burke was court martialled and dismissed from the service for his actions at Antietam. Lieutenant Colonel Fowler was promoted to colonel and command of the regiment.
October 25 Captain Joseph O’Neil of Company A prmomted to major
October 29-November 17 Advance up Loudoun Valley and movement to Falmouth, Va.
October 31 Major Richard Bentley promoted to lieutenant colonel
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg

Captain John Sullivan and 6 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, Adjutant James Brady, Lieutenants Richard Moore, William Quick, Patrick Riordon, 2 other officers and 27 enlisted men were wounded and 4 enlisted men were missing out of 162 men engaged.

The regiment is honored on a monument to the Irish Brigade on the Fredericksburg waterfront at the City Dock. From the monument:

While posted here in the early morning of Dec. 13, 1862, the men of the Irish Brigade placed sprigs of boxwood in their caps in honor of their Irish heritage. Later in the day, they took part in the futile assaults against confederate positions on Marye’s Heights. After the battle, the Union dead closest to the Confederate positions wore sprigs of boxwood in their caps.

December-April At Falmouth
1863
January 20-24 “Mud March”
April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville

Captain John Lynch was killed, 1 enlisted man mortally wounded, 2 officers wounded and 2 men missing.

June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
June 12 Consolidated into a battalion of two companies, A and B, under Lieutenant Colonel Richard Charles Bentley. Major Joseph O’Neal mustered out.
July 1-4
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Charles Bentley. He was wounded on July 2nd, and Captain Thomas Touhy took command. The 63rd brought 112 men to the field in two companies (A and B) and lost 5 enlisted men killed, 2 mortally wounded, 1 officer and 7 enlisted men wounded, and Lieutenant Dominick Connolly and 7 enlisted men captured or missing.

From the Irish Brigade monument at Gettysburg:

The brigade entered the battle under command of Colonel Patrick Kelly 530 strong, of which this contingent, composing three battalions of two companies each, numbered 240 men. The original strength of these battalions was 3,000 men. The brigade participated with great credit to itself and the race it represented, in every battle of the Army of the Potomac in which the Second Corps was engaged, from Fair Oaks, Jule 1, 1862, to Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865.

July 4 Colonel Henry Fowler discharged for his wound at Antietam
July-October Duty on line of the Rappahannock
September 13-17 Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
October 14
Auburn and Bristoe

The regiment lost 2 enlisted men wounded and 7 missing

November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-December 2 Mine Run Campaign
December-May Duty at and near Stevensburg, Va.
1864
January 12 Company C added to the battalion, The company was originally raised for the King’s County Volunteers in June of 1863.
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
April Companies D and E of new recruits joined
April 26 Captain Thomas Touhy of Company A promoted to major
May 3-June 15 Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness

Major Thomas Touhy, Captain Peter Boyle, and 21 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 68 men wounded and 8 missing.

May 8-21
Spotsylvania Court House

Lieutenant James Smart and 11 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 16 enlisted men wounded and 3 missing, including Major Thomas Touhey

May 10 Po River
May 12 Assault on the Salient or “Bloody Angle”
May 23-26 North Anna River
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June Company F joined, made up of new recruits
June 1-12
Cold Harbor

The regiment lost 12 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, Captain James Brady, Lieutenant David Rood and 13 enlisted men wounded and 5 men missing

June Attached to Consolidated Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
June 11 Captain Miles McDonald of Company E promoted to major
June 15-18
Assault on Petersburg

Major Miles McDonald and 10 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, Lieutenant Edward Maxwell and 20 enlisted men wounded and 15 missing

June 16 – April 2
Siege of Petersburg

The regiment lost 5 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 25 enlisted men wounded and 19 missing in the nine month siege exclusinve of those listed in the battles below

June 17 Captain John Gleason of Company D promoted to major
June 22-23
Jerusalem Plank Road

Lieutenant Patrick Maher was mortally wounded

July 27-29 Demonstration north of the James
July 27-28 Deep Bottom
August 13-20 Demonstration north of the James
August 14-18
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom

The regiment lost 11 enlisted man mortally wounded, 9 wounded and 1 missing

August 25
Ream’s Station

The regiment lost 2 enlisted men killed

September 14 Lieutenant Colonel Bentley discharged for disability due to his Gettysburg wound. Major Gleason promoted to lieutenant colonel
September 19 Lieutenant Colonel Gleason promoted to colonel
October 15 Captain William Terwilliger of Company E promoted to major
November Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
December 9-10 Reconnaissance to Hatcher’s Run
1865
January 29 Captain Brady promoted to lieutenant colonel
February 5-7 Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run
March 25
Watkins’ House

The regiment lost 1 enlisted man wounded

March 28-April 9
Appomattox Campaign

Captain Edward Carroll and 4 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 4 enlisted men wounded, and 2 men missing in the last two weeks of the war

March 29-31 Hatcher’s Run or Boydton Road
March 31
White Oak Road
April 2
Sutherland Station and fall of Petersburg

Captain Edward Carroll was killed

April 6 Sailor’s Creek
April 7 High Bridge. Farmville
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

May 2-12 Moved to Washington, D.C.
May 18 Colonel John Gleason was dismissed. Lieutenant Colonel Brady promoted to colonel, Major Terwilliger to lieutenant colonel and Captain James McQuade of Company F to major
May 23 Grand Review
June 30 Mustered out at Alexandria, Virginia under Colonel James D. Brady, Lieutenant Colonel Terwilliger and Major McQuade