United States Regiments & Batteries > New York

“Meagher’s Own”

“5th Regiment Irish Brigade”

The 88th New York Infantry Regiment lost 15 officers and 136 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 officers and 69 enlisted men to diseaseduring the Civil War. The regiment is honored on the Irish Brigade monuments at Antietam (near right) and Gettysburg. There is also a monument at Gettysburg to the 88th’s Chaplain, Father WIlliam Corby.

Organized at Fort Schuyler, N.Y. by combining the 2nd and 4th Regiments of the Irish Brigade, with Colonel Baker of the 2nd taking command of the regiment and Colonel Meagher of the 4th taking command of the brigade. The regiment was recruited from Irish immigrants, a large number of whom had served in the British Army, and the regimental number was chosen in honor of the British 88th Connaught Rangers. Many of the officers had served in the 69th New York State Militia and were veterans of the Battle of Bull Run.
November 18 Mrs. Meagher presented the regiment with their colors in front of the Archiepiscopal Palace on Madison Avenue.
December 16 Left State for Washington, D.C. under Colonel Henry M. Baker, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kelly and Major James Quinlan. The regiment was armed with smoothbore buck and ball muskets on General Meagher’s theory that fighting would be at close range.
December-March Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D. C. at Camp California near Alexandria. Attached to Meagher’s Brigade, Sumner’s Division, Army of the Potomac
March, 1862 Assigned to Meagher’s 2nd Brigade, Richardson’s 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac
March 10-15 Advance on Manassas, Va
April Ordered to the Peninsula, Va.
April 16-May 4 Siege of Yorktown
May Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps
May 21
White Oak Swamp

The regiment lost 1 enlisted man killed and 4 men wounded.

May 31-June 1
Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines

The regiment lost 1 officer and 7 men killed or mortally wounded, and 1 officer and 16 men killed. Major James Quinlan earned the Medal of Honor when he “led his regiment on the enemy’s battery, silenced the guns, held the position against overwhelming numners, and covered the retreat of the 2d Army Corps.”

June 25-July 1
Seven days before Richmond

The regiment lost 2 officers and 17 men killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 50 men wounded, and 58 men missing.

June 27 Battles of Gaines Mill
June 29 Peach Orchard and Savage Station
June 30 White Oak Swamp Bridge and Glendale
July 1 Malvern Hill
July-August At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-30 Movement to Fortress Monroe, then to Alexandria and Centreville
September 6-22 Maryland Campaign
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Kelly. It charged the infamous Sunken Road, or Bloody Lane, and lost 2 officers and 25 men killed, 8 men mortaly wounded, and 2 officers and 65 men wounded out of 302 men engaged.

From the monument to the Irish Brigade 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 Moved to Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
October 16-17 Reconnaissance to Charlestown
October 20 Leutenant Colonel Kelly was promoted to colonel.
October 29-November 17 Advance up Loudoun Valley and movement to Falmouth
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg

The regiment lost 4 officers and 24 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 8 officers and 85 enlisted men wounded, and 6 enlisted men missing. Major Horgan led his men forward in the attack on Marye’s Heights in spite of a shattered jaw and other wounds, falling mortally wounded only 20 paces from the stone wall of the Confederate defences.

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

The regiment lost 5 men killed or mortally wounded, 4 officers and 18 men wounded, and 19 men missing.

May 19 General Meagher resigned, and the 88th’s Colonel Kelly took command of the brigade. The regiment was consolidated due to losses into a battalion of two companies (A and B) under the command of Captain Denis Francis Burke.
June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Captain Denis Francis Burke while Colonel Kelly commanded the Irish Brigade. The 88th brought 126 men to the field in two companies (A and B) and lost 1 officer and 6 men killed, 1 officer and 16 men wounded and 4 men missing.

From the monument:

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.

< See Captain Burke’s Official Report on the Battle of Gettysburg. >

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap
August 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

One man was wounded

November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-
December 2
Mine Run Campaign

One man was wounded

November 28-30 Mine Run
December-May Duty at and near Stevensburg
January Only 74 survivors remained when the regiment reenlisted. They returned home to recruit, and returned 440 strong to rejoin the brigade.
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
May 3-June 15 Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness

The regiment lost 2 officers and 14 men killed or mortally wounded, 34 men wounded and 2 men missing.

May 8-21
Spotsylvania Court House

The regiment lost 6 men killed or mortally wounded, 16 men wounded, and 3 men missing.

May 10 Po River One enlisted man was mortally wounded
May 12
Assault on the Salient or “Bloody Angle”

One enlisted man was killed.

May 18
Landron House

Four enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded

May 23-26
North Anna River

One enlisted man was mortally wounded

May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31

Lost 1 man mortally wounded

June 1-12
Cold Harbor

The regiment lost 1 officer and 3 men killed or mortally wounded and 7 wounded.

June Assigned to Consolidated Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
June 16-18
Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg begins.

The regiment lost Colonel Patrick Kelly and 5 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 15 enlosted men wounded, and 1 officer and 29 enlisted men missing.

June 22-23
Jerusalem Plank Road

Lost 3 men killed or 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 2 men killed or mortally wounded, and 11 men wounded

August 25
Ream’s Station

The regiment lost 1 officer and 2 men wounded and 2 officers and 10 men missing.

October 27-28 Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run
October 27 Front of Forts Morton and Sedgwick
November Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps
December 9-10 Reconnaissance to Hatcher’s Run
February 5-7 Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run
March 25
Watkins’ House

The regiment lost 1 men killed and 4 m3n wounded.

March 28-April 9
Appomattox Campaign

The regiment lost 4 men wounded.

March 30-31
Hatcher’s Run or Boydton Road
March 31
White Oak Road
April 2
Sutherland Station and fall of Petersburg
April 6
Sailor’s Creek

First Lieutenant George W. Ford of Company E earned the Medal of Honor for capturing a Confederate flag.

April 7 Farmville
April 9 Appomattox Court House. Surrender of Lee and his army.
April At Burkesville
May 2-12 Moved to Washington, D.C.
May 23 Grand Review
June 30 96 survivors mustered out under Lieutenant Colonel Denis F. Burke near Alexandria, Virginia