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Word Count: 571
More than 170000 Irish-born Americans fought under the flag of the United States between 1861 and 1865 Society in the United States had up to that time displayed a marked anti-Catholic sentiment and most newly immigrated Irish occupied close to the lowest rung of the economic ladder but this did not dissuade many from rallying to the colors at the beginning of the war When President Lincoln made his first call for volunteers following the bombardment of Fort Sumter the 69th NYSM New York State Militia was the second unit to leave New York City The 69th served at 1st Bull Run under the command of then-brigade commander William T Sherman it then returned home and mustered out of Federal service At this point the decision was made to raise an Irish Brigade for government service Many members of the 69th NYSM joined the new 69th New York State Volunteers NYSV the first regiment of the new Irish Brigade Selected as commander of the Irish Brigade was Thomas Francis Meagher a man of outspoken anti-English sentiments who had been exiled to Tasmania by the Crown for his activities in Ireland Together with the 63rd and 88th New York regiments the 69th NYSV joined the Army of the Potomac to pursue the war against the Confederacy Beginning with the ill-fated Peninsular Campaign against Richmond the Irish Brigade in general and the 69th in particular began building a reputation for hard fighting and courage as well as lavish hospitality Part of the renowned II Corps the Irish often figured prominently in any advance and rearguard actions More than one general was known to ask Where are my green flags the reference to the green regimentals of the Irish units is significant The Irish Brigade went through perhaps its most valorous period between the Battle of Antietam 17 September 1862 and the Battle of Gettysburg 1-3 July 1863 This series of
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