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breakneck speed “from Winchester twenty miles away" through the dust and debris of a broken army to the extreme front, rallying the scattered regiments and turning a defeat into a crushing victory, which recovered all that had been lost, taking 25 cannon and 1,200 prisoners, and driving for miles the lately victorious enemy under Early. Captain P. J. O'Keefe was one of the two who made the ride beside him. The battles of Waynesboro, Five Forks, and Sailor's Creek showed the same brilliant generalship on the part of Sheridan. His hold on the affection of the army and the admiration of the people continued to the day of his death, August 5, 1888, when he held the headship of the United States army as general in succession to the great Sherman.
General Sheridan, towards the end of the war, had a soldier's difference with Major-General George G. Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, but that did not blind "Little Phil” to the real merit of the victor in the tremendous three days' battle of Gettysburg, handling an army new to his hand against Robert E. Lee. The Meade family is of Irish descent. George Meade, the grandfather, came from Dublin and was a patriot in the American Revolutionary War. General Meade commanded a division at Antietam and a corps at Fredericksburg, and held command of the Army of the Potomac to the end of the war. He was a fine soldier and gentleman. Of quiet manners at most times, he was most irascible in the hour of battle, but his temper did not becloud his judgment. General James Shields and General Irwin McDowell, both fine Irish soldiers, have already been mentioned.
It would be hard to compass in a brief article even the names of the general officers of Irish blood in the Civil War. General John Logan, who fought with the western armies, is worthy of high and honorable mention, as is General Thomas Francis Meagher, a patriot in Ireland, a prisoner in Australia, a soldier of dash in the Civil War. Meagher's Irish Brigade left a record of valor unsurpassed :their charge at Fredericksburg up Marye's Heights alone should give them full meed of fame. General Michael Corcoran, a native of Ireland, commanded the wholly Irish 69th Regiment when it departed for the war in 1861, and after his exchange from a Confederate prison raised and organized the Corcoran Legion. Major-General McDowell McCook commanded brilliantly in the western campaigns. Who has not heard of the Fighting McCooks?-a family of splendid men and hardy warriors. Brigadier-General Thomas C. Devin was a superb cavalry commander, who led the first division of Sheridan's Shenandoah army through all its great operations. General James Mulligan of Illinois was of the true fighting breed. Colonel Timothy O'Meara led his superb Irish Legion from Illinois up Missionary Ridge. BrigadierGeneral C. C. Sullivan of western army fame was one of the five generals, headed by Rosecrans, who recommended Phil Sheridan for promotion to brigadier-general after the battle of Booneville as "worth his weight in gold." General Brannan was a gallant division commander in the Middle Tennessee campaign. Colonel William P. Carlin made a name at Stone River. General James T. Boyle, of the Army of the Ohio under Buell, was the brave man whose promotion to division commander left a vacancy for “Little Phil”, that was to be an immediate stepping stone to higher opportunity. Brigadier-General McMillan, who commanded the second brigade at Cedar Creek; Colonel Thomas W. Cahill, 9th Connecticut; Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Neafie of the 156th New York; Captain Charles McCarthy of the 175th New York; LieutenantColonel Alex. J. Kenny of the 8th Indiana; Lieutenant Terrence Reilly of the Horse Artillery, all won distinction in the Shenandoah Valley. Such splendid fighters as General James R. O’Beirne, Colonel Guiney, Colonel Cavanagh, Colonel John P. Byron, Colonel Patrick Gleason, General Denis F. Burke, wrote their names red over a score of battle fields, but one cannot hope to cover more than a fraction of the brilliant men of Irish blood who led and bled in the long, hard, and strenuous struggle. The 69th New York Regiment was the mother of a dozen Irish regiments, including the Irish Brigade of Meagher and the Corcoran Legion. The 9th, 28th, and 29th regiments of Massachusetts were all Irish. A gallant Irishman, born at Fermoy, was Brigadier-General Thomas Smyth, who made a name and died in the battles around Richmond. There was not a regiment from the middle western and western States that did not hold its quota of Irishmen and sons of the Irish. After the names of Porter and Farragut in the Navy stands next highest in honor that of Vice-Admiral Stephen C. Rowan, born in Dublin, of the famous family that produced Hamilton Rowan, one of the foremost of the United Irishmen. It was the son of the vice-admiral, a lieutenant in the army, who carried "the message to Garcia" from the United States War Department to the Cuban commander in the eastern jungle of Cuba, before the outbreak of the war with Spain, and did it so well and bravely through such difficulties and dangers that his name will stand for "the faithful messenger" forever.
As a consequence of their stand with the American people in the Civil War, the position of the whole mass of the Irish and Irish-American people was vastly uplifted in American eyes. The unlettered poverty of scores of thousands of Irish immigrants, who came in multitudes from 1846 on, had made an unfavorable and false impression; their red blood on the battle field washed it out.
On the southern side as well, Irish valor shone. While the great flood of the mid-century Irish immigration had spread itself mainly north, east, and west, the larger cities of the South also received a share. The slave system precluded the entry of free labor into the cotton, corn, lumber, and sugar lands of the South, but such cities as New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Savannah, Vicksburg, and Richmond gave varied employment to many of the Irish who made their homes in the Southland, and so they came to furnish thousands of recruits to the local Confederate levies. The "Louisiana Tigers", who fought so valiantly at Gettysburg on the Southern side, included many Irish. The Georgia brigade, that held the Confederate line atop of Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, up which the Irish brigade so heroically charged, had whole companies of Irish. There were scores of Irish in many of the regiments that made Pickett's memorable charge at Gettysburg. All through the Confederate armies were valiant descendants of the earlier Irish immigration that settled the uplands of the Carolinas and Virginia and the blue grass region of Kentucky. Most famous, most glorious of these was "Stonewall” Jackson-Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson--next to Robert E. Lee the greatest soldier on the southern side. No more splendid soldier-figure rises out of the contest. Educated at West Point, serving in Mexico, then a professor of philosophy—and artillery-next a volunteer with his State when Virginia took arms against the Union, his long and brilliant service included a large share in the victories at Bull Run, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, where he was accidentally wounded by his own men. He was once defeated by General Shields, as has been noted. The piety and purity of his life belie the supposed necessity for the coarser traits that are thought to go with the terrible trade. General Patrick R. Cleburne was born in 1828, near Cork, Ireland. He was in the English army three years, and, coming to the United States, became a lawyer at Helena, Ark. He enlisted in the Confederate army as a private, rose rapidly to the command of a brigade, and made a great name at Shiloh. As major-general he led divisions at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and was thanked by the Confederate Congress. He fell at the battle of Franklin-a soldier of commanding presence, skill, and daring, beloved by the whole Army of the West. The gallant colonel Thomas Claiborne was a striking cavalryman. It was Lieutenant Thomas A. Claiborne of the 1st South Carolina who, with Corporal B. Brannan, lashed the broken flagstaff on Fort Sumter in June, 1864, when, under a withering fire, the flag of the Confederacy had been shot away. The fighting of Major-General Gary of South Carolina around Richmond was desperate. He was the last to leave the city when it fell, as told by Captain Sullivan: "He galloped at night through the burning city, and at the bridge over the James cried out, 'We are the rear guard. It is all over; blow the bridge to h–1!' and went on into the night."
The story of the Civil War is a mine of honor to the Irish, and Irishmen should set it forth at length. Here it can be merely glanced at.
The war of 1898 with Spain--that great patriotic efflorescence—was brief in its campaigning. Immediately provoked by the blowing up of the U. S. S. Maine in Havana harbor on
February 15, war was declared on April 19. Admiral Dewey sank the Spanish fleet in Manila Harbor, May 1. The first troops landed on Cuban soil June 1. The first and last-real land battle before Santiago occurred on July 1-2, with 13,500 troops on the American side against an available Spanish force somewhat less in number, but holding strongly fortified and entrenched positions around the town. The advance and charges uphill necessary to capture El Caney and the steep heights of San Juan called for desperate courage. It was there, however, and the Irish in the army exhibited dash and persistence, as duty demanded. In the second day's fighting the Spanish assaults on the American positions were repelled, and the land fighting was over. The Americans in the two days lost over 10 per cent killed and wounded. The destruction of Cervera's fleet on its attempt to escape from Santiago on July 3 ended the struggle. With the regiment of Rough Riders, under Theodore Roosevelt—who says he reckons “an O'Brien, a Redmond, and a man from Ulster” among his forbears—were many gallant Irishmen-Kellys, Murphys, Burkes, and Doyles, for instance. His favorite captain, "Bucky" O'Neill of Arizona, fell at the foot of San Juan. The white regiments of the regular army had their quota of Irish, as had most of the volunteers. The 9th Massachusetts was all Irish. The 69th New York, all Irish, never reached the front in the war, but shared the fate of the 150,000 troops cantoned through the Southern States, their only effective enemies being dysentery, typhoid, and malaria.
A little splash of Irish blood came with the Fenian dash into Canada on June 1, 1866. There had been active preparations for a real invasion by some 50,000 Irish-born or Irish-fathered soldiers who had served in the Civil War. The American government, using its army force, intervened to prevent the bellicose movement, not, however, before Colonel John O'Neill, who had served in the cavalry with Sherman on his march to the sea, with Captain Starr, one of Kilpatrick's cavalry, Captain O'Brien, and about 700 well-armed men, all Civil War veterans, had slipped across the Niagara River at Fort Erie. They made short work of all in sight, threw out a couple of hundred men who burned a bridge and tore up the railroad tracks.