Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Irish Brigade Monument Re-dedication Set Sunday, Dec. 9

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Irish Brigade troops (some with boxwood sprigs tucked in their caps) taunt retreating Confederates during a 2007 re-enactment of the pullback by Confederate Brig. Gen. William Barksdale’s men along Marye Street in Fredericksburg. (ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR)

from Donald Pfanz, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park:

FREDERICKSBURG—A color guard of the Irish Defense Force will be coming to Fredericksburg on Sunday, Dec. 9, to re-dedicate a monument honoring the Irish Brigade, a military unit that fought here on Dec. 13, 1862.

The monument is at the Fredericksburg City Dock on the Rappahannock River [near Sophia and Lower Caroline streets]. The ceremony will begin at 12 p.m. and will last no longer than 30 minutes. It will include remarks by National Park Service historian Frank O’Reilly, an officer in the Sons of Union Veterans, and a representative of the Irish Embassy.

Fredericksburg Councilman Matthew J. Kelly, who was instrumental in erecting the monument, will deliver a short address on what motivated Irish immigrants to fight in the Civil War, after which several organizations will lay wreathes at the monument.

Following the ceremony, the 69th New York National Guard, a descendant of a regiment that fought in the Irish Brigade, will lead a march from the dock up Sophia Street to Riverfront Park, arriving by 1 p.m., in time to participate in a grand procession through the town to Marye’s Heights. The procession will follow the route taken by the Irish Brigade 150 years ago.

The Irish Brigade made the most famous attack during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Easily recognized by their trademark green flag bearing an Irish harp and sunburst, the men of the brigade charged into battle with sprigs of boxwood in their hats to remind them of their Irish heritage.

Of the 1,250 men who participated in the assault, more than 40 percent were killed or wounded, including every officer in the 69th New York.

Not a single soldier reached the heights that day.


  • Mark McCann

    What about the Irish Company from Georgia who fought on the other side of the stone wall, they also fought bravely.  Did anyone give them any recognition. Yankee Irish units weren’t the only ones that fought valiantly at Fredericksburg, some also wore Rebel Grey.