Corcoran's Brigade or Irish Legion

Col. Michael Corcoran, 69th Militia, on his return from captivity, was appointed a Brigadier-General of United States Volunteers, and received in July, 1862, authority to recruit a brigade; upon his recommendation the Governor of the State authorized the following to recruit regiments for this brigade:
Col. Mathew Murphy, in August, 1862, to recruit the 69th National Guard as the 1st Regiment.
Col. Peter McDermott, July 17, 1862, to recruit the 2d Regiment.
Col. John E. McMahon, August 8, 1862, to recruit the 3d Regiment.
Col. Michael K. Bryan, September 24, 1862, to recruit the 4th Regiment.
Col. William McEvily, October 10, 1862, to recruit the 5th Regiment.
Col. Thomas M. Reed, September 16, 1862, to recruit the 6th Regiment.
Col. James C. Burke, September 27, 1862, transferred from the Empire Brigade, to recruit the 7th Regiment.
And the formation of another, the 8th Regiment, was also commenced.

These organizations, except the 2d and 4th Regiments, left the State early in November, 1862, and being below the minimum strength, were, by order of Governor Morgan, consolidated at Newport News, Va., November 17, 1862, as follows:

The 1st Regiment was formed of the original 1st Regiment and part of the 6th, and Col. Mathew Murphy placed in command; later it was designated the 182d Regiment of Volunteers

The 2d Regiment was formed of the original 5th Regiment, Companies A and D of the 3d, and D of the 6th Regiment, with Col. Wm. McEvily in command; it was designated the 155th Regiment of Volunteers.

The 3d Regiment was formed of part of the 3d, all of the 7th, and the men recruited for the 8th Regiment; Col. John E. McMahon was placed in command, and it was designated the 164th Regiment of Volunteers.

The 4th Regiment was formed of the original 2d Regiment; Col. Peter McDermott was assigned to its command, and the regiment designated the 170th Regiment of Volunteers.

The 5th Regiment, which, however, never served with the brigade, was formed of the former 4th Regiment, filled by transfer of incomplete organizations, designated the 175th Regiment of Volunteers, and Col. M. K. Bryan placed in command of it.

The 155th, 164th, 170th and 182d Regiments served in the field, principally in the 2d Corps, Army of Potomac, in the Corcoran Brigade.

The above is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

Other Resources

This is meant to be a comprehensive list. If, however, you know of a resource that is not listed below, please send an email to with the name of the resource and where it is located. This can include photographs, letters, articles and other non-book materials. Also, if you have any materials in your possession that you would like to donate, the museum is always looking for items specific to New York's military heritage. Thank you.


Bruce, Susannah U. "Remember Your Country and Keep Up Its Credit': Irish-Americans and the Union War Effort, 1861-1865." The Journal of Military History 69 (April 2005): 331-359. 

Garland, John L. "Michael Corcoran and the formation of his Irish Legion." Irish sword. Summer 1987. 26-40.

Garcia, Christopher M. Denied a Soldier's Desire: The 69th New York National Guard Artillery in the American Civil War. 2012.
Master's Thesis written in conjunction with the 69th Historical Round Table and Old Dominion University.

Kean, Kathleen Cochrane. . "The Cocoran Irish Legion, and the Civil War." Niagara Frontier. 24 :3 Autumn 1977. 53-65.

"Recalling the 155th New York Volunteer Infantry 'Corcoran's Irish Legion'" 1862-1865." Wild Geese Today.

Ural, Susannah U. (nee Bruce) The Harp and the Eagle: Irish Volunteers in the Union Army, 1861-1865. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

Items in the museum collection are in bold.