69th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: First Regiment, Irish Brigade

Mustered in: September 17 to November 17, 1861
Mustered out: June 30, 1865

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912. 
This regiment, Col. Robert Nugent, originally recruited under special authority from the War Department, was turned over to the state September 2, 1861, and organized in New York city as one of the regiments of the Irish, or Meagher's, Brigade, November 2, 1861. It was mustered in the service of the United States for three years between September 7 and November 17, 1861. A large number of the members of the 69th Militia joined the regiment, on their return from their three months' service, and the majority of the men were recruited in New York city, Company D, however, principally at Chicago, Ill.; Company F partly at Brooklyn, and K partly at Buffalo. June 12, 1863, the regiment was consolidated into a battalion of two companies, A and B. In February, 1864, this battalion returned from its veteran furlough with six companies, A, B, C, F, G and K; Band F being the former Companies B and A; the others being newly organized. At the expiration of its term of service, those entitled thereto were mustered out and the regiment retained in service.
The regiment left the state, November 18, 1861; served at Fort Corcoran, D. c., from November, I861; in the Irish Brigade, Sumner's Division, Army of the Potomac, from December, 1861; in the same, 2d, Brigade, Richardson's, 1st Division, 2d Corps, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862; and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Colonel Nugent, June 30, I865, near Alexandria, Va.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 8 officers, 154 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 5 officers, 94 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 2 officers, 149 enlisted men; total, 15 officers, 397 enlisted men; aggregate, 412; of whom I officer and 63 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.

The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908. volume II. 
Sixty-ninth Infantry.—Cols., Robert Nugent, William Wilson; Lieut.-Cols., James Kelly, James E. McGee, John Garrett, James J. Smith; Majs., James Cavanagh, John Garrett, Richard Moro-ney. The 69th, the 1st regiment of the Irish brigade, was the outgrowth of the 69th militia (q. v.) and contained members from New York city, Chicago, Il1., Brooklyn and Buffalo. It was mustered into the U. S. service at New York city Sept. 7 to Nov. 17, 1861, for three years, and left for Washington on Nov. 18. It was stationed at Fort Corcoran near Washington and became a part of the Irish brigade under Gen. Meagher in December. At the time of the general advance under Gen. McClellan in March, 1862, the Irish brigade became the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 2nd corps, and moved to the Peninsula in April after having its first encounter with the enemy at Rappahannock Station, Va. The part taken by the brigade in the siege of Yorktown was not especially prominent, but its prompt action at Fair Oaks helped to save the day, and during the Seven Days' battles it was constantly in action, the 69th alone losing 208 in killed, wounded and missing. At the second Bull Run the division arrived too late for the battle but at Antietam the Irish brigade was in the midst of the fight at the "Bloody Lane," where the loss of the regiment was 196 in killed, wounded and missing out of 317 engaged. After the battle the regiment was withdrawn to Charlestown, W. Va., and then moved via Snicker's gap and Hartwood Church to Fredericksburg, where it again suffered severely in the desperate but unsuccessful assault on Marye's heights, the total loss being 128. The winter was passed in camp near Falmouth; the regiment was prominent in the Chan-cellorsville campaign and again at Gettysburg; then fought at Auburn and Bristoe Station; shared in the Mine Run campaign; and went into winter quarters near Brandy Station. The loss of the regiment was so severe that in June, 1863, it became necessary to consolidate it into two companies. In Dec. and Jan., 1863-64, a large number of these tried soldiers reenlisted and upon their return from veteran furlough received the addition of many new recruits, which insured the continuance of the regiment in the field as a veteran organization. The regiment bore a heavy part in the battles of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor; lost heavily in the first assault on Petersburg; remained in position before Peters-burg during the long siege; was active at the Weldon railroad, Strawberry Plains, Reams' station, Hatcher's run and the Appo-mattox campaign, and was finally mustered out at Alexandria, June 30, 1865. The 69th lost the greatest number of men killed or wounded of any of the New York regiments. It ranks 6th in total loss among all the regiments in the Union army and 7th in percentage of loss to total enrollment. The total number enrolled was 1,513, of whom 261 died from wounds and 151 from other causes, 63 dying in prisons.


69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Flank Marker | Civil War

This cream colored silk flank marker carried by the 69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry features 1.25” long metal bullion fringe and an embroidered…


69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

On November 18, 1861, a group of New York City Irish-American ladies presented this green silk “Irish Color” to the 69th New York Volunteers. The…


69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Regimental Color | Civil War

This blue silk Regimental Color attributed to the 69th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry features the Arms of the United States painted in the…


69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

The 69th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry received a national color, most likely the flag seen here, from the City of New York in early 1863. The…


69th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

Shortly after the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, September 17, 1862, nearly three dozen native-born merchants from New York City commissioned Tiffany &…

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 ng.ny.nyarng.list.historians@army.mil 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.

69th Regiment Association. www.sixtyninth.net/index.html

Athearn, Robert G. Thomas Francis Meagher: an Irish revolutionary in America. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1949.

Ballard, Ted. Battle of First Bull Run. Washington, D.C. Center of Military History, United States Army, 2004.

Bilby, Joseph G. the 69th New York and the Irish Brigade in the Civil War. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1995.

Boyle, Frank A. A party of mad fellows : the story of the Irish regiments in the Army of the Potomac. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, Inc, 1996.

Bruce, Susannah U. "Remember Your Country and Keep Up Its Credit : Irish Volunteers and the Union Army." The Journal of Military History 69:2 (April 2005) 331-359.

Clarke, Joseph I.C. "The Ballad of the Sixty-ninth" Lyrics only.

Conyngham, David Power, 1840-1883. The Irish brigade and its campaigns : with some account of the Corcoran legion, and sketches of the principal officers. New York: W. McSorley & co, 1867.

De Marsan, Henry [publisher]. "Glorious 69th!" [New York, N.Y. : H. De Marsan]1860-1869?
Description: 1 sheet ([1] p.) ; 18 x 9 cm.
Song in twelve stanzas; first line: Come all, you gallant heroes, along with me combine.

Demeter, Richard. The fighting 69th : a history. Pasadena, CA: Cranford Press, 2002.

Glynn, Gary. "Meagher of the Sword." America's Civil War (September 1995) 54-61.

Loback, Tom. Civil War flags of the Irish Brigade and others in the 69th Regiment's Armory collection. S.l. s.n, 1999.

Mahon, John, 1930. New York's Fighting Sixty-ninth : a regimental history of service in the Civil War's Irish Brigade and the Great War's Rainbow Division. Jefferson, N.C. McFarland, 2004.

McLernon, Robert. Casualty list : 69th New York Volunteer Infantry at Fredericksbury, Virginia, December 13, 1862. 2012.

McLernon, Robert. Casualty list : 69th New York Volunteer Infantry, Meagher's Irish Brigade, at Antietam, Maryland, September 17, 1862 . 2014.

McLernon, Robert. 69th Infantry Confirmed Burials, 2014.

Moshier, James. "Affinity for Controversy : Wherever Dan Sickles went, controversy soon flared, even at Gettysburg." Military History (June, 1990) 58 ff.

Nugnet, Robert. "The Sixty-ninth at Fredericksburg: General Nugent's Description of the Splendid Work that was performed by the Irish Brigade Before Marye's Heights, December 11-15, 1862." Annual Report of the State Historian. pp. 34-45.

O'Flaherty, Patrick. The flag fo the Sixty-Ninth Volunteers in the Leinster House, Dublin, Ireland. [Greenwood Lake, NY: 1918].

O'Neill, Stephan D. Clear the way!: the Irish Brigade from Fair Oaks to the Bloody Lane. New York: Irish Brigade Association : 69th New York Historical Association, c1995.

Pohanka, Brian C. James McKay Rorty : an appreciation. s.n. 1993.

Powers, Kenneth H. "A Bit of the Irish: The 69th Regiment of New York." National Guard. (March 1998) pp. 22-24.

Reynolds, Lawrence. A poetical address: delivered by Doctor Lawrence Reynolds, 63d Regiment, N.Y.S.V., before the Irish Brigade, in camp, near Falmouth, Va., on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1863 . Albany: Weed, Parsons and Co. : Michael O'Sullivan, 1863.

Tucker, Phillip Thomas, 1953. The history of the Irish Brigade: a collection of historical essays. Fredericksburg, Va. Sergeant Kirkland's Museum and Historical Society, 1995.

War Department. The Adjutant General's Office. Return of Killed, Wounded and Missing [at Antietam, September 1862].

Worman, Ed. 69th New York captured on picket at Petersburg, October 20-30, 1964. 2015. 30 pages.


Items in the museum collection are in bold.