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69th Infantry Regiment
New York State Militia
New York National Guard
Civil War
First Regiment, Irish Brigade

History

Mustered in: May 9, 1861
Mustered out: August 3, 1861
Left the State: May 29, 1862
Mustered out: September 3, 1862
Left the State: June 22, 1863
Mustered out: July 25, 1863
Mustered in: July 6, 1864
Mustered out: October 6, 1864.

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
The 69th Regiment, located in New York city and still in existence, was organized October 12, 1851. In 1858 it was reorganized as an artillery regiment, doing duty as infantry. The regiment has rendered the State service during the Quarantine riots in 1858, the Draft riots, 1863, and the Quarantine disturbances in 1892. It was reduced, December 6, 1893, to a battalion of five companies, A, C, D, I and K. The battalion was on duty at Brooklyn during the Motormen's strike in January, 1895. New companies were organized for the battalion as follows: Company B, June 5, 1894; Company G, June 10, 1895; Company E, June 11, 1895, and Company F, September 7, 1900. The battalion was reconstituted a regiment September 4, 1895. April 28, 1898, the regiment received authority to organize as a twelve-company regiment, preparatory to its entry in the United States service, in which service it was mustered May 19, 1898, as the 69th Regiment, N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, and mustered out January 31, 1899. Companies L and M were disbanded April 12, 1899; Company F, February 8, 1900, and Company B, March 5, 1900. Company F was reorganized and mustered in, May 31, 1900.
Service in the War of the Rebellion.
April 20, 1861, it was ordered to proceed to Washington, D..C.; it left the State April 23, 1861, and May 9, 1861, under the command of Col. Michael Corcoran, it was mustered in the service of the United States for three months; it served at and near Annapolis, Md., from April 27, 1861; at and near Washington and in the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, Army North-East Virginia from May, 1861; it was mustered out in New York city, August 3, 1861.
On its return from this service a large majority of the regiment volunteered for a period of three years, forming the nucleus of the 69th Volunteers.
May 26, 1862, the regiment, then commanded by Col. James Bagley, was again ordered to Washington and was mustered in the service of the United States for three months; it left the State May 29, 1862; served in the defenses of Washington, and was mustered out September 3, 1862, at New York city.
On the return of the regiment from this service again a large portion of it entered the volunteer service as part of an organization known as the 69th Regiment National Guard Artillery, but later as the 182d Volunteers.
June 18, 1863, the regiment was ordered to Harrisburg, Pa., for a service of thirty days. It left the State June 22, 1863, commanded by Colonel Bagley; served at Baltimore, Md., in the 2d Separate Brigade, Middle Department, 8th Corps, and was mustered out of the United States service July 25, 1863, at New York city.
July 6, 1864, the regiment, still commanded by Colonel Bagley, was again mustered in the United States service, but for a period of ninety days; it served in the harbor of New York, and was mustered out October 6, 1864.
In its service in 1861, the regiment lost, killed in action, 1 officer, 37 enlisted men; died of wounds received in action, 2 enlisted men; died of disease, etc., 5 enlisted men; in its service in 1864, died of disease, 2 officers, 1 enlisted man; total, 3 officers, 45 enlisted men; aggregate, 48.
It took part in the advance into Virginia and occupation of Arlington Heights, May 24, 1861; in a skirmish at Blackburn's Ford, July 18, 1861; and in the battle of Bull Run, Va., July 21, 1861, where it lost, killed, 1 officer, 36 enlisted men; wounded, 1 officer, 59 enlisted men; captured 3 officers, 92 enlisted men; aggregate, 192.

The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.
SIXTY-NINTH REGIMENT, N. Y. S. MILITIA.
The Sixty-ninth regiment was organized in the city of New York, and is in the Fourth brigade, First division of the New York State Militia. It departed from the State on the 23d of April, 1861—Strength: 1,050 men.
The followimg were the field officers :
Colonel—Michael Corcoran.
Lieutenant-Colonel—Robert Nugent. Major—James Bagley.
The services which were rendered by the Sixty-ninth were of a most valuable character, and as a representative regiment of a large class of our metropolitan population, the promptness with which its ranks were filled, even to overflowing, and the alacrity with which the regiment moved to the scene of expected hostilities, augured at the time most favorably for the success of the Union cause, and proved how deep seated in the hearts of all Northern citizens, whether native or adopted, was the love of the nation.
Some time before the Sixty-ninth offered its services, Colonel Corcoran had been summoned before a court-martial for disobedience of orders in not appearing with his command on the occasion of the reception of the Prince of Wales some months before in the city of New York. His popularity With his countrymen, and especially with his regiment, rendered it important that he should take the command at once; and on the morning of April 20th, Governor Morgan received a request to "quash at once the court martial on Col. Corcoran and restore him to his command." This was followed by this dispatch; "The Sixty-ninth Irish regiment is ready for service anywhere; can the court-martial be discontinued, and thei regiment be ordered into service?" The Governor at once directed the discontinuance of the court, and that the charges against the Colonel be dismissed, that he be released from arrest and the court dissolved. Ho at once issued a call for volunteers. Up to Monday night 6,500 names had been enrolled in his regiment. On Tuesday morning the Sixty-ninth was ordered to assemble at the armory to receive their equipments. It was not until 2 o'clock in the afternoon that all the men were equipped, after which the companies were formed, and accompanied by the enthusiastic crowd, marched to Great Jones street, from which point the regiment was to start. For several hours there had been an assemblage of men, women and children in Broadway, mostly Irish, which had driven every vehicle from that thoroughfare. Several Irish civic societies, comprising about 2,000 persons, with waving banners, had formed in procession in Broadway, as an escort, and patiently waited for the regiment to move. About 3 o'clock the order to march was received, and the entire procession, civic and military, moved down Broadway. The march was a triumphant one, and Colonel Corcoran, who arose from a bed of sickness to accompany his regiment, had to be protected by the police from the friendly crowd which pressed upon him. After the presentation of a beautiful stand of national colors by Mrs. Judge Daly, the Sixty-ninth embarked at half-past six on board the James Adger, for Washington.
After its arrival at Washington, the Sixty-ninth was stationed at Georgetown college. Subsequently on the 30th of May, they removed to a new camp on Arlington Heights, where defensive works had been erected, when the raising of the stars and striped and naming of the fort (Corcoran) were celebrated with appropriate ceremonies. Near sunset, Colonel Corcoran having assembled all the troops, not on duty, numbering over thirteen hundred, introduced Colonel Hunter, of the Third cavalry, United States Army, who had just been assigned the command of the brigade of the Aqueduct, consisting of the Fifth, Twenty-eighth and Sixty-ninth New York militia regiments, and the detachments in the vicinity. Colonel Hunter was received with great enthusiasm, and Colonel Corcoran made some patriotic allusions to the flag, which were loudly cheered. Captain Meagher having been called upon made a brief but high-toned and patriotic address, showing the devotion Irishmen should bear to that flag which brought succor to them in Ireland, and to which, upon landing in this country, they had sworn undivided allegiance."
At the time of the battle of Bull Run, the, Sixty-ninth served in the Third brigade (Sherman's), First division (Tyler's). The regiment behaved with great gallantry. Its loss was 38 killed, 59 wounded, and 95 missing, making a total of 192. Among the captured was Colonel Corcoran. The Third brigade was composed of the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth New York Militia, the Thirteenth New York Volunteers and the Second Wisconsin, with a company of artillery under Captain Ayres., and was in the hottest part of the tight, all suffering severely. Colonel Sherman's brigade, before going into action, made a junction with Hunter's division, and formed in the rear of Colonel Porter's brigade. It was just before making this junction that lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, of the Sixty-ninth, in attempting to intercept the retreat of a party of the enemy, was shot, and fell dead from his horse. The fight which followed was near the Stone Bridge, crossing Bull Run, at which the brigade first took its position. It crossed the stream, with the exception of Ayres' battery, at a ford which had been indicated to Colonel Sherman, by observing, early in the day, a horseman of the enemy cross at the same point. The crossing was made in obedience to orders from the division commander that the brigade should go to the assistance of Colonel Hunter, then en-gaged with the enemy. Immediately after crossing, the brigade ascended the steep bluff opposite, with its infantry, meeting with no opposition. Shortly after ascending the bluff, Colonel Sherman received orders from General McDowell to join in the pursuit of the enemy, who were falling back to the left of the road by which the army had approached from Sudley Springs. Colonel Sherman says: "Placing Colonel Quinby's regiment of rifles (Thirteenth New York Volunteers) in front in column by division, I directed the other regiments, to follow in the order of the Wisconsin Second, New York Seventy-ninth, and New York Sixty-ninth. These regiments attacked the enemy successively, the Sixty-ninth being the last engaged." The part it took in the fight is thus described in the official report: After the Wisconsin regiment had been repulsed a second time " the New York Sixty-ninth had closed up and in like manner it was ordered to cross the brow of the hill and drive the enemy from cover. It was impossible to get a good view of the ground. In it there was one battery of artillery, which poured an incessant fire upon an advancing column, and the ground was irregular with small clusters of pines, affording shelter, of which the enemy took good advantage. The fire of rifles and musketry was very severe. The Seventy-ninth New York, headed by its Colonel (Cameron) charged across the hill, and for a short time the contest was severe. They rallied several times under fire, but finally broke and gained the brow of the hill. This left the field open to the New York Sixty-ninth, Colonel Corcoran, who in his turn led his regiment over the crest, and had in full open view the ground so severely contested. The firing was very severe, and the roar of cannon, musketry and rifles incessant. It was manifest the enemy were here in great force, far superior to us at that point. The Sixty-ninth held the ground for sometime, but finally fell back in disorder." Colonel Corcoran was captured during the retreat. Colonel Sherman says: " On the ridge to the west we succeeded in partially re-forming the regiment, but it was manifest they would not stand, and I directed Colonel Corcoran to move along the ridge to the rear. General McDowell was there in person, and used all possible efforts to re-assure the men. By the active exertions of Colonel Corcoran an irregular square was formed against the cavalry, which was then seen to issue from the position from which our men had been driven, and the retreat was commenced towards that ford of Bull Run by which the field of battle had been approached." Colonel Corcoran was missing immediately Astor the cavalry charge, near the building used as a hospital.
Shortly after the battle (on the 27th of July) the Sixty-ninth returned to New York and was mustered out of the service.

69th NY State Militia Prince of Wales Flag 69th NY State Militia Prince of Wales Flag

 

See here for a brief history of the State Militia / National Guard.

Further Reading
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@mail.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.

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.

Chapman, Frederick T. and Frederick P. Todd. "69th Regiment, N.Y.S.M. at the First Battle of Bull Run, 21 July, 1861." Military Collector and Historian.

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

Collins F. "Battle of Bull Run." [United States : s.n.,] 1861-1865.
Verse in seven stanzas; first line: Our gallant soldiers they are going to leave their friends to mourn./ Lyrics only./ Other editions attributed to F. Collins./ Text within ornamental border.

Corcoran, Michael. The captivity of General Corcoran, the only authentic and reliable narrative of the trials and sufferings endured during twelve months imprisonment in Richmond and other Southern cities, by Brig.-General Michael Corcoran, the hero of Bull run. Philadelphia: Barclay & co., 1862.

Coyle, John G. "General Michael Corcoran." Journal of the American Irish historical society XIII (1913/ 14) 109-26.

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

Fitzgerald, James. "The Sixty-ninth regiment, New York city." Journal of the American Irish historical society IX (1910) 161-62.

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

Halpine, Charles Graham. Baked meats of the funeral, a collection of essays, poems, speeches, histories and banquets, by Private Miles O'Reilly, late of the 47th reg't New York volunteer infantry. Collected, revised, and edited, with the requisite corrections of punctuation, spelling, and grammar, by an ex-Colonel of the Adjutant-general's department, with whom the Private formerly served as Lance Corporal of orderlies. New York: Carleton, 1866.
Note: Halpine mustered in 69th infantry as Lieutenant, unassigned, April 20, 1861; Aide de-Camp to Colonel Hunter; mustered out with Regiment, August 3, 1861.

Halpine, Charles Graham. The life and adventures, songs, services, and speeches of Private Miles O'Reilly (47th regiment, New York volunteers). "The post of honor is the Private's station." With comic illustrations by Mullen. From the authentic records of the New York herald. New York, Carleton, 1864.
Note: Halpine mustered in 69th infantry as Lieutenant, unassigned, April 20, 1861; Aide de-Camp to Colonel Hunter; mustered out with Regiment, August 3, 1861.

Halpine, Charles Graham. "Two songs of '61." Magazine of history XXIII (New York 1916) 241-5.

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.

McLaughlin, James H. James Haggerty of Tír Conaill : Irish patriot, American hero : on the occasion of the unveiling of a memorial, First Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, New York, May 30, 1992 ... . [New York] Donegal Association? 1992.

Meagher, Thomas Francis. The last days of the 69th in Virginia, a narrative in three parts, by Thomas Francis Meagher, Captain, Company K ("Irish zouaves"). New York: "Irish American," 1861.

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

O'Flaherty, Patrick Daniel. The history of the sixty-ninth regiment of the New York State Militia 1852 to 1861 . Ann Arbor, Mich. University Microfilms, 1985, ©1964. Ph. D. Dissertation.

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.

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 31, 2011
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