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Meagher's Irish Brigade

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Irish-American, a weekly newspaper in New York City, published the following poem, from the pen of Eleanor Rogers Cox.

VETERANS OF FREDERICKSBURG

To the surviving members of Meagher's Irish Brigade, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg

December 13, 1862 - December 13, 1912

WHO ARE THESE WHO HITHER MARCHING
DOWN THE VALE OF MISTY YEARS,
FROM THE HEIGHTS WHERE NOW THE
CANNON'S LIPS ARE DUMB,
FROM THE FIELD WHERE MEAGHER LED THEM,
FROM THE FIELD WHERE VALOR SPED THEM,
ALL IN BROKEN BUT UNDAUNTED COLUMN COME.

OLD MEN, BRAVE MEN, MEN OF IRISH BIRTH!
MEN WHO ON THE FOREHEAD OF THEIR
DEAR NEW LAND AFAR,
SET THE NAME OF IRELAND,
OF THEIR KNIGHTLY SIRELAND
THERE TO SHINE FOREVER LIKE A STAR!

FREDERICKSBURG! THE NAME IS GRAVEN
ON THE MEMORIES OF MEN,
IN IMMORTAL SCRIPT OF THUNDER AND OF FLAME,
AND YOUR COMRADES THERE WHO PERISHED,
LO! OF GOD AND FREEDOM CHERISHED,
GLEEMS THEIR DEED UPON THE FAIREST HEIGHT OF FAME!

FONTENOY AND FREDERICKSBURG!
INSCRIBE THEM SIDE BY SIDE;
SARSFIELD, DILLON, MEAGHER,
ALL MEN OF THE BRIGADE-
WHO FOR EVERY FRIENDSHIP GIVEN
TO THEIR LAND BENEATH HIGH HEAVEN
IN THE COINAGE OF THEIR HEART'S
FAIR VALOR PAID.

THROUGH YOUR VEINS WHAT HERO-FIRE
LEAPED UPON THAT DAY!
WHAT IMMORTAL HERITAGE OF FEAR-DEFYING MIRTH AS WITH CHEER OUTRINGING, YOUR BOUYANT RANKS WENT SPRINGING FORWARD TO THE BREASTWORKS O'ER CORPSE BESTREWN EARTH!

"FORWARD TO THE BREASTWORKS!"
FROM OUT THE SMOKE AND FLAME
BELCHED FORTH FROM MARYE'S HEIGHTS,
WE PLUCK THE DEATHLESS WORD!
AND THE MOTTO OF YOUR GIVING
SHALL BE (THE) MOTTO OF OUR LIVING
WHERESOEVER SOUND OF IRISH SPEECH IS HEARD!

BRAVE MEN, TRUE MEN, MEN OF THE BRIGADE!
MEN WHO FOLLOWED MEAGHER OF THE SWORD!
LOOK, HOW GLOWS THE GOD LIT EMBER
OF THAT DAY IN FAR DECEMBER,
HOW ITS MEMORY IN OUR INMOST SOUL IS STORED!

The above was transcribed and donated by Irish Brigade researcher and historian Robert McLernon, Springfield, Virginia, rm69nyib@cox.net

 

 

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 8, 2007
URL: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/brigades/meaghersBrigadecoxPoem.htm

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