Thursday, March 16, 2017

Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet

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Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet on Homeschool Coffee Break @  #ABCBloggoing #Irish #CivilWar

I thought it fitting that I'd find a lesson about the Irish Brigade Monument to feature in my Blogging Through the Alphabet during the week that we all like to be Irish for a day!

During the Civil War, the Irish Brigade was an infantry brigade of mostly Irish-Americans that served in the Union Army and distinguished themselves in many battles. The first regiment in the brigade, the New York 69th, was known as the "Fighting 69th" and continued in later wars as well. The Irish Brigade had a famous war cry, "vaugh a ballaugh", which was an anglicization of the Irish phrase, 'fag an bealach' meaning "Clear the way!" Of all the Union Army brigades, only two suffered more combat dead than the Irish Brigade during the Civil War.

Civil War steeplechase2
St. Patrick's Day celebration in the Army of the Potomac. Depicts a
steeplechase race among the Irish Brigade, March 17, 1863.
By Edwin Forbes. Digitally restored.

In the battles leading up to Gettysburg, the Irish Brigade became known for their bravery and tenacity, and despite heavy losses in the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Chancellorsville. After recovering several hundred of its injured from Fredericksburg, the Irish Brigade was able to field almost 600 men at Gettysburg, and distinguished themselves in the Wheatfield under the command of Colonel Patrick Kelly. The Irish Brigade charged across the Wheatfield, but was pushed back to the Peach Orchard by the Confederate troops; but the brave men of the Irish Brigade did help to hold the Union line, and the Union eventually won the hard-fought battle in Gettysburg.

Twenty-five years after the bloody battle, a monument was erected on the Gettysburg Loop to honor the three New York regiments of the Irish Brigade for their bravery and devotion. The monument is a bronze Celtic cross on a granite base, standing 19 feet 6 inches tall. A life-size Irish wolfhound sits at the base. A trefoil at the top of the cross represents the 2nd corps. The numbers 63, 69, and 88 are those of the three New York regiments. A New York seal and a harp with eagles is featured at the bottom of the cross. The harp is on Ireland's coat of arms, and the eagle is a symbol of the United States. 

Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet on Homeschool Coffee Break @  #ABCBloggoing #Irish #CivilWar

Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet on Homeschool Coffee Break @  #ABCBloggoing #Irish #CivilWar

Since we live near Gettysburg, I have seen the Irish Brigade Monument, but didn't happen to have my own photo of it - and this week it was too cold to take a field trip! Hopefully later in the season we'll be able to go again, and we'll take particular care to find this monument.

For St. Patrick's Day, how about drawing or coloring your own Celtic cross? We've done that in the past, and also tried our hand at tying Celtic knots.

Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet on Homeschool Coffee Break @  #ABCBloggoing #Irish #CivilWar

Irish Brigade Monument - Blogging Through the Alphabet on Homeschool Coffee Break @  #ABCBloggoing #Irish #CivilWar

If you'd like to try drawing your own Celtic cross, here's a how-to video to guide you:

You can also check out the 10-day lesson plans inspired by the Irish Brigade Monument on Everyday Easels at

Everyday Easels art lessons at

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet hosted by A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool. Join in to see what others are sharing related to this week's letter!

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Rebecca C. said...

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Joanne said...

I love the topic you have picked for this alphabet series! I am learning so much from you each week.

Kelly Kiggins-Lund said...

Great history lesson, especially for someone with Irish roots. Thank you for sharing, Kym! I haven't seen this particular monument in my Gettysburg wandering yet but I'll certainly be looking for it now. Besides the cold, I think the snow would have prevented an outdoor fieldtrip this week as well. :) Stay warm!

Annette said...

I will have to see that on our trip to Gettysburg

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