American Civil War

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, General, Issue 1(Jan/Feb 2013), Letters, Volume 21

Sir,—I read with interest the article on the American Civil War by Kevin Haddick Flynn (HI 20.5, Sept./Oct. 2012). I should like, however, to correct some factual errors in the article, the first being that William Mitchel was John Mitchel’s eldest son. He was in fact his youngest and a private in the 1st Virginia Regiment, killed during Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg (his body was never recovered). His eldest son was John C., who was a captain of artillery in command of the Confederate garrison of Fort Sumter and mortally wounded in July 1864. James, the second-eldest son, was a member of the Georgia Brigade, adjutant to its commander, General Gordon, and he lost an arm in the Seven Days Campaign, around Richmond. His son would be a future mayor of New York.


The second error is in reference to the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It was not, as stated, ‘mainly Scots-Irish’ but was in fact a very American unit recruited from Plymouth County, and when first attached to the Irish Brigade was not at all pleased at being associated with the ‘Irish’. It was the 28th Massachusetts Regiment (Massachusetts’ second Irish regiment) that was intended to join the Irish Brigade but owing to a bureaucratic error the 29th was attached instead. This, however, was corrected in October 1862, when the 28th (not, as stated, the 116th Pennsylvania Regiment) replaced the 29th. The 116th Pennsylvania was added as a reinforcement, to make up for the casualties the Brigade had suffered at previous battles. Meagher presented the 28th with a green colour, which they carried at the Battle of Fredericksburg (13 December 1862). They were the only regiment of the Brigade to carry a green flag at this battle; the others were in the process of being replaced, new ones only arriving after the Brigade had commenced its assault. Because of this the 28th were placed in the centre of the Brigade for the assault on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg. The other regiments in the Brigade were the 69th New York, 63rd New York and 88th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiments.—Yours etc.,


Bangor, Co. Down

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