During the American Civil War, the lads of the 69th Pennsylvania
“Irish Volunteers” from Philadelphia fought in every battle with the Army of the Potomac. From 1861 to 1865 the regiment marched under its Irish Green battle flag in the midst of engagements from Glendale to Antietam to Gettysburg to Petersburg. They participated in the entire Peninsular campaign and at the battle of Glendale their bayonet charge to recover captured union artillery pieces was hailed as “the first successful bayonet charge of the war”. They charged into the West Woods at
Antietam and charged up Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg On July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, the wall they defended was the target of Pickett’s charge. That day they lost 50% of their men killed, wounded or captured along with their Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel
and Major. In the Winter of 1864 the 69th became the only regiment in their Brigade to reenlist as a unit to fight the war to the end. At Spotsylvania, they attacked the “mule shoe” and captured a
confederate battle flag. On to Cold Harbor and Petersburg they fought finally pursuing Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to surrender at Appomattox. Of the more than 1000 men who marched off to war in August 1861, only 56 remained on duty at Appomattox Courthouse.
This book is about their history, their combat and their daily lives. It details the role they played in every battle and the personalities that constituted the regiment. Incorporating hundreds of personal letters with photographs and maps, the tale of the “Irish Volunteers” is examined on a day to day basis. From their roots as children of Irish immigrants during the Potato famine to their return home to Philadelphia in glory, the story of the 69th Pennysylvania “Irish Volunteers”, Paddy Owen’s regulars is the story of heroism and individual courage.