Execution of Father John Murphy – Irish Brigade at Gettysburg

July 2: TODAY in Irish History:

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Father Murphy 1798

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1798: Execution of Father John Murphy

After enduring dreadful torture, Father John Murphy is executed, and his decapitated head displayed on a pike for his part in the 1798 Rebellion.

Father John Murphy

Murphy is an iconic figure in Irish rebel history who is celebrated in the song Boolavogue.

“Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormack

Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry:

‘Arm! Arm!’ he cried, ‘For I’ve come to lead you;

For Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die!”

Murphy, like most of the Catholic clergy did not support the original uprising, but following a skirmish where two English yeoman were killed, he realized it was “fight or die.” Over a five week period, he led a scattered, brave and ultimately futile insurrection against an increasingly vicious English response which involved murder and mass rape. The Irish rebels were no saints themselves indulging in sectarian outrages including burning of Protestants to death. Murphy was not directly involved in these atrocities, some of which were reactive and some borne from a deep hatred of English occupation.

The rebel priest was an effective leader of the 5,000 plus rebels winning a number of battles against the English including famously taking Enniscorthy on May 28th. The rebels suffered a fatal defeat at the Battle of Vinegar Hill on June 21 which effectively ended the rebellion.

FOR MORE ON FATHER MURPHY

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1800:  Act of Union. Ireland Loses Legislative Body

The Act of Union is passed which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The act mean Ireland lost its own independent Parliament and was now to be ruled from England. It would be 1922 before Ireland regained legislative independence.

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1863:Irish Brigade at Gettysburg

More than six hundred men of the Irish Brigade fight at Gettysburg, losing one third of their number in The Wheatfield. The Irish Brigade suffered severe losses during the Civil War, initially starting with over 2,500 volunteers. The Brigade distinguished itself in numerous conflicts including Chancellorsville, Fair Oaks and Fredericksburg.

Irish Brigade monument at Gettysburg

According to The US Army Center of Military History, the Irish Brigade comprised

28th Massachusetts

63d New York (2 companies)

69th New York (2 companies)

88th New York (2 companies)

116th Pennsylvania (4 companies)

Colonel Richard Byrnes of 28th Massachusetts reported:

“At 3p.m., July 2 the order was given to advance and the regiment proceeded a short distance forward and to the left, and then was ordered back to its original position. Soon after was ordered to move to the left, and about 5:30 o’clock became engaged with the enemy, who were posted in an advantageous position on the crest of a rocky hill. We forced them to retire from this eminence, and advanced over the top and almost to the bottom of the other side of the hill, being all the time exposed to a very severe fire of musketry, and losing many men in killed and wounded.

About 7 p.m., finding all save this regiment were retiring from the hill, and that the enemy were on both our flanks, as well as in front, I brought my command from the field, losing many men from the concentrated fire of the rebels. Our loss in this action was 100 in killed, wounded, and missing, out of 224 taken into the engagement.”

One of those who died at Gettysburg on July 2nd was Cavan-born Colonel Patrick “Paddy” O’Rorke, who was killed at Little Round Top.

File:ColPatrickORorke.jpg

Colonel Paddy O’Rorke

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Interestingly, the Irish Brigade commenced in a rather inauspicious manner and not with universal buy-in. In his memoirs, General William T. Sherman writes of the early days of the war:

“Soon after I had assumed the command, a difficulty arose in the Sixty-ninth, an Irish regiment. This regiment had volunteered in New York, early in April, for ninety days; but, by reason of the difficulty of passing through Baltimore, they had come via Annapolis, had been held for duty on the railroad as a guard for nearly a month before they actually reached Washington, and were then mustered in about a month after enrollment. Some of the men claimed that they were entitled to their discharge in ninety days from the time of enrollment, whereas the muster-roll read ninety days from the date of muster-in.

One day, Colonel Corcoran explained this matter to me. I advised him to reduce the facts to writing, and that I would submit it to the War Department for an authoritative decision. He did so, and the War Department decided that the muster-roll was the only contract of service, that it would be construed literally; and that the regiment would be held till the expiration of three months from the date of muster-in, viz., to about August 1, 1861. General Scott at the same time wrote one of his characteristic letters to Corcoran, telling him that we were about to engage in battle, and he knew his Irish friends would not leave him in such a crisis. Corcoran and the officers generally wanted to go to the expected battle, but a good many of the men were not so anxious.”

READ: Report on Colonel Paddy O’Rorke

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SEE: Website dedicated to Irish Brigade at Gettysburg

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn. Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)



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WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

___________________________________

This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

   

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