Lt. Colonel Patrick Kelly's Antietem Report
EIGHTY-EIGHTH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
the morning of the 17th of September the Irish Brigade, of which my
regiment formed a part, crossed the Antietam Creek, and advanced in
column until within sight almost of the enemy. The brigade then formed
line of battle, and, after tearing down a fence, got into action at
once. Shortly after this, General Meagher rode up along the line,
encouraging the men, until his horse was killed and he himself got a
engagement an aide rode up and ordered the Sixty-third and Eighty-eighth
to charge and take the enemy's colors if possible. I at once gave the
order, and my regiment advanced about 20 or 30 paces; but seeing that I
had no support, I halted, and inquired for Colonel Burke, and asked why
he did not advance. Captain O'Neill, of the Sixty-third, said he would
advance with me if he had any one to command the regiment, but not
knowing who was in command he did not wish to do so.
I know not
exactly how long we were in action, but we were long enough there to
lose, in killed and wounded, one-third of our men bringing in 302 and
losing 104. When relieved by the Fifth New Hampshire, I reported to
General Richardson by order of one of his aides. On approaching the
general, he said, "Bravo, Eighty-eighth; I shall never forget
you." The rank and file responded by giving him three hearty
He the general
then placed me in command of the One hundred and eighth New York, and
ordered us to support a battery a little in advance of where we were
previously engaged, and remained there during the night and next day.
With regard to
the conduct of the officers of the Eighty-eighth on that occasion, I
must say that they acted to my entire satisfaction--so much so that I
cannot say one is braver than another. I have the same to say of the
rank and file.
Wishing I had a
little more time, I am, general, most respectfully, yours,
Comdg. Eighty-eighth New York Vols.
Brig. Gen. THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER.
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