Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862

Smith’s Post July 30, 2016

From: The Civil War’s Valiant Irish

James Francis Smith, Author

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Fredericksburg – Saturday, December 13, 1862


Approaching in the form of dark shadows, death squads stripped clothing, shoes, and blankets from the dead before bayoneting those still breathing. Deciding to die swiftly, Brian rolled on his back to be in position to kill one more rebel. But it was the brogue that stopped him.

“Jasus, be careful where you step. These are Meagher’s boys see the boxwoods. Treat ‘em with respect.”

He lay perfectly still, hoping Jerry would do the same to avoid being killed by a bayonet. “Me name’s Brian, I’m from Cavan and you?”

“I’m a Cork man meself. Mallow. Name’s Michael Sullivan.”

Brian laid his rifle down and sat up to converse properly with his fellow Irishman. “Jeremiah here is from Skibbereen. I swore to his sisters that I wouldn’t let him die alone. So get it over with. If I’m to die, I’d rather it be from an Irishman’s bullet.”

The rebel lowered his gun. “You say you’re from Cavan. Do you fellows all look alike? You resemble The Tinker more than he does himself.”

“I’ve a twin on your side. Matthew Smith.”

Jasus! You there! Go find The Tinker, and be quick about it. I have his brother.”

Author’s Comments:

When the 28th Massachusetts unfurled their green flag, Cobb’s Georgia Irishmen broke into a spontaneous cheer before settling down to fire point-blank, slaughtering Meagher’s men of the Irish Brigade.

Left to survive the frigid elements and the preying scavengers, the wounded and dead remained on the field for two full days while General Burnside kept the defeated Union Army in battle-order.


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