Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. Sydney Watts


During the American Civil War, New York State’s irrepressible Irish Brigade was alternately composed of a number of infantry regiments hailing both from within New York City and from within and without the state, not all of them Irish, or even predominantly so. The Brigade’s core structure, however, remained constant throughout the war years and consisted of three all-Irish volunteer regiments with names corresponding to fighting units made famous in the annuals of Ireland’s history: the 69th, the 88th, and the 63rd. The 69th, or Fighting 69th, having won praise and homage for its actions at First Bull Run, was designated the First Regiment of the Brigade and went on to even greater glory in the Civil War and every American war thereafter. The 88th, or Connaught Rangers, the majority of whom had served with distinction in the famed British Regiment of the same name, was designated the Second Regiment of the Brigade, or Fourth or Fifth depending upon sources. True to its distinguished regimental roots, it continued its tradition of military excellence throughout the duration of the war. This study focuses on the regimental composition and wartime merits of the Third Irish Regiment of the Irish Brigade, the 63rd New York State Volunteer Infantry, traditionally deemed the least remarkable and causative of the three core units. Through the presentation of facts, chronicling of events, and exposition of character of both officers and men, this thesis identifies the 63rd as a fighting unit on par with its fellows and as a major contributor to the enduring fame of the Irish Brigade.

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