Veterans of NY National Guard's 69th Infantry Salute Civil War Soldierson March 10 at Albany Rural Cemetery
MENANDS, NY (03/08/2019) (readMedia)-- Veterans of the New York National Guard's 1st Battalion 69th Infantry will honor Civil War veterans of the 69th Infantry and the Irish Brigade who are buried in Albany Rural Cemetery on Sunday morning, March 10.
The veterans and currently serving members of the 69th, will mark the graves of 69th Civil War Soldiers with both Irish and American flags, and lay a wreath at the foot of the Grand Army of the Republic monument at the Soldier's Lot in Albany Rural Cemetery.
WHO: 8 to 12 Capital Region residents who served in the 1st Battalion 69th Infantry as well as currently serving members of the battalion.
WHAT: A wreath laying ceremony and marking of graves of Irish American veterans of the Civil War in the Soldiers Lot of Albany Rural Cemetery. The ceremony will include a reading of the poem "Rouge Bouquet" which was written during World War I by poet Joyce Kilmer, a member of the 69th Infantry who was killed in action during the War. Next weekend members of the 69th Infantry will march in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade and conduct their annual Unit Day events. The wreath laying is timed to coincide with St. Patrick's Day.
WHEN: 11:20, Sunday March 10, 2019
WHERE: Soldiers Lot, Albany Rural Cemetery, Men ands N.Y.
Contact Lt. Col. Sean Flynn at 518-763-4740 for more information.
The purpose of the wreath-laying is to honor the Irish immigrants that served in the Civil War's 69th Regiment, the Irish Brigade, and the Irish Legion to support their adopted country. The event is timed to coincide with other annual unit celebrations in March that pay respect to the Regiment's Irish origins. The Soldier's Lot at Albany Rural was chosen because it is the final resting place for one of the 69th Regiment's battle-tested warriors, Pvt. Bernard Trainor.
Trainor was an Irish immigrant forced to flee his home during the Great Famine, Private Trainor enlisted in the 69th New York Volunteers in August 1862, one month before the regiment fought at Antietam, the bloodiest battle of the war.
Half of the 69th New York Volunteer Infantry was killed or wounded in that battle. Trainor was wounded slightly in the leg, but returned to duty. The soldier's good luck held-out in December when the 69th and the Irish Brigade attacked a well-entrenched Confederate force at Marye's Heights above the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
While the 69th was cut in half again, Trainor survived without injury. His luck finally ran out at Gettysburg in June 1863. By that time, the 69th was a shadow of its former self, deploying with less than one hundred soldiers.
Trainor was severely wounded fighting in the notorious "Wheatfield." He was discharged as a result of these wounds. He was likely sent to Albany to convalesce, where he died in 1868.
Also buried in the Soldier's Lot are Musician Joseph Maguire, a member of the 63rd Infantry, of the Irish Brigade, as well as Corp. Richard Jefferson, 170th Infantry, and Pvt. Michael Curtain, 164th Infantry, of the Irish Legion.
Founded in 1861 and 1862 respectively, the Irish Brigade and the Irish Legion were Union Army brigades comprised of volunteer regiments recruited almost exclusively from Irish Immigrants in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Dozens of citizens from Albany County served in the Irish brigades. Most Capital District residents that served in these units were assigned to the 63rd New York Volunteers of the Irish Brigade. Many are buried in Albany Rural Cemetery, St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, and Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont.
The "first regiment" of both the Irish brigade and Irish Legion included hundreds of volunteers from the 69th Regiment, New York State Militia (later New York National Guard).
The traditions, lineage and honors of the Irish Brigade and Irish Legion live on today in the New York Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment and the Veterans Corp, 69th Regiment.
The unit and its veterans celebrate their immigrant heritage each March when they lead the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The 69th Regiment today still reflects the immigrant composition and vitality of New York. Nearly a quarter of the Regiment's members immigrated to the United States, serving their adopted homeland in the same manner as the regiment's Irish-born founders.
1115: Arrival at Soldier's Lot
1125: Placement of Irish and U.S. Miniature Flags at the graves of Irish Brigade and Irish Legion Veterans.
1130-1140: Laying of wreath at the foot of the G.A.R. monument at the Soldier's lot in honor of all Irish Immigrants that served in the Civil War to defend their adopted homeland. The wreath laying will be followed by a reading of the "Rouge Bouquet," a poem written in 1918 by 69th Regiment Veteran Sgt. Joyce Kilmer. Since WWI, the poem has been read at the funerals and memorial services for the fallen soldiers of the 69th Regiment.