Welcome to the Finger Lakes! Our theme song:

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go, you meet someone you know...
In a smokey bar, in the backseat of your car
In your own little house, someone's sure to find you out
What you do and what you think
What you eat and what you drink...

(Kieran Kane)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Irish immigrant

John Byrne
Captain, 155th NY Co. I
Major, 155th NY
Lt. Col., 155th NY
Wounded, Spotsylvania CH
Captured, Reams's Station
Commanded Regiment at Appomattox CH

The 155th New York Volunteer Infantry, 1862-1865, was recruited in the City of Buffalo and surrounding towns in late Summer, 1862 and was comprised almost entirely of Irish immigrants. 

The 155th NY, known as the Buffalo Irish Regiment was presented with a green silk flag by the citizens of Buffalo. On one side was the harp of Erin surrounded by a wreath of shamrocks and scrolls reading "Corcoran Guards" and "We Strike for the Union and the Constitution" while on the the reverse side of the flag were the twin seals of New York State and the Federal government.  The 155th NY was present for the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, then marched in President Johnson's Grand Review of the Federal Armies on May 23. They were mustered out of the service in mid July.

Upon their arrival in New York City, the men of the 155th and the rest of the Legion were feted in a parade held by Irish-American citizens of the city, after which they were paid off and discharged, returning to their homes and families.

In three years of conflict the 155th NY suffered a total of 189 deaths and roughly 280 wounded, captured or missing.  Their overall casualty rate was about 60%.

Colonel Byrne suffered a gunshot through the head at Spotsylvania Courthouse.  He miraculously survived, but the wound resulted in the loss of an eye.  

Colonel Byrne later became police chief in Buffalo.  Byrne's son Eugene attended West Point, where he was a member of the football team.  Eugene died as a result of injuries suffered in a 1909 game against Harvard.  Eugene's injuries led to changes in the rules of college football, including the universal wearing of helmets and all plays being originated at a line of scrimmage.

History of 155th from Kevin O'Beirne

Reposted - Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

1 comment:

  1. This is my great, great grandfather. Thank you very much for the nice story. Bob Burns, Florence, Kentucky.