THE IRISH AT ANTIETAM
PART 5 of 6: PATRICK FELAN CLOONEY
The Irish American, October 18, 1862
Having returned from the Italian Wars to Ireland, and hearing of the commencement of hostilities in America, (Patrick Felan Clooney) immediately sailed for this country, with the intention of once more resuming the profession he so much loved. At the time he landed in New York, Captain Meagher was then engaged in organizing his company of Zouaves for the 69th Regt. To fight for the republic in any event was his desire. Who then can portray the feelings of his passionate Irish heart, (when) the opportunity to serve under such a leader presented itself?
They are are going to bury this day, in Calvary, Captain Patrick Felan Clooney.
Some time after the return of the three-months volunteers, it was proposed to raise an Irish Brigade. Their gladness and hope was excessive beyond estimation. Because its founder and organizer was Thomas Francis Meagher, the best and the brightest of them had visions of a new Brigade, and new campaigns, rivaling those of the eighteenth century. They were confident of their pluck and powers of endurance; and as the story of our degradation had been yelled round the world by a brutal press and hireling writers, they rejoiced at the opportunity afforded them of proving that, in point of bravery and courage, they were not far behind those heroes to whom have been accorded for generations the best praise of the best Europeans.
But it is permitted to state that of the two regiments to be raised in New York, the 69th and the 88th, the latter was "Meagher's Own" and the General selected for its officers the members of his own old Zouave company, of whose gallantry, chivalry, intelligence, and discretion he was personally cognizant. Time and death have sanctified and justified the choice.
Of all the gallant dead and living, none more strongly exemplified the dash and the desperate valor of the true Celtic soldier than did Clooney. He is remembered at Fair Oaks, when the regiment held a splendid position in the railway cut, as mounting an embankment bearing the green flag of the regiment in his hands and waving it defiantly in the face and fire of the enemy who were drawn up in the belt of timber on the other side of the small garden. Not to particularize from that time -- the 1st of June -- to the 27th, when the labors of the front were exacting, his coolness, courage, promptitude, and punctuality ... in the performance of his duties, were in consensus with his high ideals of a soldier's life.
Through all the battles his figure his figure was prominent and powerful, few will ever forget the evening of Malvern Hill. The gloom of the evening setting down upon the earth; the brow of the hill one sheet of flame, belched forth from the mouths of innumerable cannons; the air tremulous with the detonation of the musketry; the 88th advancing under the shower of bullets; at the center was Clooney, close to the colors, cheering on the men. From there to Antietam where he fell mortally wounded, space is waiting to record his devotion. ...
The calm and unembellished recital of the events of his death is the best eulogy of the man; as it is the best index to his soldierly qualities. Struck in the knee, and severely wounded unto lameness, besought by everyone to go the rear and have it attended to, he peremptorily refused to go. He seizes the colors, when the color-bearer was shot down, and in this position, limping on one foot, his voice still ringing hopeful, resonant, he is struck by two bullets -- one in the head, another in the breast -- and falls down stiff and stark and cold, the lifeless hand holding with the grip of fate, the Green Banner which in life he loved so well.
The sad music, the solemn yet profound faces swept the heart of the passing strangers, and they stopped to ask whom the city honored today.
So ends the record. But there is another phase of a man's life, which I have only alluded to -- his passionate and pure love of Ireland. I have spoken of his rich, ringing musical oath. I can give you an idea of its melody. He was a natural orator -- and language of the richest and most gorgeous descriptions, almost Oriental in its iridescent splendor, flowed in rhythmic numbers from his lips.
Knowing all the excellencies of the man's life, knowing his bravery, his loving heart and nature, his gallantry and devotion to every good cause, it was right and proper that there should be a such a cortege as that of yesterday. It was right and proper -- albeit the day was raw and cold -- that the black-plumed hearses, the carriages, the civilians, the escort of wounded comrades, should crowd and throng the grandest thoroughfare of the Republic, to do you honor O! brave and loyal soldier.
The sad music, the solemn yet profound faces swept the heart of the passing strangers, and they stopped to ask whom the city honored today. After all, probably the truest and tenderest tribute to you were the liquid eyes of those who never knew you answering. "They are are going to bury this day, in Calvary, Captain Patrick Felan Clooney, a brave officer of the Irish Brigade, who was killed in battle." ... (To be continued.)
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