THE IRISH AT ANTIETAM
PART 6 of 6: THE LOSS OF SO MANY OF HER SONS
The Irish American, November 1, 1862
For two or three weeks past I have written on the most sorrowful themes. Death, and the deaths of the brave; true gallant men have been the subject. The departure of the millions of mediocrity is a matter of not much concern to us individually or collectively. We scan the necrological column of the morning paper with a listless kind of interest amounting almost to unconcern; and are only moved to sympathy on meeting names familiar or dear to ourselves. The innumerable indifferents pass away without a sigh of solicitude or a second thought of the tender ties severed or of the troubles created or continued by their loss.
... and the young will see visions of hope, of honor, of the bright future, ascending out of your sepulcher.
The worthiest citizen, the wisest counselor, the best of husbands, of fathers, of brothers, the brightest beauties -- aye youth -- golden-hued childhood depart unmourned, the places that knew them no more, they are forgotten by all save a few relatives and intimate associates.
On the contrary, if the soul have been filled with patriotism or charity, and your lives have been in accordance with your sentiments, the best and truest natures in the Republic will mourn for you, copious tears will be shed
for you, the gallant and the chivalrous, the brave, the beautiful will sorrow for you, follow you to the edge of the grave, keep with their tears the green and verdant above your head, the flag will float at half-mast, the streets of the city will echo the tread of thousands who commit you to the hands of God, to the dwellers of the otherworld, with honor, triumph, with benediction; the heart of the nation will throb heavily at the portals of your grave, and the young will see visions of hope, of honor, of the bright future, ascending out of your sepulcher.
I said the best and truest natures in the Republic mourn most bitterly the death of the patriotic and the brave; and I know, I feel how much good it will do, how much sorrowful pleasure it will afford you who are this day, and will for many a day to come, mourning over the fresh graves of our fallen countrymen. I repeat that I feel how much ... the loss to Ireland and to us of so many of her sons. It may be many and long and weary days and months before peace will visit again and bless the land. However long or short it may be, pray to God that the General who feels so keenly and so truly the loss of his men may be spared to the end. If he be there will be heard on this continent words and gallantry such as ears have never heard before.
The tongue and brain that in times past to rejuvenate an old nation, pictured in the grandest light the lives and deaths of the daring and devoted from Harmodius to Hofer, will emblazon in imperishable sentences the Celtic gallantry witnessed and incited by himself on a hundred blood-soaked fields. You know the one Irish orator of our day, who alone is capable of doing this, I need not say it is Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher.. Want of time and the exacting nature of the important trusts at present reposed in him, and which demand his incessant attention, and prevent The General from doing justice to the memories of the dead of the Brigade.
... expressing the keenest sorrow, mingled with with unbounded love and pride in their names, deeds and memories.
Thousands hope for the time when the return of peace, and the cessation of the war shall release him from the perils that surround him hourly, and shall permit him to devote himself for a short time at least to the descriptions of those scenes and the delineations of those heroes and their struggles which have shed much honor and on our flag, and have established beyond the reach of calumny or cavil, on this continent of Irishmen for prowess, gallantry, and endurance.
The train of mourners extends beyond the range of our vision. It is not confined to the throng that, the other day, from the Metropolitan Cathedral, from the headquarters of the Brigade in this city, to Calvary Cemetery, walked in solemn and significant procession to the new made graves. From the camp, from General and comrades, come melting, magnificent, appreciative letters expressing the keenest sorrow, mingled with with unbounded love and pride in their names, deeds and memories.
In the midst of all these communications, one announcing another death. It is from Buffalo, and relates in simple language, the death of Lieut. Mackey of the 63d Regt. N.Y.S.V. lately of General Meagher's staff. He was a a young officer devoted to his profession, a genial comrade, and companion, much loved, much respected, of many amiable and manly qualities, gallant, brave, and faithful. While courageously attending to his duties at the battle of Antietam, he was severely wounded in the thigh. He was removed to his home, and lingered until the 17th day of October. He was highly and deservedly esteemed by General Meagher. More of him I cannot say.
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