Irish Brigade at Gettysburg Part 8: Licensed Battlefield Guide John Fitzpatrick
December 6, 2011
Clear the Way depicts the Irish Brigade attacking the sunken road behind the stone wall at Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. Because of battle damage, the only green flag available was the “First” of the 28th Massachusetts. They were the center regiment. Note the boxwood sprig of green in the kepis of these soldiers. General Meagher ordered the sprigs so that they would help with unit identity, and pride and cohesion in what would ultimately be a failed attack. The first irony is that Confederate Irish of Brigadier General Thomas Cobb’s Brigade, in particular the 24th Georgia, were behind that wall and crucial to stopping the Irish Brigade and every other Yankee unit that failed to take that position on that day. When General Cobb was mortally wounded, Colonel Robert McMillan, born in 1805 in County Antrim, Ireland [the second irony is that County is the same as that of Major Mulholland’s birth], commander of the 24th Georgia, took over command of Cobb’s Georgians and personally ordered Cobb’s Brigade to fire on the Irish Brigade. The third irony is that the flank attack which cleared the Wheatfield of the momentarily victorious Irish Brigade, and the other three Brigades in Caldwell’s Division at Gettysburg, was performed by Brigadier General William Wofford’s, formerly Cobb’s, Brigade. The same Colonel Robert McMillan also commanded the 24th Georgia in that flank attack at Gettysburg. The painting Clear the Way by Don Troiani is courtesy of www.historicalimagebank.com.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John J. Fitzpatrick, Jr., Esq. is host for a series on the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg. John’s interest in Gettysburg began in centennial year of 1963 when he arranged a trip to the Battlefield for the Villanova University Student History Club. That sparked a continuing interest in the American Civil War. Throughout his travels in the Service, work and some vacations he has been to Civil War sites coast to coast from Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California to the home, church and College of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Brunswick, Maine. He is now entering upon his eighth year of Guiding at Gettysburg.
His professional career began in 1966 as a United States Marine Corps Officer, Tank Platoon Commander then Pilot. He served a combat tour of duty in Vietnam completing 140 missions in the A6 Intruder for which he was awarded 9 Air Medals and Vietnam Service Awards. Captain Fitzpatrick was Honorably Discharged from Active Duty in 1971 whereupon he entered law school. Upon graduation in 1974 he began a 32 year career as Corporate Counsel for Gulf Oil and Chevron Corporation retiring in 2006. He is a Member in good standing before the highest Courts in Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and California.
Contemporaneously with his first legal job, he transferred to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and later the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He served as an Active Reservist Pilot/Forward Air Controller/Squadron and Group Training Officer at the Willow Grove NAS, PA from 1974-1984. He was transferred to HQ USAF at the Pentagon in Legislative Liaison from 1985-1993 and finally as a JAG Officer reporting to the USAF TJAG and General Counsel from 1993-1997 based on his civilian expertise to assist the Air Force with its new Arbitration and Mediation Programs. Colonel Fitzpatrick received 3 Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal and other Awards before transferring to the Retired Reserve in 1997. He now divides his time amongst Guiding at Gettysburg, certain volunteer Veterans’ activities and serving as an Arbitrator in commercial, construction and securities cases.
John Fitzpatrick writes; “I appreciate the earlier related postings of my fellow Guides Rich Bellamy [Colonel Cross in the Wheatfield], the Editor of this Gettysburg Daily, Bobby Housch specifically for his postings of November 8 and 15, 2010 of the Weikert Lane [one of the most likely Avenues of Approach used by the Irish Brigade when it deployed to the Wheatfield in the late afternoon of July 2, 1863] and Dr. Rich Goedkoop’s posting of President Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Gettysburg. I also want to thank Licensed Battlefield Guides Rich Kohr for his posting on the Gettysburg Electric Railway and Ralph Siegel for sharing his expertise on the artillery fight at the Peach Orchard.”
In today’s Irish Brigade Post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Emeritus John Fitzpatrick explains how Cobb’s Georgians drove the Irish from the area of the Wheatfield after defeating the Irish at Fredericksburg.
To see the previous Irish Brigade posts, click here.
Captain Fitzpatrick on the US Marine flight line, DaNang, Vietnam, March 1970, a US Air Force F-4 Phantom Fighter having just landed in the background.
This map shows the location of the Irish Brigade videos. Video #1-#21 were shown in our previous posts. Videos #21-#22 were taken near the top of the Stony Hill along Sickles Avenue. Videos #23-#24 was taken near the Irish Brigade Monument. This map was created facing north at approximately 7:00 PM on Friday November 18, 2011.
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Fitzpatrick is the host for this series on the Irish Brigade. He is standing near the top of the Stony Hill. Part of the Sherfy Peach Orchard (The Peach Orchard) is barely visible in the left center background. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
In Video #22 (Videos #1-#21 were shown in our previous posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Fitzpatrick explains how Cobb’s Georgia Brigade stopped the Irish attack at Fredericksburg, and then, as Wofford’s Brigade, drove the Irish from the Wheatfield at Gettysburg. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
This is a reproduction of the flag of the 24th Georgia Infantry Regiment. At Fredericksburg they were part of Thomas R. R. Cobb’s Brigade. At Gettysburg, they were part of the same brigade, which was known on July 2, 1863 as Wofford’s Brigade. This image is courtesy of Hunterdon Importing, [email protected].
Licensed Battlefield Guide John Fitzpatrick is standing by the Irish Brigade Monument (actually a monument to the New York regiments of the Irish Brigade), which was dedicated on July 2, 1888. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
In Video #23 Licensed Battlefield Guide John Fitzpatrick shows the Irish Brigade Monument and explains that the sculptor was a Confederate veteran. John reminds us that he of course meant to say that William Rudolph O’Donovan, the sculptor of the NY Regiments’ Irish Brigade monument which was dedicated on July 2, 1888, was a Confederate cannoneer who served in Lieutenant Colonel Hilary P. Jones Artillery Battalion of Early’s Division of Ewell’s Second Corps, Lee’s ANV at the Battle of Gettysburg.This view was taken facing southeast to northwest to south at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
John Fitzpatrick has now moved between the Irish Brigade Monument and the Stony Hill. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
In Video #24 John Fitzpatrick explains how the Wild Geese got their name and who the Fenians were. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
Here is one of the texts that John Fitzpatrick used for his Irish Brigade posts, and that he recommends: The Great Hunger, Ireland 1845-1849 by Cecil Woodham-Smith. This image was copied facing north at approximately 8:00 PM on Friday, November 18, 2011.
Here is one of the texts that John Fitzpatrick used for his Irish Brigade posts, and that he recommends: The Famine Ships, The Irish Exodus to America by Edward Laxton. This image was copied facing north at approximately 8:00 PM on Friday, November 18, 2011.
Here is one of the texts that John Fitzpatrick used for his Irish Brigade posts, and that he recommends: The Fighting 69th, From Ground Zero to Baghdad by Sean Michael Flynn. This image was copied facing north at approximately 8:00 PM on Friday, November 18, 2011.
To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides,click here.