Mulligan, James letter/ Col. 23rd IL Infantry (Irish Brigade)
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James A. Mulligan (1830-64), Colonel "Irish Brigade (23rd Illinois infantry) and Brevet Brigadier General. Mortally wounded at Kernstown 7/23/64. Known for the quote "Lay me down and save the flag".

Letter Signed (LS), 2 pages, folio (from his letter record book), Head Quarters 2nd Division, Department of West Virginia, New Creek, WVA, February 19th, 1864 to Reverend Dunne.

"...I am in receipt of your letter of the 9th Feby. Enclosing copy of the "Chicago Times" wherein the letter of Col. Mulligan to the "Irish National Fair" is arrayed against the Circular of Bishop Duggan relative to the "Fenian Brotherhood".

Whoever places me in hostility to the Church misplaces me. Whoever construes my words in hostility to its Authentics, misconstrues them. And when this occurs in regards to a prelate, whom I have known only to respect and reverence: whose justice, wisdom and patriotism have endeared him alike to the good Catholic and the loyal citizen. I am grieved.

I am not now and have never been a member of the Fenian Brotherhood. I do not now endorse and have never endorsed this association. I am unacquainted with its merits or demerits. In my former letter I contributed to an "Irish National Fair" projected in our goody city of Chicago wherein, I was informed, were to be gathered many curious and valuable works of the art and genius of grand old Ireland: wherein were to be repeated the stories of their passionate struggles for Freedom: wherein were to be exhibited the relics and momentous of her statesmen and warriors dead on scaffold and on battlefield and I ardently hoped that this display would inspire our people to Unity, to Charity, to Patriotism and to the Brotherhood whose emblem should be  Sword and Cross. For like all Irishmen I thrill to the hope that the time must come when Ireland shall profess Freedom Industry Sanctified by Religion.

For this: for anything approaching it:

"For any good cause at all

 Fighting a field a foot: or guarding a leagured wall"

I pray and labor. And with a fair prospect of realizing this hope I would no more hesitate at blood to achieve Irish Nationality than I now do in sustaining American Unity. But if there be any man or Society of men who say they will labor for Ireland against the Church, I am not one of them. I believe that on the same field where on the Freedom of Ireland was stricken down, her Faith was assailed and when that Freedom is revived that Faith must cooperate in the resurrection. What within her spiritual domain the Church approves I approve: when she commands I obey. I am a soldier & obey my general: I am a Catholic and obey my Bishop.

Your Friend

Jas. A. Mulligan"

Very Fine.

  • Item #: MJ1A

Mulligan, James letter/ Col. 23rd IL Infantry (Irish Brigade)

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