As the Union mobilized to meet the military challenges of the Civil War, the people of New York volunteered in large numbers to meet the quotas set by President Lincoln. Tammany Hall used all of its political power to recruit men, mostly Irish immigrants, to form the regiment that would bear its name throughout most of the fiercest fighting of the war-from the bluffs outside Leesburg, the West Woods of Antietam, and the streets of Fredericksburg to Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and the chaos that was Petersburg. Of the more than one thousand men who started with the regiment in 1861, less than one hundred would remain in 1864.
The Tammany Regiment: A History of the Forty-Second New York Volunteer Infantry is more than the history of a group of men fighting to preserve a way of life. It is a story of a powerful political machine. It is a story about how the Fenian Movement to free Ireland from England affected the men in the trenches. It is a story of how families survived the challenges of war and how they dealt with the tumultuous news they received about their loved ones.
Draw closer to many of the men in the Tammany Regiment, and share their thoughts and fears as they faced three years of unbelievable hardship. Did they do what was right? Could they have done more? Were they treated fairly? One thing is for sure-they will now be remembered!
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Fred Wexler was president of the Cape Cod Civil War Round Table and instrumental to the Kneeling Soldier preservation project in Dorchester, Massachusetts. A lecturer on numerous US Civil War topics, Fred was a guest speaker at the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bristoe Station.
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