Counters for Meagher’s Brigade of the 1st Division, II Corps of the Union Army. This was the famous “Irish Brigade.” They had a solid reputation for bravery. Over 7,000 men passed through the ranks of the brigade. They fought in 34 battles. And at the end, the brigade had less than 1,000. The units in this brigade bear the sad distinction of appearing on Fox’s list of regiments with the highest percent losses at various battles. The 88th lost over 1/3 of its strength at Antietam, for instance.
Interestingly, all three of these units were armed with “buck and ball” muskets (at least through 1862), because General Meagher thought that most of their fighting would occur up close and rifles would not have a major impact on their fighting ability.