Fr Corby

Robert McLernon, Irish Brigade researcher, writes:

The 100th anniversary of the dedication of the statue of Rev. William Corby on the Battlefield of Gettysburg will take place on October 29, 2010. I wish to see this event celebrated in an appropriate manner, and I am getting the word out to all I can. It is my hope that the Irish-American, Catholic, and Civil War communities of this nation will publicize this, and that it will become a major event.

He asks that all friends of the Irish Brigade spread the word.

RunnerJenny took the image above of Fr Corby’s monument at Gettysburg. She writes: Taken Easter Saturday at sunset. Corby performed an Absolution on the famous Irish Brigade from the rock on which his monument now stands prior to the Brigade entering the cauldron of death at the Wheatfield on July 2, 1863.

Fr Corby’s Absolution:

“Dominus noster Jesus Christus vos absolvat, et ego, auctoriate ipsus, vos absolvo a vinculo excommunicationis et interdicti in quantum possum et vos indigetis; deinde, ego vos absolvo a peccatis vestris in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen!”

May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you; and I by his authority absolve you from every bond of excommunication and interdict, as far as I am able, and you have need. Moreover, I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

An essay at the site of the Pearl River, N.Y., Ancient Order of Hibernians describes the scene:

The Irish Brigade was a brigade in name only. Originally composed of 5 regiments and 3000 men, the brigade’s heroism at the battles of Fair Oaks, Seven Days, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville had reduced its total numbers now to less than a single regiment of 600 men. Once again the Brigade was going to where the fighting was thickest. As they prepared to move off, their Chaplain Fr. William Corby C.S.C hastily mounted a boulder wearing his purple stole and said he would offer the men absolution. As one the men of the brigade knelt and lowered their flags as Fr. Corby pronounced the blessing. The entire surrounding second corps irrespective of their own faith fell silent as they watched this scene, even General Hancock, commanding the II Corps, removed his hat and bowed his head. As Fr. Corby’s last words faded away, the veterans of Irish Brigade moved off to battle, 198 of their depleted number never to return. Witnesses described it as the most moving moment of the war.


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