#OnThisDay 1863 At the Battle of Gettysburg, the Pennsylvanian 69th Irish Regiment bore the brunt of Pickett’s Charge engaging in hand to hand combat. 15,000 Confederated in a massed attack over a mile long marched to the Union lines, meeting at the ‘Angle’ where the Pennsylvanians were.
Despite their neighbouring regiments breaking under the withering Confederate fire, and fleeing from the front line, the 69th (who renamed themselves from the 68th in honour of the New York 69th ‘Fightin 69th’ another famous Irish regiment) had to refuse their flank meaning that the 69th were almost completely surrounded. Despite this and bloody hand to hand fighting with bayonets, clubs, fists the Pennsylvania 69th held the line & pushed the Rebs back.
The 69th lost 143 men from 268, including Colonel Dennis O’Kane from Coleraine, Derry who died the next day. The monument for the 69th Pennsylvania Infantry in Gettysburg Military Park stands on the spot where Colonel O’Kane was mortally wounded.