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Col. Michael Corcoran, At the Battle of Bull Run, VA - July 21st 1861.
Although Currier & Ives described the Union forces as "gallant" in this print's title, the North was ill prepared for such a battle. The Confederate spy network forewarned its soldiers of the impending Union attack, which allowed Southern reinforcements to move into the area. When the 6,500 Confederate soldiers attacked the Union forces, they let loose a scream that was to become known as the "Rebel Yell." The onslaught was too much for the untrained and exhausted Union army and they retreated in panic. The Union lost 460 men, 1,124 were wounded and 1,312 were captured or missing. The Confederacy lost 387 men and 1,582 were wounded.
Colonel Michael Corcoran was an Irish immigrant who served in the Union army. He enlisted as a private in the 69th New York militia and by 1859 he was appointed colonel of the regiment. He was instrumental in bringing other Irish immigrants to the Union cause, and Currier & Ives included a flag with an Irish harp in the image. In this print, Corcoran is shown mounted on a white horse leading his troops into battle. Currier & Ives emphasized the drama of the all-out fighting scene through the use of active diagonals formed by the rifles and bayonets and with the addition of several wounded soldiers in the immediate foreground.
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