in the fall of 1861 and recruited in New York and New
Jersey from communities of Irish immigrants, the 88th New
York became one of the better known regiments of the Civil
War. The unit was started as the 2nd and 4th Regiments of
the famed Irish Brigade. The two regimental
commanders reached an agreement and in November of 1861
the two regiments were combined under the command of
Colonel Baker of the 2nd Regiment with Colonel Meagher of
the 4th Regiment taking command of the famous
unit was as fortunate in its manpower as it was in its
officers. More than 70% of the men had served in the
British army or the British India Army prior to their
enlistment in the 88th. This gave them experience
and a high level of professionalism on the
battlefield. The language of the regiment was Gaelic
and the men maintained many of the traditions of their
native Ireland throughout their service.
New York required that the Irish Brigade take part in the
universal numbering system, the unit took the number of
Britain's 88th Connaught Rangers. Many of the men of
the regiment had received their initial training with this
famous unit and decided to bring the number to the U.S.
Regiment served with the 2nd Brigade (Irish) of 1st
Division / II Corps of the Army of the Potomac. They
served through the war and fought in every battle that
involved the Army of the Potomac.
mustered out of service at the end of the war, the unit
again showed the price it had paid, as it numbered only 96
men. Their green war colors had appeared on every
battlefield on which the Army of the Potomac had
fought. The members of the 88th NYSV, known as the
“Wolves of the Army of the Potomac,” had earned their
place in history.