Absolution at Gettysburg: Father William Corby, C.S.C.

At Notre Dame he established a veterans' post for ex-soldiers on the faculty. In 1893, he published Memoirs of Chaplain Life: Three Years with the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac. He wrote it, in part, to counteract a resurgent anti-Catholicism, and partly to encourage Catholics. Corby died on December 28, 1897. His coffin was wrapped in a regimental flag and followed by a group of veterans. A volley was fired over the grave, and a bugler played Taps. In his memoir, he wrote,

Oh you of a younger generation, think what it cost your forefathers to save our glorious inheritance of union and liberty! If you let it slip from your hands you will deserve to be branded as ungrateful cowards and undutiful sons. But, no! You will not fail to cherish the prize—it is too sacred a trust—too dearly purchased.

Note: Those interested in further reading should consult an excellent book by James M. Schmidt, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory.

12/2/2022 9:05:38 PM
  • Catholic
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  • Pat McNamara
    About Pat McNamara
    Dr. Pat McNamara is a published historian. He blogs about American Catholic History at McNamara's Blog.