One of the most popular monuments on the Gettysburg National Battlefield is dedicated to the 63rd, 69th, and 88th New York Infantry regiments that formed the core of the famous Irish Brigade. This ethnically segregated unit was at any point during the Civil War the brigade with the highest percentage of casualties, in the corps (the 2nd corp of the Army of the Potomac) with the highest percentage as well. Basically, pick a bad spot on a battlefield in Virginia, and that’s where you found them.
Their monument at Gettysburg is somewhat out of the way, but still it’s one of the most popular. It’s a Celtic cross being guarded by an Irish wolf hound. For this project, I want to analyze visitor’s photographs uploaded to Flickr, as well as reviews on Yelp and Facebook to see what people have to say about the monument, why it’s important, and why people want other people to visit it as well. Why travel off the main drag near Pickett’s Charge to visit this monument? How do people use the monument in their photographs? These monuments were the earliest attempts by veterans, their families, and the government to try to memorialize what happened on these battlefields. In the grips of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, I’m fascinated by what places and monuments people identify with and feel are important.
I chose the monument at Gettysburg in particular because, while it was the bloodiest battle in US history, the story of the Irish is an often forgotten one. They and other immigrants, especially the German, found themselves outcasts in their new country. The issue of immigration is one that still grips our country, but now, when we look at this monument, no one would dare say they were not Americans. By combining different digital outlets, this paper would provide readers with a chance to envision what tools they can use to memorialize places or people who are important to them.