Largely recruited from the Irish in New York City, the eighty-eighth New York Regiment marched off to war under the leadership of Col. Thomas F, Meagher. Because his wife had gone to great pains to secure and to present a U.S. flag to the fighting men, this unit of ninety-day volunteers was popularly known as “Mrs. Meagher’s Own.”
Meagher later organized and led the famous Irish Brigade. Soon a brigadier general, he served with distinction at Seven Pines, the Seven Day, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. Always fighting under his wife’s flag. Meagher tried to resign when told he could not recruit new members of his command. Republican leaders refused to accept the resignation of the Democratic brigadier and kept him close to his flag until May 1865.