Monuments to Individuals at Gettysburg

The monument to Reverend Father William Corby, C.S.C. is south Hancock Avenue Part 1 tour map) Father Corby was chaplain to the 88th New York Infantry of the legendary Irish Brigade.

The bronze statue was created by Samuel Murray and stands just under eight feet tall. It shows Father Corby as he blessed and gave final absolution to the men of the Irish Brigade who were about to attack into the Wheatfield. It is believed the statue stands on the very boulder that Father Corby used on that day. The monument was dedicated on October 29, 1910.

See the twin of the statue at the University of Notre Dame in front of Corby Hall.

See the monument to Father Corby’s Irish Brigade at Gettysburg.

2nd Corps Headquarters Flag 2C-1D


Tablet below the statue to Father Corby at Gettysburg

Tablet below the statue to Father Corby

From the tablet below the statue:

To the memory of
Rev. Father William Corby, C.S.C.
Chaplain 88th Regiment New York Infantry
2nd Brigade 1st Division 2nd Corps,
The Irish Brigade
July 2nd 1863.

Marker beside the statue to Father Corby at Gettysburg

Marker beside the statue to Father Corby

From the marker beside the statue:

Reverend William E. Corby, C.S.C.
Congregation of Holy Cross.
This memorial depicts Father Corby,
a Chaplain of the Irish Brigade,
giving general absolution and blessing
before battle at Gettysburg,
July 2, 1863
President, University of Notre Dame
1866-72 1877-81

Plaque donated June 1963 by
The Philadelphia Alumni Club
of the University of Notre Dame

About Father William Corby

William E. Corby was born in Detroit on October 2, 1833, and attended Notre Dame, entering the novitiate in 1856 and taking his final vows in 1859.

When the war came in 1861 Notre Dame sent a number of priests to serve as chaplains with Union regiments. Father Corby left his professorship to become the first of these, assigned to the 88th New York in Brigadier General Thomas Meagher’s legendary Irish Brigade.

Father Corby accompanied his men on many battlefields, giving comfort to the wounded and absolution to the dying. His greatest moment probably came at the Battle of Gettysburg. Little more than 500 men remained of the original 3,000 veterans of the brigade, but they were to be sent to the rescue of the crumbling Union flank in a vicious maelstrom that would become known to history as The Wheatfield.

Father Corby donned his stole and mounted a large rock as the men of the brigade knelt, Catholic and Protestant alike. He offered absolution to the brigade, reminding them of their duties, warning them not to waver and to uphold the flag. Their attack bought precious time for the Union defenses but cost them dearly, with over one third of the brigade becoming casualties in a few moments.

After the war Father Corby became President of Notre Dame from 1866-72, then after a five year term at Sacred Heart College in Wisconsin returned to Notre Dame as President from 1877-82. He later became Provincial General and then Assistant General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, as well as serving in several other posts.

In 1893 his veterans nominated Corby for the Medal of Honor, noting that “no spot was too dangerous or too much exposed to the fire of the enemy.” Although he never received the medal, the veterans of the brigade presented him with a chalice that he would always cherish.

Father Corby died in 1897. In an unusual ceremony for a priest of the Holy Cross, his flag-draped casket was borne by civil war comrades and a rifle volley was fired as it was lowered into the grave.

Monument to Father William Corby at Gettysburg

Location of the monument

The statue to Reverend Father William Corby is south of Gettysburg on the east side of Hancock Avenue
about 0.9 mile north of United States Avenue. (39°48’12.4″N 77°14’03.8″W)