Colonel James D. Brady

Colonel James D. Brady (1843-1900)

James D. Brady was born in Portsmouth, North Hampton County, Virginia on April 3, 1843. He enlisted in the 37th New York Volunteers in 1861 and became a Lieutenant in the 63rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in December 1861. The 63rd was one of five regiments of the famed Irish Brigade. He served with distinction throughout the war and was wounded at the battles of Fredericksburg, Fairs Oaks, Malvern Hill, and Cold Harbor. He served as the final Colonel of the 63rd. He later moved to Virginia and served a single term as a Republican U.S. Representative. He died on November 30, 1900 in Petersburg, Virginia. Read about Col. Brady's gifting of the Regimental Colors to Notre Dame here.

Col. Brady seated at right
Col. Brady seated at right

The 63rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Excerpt from The Union Army, Vol. II, 1908 (pg. 96-97)

The 63rd, the 3rd Irish regiment, composed mainly of recruits from New York City, but containing a number from Boston and some from Albany, was mustered into the service of the United States at New York city from Sept. to Dec, 1861, for three years. It left New York Nov. 28, 1861, for Washington and was assigned to the Irish brigade in Sumner's division, which became the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 2nd corps, Army of the Potomac. The regiment remained in the vicinity of Washington during the winter but was early in motion in the general advance to the Peninsula. Trench duty and picket duty occupied the troops during the siege of Yorktown but the regiment was in action at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks and during the Seven Days' battles. At Antietam the Irish brigade showed its mettle, the 63rd losing 6 officers mortally wounded and 202 killed or wounded out of 341 engaged. The regiment then moved into Virginia and arrived at Falmouth in November. It went into the battle at Fredericksburg with 162 men, of whom 44 were reported killed, wounded or missing. After spending the winter in camp near Falmouth the 63rd participated in the Chancellorsville campaign, and in June, 1863, was consolidated into two companies. This little force lost 23 at Gettysburg, fought at Auburn and Bristoe Station, shared in the Mine Run campaign, and established winter quarters near Brandy Station. In Oct., 1863, a company of new recruits was added to the regiment, two more companies in April, 1864, and in June, 1864, one company, which with the reenlisted men continued it in service as a veteran organization. At the Wilderness 99 of the regiment fell, and 31 in the week following, among them Maj. Touhey. At Cold Harbor and in the first engagements before Petersburg the loss was severe. The regiment was active at Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Reams' station, Hatcher's run, Fort Stedman, the final assault on April 2, 1865, and joined in the pursuit to Appomattox. It was mustered out at Alexandria on June 30, 1865, having lost 157 by death from wounds and 95 from other causes, out of a total enrollment of 1,411. The Irish brigade, as well as the individual regiments composing it, became noted for bravery on many a hard-fought field, and the 63rd, which was one of the original regiments of the brigade, was one of New York's most gallant organizations.

Memorial Day 1874

By Brother Bill Rose

The following history was researched by brother Bill Rose of the Col. James D. Brady Camp. He did extensive research on the 63rd New York and so much more. With further Virginia research of other such National Memorial Day programs, he has brought light to the way our ancestors honored the day, each other, North and South, and our nation as veterans. Step back into time in 1874 to find how our ancestors honored the dead and our heroes.

Memorial Day 1874 Hampton National Cemetery from the Norfolk Landmark newspaper May 30 1874

Federal Memorial Day Annual Decoration of Union Soldier's Graves.
The Confederate Dead Remembered.


Address by Col. James D. Brady, of Portsmouth.
Fort Monroe, VA, May 30, 1874
Editor Norfolk Landmark: The annual decoration of the graves of deceased soldiers at the United States National Cemetery, near Hampton, took place today, with appropriate ceremonies. This cemetery also contains the remains of nearly six hundred Confederate dead, and heretofore their existence has been quietly ignored by persons presenting floral offerings. We are happy to say on this occasion, such was not the case, and each received the kind remembrance of their friends.

THE CEREMONIES are properly under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, which fixed the hour at 2 P M. General William F. Barry, Commandant of the Artillery School, was invited to participate with his command, but owing to military duties was unable to do so at the hour designated. But in order to pay proper respect to the memory of their deceased comrades, General Barry formed the battalion of the Artillery School at 7 A M; and headed by the band marched to the cemetery and decorated the graves of the soldiers there buried, both Union and Confederate - the band meanwhile played a dirge and the troops resting on arms. In the midst of the Union graves was placed an evergreen wreath six feet in diameter, with the inscription "The Garrison of Fort Monroe, Va; to their dead comrades." In the midst of THE CONFEDERATE GRAVES was placed a similar wreath, with the inscription "The Garrison of Fort Monroe, Va; to the Confederate Dead." The troops then reformed and marched back to the fort where they arrived at 10 A M. The steamer N. P. Banks, Captain McCarrick, reached the fort about 9 A M having on board some five or six hundred colored people, part of whom were in uniform and accompanied by a fine band of music. The military portion formed and took up their line of march to the cemetery, while their friends took possession of every available means of transportation for the same point. They brought their dinners with them and are having a picnic at the cemetery, while awaiting the arrival of the speakers. The steamer Hampton, Captain Schermerborn, having been chartered for the occasion, arrived at the fort at 11 A M, having on board the New Hampshire band, FARRAGUT (GAR) POST NO. 5 of Portsmouth, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen. She remained but a moment to take on a few passengers, and proceeded to the National Military Asylum wharf, where the party disembarked. Here they were met by a battalion from the Home, who escorted them to the grounds, where they disbanded to meet again at 2 P M. Commodore T. H. Stevens, commandant of the Navy-yard, arrived at the Home at 1 PM. He was met at the wharf by Colonel P. T. Woodfin, the popular governor of the Home, and escorted to his quarters where lunch was soon after served. In order to supply the large number of visitors a very fine dinner was prepared by Captain Keyes, the quartermaster, which was sold for a merely nominal sum, and was very much enjoyed.


The following was the programme of exercises at the Cemetery: (this is the way it is listed in the newspaper without a 1. 2. or 3.)
4. Reading of General Orders from National and Department Headquarters-
5. Song by the Beethoven Quintet Club, of Portsmouth, Prof. H. Harrington, leader
6. Prayer by Rev. J. M. Miller

7. Introductory remarks by Past Department Commander, Comrade S. B. Keeney, Commanding Farragut Post, No. 5

8. Address by Department Commander, Comrade William N. Katon.
9. Music by United States Naval Band, Prof. A. Schultz. leader
10. Address of P. S. V. Commander, Major General J. R. Goble
11. Singing by Beethoven Quintet Club
12. Address of Colonel James D. Brady, of 63rd New York Volunteer Infantry
13. Music by National Military Home Band
14. Address by Comrade, Captain J. T. Wilson, P. S. V. Commander
15. Singing by Beethoven Quintet Club
16. Prayer and benediction by Rev. Z. T. Barton
17. Decoration of graves
Music by United States Naval Band, of Norfolk, United States Military Band of Fort Monroe, and National Home Band W. N. Katon, Dept. Commander M. J. Rose A. A. G. at 2 P M the procession formed and marched to the cemetery, Colonel Woodfin provided conveyances for Commodore Stevens, the speakers, members of the press, and invited guests. Colonel Brady, the orator of the occasion then delivered the following address:


Members of the Grand Army, Soldier Friends, Ladies, and Gentlemen: Another Memorial Day is here. Again in this charming month of May we have assembled upon these sacred grounds to pay another and just tribute to the heroic dead, with the bright garlands of May, lovely flowers, "love's truest language." We have come from far and near to decorate the graves of the fallen brave, the heroes of the great struggle for the maintenance of the supremacy of the American Union. Contemplating the heroism, sacrifices, terrific struggles, victories and defeats of the brave men who "sleep their last sleep" within the limits of these walls, thoughts smother words, and we know not what to say. The heart that would not be sad and the eye that would not weep, while memory with its thousand forms cluster around the green graves of the soldier dead, must indeed be cold and dry. The deeds of the dead heroes of the late war proclaim their eulogy, and they need NO WORDS OF PRAISE. Eminently fit and proper is it that this, the loveliest month of the year, should have been selected for the beautiful and affecting ceremony in which we are about to engage. Thanks to our law makers for having designated one day in the year to remind people of the soldiers of the war, for custom has extended the celebration of this day to one of National observance, and it contemplates in its scope the patriotism, heroism, gallantry, endurance, pluck and bravery of the American people. In the enterprising and prosperous North, the wealthy East, and mighty west, to-day tens of thousands of our fellow-citizens are engaged in offering tribute to their fallen brothers, by crowning the graves of the illustrious dead with the choicest, sweetest, and most fragrant of lovely May flowers. And here in the sunny South we and our brothers who wore the Blue have not forgotten.

Let no words fall from our lips, or thoughts enter our hearts, the utterance of which might tend to arouse the animosity engendered by the late war between the sections. Let us forget the bitterness of the past. The Blue and the Gray quietly, sweetly repose side by side around us, and those who survive them should, can, and let us earnestly hope and desire, will be friends. The brave sympathize with the brave. We can not approve of the cause for which the Southern soldier fought so long, so valiantly, and so desperately, but their heroic deeds are recorded upon the pages of history, and we can not if we would, and would not if we could, blot them out. After all it was a struggle of brothers against brothers, fathers against sons, and the credit of all that was noble and good in this contest belongs to our common country. Let us extend the right hand of fellowship and good will one to the other, and unite together for the advancement and benefit of the Republic.

MEMORIAL DAY is the opportune time to put into practice these sentiments. Surely there is glory enough in Bunker Hill, Lexington, Saratoga and Yorktown in the War of Independence, and Lake Erie and New Orleans in the War of 1812, Buena Vista and Vera Cruz in the Mexican War, for the people of this great and prosperous country, without brooding over the misfortunes of our late unfortunate war. Demosthenes, the celebrated orator, it is related, swore by the memory of the nation's dead. We can swear by ours, and we can and do ask our countrymen to remain true to the cause for which our soldiers laid down their lives- a determination that the Union should be preserved. The motive that actuated the Union soldier during the war is not understood by our Southern friends. A distinguished Union General has thus appropriately and eloquently expressed it; "The American people were called upon by the President to suppress the rebellion. The response came, prompt and enthusiastic, from all parties outside the insurrectionary States. Republicans, Douglas Democrats, Bell and Everett men, Breckenridge Democrats, filled the ranks of our armies, and fought side by side till the authority of the nation was acknowledged. "What broke the ties that bound us to parties, and gathered such diverse elements in one mass, moved by one sentiment and purpose? Love of war? No; we were more engrossed in THE PURSUITS OF PEACE, and thought less of arms than almost any nation on the earth. Hatred of the Southern people? No; they were our blood, and tongue, and land; born to one inheritance with us, of liberty, and power and glory. It was the sentiment of nationality- determination that the Union should be perpetual- and that the Constitution which made the Union, and its bond, should be preserved and acknowledged throughout every State, and throughout all time inviolate.

"That was the only purpose of the war known to, or recognized by the Army and Navy of the United States. All else was, to that, auxiliary. Every soldier and sailor recognized that purpose: none avowed another. That sentiment raised all our armies; it was soul of all. It glowed in every camp fire; and thundered from every gun. It was our cloud by day our pillar of fire by night. It was under God, the POWER of the war and bore aloft in our flag after every defeat, and won us our victories." Love and reverence for the renowned dead brings us today within these sacred precincts, and as we offer our grateful tribute to the heroes, our dearly beloved Boys in Blue, we will not neglect nor forget to strew
some of the choicest flowers over the brave men who wore the Grey. We are indeed in the midst of precious dust. These little graves around us, humble though they be, enclose within their dark portals the form of NOBLE MEN It is almost impossible to express the emotions of the occasion. Bull Run and its unexpected result; the siege of Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg and the dashing charge of the intrepid, accomplished and soldierly Hancock; Fair Oaks, where persecuted Howard lost his arm, under the brave and able Sumner, whose foresight saved us the day; the Seven Days retreat, fighting all day and marching all night winding up fighting with Fitz John Porter's gallantry and superb generalship at Gaines's Mills; the second battle of Manassas, the unlooked for defeat of Pope and the killing of that gallant soldier Phil Carney, at Chantilly; South Mountain and the death of Reno, Commander of the Ninth Corps; Fredericksburg and the famous charge of the Irish Brigade upon Mayre's Heights, under their beloved commander, the dashing Meagher generous, gallant, brave noble, chivalrous Meagher, would you have died on the battlefield in the thickest of the fight, wherever found, whether in the charge or repulse, Chancellorsville and the death of that GREAT SOLDIER, STONEWALL JACKSON which event cast gloom over the then discouraged Army of the Potomac, Gettysburg, its long and weary marches; the fight on Round Top and the mortal wounding of my old commander general Zook; the famous charge of Pickett's Division on Cemetery Ridge, where were engaged and fell many of the best and brave men from this section of Virginia; the battles of the Wilderness, the death of Sedgewick and Wadsworth; Spotsylvania, our charges and captures there, the battle of Cold Harbor and the impression it left on me (He was seriously wounded at this one), Petersburg, the Mine fiasco; Five Forks and the surrender of Lee, each and all pass before me as if a dream; and within these sacred grounds doubtless repose the heroes of one or more of the battles I have mentioned; and perhaps we shall find one or more who climbed the gory heights of Lookout Mountain; or fought with Grant at Donaldson or Vicksburg, or with Sherman in his BOLD MARCH TO THE SEA or perchance fell under dashing, daring Phil Sheridan in the Valley, or under Terry at Fort Fisher, and search on and I doubt not but that we shall find the names of many and many a gallant sailor, who served under Farragut, Porter, Rowan, Dahlgren, or Dupont in some one of the memorable exploits of our gallant Navy. These are the men who saved the country, and we should be, as we are, proud of them.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes bless'd!
When Spring, with dews fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Then fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There honor comes, a pilgrim gray:
To bless the turf that wrap their clay;
And Freedom shale awhile repair.
To dwell a weeping hermit there!

We commemorate today the memory of these noble men who died that the Republic might live; and does it not make one shudder to contemplate the torrents of blood spilled, the dreadful carnage, and sacrifice made to secure final victory? Republics, it is said, are ungrateful, but, it seems impossible to believe that the people of this country will ever forget the debt they owe to the men who abandoned homes, friends, and all else near and dear, and periled their lives in its defense. The war on our part was a desperate struggle for the VERY EXISTENCE OF THE NATION and the disruption of the Union would have been a blow struck at freedom throughout the civilized world, from the shock of which it would not have recovered in a century. Every man who wore the Blue and bore our country's flag in battle, should be inscribed upon the roll of the nation's heroes, and he is entitled to the affection and regard of the Republic in its present hour of prosperity. Let the loving duty of the day be preformed. Veterans of the war, crippled and maimed soldiers, young maidens and fair women, little children and stout men, one and all, strew the graves of the brave with the choice, fragrant flowers of Spring. Forget not, neglect not, one single mound. All are worthy, all deserving, of the touching tribute to their memory.