Temple (34) Emmet


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, Genealogical ID:
Saturday, April 1, 1837
Prob. New York, NY
Sunday, August 10, 1862
Astoria, NY

Temple (34) Emmet was born in April, 1837 in New York - the seventh of ten children and sixth son born to Anna Riker (Tom) & Thomas (6) Addis Emmet, Jr.

He signed up to fight the Civil War with the Irish Brigade in September of 1861 at the age of 24 and died of typhoid fever less than a year later.  At the time of Temple's enlistment in the Brigade, five of his sisters and brothers had already died, most likely from consumption.

The Irish Brigade was formed by Thomas Francis Meagher in April of 1861 in New York. Meagher, already an Irish hero for his participation in the 1848 attempt to overthrow British rule, escaped from his exile in Tasmania. He made his way to New York in 1852, and studied law under Robert (2) Emmet. Since he was not a citizen, Meagher was admitted to the Bar only through a special ruling of the NY State Supreme Court.

The Brigade, as the 69th Regiment of the Union Army, first fought at the battle of Bull Run in July of 1861and lost many men over that summer. This led the Emmet brothers, Robert (2) and Tom (6) Emmet, to set up a recruiting station in the Metropolitan Hotel to replenish the ranks. Meagher then spoke at a huge rally on Aug. 29th in Jones' Wood, a picnic area just north of east 70th Street. Over 50,000 people came to hear Meagher's speech. "Will the Irishmen of New York stand by this cause?" he shouted; the crowd answered with a roar, "We will! We will!" And Temple joined as one of the new recruits.

The Brigade was sent to Virginia, and by late April was attached to an engineering unit building roads, bridges, and shelters, near Yorktown. There was so much rain in the spring of 1862 that the army was mired in mud and overflowing streams, making unpaved roads almost impassable. The Brigade's job was to chop down trees and lay them horizontally over the paths so wagons could proceed. By the end of May, the Union forces were moving closer to Richmond and the Conferates attacked to protect their capital.

The battle of Fair Oaks began on June 1st, with the Irish Brigade on the front lines for two weeks, proving their courage over and over again: when told to charge the enemy, they let out a Gaelic roar and rushed forward. The Rebels never did break through the Union line. But the soldiers were exposed to what Meagher later described as "the dampness, the miasma, the drenching rain and the deadening sun of the foul lowlands in front of Richmond."

In a decision disputed to this day, General McClellan chose to move his troops back to the safety of the Union base on the James River, fending off the Confederates as they marched. The Irish Brigade fought by day and marched by night as they moved down the peninsula. Some were killed in battle but many more died of diseases such as dysentry, typhoid and tuberculosis. Temple, serving as one of Meagher's aides, was slightly wounded.

To replace the many troops that had died, Meagher decided to again return to New York in July to recruit more soldiers. Temple went with him but he came down with typhoid on the journey and died on August 10th, 1862, at the age of 25, two weeks after arriving home. He was buried in the NYC Marble Cemetery in Vault #148.