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Federal (USV)


John Burke

(c. 1830 - 1913)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 63rd New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 31, he enrolled in New York City on 27 May 1861 and mustered the next day as Lieutenant Colonel of the 37th New York Infantry - the Irish Rifles. He was discharged on 6 February 1862 to take the commission (dated 31 January) as Colonel of the 63rd New York Infantry.

A splendid tactician who was the chief means of bringing the regiment to the high place it attained as a well-disciplined battalion.
He was wounded in the first of the Seven Days' battles on 25 June 1862 at Oak Grove.

On the Campaign

It is not certain where Colonel Burke was at Antietam on 17 September 1862. Lieutenant Colonel Fowler later reported that "after the first advance from the meadow upon the plowed field, the Colonel not being present, as a necessity I, without orders, assumed command." An officer of the 29th Massachusetts later wrote that Colonel Burke fell behind his troops, dismounted, and hid in a 'fold' in the ground.

He was nominally in command of the Brigade after General Meagher was injured and left the field, put not in any practical way.

The rest of the War

He was accused of cowardice at Antietam and dismissed from the service at Bolivar Heights near Harpers Ferry, VA on 20 October 1862.

References & notes

His service from the Adjutant General.1 The quote above from Conyingham.2 His dismissal details from Walker.3 His gravesite is on Findagrave, as John Theodore Burke with birth in 1838. He's seen in some references as John Timothy Burke, and his birthplace is given as Dunmanway.


c. 1830; County Cork, IRELAND


06/23/1913; Oswego, NY; burial in Saint Paul Cemetery, Oswego, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1900, Ser. 22, pg. 582; 1901, Ser. 27, pg. 14  [AotW citation 26166]

2   Conyngham, David Power, The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns, New York: William McSorley & Co., 1867, pg. 566  [AotW citation 26167]

3   Walker, Francis Amasa, History of the Second Army Corps in the Army of the Potomac, New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1886, pg.. 131  [AotW citation 26168]