David Ireland

137th New York Volunteers



Captain - 79th New York Regiment Infantry
Lt Col - 137th New York Volunteers

David Ireland was born in Scotland, but as yet I have not been able to find out where. He served with the 79th New York (Cameron Highlanders) as a Captain, and was promoted to Lt Col and became C.O. of the 137th New York Volunteers. He was struck by a piece of shell on 15th May and carried from the field and died of dysentry on September 10th 1864. At that time he was Colonel of the regiment and commanded the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twentieth Corps.


The following is a report by David Ireland when in charge of a ambush set at Rush's (at or near where the road from Langley to Falls Church crosses Pirnett Run).

Report of Capt. David Ireland, Seventy-ninth New York Infantry.

Camp Advance Va., September 10, 1861.

SIR: In accordance with the following instructions from the brigadier-general commanding,

 You will assume command of the expedition which leaves your present camp at 1.30 a.m. to-morrow morning. It is the wish of the brigadier-general commanding this post that you place your men in ambush at Rush's (at or near where the road from Langley to Falls Church crosses Pirnett Run) a little before daylight to-morrow, to co-operate with another column which will cross the road between you and Lewinsville. You will place 75 men in good position as close to the road as possible, leaving 75 men in reserve a short distance in the rear. Your duty then will be to disable any bodies of the enemy's cavalry or artillery which may pass that way. If artillery, let the fire of your men be destructive to the horses and afterwards upon the men who man the pieces. Should you be attacked by superior numbers you will fall back, making as obstinate resistance as possible. Do not leave your cover in the woods under any circumstances. You will hold your position, if possible, for one hour after daylight. Guides will be furnished you. See that the men of your command have no caps upon their guns until you get into position. If you find scouts or pickets of the enemy, either capture them or destroy them by a bayonet charge. Be careful to create no alarm by firing before you are in position. Should you hear firing upon your right, you will hurry forward and occupy your position as soon as you can.

I have the honor to report that, with a detail of 160 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, ordered for that purpose by Colonel commanding the regiment, and placed under my command, I left camp at 1 o'clock a.m., and proceeded to the place designated through various by-paths, without disturbing the enemy's pickets, and arrived there at daybreak. The command was divided into two wings, to guard the approach of the enemy. Soon after the men had been posted firing was heard in the direction of Lewinsville, and a body of cavalry came from the direction of Falls Church, and when endeavoring to pass where we were posted our men were ordered to fire, which they did, causing the enemy to retreat. Previous to their retreating, which was caused by a well-directed fire from the left wing, under command of Capt. John Falconer, the enemy fired on us, killing one private, John Dowee, of the eighth company. At the same time the right wing captured a prisoner who was wounded, and who had on, when captured, a major's shoulder-straps. His name is Hobbs, of Colonel Stuart's regiment of cavalry.
 Having successfully accomplished the mission we were ordered on, viz, preventing the pickets at Lewinsville being re-enforced and the enemy having retreated and the alarm being sounded in all the enemy's camps in the neighborhood, we left our position and arrived in camp by way of Langley at 10.30 o'clock a.m. The lowest estimate of the enemy's loss is four killed, two wounded, and one prisoner. Much of the success of this expedition is owing to the exertions of our guide, Mr. Sage. Lieut. Alexander Graham, of the eighth company, was conspicuous for his coolness and bravery during the engagement. Mr. Hazard Stevens (volunteer) distinguished himself in this expedition by his usefulness and bravery during the engagement, and with these remarks I beg to submit the above report


 I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Seventy-ninth Regiment.

  Acting Assistant Adjutant-General Smith's Brigade.

Report by Captain David Ireland of skirmishes in the Lewinsville area

Camp Advance, September 12, 1861.

 SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Seventy-ninth Regiment Highlanders whilst forming a portion of the reserve under your command in the expedition to Lewinsville and vicinity: I joined the regiment about a mile beyond Langley, and immediately assumed command. At the same time two companies were posted as skirmishers, the sixth, under command of Lieutenant McNie, and the tenth, under Lieutenant Elliott. This latter was posted on the road to Falls Church communicating with the road to Lewinsville, and the left resting at Gilbert's house. The sixth company was thrown out in advance. After remaining in that position until the object of the expedition was evidently accomplished, the recall was sounded. When the skirmishers were retiring from Gilbert's house they were fired upon by the enemy's skirmishers, who had crept up as our men retired, also by a battery of artillery that was posted on the right of Gilbert's house, and which could not have been more than fifteen yards from them at the time they opened fire, but which caused no damage to our men at that time. The skirmishers then took position in line. The enemy's cannonading at this time was very severe, both of shot and shell, wounding 3 of our men, viz: James Van Riper, first company, in the knee; James Elliott, second company, in the ribs; and John Colgan, sixth company, in the foot. The column was then ordered forward, the Highlanders covering the retreat, which they did in firm order, the men being cool and behaving bravely. We were halted severa1 times to support batteries in position, and when drawn up in line of battle in the rear of Captain Cook's house to support Mott's battery, Colonel Stevens assumed command, General Smith taking command of the column.
 The conduct of the officers and men on this occasion was all that could be desired. They were cool and collected, behaving as well as if on parade, and more like veteran troops than volunteers. Where all did so well it would be wrong to individualize.
 I herewith inclose the report to me of Lieutenant Elliott, in command of the skirmishers.

I have the honor to remain, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding Seventy-ninth Regiment N. Y. S. M.

Lieutenant-Colonel SHALER,
Commanding Reserve, Expedition to Lewinsville.


Ireland eventually is promoted and becomes the Commanding Officer of the 137th New York Volunteers. The next report to the Assistant Adjutant General of the 3rd Brigade following the action of May 3rd 1863 during the battle of Chancellorsville.


Organized at Binghampton, N.Y., and mustered in September 25, 1862. Left State for Washington, D.C., September 25, 1862. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1862. 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps, October, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1863, and Army of the Cumberland to April, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June, 1865.
 SERVICE.--Moved to Harper's Ferry, Va., September 27-30, 1862. Duty at Bolivar Heights till December. Reconnoissance to Rippon, W. Va., November 9. Charlestown November 9. Reconnoissance to Winchester December 2-6. Charlestown and Berryville December 2. March to Fredericksburg, Va., December 9-16. At Fairfax Station till April 27, 1863. "Mud March" January 20-24. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. Duty on line of the Rappahannock till September. Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 4. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29. Battle of Wauhatchie, Tenn., October 28-29. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Lookout Mountain November 23-24. Mission Ridge November 25. Ringgold Gap, Taylor's Ridge, November 27. Duty at Bridgeport till May, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Near Cassville May 19. Advance on Dallas May 22-25. New Hope Church May 25. Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 26-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14, Lost Mountain June 15-17. Gilgal or Golgotha Church June 15. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes' Creek June 19, Kolb's Farm June 22. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2. Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15. Expedition to Tuckum's Cross Roads October 26-29. Near Atlanta November 9. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Near Davisboro November 28. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Averysboro, N. C., March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 9-13. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 19. Grand Review May 24.
Veterans and Recruits transferred to 102nd New York Infantry June 1. Regiment mustered out June 9, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 121 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 4 Officers and 163 Enlisted men by disease. Total 294


15th May ????
At about 5 p.m. Col. David Ireland, One hundred and thirty-seventh New York, who had up to this period commanded the brigade, was struck by a piece of shell, and carried from the field.
September 10 who had commanded the Third Brigade through the greater part of the Atlanta campaign, died of dysentry.

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