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Sculpted by Gary Casteel

1863 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Monument Replicas


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 Infantry Regiment in Brigadier General Thomas Meagher's legendary Irish Brigade.

Although Father Corby accompanied his men on many battlefields, giving comfort to the wounded and absolution to the dying, perhaps his greatest moment came at 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.


On the afternoon of July 2, 1863, the Irish Brigade, located on Cemetary Ridge was preparing to go into action at The Wheatfield. Father William Corby asked permission to speak to the men. Stepping upon a boulder, he called upon God to grant the men courage, and then pronounced a general conditional absolution. He warned the soldiers that his forgiveness of their sins was only good to soldiers who would do their military duty. As Thomas Conyngham said, "The handful of men, before going into that fierce battle, knelt down; the excellent chaplain, Father Corby, piously raised his hands, and gave them his benediction. They then jumped to their feet, closed up their lines, and charged."


After the war Father Corby became President of Notre Dame from 1866-72, then after a five year term as 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.


Father Corby died of pneumonia on December 28, 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.


This monument is located on the east side of Hancock Avenue, and was dedicated on October 29, 1910.

Father William Corby

SKU: 1069
  • Size: 8" x 7" x 9 ¾"
    Weight: 2.25lbs

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