Having moved to the Gross Point area from
New York before the war, charismatic James
Mulligan in 1861 raised the 23rd Illinois, known
as “the Irish Brigade,” and served as its colonel.
At the Battle of Lexington in Missouri, the 23rd
fought courageously but was forced to surrender.
The regiment was later reinstated and fought in
the Shenandoah Valley, where Mulligan fell mortally
wounded in the Second Battle of
Kernstown in Virginia in 1864. His imposing
monument can be seen today near the Chicago
Avenue entrance of Calvary Cemetery in
Evanston. Mulligan's name is also inscribed on the Wilmette Memorial outside Village Hall.
Narrative courtesy of the staff of the Wilmette Historical Museum