Colonel 23rd Illinois Infantry of the "Irish Brigade"
Mortally wounded at the 2nd battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Virginia in July 1864
As Mulligan's life blood was being spilled on the field of battle, he saw that the colors were about to be captured by the Confederates, and he shouted to his men, "Lay me down and save the flag!"
(1830-1864) Born in Utica, N.Y., his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. Moving to Chicago, he studied law in the offices of Isaac N. Arnold, a U.S. Representative from that city, and was admitted to the bar in 1856. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the "Chicago Shield Guards," and was appointed Colonel of the 23rd Illinois Infantry, of the western "Irish Brigade," a regiment which he raised. Captured at Lexington, Missouri, September 20, 1861, he was not exchanged until November 1862. He served as the Commander of Camp Douglas Military Prison in Chicago in 1862. At the 2nd battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Va., on July 24, 1864, Mulligan was wounded in action. With Confederates closing in from all sides, Mulligan stood up in his saddle to spur his men on, and Confederate sharpshooters concealed in a nearby stream bed managed to hit the Union commander. As his men were removing him from the field, he saw that the colors were about to be captured and shouted, "Lay me down and save the flag!" As they hesitated, he repeated his cry. His men reluctantly obeyed, but before they could return he was captured, and died from his wounds 3 days later while in Confederate hands. On February 20, 1865, the United States Senate confirmed the posthumous appointment of Mulligan to the rank of brevet brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers to rank from July 23, 1864.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 4 card. Bottom corners of the mount have been trimmed. Seated view, in civilian attire. Mulligan appears to be holding what may be a small pistol, with a hat resting on his lap. Backmark: Charles D. Fredricks & Co., New York, Habana and Paris. Light creasing to the card surface. Light age toning. There are no known from life images of Mulligan in uniform. Scarce and desirable Union officer.