Toward the end of that terrible mid-July day at Manassas, both the Fire Zouaves (red shirts) and the 69th were beyond exhausted. Their leadership hadn't exactly panned out as hoped, and the battle hadn't gone their way.
After working together to recapture the Federal guns on Henry House Hill, Confederate reinforcements showed up just as the men were wiping the sweat from their brows and thinking that maybe it wasn't a wash after all.
Terrible fighting ensued, the guns were lost again, and the Union Army was in retreat by 4:00 that afternoon. Small bands of soldiers, including the 11th New York, reformed at the Sudley Road cut and tried one more time.
Ahead of the remnants of the 11th, the 69th was standing and fighting. Their flag went down--that beautiful, distinctive banner of Irish green silk! Immediately Zouave Captain Jack Wildey, who had once been Colonel Ellsworth's aide-de-camp, rushed forward. He ran toward the place he had last seen that emerald banner, and grabbed it from Southern hands. He was joined by members of the Irish Brigade, and they gallantly hoisted their banner skyward once again.
New York men, fighting together, all for the Union.