Irish American Units in the Civil

In both the North and the South, whole regiments and individual companies were recruited among the Irish immigrant communities. Whether New York factory-workers or New Orleans dock-hands, they volunteered in tens of thousands to fight on both sides. Meagher's Irish Brigade of the Army of the Potomac won immortality at Fredericksburg but the brigade's Fighting Irish 69th New York had already met their countrymen of Wheat's Louisiana Tigers in battle at First Manassas, and many largely Irish...

Vermont

Captain John Lonergan's Emmet Guards, recruited mosdy from workers in the West Rudand marble quarries, joined the 13th Vermont Infantry as Co A when that regiment was organized in September 1862. Born in Ireland, Lonergan received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg, where his company recaptured four guns taken by the Confederates, and went on to capture two more the regiment formed part of 3rd Bde, 3rd Div of I Corps. The 13th Vermont received regulation uniforms and...

Missouri

Organized at St Louis in June 1861, the 7th Missouri Infantry Regiment was largely Irish-American at the start of the war. Known as the Irish 7th, the regiment saw service in Grant's Army of the Tennessee in 3rd Bde, 3rd Div of XVII Corps during the 1863 Mississippi campaigns its actions included Port Gibson, Champion's Hill and the siege of ' Vicksburg. There, on May 22, it played a leading part in the failed and very costly Federal assaults, planting its green Irish flag on the Confederate...

Pennsylvania

Recruited in Philadelphia, the 24th Pennsylvania Infantry was a 90-day organization that included the Emmet Guards, Hibernian Greens, Hibernian Target Company, Irish Volunteers, Meagher Guards, Montgomery Guards, Montgomery Artillery, Patterson Guards and Burke's forage cap bears a gold wreath similar to the device prescribed for Ohio general officers in 1859. US Army Mil Hist Inst Burke's forage cap bears a gold wreath similar to the device prescribed for Ohio general officers in 1859. US Army...

15th Maine Infantry Flag

Organized at Augusta in December 1861 and mustered in January 1862, Col John McClusky's 15th Maine Infantry Regiment had a significant Irish presence in Cos F and I. The 15th Maine did duty on the Gulf coast, and served in the unsuccessful Red River campaign in the spring of 1864. The regiment had no known Irish distinctions of dress it received US regulation infantry frock coats and kepis, and probably the dark blue pains favored by Maine regiments. The 15th Maine carried Enfield rifles....

Indiana

The 35th Indiana Infantry Regiment 1st Irish Regiment was organized at Indianapolis in December 1861 its companies were exclusively Irish, and hailed from Indianapolis. Madison. Michigan City, Lafayette, Valparaiso, Laporie and Delphi. The regiment saw hard combat in the Western theater. When Confederate Gen Braxton Bragg attacked MajGen William S. Rosecrans' Army of the Cumberland at Stones River Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862-January 3, 1863, the regiment lost 27 killed, 78 wounded and 13...

The Fenian Raids

Fenian Raids

Federal Gen Thomas W. Sweeny contacted Confederate Gen Patrick R. Cleburne with a proposal to join forces after the war, and recruit an army of Irish veterans from both I armies for a war of liberation against Britain. Cleburne's reply was that once the war was over they would both have had enough fighting to last them a lifetime. Cleburne did not live to see the end of the war but Sweeny did indeed take part in a Fenian invasion of Canada in 1866, as did...

North Carolina

Two Irish-American companies in the 3rd North Carolina Artillery 40th North Carolina Infantry served in the defenses around Wilmington, the South's last open seaport in 1865. Captain George C. Buchan's Co G from Bladen Countv and Capt Calvin Barnes' Co H from Wilmington helped defend the formidable Fort Fisher, commanded by Irish immigrant Maj James Reilly when the fort Anally fell. No distinctive uniforms are known for the North Carolina Irish artillery companies, which may have received the...

South Carolina

United Irishmens Seal

Charleston had a large Irish community and Irish-American volunteer militia units that dated from the 1780s. The oldest, the Irish Volunteers, received a green company flag made by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and blessed by Bishop Patrick Lynch. The Charleston Daily Courier of September 12, 1861, described it as made of the richest white and green silk, gold fringed, with eleven golden stars on each side, over beautiful wreaths of oak leaves, olive and the shamrock. On one side is the...

Irish Immigrants To Texas

The port of Galveston, the largest city in the Lone Star State, contained considerable numbers of Irish immigrants. On April 18, 1861, near Matagorda Bay, a Galveston Irish volunteer militia company called the Wigfall Guards took part in the capture of the Star of the W , a Federal vessel that had already been fired upon by Confederate guns in Charleston on January 9, when it had attempted to reinforce Fort Sumter. The most famous Irish Texan command was the Jefferson Davis Guards from Houston...

Massachusetts

Given Boston's large Irish immigrant population, it is not surprising that several Irish volunteer militia companies were active there during the 1850s. These included the Bay State Artillery, the Sarsfield Guards, and the mainlv-Irish Columbian Artillery - uniformed in dark blue coatees and pants with red trim and black bearskin caps, and with a lineage as old as the American republic. A wave of anti-Irish, anti-Catholic prejudice erupted with the nativist Know-Nothing political movement in...

Mississippi

There were Irish immigrant communities in river towns such as Natchez, Vicksburg and Port Gibson, and in railroad centers like Holly Springs in the northern part of the state. In the 9th Mississippi Infantry Regiment enlisted March 1861, reorganized March 1862 , some 60 or so Irish names - probably workers on the Mississippi Central Railroad - could be found on the rolls of CaptJohn P. Holalian's Co B tile Home Gtiards from Holly Springs , with smaller numbers in x gt s D and E. The 9th...

The Confederate Irish

Fagan, Co K, 8th Alabama Infantry. Fagan la shown in a typical Confederate officer's gray frock coat and 1st Lt William L. Fagan, Co K, 8th Alabama Infantry. Fagan la shown in a typical Confederate officer's gray frock coat and Irish immigrants also settled in large numbers in the antebellum South. New Orleans, third largest city in the United States, had the largest Irish population in the Deep South, followed by Memphis. Tennessee there were also sizeable Irish communities...

Arkansas

Company 18th Arkansas Infantry

Irish neighborhoods in Mississippi river towns like Helena, Memphis and Vtcksburg furnished manpower to a number of Arkansas commands in 1861. Captain Thomas J. Key's Helena Battery, a hard-hitting little company recruited in Helena and Memphis, boasted more than 50 Irish names, as did Co B. 2nd Arkansas Infantry Hindman's, Goran's from Helena. Company A of the 13th Arkansas listed about 40 Irish names from Memphis. Two Irish companies from Vicksburg, the Shamrock Guards and Swamp Rangers,...

Georgia

5th Georgia Regiment Clinch Rifles

Savannah was a major Atlantic port with a large Irish immigrant population, and this heritage was reflected in several militia companies raised there. Formed in 1842, and named for Revolutionary War hero William Jasper who was killed in the 1779 siege of Savannah , Capijolin Folev's Irish Jasper Greens was one of Savannah's dominant volunteer militia companies, and the only one from Savannah to be accepted for service in the Mexican War. At the start of the Civil War the Irish Jaspers tried...

Virginia

Irish Battalion Virginia

The Confederate capital at Richmond was home to the Montgomery Guard Co C, 1st Regiment of Virginia Volunteers , organized from the city's Irish immigrant population in 1850. In July 1859 the Montgomery Guard set aside its traditional green dress and adopted the 1st Virginia's new regimental uniform black dress caps, gray frock coats with black trim, gray pants, white belts and Capt George Horner, 1st Vir Infantry Battalion Irish Battalion , wears a gray overcoat and a forage cap gray...

Tennessee

Grace 10th Tennessee

Memphis, the second largest center of Irish population in the Deep South after New Orleans, was home to a number of Irish units. Ladies of the city made up uniforms in the spring of 1861 for Col Knox Walker's 2nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment Irish Regiment . An image probably made in May or June 1861 shows Pvt John Rulle of Co K wearing a dark-colored kepi with light trim, a dark eight-button frock coat with plain standing collar, light-colored pants, and a black waist belt with oval brass...

Connecticut

Union Forage Cap With Gold Strap

Cities such as New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury became homes to sizeable Irish immigrant populations in the earlv part of the I9th century. I-arge numbers of Irishmen enlisted in the 9th Connecticut Infantry Regiment Irish Regiment , organized at New Haven in September 1861. By the end of that fall the regiment had been transported to the Gulf coast, and by the following spring to New Orleans. During the hottest part of summer 1862 the 9th Connecticut was assigned to the Williams -anal...

Alabama

By the outbreak of the Civil War the port of Mobile was a cosmopolitan center rivaling New Orleans on the Gulf coast, and boasting a large immigrant population. Several solidly Irish working-class volunteer companies were organized in 1861, but they served in different Alabama regiments. Men of the Alabama Rifles -Co D, 1st Alabama Infantry -manning a mortar battery at Pensacola, April 1861. These men are mostly in civilian clothe , although the officer In the center foreground wears a Jeff...

Ohio

The Buckeye State contributed several Irish-American units. Ir volunteer militia companies - the Montgomery Guards Co D Dayton, and the Hibernian Volunteers Co F from Cleveland -joined Col Alexander M. McCook's 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, recruited for 90 days in April 1861 and sent by rail to Washington. They were present at First Bull Run in July, but were only lighdy engaged. In August 1861 the regiment was reorganized for three years' service, under Col Benjamin F. Smith. The 1st...

Wisconsin

Volunteer companies formed by Irish-American communities in the Badger State - the Mulligan Guards from Kenosha, the Emmet Guards from Dodge, and the Peep O'Day Boys from Racine - went into the 17th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment Wisconsin Irish Brigade , organized in Madison in March 1862 under Col John L. Doran of Milwaukee. The 17th Wisconsin served in the Western theater during Grant's defensive operations in fall 1862 it spearheaded a furious bayonet charge at Corinth on October 3, shouting...

Irish Immigration

Irish Immigration And Savannah

In search of economic opportunities and - on both sides of the religious divide - freedom from discrimination, sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle thronged to America in two major waves of immigration. In the 18th century, Ulster Presbyterians migrated into the Appalachian Mountains, the first western frontier in America, where they came to be known as the Scotch-Irish. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars the British Isles suffered extremes of rural poverty and unemployment, and in Ireland...

New York before 1861

Usmc Uniform 1859

New York City's large community of Irish immigrants organized volunteer militia companies such as Brooklyn's Napper Tandy Light Artillery, described in the New York Times of March 18, 1854, in their shakos, green jackets trimmed with yellow braid, and sky-blue pants with scarlet stripes. Until 1859 the dress uniform of the 9th Regiment, New York State Militia 1st Irish Regiment - reorganized as the 83rd New York Volunteer Infantry in 1861 was a black felt shako with white pompon white plume for...

Illinois

The growing Midwestern rail and industrial center of Chicago became home to a large Irish immigrant population, and as in other major cities these communities formed volunteer miliua companies. Organized in 1854, .apt James Quirk's Shields Guards, made up mostly of mechanics, was the first Chicago military company to offer its services to the Federal government in January 1861. The 23rd Illinois Infantry Regiment 1st Irish Regiment, or Irish Brigade of the West was organized in Chicago in June...

The Union Irish

Some 150,000 Irish immigrants served in the Union army during the Civil War. In the North, Irish immigrants genuinely saw military service as a way to demonstrate their loyalty to their new homeland, but many were also faced with the unattractive choice between military service and poor civilian employment opportunities. Irish Americans fought to preserve the Union, but many also saw the war as a training ground for another armed struggle to come a war of Irish liberation from Britain. New York...