Irish Troops in the Civil War

“God Bless the Irish Flag.”

Said by President Lincoln when he kissed one of the green banners of the Irish Brigade, as a salute to the courage of the men who fought beneath the banners.

Some 150,000 Catholic Irish Americans fought for the Union in the Civil War and some 40,000 Catholic Irish Americans fought for the Confederacy.  Those are the best numbers I can find, although I suspect the numbers are understated.  Whichever side they fought for, the Irish troops were noted for pugnacity in attack and a merry gallantry that other troops often remarked upon and envied. Many elite units were made up of Irish volunteers, the most notable being the Irish Brigade of the Army of the Potomac.

Their valor, and the ministrations of Catholic nuns serving as nurses to the wounded on both sides, helped to alleviate anti-Catholic sentiment in the country and hastened the admission of American Catholics into the American mainstream.

Published in: on May 17, 2021 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Irish Troops in the Civil War  
Tags: ,