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: ,

George Washington Parke Custis, God Bless Him!




George Washington Parke Custis is chiefly remembered as being the adopted son of George Washington and the father in law of Robert E. Lee, and that is rather a shame.  In many ways he was a fascinating individual and deserves to be remembered in his own right.  A grandson of Martha Washington, he was adopted by George Washington after his father , John Parke Custis, died at the age of 26 from “camp fever”, probably typhus, shortly after the siege of Yorktown in 1781.  George and Martha took the infant George Washington Parke Custis and his sister Eleanor, to be raised as their own children.  In the eyes of George Washington Parke Custis, his adoptive father was also his hero, and he did his best to emulate him his entire life.  Perhaps that helps explain why throughout his life, he, like George Washington, was an ardent advocate of Irish independence.

In the 1820’s he was outspoken for his support for Catholic emancipation in Ireland.  He was the chief patron of the Washington Benevolent Society that aided Irish immigrants in America.  Like his celebrated adoptive father, he became a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick.  In 1848, a year of revolutions in Europe, he spoke before a mass audience of Irish immigrants in Washington DC on Saint Patrick’s Day and demanded independence for Ireland. (more…)

Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on George Washington Parke Custis, God Bless Him!  
Tags: , , ,