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  • Why did the Irish Fight for the Union?

    Find out why in the latest story added to the historynet.com from the Oct. 06 Civil War Times magazine!

    America's Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the Union
    Irish-American soldiers overcame intense prejudice to create their own Civil War lore.

    Check it out!
    Diane Tira

  • #2
    Originally posted by dtira View Post
    Find out why in the latest story added to the historynet.com from the Oct. 06 Civil War Times magazine!

    America's Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the Union
    Irish-American soldiers overcame intense prejudice to create their own Civil War lore.

    Check it out!
    But don't forget that there was Confederate Irish too.
    Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

    "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

    What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by RichardS View Post
      But don't forget that there was Confederate Irish too.
      There were Irish firing from both sides of the stonewall at Fredericksburg..........and Patrick Cleburne was Irish born and one of the South's finest generals.
      Lance W.

      Peace through superior firepower.

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting to note that one unit in the Irish Brigade, which served at Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run and Antietam, was not actually an Irish unit. It was the 29th Massachusetts. This regiment was originally raised to be an Irish unit but when recruitment lagged they sent all the Irishmen over to the 28th and kept this regiment all native-born Yanks. It still eventually served in the Irish Brigade, even though it had "a mustering of names that would have sounded familiar in the forecastle or on the quarterdeck of the Mayflower." It charged the Sunken Road at Antietam, though it took slightly less casualties than the other regiments because it was protected from direct fire from a slight defile. It was replaced by the 28th directly before Fredericksburg, and thus avoided the ill-fated charge up the slopes of Marye's Heights. Its service to Meagher's Irish Brigade is proof that old ethnic prejudices are often laid aside in times of war.

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        • #5
          I'm certainly pleased to see there is interest in the Southern side of the Irish story in America's Civil War--we will be following up our October 06 piece on the Union Irish with an article next year on Confederate Irish (and needless to say, Patrick Cleburne will be a significant part of it). I have always found the immigrant perspective on our Civil War to be a fascinating topic, particularly when you get down to the issue of motivation and the choice of which side to cast your lot with. As we know, Irish and German soldiers constituted the bulk of the immigrant participation in the war, and both of those groups had unique insights on civil war given the histories of their own countries. Germans struggled through their own bloody revolution/civil war in the late 1840s and had a long history of conflict between warring states, and the Irish had obivously been grappling with the English and their own forms of civil war for centuries. Proximity undoubtedly affected an immigrant's choice of sides--if you came in through New York, you were more likely to fight with the Union; if you came in through New Orleans, you were probabaly going to fight for the Confederacy. But this isn't the whole story. I'm curious to know what you all think motivated these men, and what parallels do you think they may have seen between our civil war and their experiences in their homelands?
          Chris W. Lewis
          Editor, Civil War Times Illustrated

          Comment


          • #6
            Hungarian participation

            Regarding immigrant participation in the American Civil War, one minority that did some disproportionate contributing were the Hungarians, whose motivation--and combat experience--seems to have been heavily influenced by their ill-fated War of Independence in 1849 (ultimately crushed by the combined forces of Austria and Russia, the latter of whom were able to expedite their armies into the fray by means of the railroad, 12 years before Manassas!). Their participation ranged from heroics, such as Medal of Honor recipient Brig. Gen. Julius Stahel at Piedmont, Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth at Pea Ridge and Major Karoly Zagonyi at Springfield to the questionable, in the person of Colonel Frederick d'Utassy, the controversial (to say the least) founding commander of the Garibaldi Guards, as well as the ordinary, such as Private Joszef Pulitzer of the 1st N.Y. Cavalry (who went on to greater things postwar). It is remarkable, however, that of all those Hungarians who volunteered to fight, I have found only one of any note who took a Rebel stand: Colonel Bela Estvan, CSA, whose memoir, War Pictures of the South, was first published in England in 1863, in Germany the next year, and swept an interested Europe by storm thereafter. Is there another American ethnic group (including black Americans) who can claim a comparable preference for the blue?
            Last edited by JonG; 29 Nov 06, 15:35. Reason: Forgot a first name
            You can tell a fighter pilot...
            But you can't tell him much

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            • #7
              I know that one of the Confederate Irish Regt.'s was the 24TH Georgia Infanty Regt. They are the ones that fought behind the wal against the Union 69Th Infantry Irish Brigade.
              You must know where you come from in order to know where you are going. Learn from the past.

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              • #8
                I'll take a stab at it between plays....

                I'm in the middle of the Atlanta/other team football game at the moment.
                My relatives, some of who were Irish, were still picking potatoes I believe during the American Civil War.
                It wasn't time to cross the Atlantic yet.
                From the stories I have heard about how the Irish were treated by the British in Ireland, it wasn't very nice.
                That said, my personal opinion based on the limited, current knowledge I have on this subject is, I don't think the Irish in America, would be in the mood to fight for anyone who believed in human bondage.
                Last edited by Slug; 16 Dec 06, 22:55.
                "Advances in technology tend to overwhelm me."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Slug,

                  Did you see the movie "Gangs of New York"? The Union Draft took many Irish Immigrants whether they wanted to fight or not. Many Irish volunteered to gain military experience so they could go back and free Ireland. The closest many of these veterans ever got was after the war when they banded together and invaded Canada.

                  New Orleans was the largest port of entry in the US and yet few Irish went through it. Many followed relatives to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. That is where the jobs were. Many that went South found work on the Docks in places like New Orleans and Galveston. Few Irish wanted to go back into agriculture. One of the Louisiana Regiments that went to Virginia was Irish. They were Richard Taylor's favorite unit. Many of Wheat's Battalion were also Irish, though I am not sure if they were double dippers as the authorities emptied the jails to recruit this battalion. The small Artillery Company that outfought the Invasion Fleet trying to enter Texas at Sabine Pass was also Irish.

                  My Grandfather's Grandmother was Irish and from Virginia. She married a Union Veteran from New York! Bound to be a story in there!

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Slug View Post
                    From the stories I have heard about how the Irish were treated by the British in Ireland, it wasn't very nice.
                    That said, my personal opinion based on the limited, current knowledge I have on this subject is, I don't think the Irish in America, would be in the mood to fight for anyone who believed in human bondage.
                    First off that is exactly why a lot of Irish fought for the south. They knew that it was wrong how the Federal Govt. was trying to tell states what they could or could not do. They knew what having a "monarchist" rule was like. By the way, the war was not started over slavery. Also, where do you suppose most of those slaves in the south were bought from? Northern markets maybe? Kinda odd to sell slaves to folks and then tell them they have to set them free and, oh by the way, they just lost their money!The North was just as responsible for slavery as the South.
                    You must know where you come from in order to know where you are going. Learn from the past.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 35th Tennessee View Post
                      First off that is exactly why a lot of Irish fought for the south. They knew that it was wrong how the Federal Govt. was trying to tell states what they could or could not do. They knew what having a "monarchist" rule was like. By the way, the war was not started over slavery. Also, where do you suppose most of those slaves in the south were bought from? Northern markets maybe? Kinda odd to sell slaves to folks and then tell them they have to set them free and, oh by the way, they just lost their money!The North was just as responsible for slavery as the South.
                      Over 150,000 Irish fought for the Union-way more than fought for the South. http://www.28thmass.org/IrishWar/IrishWar.htm So I would say that most didn't feel that Federal Government was wrong. In fact, many of the Irish felt that the Southern Aristocracy were more like their British brethren than any of the Northern counterparts. And we are talking about the Irish, not what started the war. Back up those claims of Northern companies selling slaves with cold hard facts. The North was nowhere near as responsible since the practice had been outlawed since 1807: http://amistad.mysticseaport.org/lib...lavetrade.html
                      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eight, it shall not be lawful to import or bring into the United States or the territories thereof from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, with intent to hold, sell, or dispose of such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, as a slave, or to be held to service or labour.


                      (Importation of slaves into the U.S. forbidden after Jan. 1, 1808. Forfeiture of vessels fitted out for the slave trade after Jan. 1, 1808.)
                      SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That no citizen or citizens of the United States, or any other person, shall, from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eight, for himself, or themselves, or any other person whatsoever, either as master, factor, or owner, build, fit, equip, load or otherwise prepare any ship or vessel, in any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States, nor shall cause any ship or vessel to sail from any port or place within the same, for the purpose of procuring any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, from any foreign kingdom, place, or country, to be transported to any port or place whatsoever, within the jurisdiction of the United States, to be held, sold, or disposed of as slaves, or to be held to service or labor; and if any ship or vessel shall be so fitted out for the purpose aforesaid, or shall be caused to sail so as aforesaid, every such ship or vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be forfeited to the United States, and shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any of the circuit courts or district courts, for the district where the said ship or vessel may be found or seized.
                      Any U.S. companies doing so were in violation of the law, so again please post some evidence to prove such a fact.
                      The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think the reason the amount of Irishmen who fought for the Union was so much higher was that most of the Irish who fled the Famine and its aftermath landed in Canada, Boston and New York.

                        I,m not too sure about this but did service in the US Army decree any special status on immigrants like say Citizenship?

                        Probably Ireland's most famous son who fought for the Union was General Thomas Francis Meagher who led the Irish Brigade during the early battles of the War. later he was appointed acting Governor of Montana but died in mysterious circumstances after falling overboard from a steamboat!

                        Meagher was also a well known Irish patriot who theBritish exiled to Tasmania in 1848 and from which he fled and made his way to the USA.
                        http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolfe Tone View Post
                          I think the reason the amount of Irishmen who fought for the Union was so much higher was that most of the Irish who fled the Famine and its aftermath landed in Canada, Boston and New York.

                          I,m not too sure about this but did service in the US Army decree any special status on immigrants like say Citizenship?
                          I have head that the Irish and others who came to America were offered immediatecitizenship if they joined the Union army but I cannot find that in print.

                          I did find this:


                          On July 3, 2002, President George W. Bush officially designated the period
                          beginning on September 11, 2001, as a “period of hostilities,” which triggered
                          immediate naturalization eligibility for active-duty U.S. military service members.
                          5

                          The justification offered for this order is the war against terrorism conducted through
                          Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle in response to the
                          September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. At the time of the designation, the Department
                          of Defense and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service announced that
                          6
                          Act of July 17, 1862, ch. 200, §21, 12 Stat. 594, 597.

                          7
                          For a discussion of the legislative history of the various military naturalization statutes, see
                          Darlene C. Goring,
                          In Service to America: Naturalization of Undocumented Alien Veterans,



                          they would work together to ensure that military naturalization applications would
                          be processed expeditiously.

                          Historical Background
                          Special naturalization provisions for aliens serving in the U.S. military date back
                          at least to the Civil War
                          6 and special enactments have been made during every major
                          conflict since that time, up to and including the Vietnam War. The specific
                          conditions for naturalization under the various statutes that were enacted before the
                          INA vary.
                          7 For example, the original Civil War statute affected only persons serving
                          in the armies of the United States and did not include the Navy or Marine Corps,
                          which were included in 1894.
                          8

                          Among other standards under various statutes, the Civil War statute required
                          residency of 1 year. Later statutes governing naturalization through service in the
                          Navy or Marine Corps required service of 5 consecutive years in the Navy (the length
                          of one tour of duty in the Navy at that time) or service for one tour of duty in the
                          Marine Corps. Subsequent statutes have similar requirements with variations in the
                          length of service required and the degree to which residency is waived.

                          http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL31884.pdf
                          "... and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."--Donne
                          Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. --Voltaire
                          It's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.--Voltaire

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dSierra View Post
                            I have head that the Irish and others who came to America were offered immediatecitizenship if they joined the Union army but I cannot find that in print.

                            I did find this:


                            On July 3, 2002, President George W. Bush officially designated the period
                            beginning on September 11, 2001, as a “period of hostilities,” which triggered
                            immediate naturalization eligibility for active-duty U.S. military service members.
                            5

                            The justification offered for this order is the war against terrorism conducted through
                            Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle in response to the
                            September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. At the time of the designation, the Department
                            of Defense and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service announced that
                            6
                            Act of July 17, 1862, ch. 200, §21, 12 Stat. 594, 597.

                            7
                            For a discussion of the legislative history of the various military naturalization statutes, see
                            Darlene C. Goring,
                            In Service to America: Naturalization of Undocumented Alien Veterans,



                            they would work together to ensure that military naturalization applications would
                            be processed expeditiously.

                            Historical Background
                            Special naturalization provisions for aliens serving in the U.S. military date back
                            at least to the Civil War
                            6 and special enactments have been made during every major
                            conflict since that time, up to and including the Vietnam War. The specific
                            conditions for naturalization under the various statutes that were enacted before the
                            INA vary.
                            7 For example, the original Civil War statute affected only persons serving
                            in the armies of the United States and did not include the Navy or Marine Corps,
                            which were included in 1894.
                            8

                            Among other standards under various statutes, the Civil War statute required
                            residency of 1 year. Later statutes governing naturalization through service in the
                            Navy or Marine Corps required service of 5 consecutive years in the Navy (the length
                            of one tour of duty in the Navy at that time) or service for one tour of duty in the
                            Marine Corps. Subsequent statutes have similar requirements with variations in the
                            length of service required and the degree to which residency is waived.

                            http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL31884.pdf
                            Good research.....at least that is a start.
                            The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hellboy30 View Post
                              Over 150,000 Irish fought for the Union-way more than fought for the South. http://www.28thmass.org/IrishWar/IrishWar.htm So I would say that most didn't feel that Federal Government was wrong. In fact, many of the Irish felt that the Southern Aristocracy were more like their British brethren than any of the Northern counterparts.

                              Hellboy,

                              I do believe, in fact I'm dang sure of it, that I said a lot, not most. Two different meanings. But a lot of Irish did fight for the south, otherwise there would not have been any Irish Regt.'s in the C.S.A. A regiment is made up of about 1000 men, or 10 companies of 100 men each. That's a lot of irishmen, but not most of them. And their reasons for fighting for the south, from what I've read, was the reason that I said.
                              Last edited by 35th Tennessee; 30 Jan 07, 16:43.
                              You must know where you come from in order to know where you are going. Learn from the past.

                              Comment

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