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Irish in the Confederate States Army

Irish units in the Confederate Army consisted almost exclusively of native-born Protestants of Northern Irish descent. The ancestors of these soldiers who were largely Scots-Irish Presbyterians and Anglo-Irish Episcopalians had fought with George Washington during the American War of Independence. To many of them the war between the Union and Confederacy was a defence of the principles that their forefathers had fought for nearly one hundred years previously; the sovereign right of individual states to self determination. The increase of immigrants during the mid 1800's to North America also found a small number of Catholic Irish communities. They too fought for the CSA against an oppressive country trying to force its will on its neighbours. A sentiment to which many could relate.

The following list of units and individuals should not be considered a definitive list, but merely representative of those Irish units within the Confederate Army.

Major-General James Ewell Brown Stuart

The great, great grandson of Londonderry man Archibald Stuart who emigrated to Pennsylvania 1726. He commanded the cavalry of the Army of Norther Virginia. He was described by Robert e Lee as the 'eyes of the Confederate Army'. A fellow Confederate officer said of Stuart ".... a remarkable mixture of a green, boyish, underdeveloped man, and a shred man of business and a strong leader. To hear him talk no one would think that he could ever be anything more than a dashing leader of a very small command, with no dignity, and much boastful vanity. But with all he was a shrewd, gallant commander." He was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, near Richmond.

Brigadier-General John Adams

Born of Irish parents on 1st July 1825, in NAshville Tennessee. Fought in the Vicksburg and Atlanta campaigns. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Franklin. Refusing to leave the field he was riddled with bullets while leading the Confederate vanguard against Union breastworks.

Brigadier-General Jubal A Early

Of Irish descent he served the Confederacy throughout the war.

Brigadier-General John McCausland

Born in St Louis of Irish parentage, he was present with a cadet detachment at the execution of John Brown. He raised the 36th Virginia Infantry in 1861 and was commissioned its Colonel. After his promotion to Brig-Gen, he was conspicuous for his operations in the Shenandoah Valley.

Major-General Patrick R Cleburne

Born on Saint Patrick's Day, 1828 at Bridge Park Cottage, River Bride, 10 miles west of the city of Cork, Ireland. He was considered perhaps the best divisional commander in the Army of Tennessee. He had previously served for 3 years in the 41st regiment of Foot in the British Army before buying his discharge and emigrating to North America. He was the highest ranking native born Confederate Officer of the Civil War. He was considered the greatest CSA general in the West. His legacy must be his proposal to enlist slaves in the Confederate Army. His life was cut short by his untimely death at the Battle of Franklin.

Brigadier-General Patrick Theodore Moore

Born in Galway, 22nd September 1821. He was a captain of Militia prior to the war. While commanding the 1st Virginia Infantry at First Bull Run he received a head wound which precluded further front line service. At the close of the war he was commanding a Brigade of the local Richmond defence forces.

Lieutenant John Kearney

Irish born, in Wade's Missouri Battery. He was severely wounded and subsequently died from an explosion in the battery 31 March 1862 aged 33 years.

Lieutenant James L Capston

Born in Ireland, he was to return to the land of his birth as the first secret agent sent by the CSA to Ireland.

Father John B Bannon

Born in Roosky, Ireland, 29th December 1829 he served the Irish community around St Louis in his capacity as a member of the priesthood. With the outbreak of war he became the self appointed chaplain of the 1st Missouri Brigade, a position which was formalised later in the war. Known as 'The Confederacy's fighting chaplin' he manned artillery pieces during the siege of Vicksburg. Later in the war he acted as a secret agent to Ireland to thwart Union recruitment. He also represented the CSA to the Pope in an effort to gain international recognition for the Confederacy.

Major-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson

His ancestors were of Ulster-Scots descent. It is normally assumed that the family were from County Londonderry, however now it is considered possible that the family were from the Ards peninsula and the Londonderry family estates. He earned his nickname 'Stonewall' after commanding a brigade at First Bull Run. His Presbyterian convictions were always evident on the battlefield, calling his men to pray before a battle. After being wounded by his own men he had his left arm amputated, dying of pneumonia on 10th May 1863. He was much loved by those who served under him and his death was a great loss to the Confederacy.

Irish Volunteers (Louisiana Irish Regiment - Militia)

Formed Camp Moore, 1861

Montgomery Guards

Stephen's Guards

6th Louisiana Regiment

Co 'F' - Irish Brigade Co 'B' (Orleans)

Co 'I' - Irish Brigade Co 'A' (Orleans)

Irish Volunteers (7th Louisiana Infantry Regiment)

Formed 5th June 1861 at Camp Moore

Co 'F' Irish Volunteers (Assumption)

1st Louisiana Special Battalion

Formed 6th June 1861 at Camp Moore

Wheat's Tigers

1st Virginia

Montgomery Guards - Company 'C'

Williams Rifles

7th Alabama

Company 'K' - Florence Guards

Company 'K', "Irish Volunteers for the War" - 1st South Carolina Volunteers (Greggs)

Raised in Charleston, June 1861. Originally intended for inclusion in an 'Irish Battalion' consisting of three companies. Their flag was white and green silk, with a silver fringe, and eleven silver stars on each side. In the middle on one side was a Cross with an Irish harp encircled by a wreath of oak leaves, palmetto and shamrock combined. Over the Cross is the inscription "In hoc signo Vinces". On the reverse was a painting of a palmetto tree with the rattlesnake coiled around its trunk. Around the palmetto was a wreath of oak leaves, palmetto and shamrock. Underneath is the inscription "Liberty or Death".

South Carolina Volunteers

Montgomery Guards - Connor's Company

10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment of Volunteers (Irish)

Known as the "Bloody Tinth", it was one of only two Irish CAtholic regiment sin the Confederate Army, although their elected officers were mostly Ulster-Scots Protestants. They built Forts Henry and Donelson and then were captured and held in Camp Douglas Prison. Reconstituted, the 10th were deployed as sharpshooters through the tough campaigns at Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Atlanta. The Regimental flag originally belonged to Company 'D' of the Tennessee Home Guards (State Militia). I t was outlined in Kelly Green on a light green background. A gold harp, maroon trim with white lettering; above the harp, "Sons of Erin"; below the harp "Where glory await you".

Missouri Volunteer Militia Companies - pre Fort Sumter


Washington Blues

Montgomery Guards

Temperance (Kelleys)

1st Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Militia

Company 'A' - Irish from New Orleans & Louisiana

Company 'B', 'D', 'E', & 'F' - Irish from St Louis

Captain William Wade's Missouri Light Artillery

Various members of 3rd Missouri Regiment


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