Memorial Day 2021
The Irish Brigade in action in Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 1862
This Memorial Day, Friends of Sinn Fein remembers the legions of Irish-Americans who served in the US Civil War (1861-1865). Seven Union generals were Irish-born and an estimated 150,000 Irish-Americans fought for the Union during the war, the 69th New York Volunteers being the most famous. The 69th saw action at some of the most epic clashes of the war including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.
It is estimated that about 20,000 Irish born men fought for the Confederate States including six generals. What side these men fought for depended largely on where their emigrant boats landed. Most immigrants fleeing the famine in Ireland landed in Northern American cities like Boston and New York so they naturally volunteered for the Union. Fewer came ashore in the Southern States which explained the smaller number of Confederates.
It is no stretch to say, and something that Lincoln himself suggested that the 150,000 Irish born Americans who fought bravely for the Union Army turned the tide of the war, ended slavery and saved the United States by defeating the Confederacy.
America and those that enjoy her freedoms today are forever in their debt.