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Spirit & Heritage In Song – “We Will Fight For Uncle Sam” – circa 1860

 

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We Will Fight For Uncle Sam

28th Massachusetts regimental color, presented by Gen. Thomas F. Meagher

A lively tribute in song to the Irish troops that fought on the side of the North to preserve the Union in the American Civil War.

The lyrics are written by an unknown poet set to the tune of “Whiskey in the Jar”. The song is common of music played in music halls of the period, particularly in the large populations of Irish in northern cities.

With long smoldering grievances from the old country, the song warns “John Bull” (England) to stay out of the American conflict, with the hope of returning to liberate Ireland from English oppression. And adulation is offered to George B. McClellan who led the Army of the Potomac in 1861-62.

The Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish

George Brinton McClellan

Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base of the Irish Brigade’s monument on the same battlefield. The reality of the Irish experience in the war was, as might be expected, more complex. The most politically active — and contentious — of the nation’s mid-19th-century immigrant groups, the Irish shared many of the experiences of the Northern soldier. Yet in some ways the Irish were different, not only from native-born soldiers, but from other immigrant groups as well.

Read more of the Irish involved in the Civil War at “America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the Union” HistoryNet.com

 

Explore more:

John Bull

The Irish Volunteers Welcome to The Irish Volunteers. This site has been created to provide historical information and items of interest about Irish soldiers of the American Civil War, circa, 1861-5.

Irish in the American Civil War
Exploring Irish involvment in the American Civil War
From Ireland – Although the Irish experience of the Civil War is a relatively popular topic in the United States, there remains little understanding in Ireland of either the event itself or how it impacted on the Irish in America or indeed the Irish in Ireland.

Irish-Americans in the Civil War
There is perhaps no other ethnic group so closely identified with the Civil War years and the immediate aftermath of the war as Irish Americans.

 
 
 
 
 
 

We Will Fight For Uncle Sam

Sung by the David Kincaid band.

 

 

See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music

 

Battle of Shiloh


Lyrics

I am a modern hairo: my name is Paddy Kearney;
Not long ago, I landed from the bogs of sweet Killarney;
I used to cry out: SOAP FAT! bekase that was my trade, sir,
Till I ‘listed for a Soger-boy wid Corcoran’s brigade, sir.

Chorus: For to fight for Uncle Sam;
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars.

Ora, once in regimentals, my mind it did bewildher.

Irish Brigade Monument at Gettysburg

I bid good-bye to Biddy dear, and all the darling childher;
Whoo! says I, the Irish Volunteers the divil a one afraid is,
Bekase we’ve got the soger bould, McClellan, for to lade us.
Chorus: For to fight for Uncle Sam;
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars.

We soon got into battle: we made a charge of bay’nets:
The Rebel blaggards soon gave way: they fell as thick as paynuts.
Och hone! the slaughter that we made, bedad, it was delighting!
For, the Irish lads in action are the divil’s boys for fighting.

Chorus: For to fight for Uncle Sam;
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars.

Och, sure, we never will give in, in any sort of manner,
Until the South comes back agin, beneath the Starry-Banner;
And if John Bull should interfere, he’d suffer for it truly;
For, soon the Irish Volunteers would give him Ballyhooly.

Irish Brigade Chaplins c. 1862

Chorus: For to fight for Uncle Sam;
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars.

And! now, before I ind my song, this free advice I’ll tender:
We soon will use the Rebels up and make them all surrender,
And, once again, the Stars and Stripes will to the breeze be swellin’,
If Uncle Abe will give us back our darling boy McClellan.

Chorus: Oh! we’ll follow Little Mac,
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
He’ll lade us on to glory, O!
To save the Stripes and Stars.

H. DE MARSAN, Publisher,
54 Chatham Street, New-York.

 

 

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