“Song of the Irish Brigade” is part of Spirit & Heritage In Song, a series highlighting Traditional American Music.
In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in the crush of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in music.
Irish Confederates “That Irish who fought for the Confederacy is not as well known as that Irish fought for the Union. Phillip T. Tucker tries to remedy this with great success. Although his Irish Confederates is short, it covers a lot of territory in providing an introduction into research of the Irish who fought for the Confederacy.
Irish Confederates were not as numerous as those who fought for the Union; an estimated 150,000 Irish served in the Union Army while only 30,000 served in the Confederate Army. Irish Catholics were not as persecuted in the South as in the North, mainly because they were so few in the South that they did not draw attention to themselves as those in the North could not help doing by their sheer numbers. As was the case with the Union Irish, the Confederate Irish were usually Roman Catholic, especially those from Louisiana and Missouri. Of course, they were not limited only to those few Southern states, and not all Irish Confederates were Roman Catholic; many were Protestants.”
Paintings: Don Troiani (Drive them to Washington/Altoona Pass/Little Round Top)
See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music
See below for more music videos of the Irish Brigade and Irish Confederates.
Oh, not now for songs of a nation’s wrongs,
not the groans of starving labor;
Let the rifle ring and the bullet sing
to the clash of the flashing sabre!
There are Irish ranks on the tented banks
of Columbia’s guarded ocean;
And an iron clank from flank to flank
tells of armed men in motion.
And frank souls there clear true and bare
To all, as the steel beside them,
Can love or hate withe the strength of Fate,
Till the grave of the valiant hide them.
Each seems to be mailed Ard Righ,
whose sword’s avenging glory
Must light the fight and smite for Right,
Like Brian’s in olden story!
With pale affright and panic flight
Shall dastard Yankees base and hollow,
Hear a Celtic race, from their battle place,
Charge to the shout of “Faugh-a-ballaugh!”
By the sould above, by the land we love
Her tears bleeding patience
The sledge is wrought that shall smash to naught
The brazen liar of nations.
The Irish green shall again be seen
as our Irish fathers bore it,
A burning wind from the South behind,
and the Yankee rout before it!
O’Neil’s red hand shall purge the land-
Rain a fire on men and cattle,
Till the Lincoln snakes in their own cold lakes
Plunge from the blaze of battle.
The knaves that rest on Columbia’s breast,
and the voice of true men stifle;
we’ll exorcise from the rescued prize-
Our talisman, the rifle;
For a tyrant’s life a bowie knife!-
Of Union knot dissolvers,
The best we ken are stalwart men,
Columbiads and revolvers!
Whoe’er shall march by triumphal arch
Whoe’er may swell the slaughter,
Our drums shall roll from the Capitol
O’er Potomac’s fateful water!
Rise, bleeding ghosts, to the Lord of Hosts
For judgement final and solemn;
Your fanatic horde to the edge of the sword
Is doomed line, square, and column!
Confederate Song about Irish Confederates fighting in Missouri. Music by David Kincaid.
A deleted scene featuring the “Song of the Rebel Irish”, from the film “Gods and Generals”.