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The Dreadful Engagement – Civil War

The Irish Brigade Monument at Gettysburg WGT Photo / Gerry Regan

The lyrics of The Dreadful Engagement are a soulful retelling of the experience of Irish immigrants to America swept up in the ideals, passions and carnage of the Civil War fighting for both North and South. Few accounts depict with such emotion and ethnic-poetry the toll of the tragic War Between the States.

The words of The Dreadful Engagement specifically describe the Irish Confederate experience during the Union Capture of New Orleans, Louisiana.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Dreadful Engagement
American Civil War Song. Music by David Kincaid.

 
Lyrics
You Irishmen and women too, draw near, both young and old
A dolefull lamentation now to you I will unfold
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

One hundred gallant Irishmen, we are left for to deplore
Whose bodies fell victim upon fair Columbia’s shore
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

It was at the siege of New Orleans, upon the ninth of May
Our Countrymen they suffered so upon that fatal day
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

They were engaged by five to one when charged on with the steel
But Erin’s sons did loudly cry we’ll die before we kneel
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

They were repulsed they could not stand exertion proved in vain
They strove to break the enemy’s force, and drive them from the plain
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

But alas their number it was too small and it gave them no fair play
Not one of them did near escape upon that fatal day
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

To see the streets that evening each heart would rend with pain
The human blood in rivers ran that can it flood a stream
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

Men’s heads blown off their bodies most dismal for to see
And wounded men did loudly cry with pain and agony
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

The federals they did then advanced and broken through the town
They trampled dead and wounded men that lay upon the ground
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

The wounded called for mercy but none they did receive
They numbered them among the dead and threw them in the grave
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

Three hundred killed and wounded that lay in their grave
One half of them were irish men far from their native shore
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

Poor orphans now they may weep and cry and parents through the day
They let their lovely children go on to Americay
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

For ye that hear those doleful lines do not neglect to toil
An they everfore enlighten good On St Patricks Isle
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

And a drink upon our countrymen who left their native shore
Their friends may mourn for their loss they’ll never seem them more
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

Now to conclude with these few lines, with grief I’ll say no more
You know it was through poverty they left their native shore
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

They had no one to heal their wounds may angels them surround
Before the throne of heaven may they wear a brilliant crown
With me too-rai-ah, m’faddle-deedle-da, too-rai-ar-rai-faddle-eedle-da­, too-nai-doh

 

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