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Irish War Flags

  • American Civil War
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

The American Civil War was characterized by the tragic symbolism of family fighting family (brother against brother, as it were). None was more emphasized than the divide the different “Naturalized Americans” who came to The United States developed. Coming to America to try and make a better life for themselves, they were caught up in the sectional divide of The War. Perhaps The Irish-American felt more of the weight of War than others. Many Irish settled in The North and South prior to the War. Coming from a Country with a deeply divided history, they (more than anyone) – could understand the cause they fought for (regardless of Northern or Southern loyalties). At the start of The War, thousands flocked to join both Armies.

 

Most adopted their own Regimental Colors reflective of their heritage. The vast majority of Irish War Flags were Emerald Green and featured the Irish Harp insignia (somewhere on the flag). Featuring “patriotic phrases” (often in the Gaelic language), these flags were carried throughout the conflict. One of the more famous of Irish Units was The Irish Brigade. A Union Army Brigade of almost entirely Irish conscripts and volunteers, they would serve through the War with great distinction. A tragic story, involved the “meeting” of the Confederate 10th Georgia Infantry (Irish) and the 4th Regiment of The Union Irish Brigade at The Battle of Fredricksburg (Maryland), in 1862. The 10th (along with other Rebel Units), held a strong defensive position along Mayre's Heights. Reinforced by sturdy stone walls, The Rebel Units poured volley after volley of rifle shot into the advancing Union Forces. Ordered to “take The Heights at all costs”, thousands upon thousands of Union dead fell and piled up on the field in front of the heights.

 

By mid-day, any Unit “called up” knew it would be an instant death sentence. Enter the men of The 4th Regiment. Volunteering to make a charge for The Wall, they defiantly displayed their “Irish War Flag”. During the charge, the men of the Rebel 10th saw that they were about to engage their fellow “Countrymen”, they had no choice but to fire. Cheering their foes as they fell, the incident is a classic example of the “human paradox” with regards to The War.