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Sat Mar 18, 2023, 12:51 AM

The Soldiers of St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Day is very special in Mexico because it is a time when Mexicans remember the San Patricios, or the Battalion of St. Patrick. One of the least-known stories of the Irish who came to America in the 1840s is that of this Irish battalion that fought on the Mexican side in the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-1848. They came to Mexico and died, some gloriously in combat, others ignominiously on the gallows. United under a green banner, they participated in all the major battles of the war and were cited for bravery by General López de Santa Anna, Mexico’s commander-in-chief and president.

At the penultimate battle of the war, these Irishmen fought until their ammunition was exhausted and even then tore down the white flag that was raised by their Mexican comrades in arms, preferring to struggle on with bayonets until finally being overwhelmed. Despite their brave resistance, however, 85 of the Irish battalion were captured and sentenced to bizarre tortures and deaths at the hands of the Americans, resulting in what is considered even today as the “largest hanging affair in North America.”

In the spring of 1846, the United States was poised to invade Mexico, its neighbor to the south. The ostensible reason was to collect on past-due loans and indemnities. The real reason was to provide the United States with control of the ports of San Francisco and San Diego, the trade route through the New Mexico Territory, and the rich mineral resources of the Nevada Territory—all of which at that time belonged to the Republic of Mexico. The United States had previously offered $5 million to purchase the New Mexico Territory and $25 million for California, but Mexico had refused.

Before the declaration of war by the United States, a group of Irish Catholics headed by a crack artilleryman named John Riley deserted from the American forces and joined the Mexicans. Born in Clifden, County Galway, Riley was an expert on artillery, and it was widely believed that he had served in the British army as an officer or a non-com in Canada before enlisting in the American army. Riley’s turned this new unit into a crack artillery arm of the Mexican defense. He is credited with changing the name of the group from the Legion of Foreigners and designing their distinctive flag. Within a year, the ranks of Riley’s men would be swelled by Catholic foreign residents in Mexico City, and Irish and German Catholics who deserted once the war broke out, into a battalion known as Los San Patricios, or “Those of Saint Patrick.”

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https://www.latinorebels.com/2015/03/15/the-soldiers-of-st-patrick/


Banda de gaitas del Batallon de San Patricio MEXICO

Presentación de la Banda de gaitas del Batallon de San Patricio del 4 de Mayo 2008. Salida del Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones a la plaza del batallón de San Patricio.




St Patrick's Battalion - David Rovics (Cover) by Seth Staton Watkins



St. Patrick’s Battalion is the story of the Irishmen who fought and died for the Mexican army, after having defected from the imperialist forces of the United States. They were joined by other immigrants, German and Polish, and escaped slaves to fight for the sovereignty and freedom of the Mexican people. It is a story of true heroism in the face of great adversity. And these men deserve their immortal place in this song.

Sing along!

Lyrics:

My name is John Riley
I'll have your ear only a while
I left my dear home in Ireland
It was death, starvation or exile
And when I got to America
It was my duty to go
Enter the Army and slog across Texas
To join in the war against Mexico

It was there in the pueblos and hillsides
That I saw the mistake I had made
Part of a conquering army
With the morals of a bayonet blade
So in the midst of these poor, dying Catholics
Screaming children, the burning stench of it all
Myself and two hundred Irishmen
Decided to rise to the call

From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied
So we formed the Saint Patrick Battalion
And we fought on the Mexican side

We marched 'neath the green flag of Saint Patrick
Emblazoned with "Erin Go Bragh"
Bright with the harp and the shamrock
And "Libertad para Mexicana"
Just fifty years after Wolftone
Five thousand miles away
The Yanks called us a Legion of Strangers
And they can talk as they may

From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied
So we formed the Saint Patrick Battalion
And we fought on the Mexican side

We fought them in Matamoros
Where their volunteers were raping the nuns
In Monterey and Cerro Gordo
We fought on as Ireland's sons
We were the red-headed fighters for freedom
Amidst these brown-skinned women and men
Side by side we fought against tyranny
And I daresay we'd do it again

From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied
So we formed the Saint Patrick Battalion
And we fought on the Mexican side

We fought them in five major battles
Churubusco was the last
Overwhelmed by the cannons from Boston
We fell after each mortar blast
Most of us died on that hillside
In the service of the Mexican state
So far from our occupied homeland
We were heroes and victims of fate

From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied
So we formed the Saint Patrick Battalion
And we fought on the Mexican side

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Battalion



From CA 148 News on Daily Kos: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/3/17/2158790/-When-Rapists-and-Murders-Crossed-the-Southern-Border

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Reply The Soldiers of St. Patrick (Original post)
old as dirt Saturday OP
Deuxcents Saturday #1
old as dirt Saturday #3
Lifeafter70 Saturday #2
pecosbob Saturday #4

Response to old as dirt (Original post)

Sat Mar 18, 2023, 01:05 AM

1. I have never heard of this. I can always count on Friends at the DU to learn something new. Ty

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Response to Deuxcents (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 18, 2023, 02:40 AM

3. It's not me. I just saw it on DKos. (nt)

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Response to old as dirt (Original post)

Sat Mar 18, 2023, 01:28 AM

2. A coworker and I were just discussing this tonight

Her family is from Mexico. Her mom had DNA done and was surprised to have a wee bit of Irish decent. There is so much of our history that is never taught because it doesn't fit their narrative.

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Response to old as dirt (Original post)

Sat Mar 18, 2023, 06:39 AM

4. We learned about this in school ages ago when I grew up in Texas

I doubt they even mention it these days.

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