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Forgotten history: St Patrick's Battalion

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y ¡Que vivan Los San Patricios!

The little known story of the San Patricios Battalion: when the Irish fought for Mexico against the United States.

“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 [deserted the US army to fight] 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."

Music, Ry Cooper & The Chieftains and some of Mexico's best traditional artists collaborated for the album SAN PATRICIOS with Lila Downs, and Tigres del Norte, and others at

Artist: Sergio Hernandez (image on left)

#SanPatricios #Mexico

This incident is why the US military now has chaplains for every major religion. Up to that time, the only chaplains were Protestants. After attempting to entice the Irish to desert by offering them free land and citizenship, the Mexicans sent over a few Catholic priests, who told the Irish soldiers to stop fighting for the Protestant heretics, and come over to Mexico to join their fellow God-loving Catholic brothers. After the entire battalion deserted, the Army began hiring Catholic chaplains.

The St. Patricio Battalion also included Germans, Scots, French, Polish, and other nationalities, nearly all Catholics.
calicuz · 51-55, M
Wow, I never knew this either. I have a new respect for the Irish.
Mooed78 · 41-45, F
Wow. I never knew this. Very interesting..
FukFaceWillie · 51-55, M
I had no idea…thanks!

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