Irish Confederates

Dixie

Here’s a heads up on a new book that might interest OD readers, David T. Gleeson’s The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America:

“Why did many Irish Americans, who did not have a direct connection to slavery, choose to fight for the Confederacy? This perplexing question is at the heart of David T. Gleeson’s sweeping analysis of the Irish in the Confederate States of America. Taking a broad view of the subject, Gleeson considers the role of Irish southerners in the debates over secession and the formation of the Confederacy, their experiences as soldiers, the effects of Confederate defeat for them and their emerging ethnic identity, and their role in the rise of Lost Cause ideology.

Focusing on the experience of Irish southerners in the years leading up to and following the Civil War, as well as on the Irish in the Confederate army and on the southern home front, Gleeson argues that the conflict and its aftermath were crucial to the integration of Irish Americans into the South. Throughout the book, Gleeson draws comparisons to the Irish on the Union side and to southern natives, expanding his analysis to engage the growing literature on Irish and American identity in the nineteenth-century United States. …”

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24 Comments

  1. Gleeson is honest when he says in the book’s introduction “95% of the Irish lived in the North in 1860…”

  2. Well… Bob Whitaker’s “Why is this information being produced NOW” might be the most interesting question. The “New South” is certainly italian, irish, and central euro catholic with plenty of (the most important job) LEAF BLOWERS from south america, to service the new “elites.”

    Is the North going to be the “New North,” ie the “New (real) South?”

    It’s difficult, I think, for old English-German-Scots to leave the south, but the new south is nothing like the old south at all, on a cultural level

    Why produce this information now?

  3. Irish, German, pacifist Quakers, whatever… Look at the actual election margins for Abraham Lincoln in both the 1860 (four way election) and the 1864 election where he was on the road to losing to McClellan (and this was just in the Union states of course!) until Sherman took Atlanta.

    Lincoln never came close to winning the popular vote in the entire country. And his administration was an outright and unabashed military dictatorship.

  4. Maybe the southern Irish fought for the good guys because they saw the way their northern brethren were being enslaved for all intents and purposes by the same industrialists who were provoking a war to “end slavery.”

    Or maybe it’s simpler than that — Irish southerns fought for Dixie because they were in Dixie.

  5. @Westie That’s why the Irish Catholics elect the Kennedy, the Kerry, the Biden, the Leahy, the Casey, etc. etc.

  6. @Dixiegirl That’s a generous 5%. #LOL.

    I understand that this is agitprop, much like the Carroll who signed the US Constitution, who may have been Catholic, but, more likely had some Catholic relatives. One out of a hundred.

  7. The vast majority of Irish Catholic combatants were Union.

    There’s no way to get around that reality with Annecdotes. Clearly the book is aimed aimed demonizing yet another subset of whites who have maintained some semblance of ethnic cohesion. The Anglo-French slavers were bad, the Germans are Nazi, the Irish are etc etc…

    If the Union cause is American orthodoxy any group associated with them is being anathematized.

  8. You have a point, John. Lately, it’s sort of like the irish have overstepped their usefulness or something. You still see them in government, like biden, ryan as candidate and so on, in the media, the lady gaga-madonna, tarantinos, etc. But there’s a sense that hearing about the ira and so on is not so trendy now. Everything pushes the spanish stuff. Kids now think they should learn it (just like the past 2 generations, they are taught, that is what the big money wants, and if they are ambitious, they should take up spanish culture, the language and eat lots of tacos or something, watch antonio banderas movies, whatever)

  9. Most of the Irish were newly-arrived or just arriving on this continent when the WBTS was happening and I think John is correct that the majority of Irish immigrants fought for the Union side. Immigrants (German and Irish mostly) may in fact have helped the North win the war, as they provided a lot of needed reinforcements which may have turned the tide. The South had far fewer immigrants in their ranks.
    Scots-Irish are not Irish in our sense of the word but were Scots and border English who were settled in Ulster.

  10. I’m pretty sure most of my ancestors, who were in Kentucky and Missouri at the time, either fought for or supported the North during the Civil War. Then sometime during reconstruction they all became fervent supporters of Jim Crow, segregation and the Klan. It’s perplexng.

  11. Irish, the way you usually hear it, means the irish-catholic-immigrant population, tied to the latin populations, rome.

    Scotch-irish is the protestants (or ulster-scots) who made up half the american revolutionary army, intermarried with english and germans.

    DixieGirl, as previously reported, also had Union men in her extended family tree, (not 100% confederate). Most people I’ve met with any confederate ancestry had people on both sides—- largely due to their longevity in the country. But they were early frontier people, as wound up in Kentucky, etc, as mentioned above.

    The “immigrants” (of the time) fighting for the north were concentrated in the northeast cities (where they landed when they arrived), as they were never ‘frontier’ people. (Unless you count things like the casinos of nevada as a “frontier,” lol). The “base” of the current new yak, new joisey, chicago, pittsburgh, those places.

    that was my understanding, born out in books I read also.

  12. NYC -then predominantly Irish-was a stronghold of pro-Confederate sentiment. And recall the New York Draft Riots.

  13. “oh yeah, right, lol”

    Don’t be willfully pig-ingnorant Dixie. Copperheads and Butternuts abounded in the North so much so that Lincoln had to shut down newspapers and arrest hundreds of editors not to mention pro-seccesion members of the Maryland state legislature.

    Lincoln only won New York State in 1864 by 50.5% to 49.5%. and he was overwhelmingly defeated in New York City. He never even came close to winning the national popular vote in either of his elections.

  14. perhaps, but re-vising things in the direction of all those great northerners being against the war—- does sometimes seem just like another aspect of the reconquista in the american south. Now that all the northerners are flooding the south (and using positions in government, supreme court, etc, to keep open the south border, often for their co-religionists, pretty obviously)—- it’s NOW coming out they were really against the war all along and so the southerners (who lived where they are 300 years) should be really NICE to them.

    That’s what i thought the point of the whole thing was. (Clearing the way for northwest euro protestants who’ve been in the country 300 years to BE REALLY NICE to the true southerners (those gallant pro-south people who really lived in the NORTH all along—who knew?)

    up is down, freedom is slavery… northerners are the real southerners. and so on

  15. On that line: A ‘new south’ friend, with tons of “displaced family,” who were in the country since 1600s but now are not able to live around extended family due to work, and some of whom are trying to keep a “home base” in their ancestral homes, but traveling for work (which of course leaves their homes unprotected, and all those problems… etc, etc, etc)

    —-Told about a yankee person’s kid, who had moved in on the road, came over (to be neighborly) and patted his little belly and talked about how he saw himself living in such a great area for many years to come!

    Well… the guy had hoped HIS FAMILY could live in their home, too.

    And, of course, no one wants to be mean to little kids, so he didn’t say that. And yes, it’s better than detroit or one of those places where the kid had come from probably.

    But his mama and daddy clearly hadn’t taught the tyke anything. They were just steam-rollering through, eating whatever the strip malls had.

    Day of the Locusts.

  16. “Ok, so now I will give it a rest. Admittedly, I can be nasty… oh, the guilt!”

    Abolitionism and the Civil War were brought upon the American people by a relatively small cabal of nascent industrialists and New England Puritans. As for Northerners moving South: I wouldn’t recommend it. The fetid climate there is only suitable for niggers.

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