Friday, May 13, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- Irish Support for the Confederacy

Patrick Cleburne was among the many
Irish immigrants in the South who
supported the Southern Confederacy.
(Library of Congress)

The Richmond Daily Dispatch

May 13, 1861
To the Irishmen of Virginia.

The following comes from adopted citizens of Charleston, and is well endorsed:

Fellow-Countrymen:--Being impressed with the first and great daty which we owe to the land of our adoption in these its present difficulties, we are carrying out measures for organizing a Confederate Irish Regiment, for the service of the Southern States. This, we must admit, is expected from us. Let us take up the cause of an honorable, just and upright people. They never interfered with our religious institutions, a subject which our friends of Massachusetts must have forgotten very soon; or is it possible that the burning of the Charlestown Convent did not make an impression, and open their eyes to the true character of their high-toned Puritanic leaders? Although Know-Nothingism crept into a few sections of the Southern States from the hot-beds of the North, it was crushed in its embryo by our noble and chivalric people, who are too exalted to lend themselves to the encouragement of any doctrine that would have such direful effects on the prospects of their adopted fellow-citizens.
No man was ever persecuted in the South on account of his religious belief. And do our countrymen at the North forget how eager their neighbors were in publishing and circulating books detailing disgusting lies about escaped nuns, for the purpose of arousing the feelings of the Protestant sects against the Catholics? We appeal to you for your decision in favor of the Southern cause, and also for the justification of the position we are about assuming in standing manfully by it. Strange scenes are being developed every day. There is one of the exiled sons of Ireland — who was received all through the Southern States (as only a noble and generous people knows how)--making preparations to march alongside of John Bull, heart and hand, to subjugate the very people who conferred on him the greatest encomiums, and had his name enrolled as an honorary member of their societies, and denominated military companies in respect to him. But is this to continue?--No. Never again shall the name of Thomas Francis Meagher be united with any of our Southern institutions. We say, let them come, and learn that the foreigners of the Southern States have hearts as true as their steel in maintaining the rights and independence of the South.
We therefore submit to you a plan for organizing our regiment. There are a great many of our countrymen already enlisted in the service of the Southern Confederacy, and hence our inability to raise a regiment immediately here. We have appealed to Georgia. The prospects are promising, and it naturally struck us that our countrymen in Virginia would be anxious to participate in the movement. If so, we will appoint a place of rendezvous as soon as the undertaking is sufficiently matured.

For farther information, address.
Many Irishmen,

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