‘Erin Go Bragh’ – Ireland Forever

CSA General Patrick Cleburne leading the charge at Franklin, Tenn. – painting detail by Don Troiani

Happy  Saint  Patrick’s  Day  from  Dixie!

… featuring Calvin Johnson and the Sons of Confederate Veterans


         … by  Jim W. Dean, VT Editor

The perrenial Irish protest flag

Saint Patrick’s Day has long been a big Confederate event in honor of all the Irish who fought for the South.

Although Irish fought on both sides, those for the South saw the issue of Yankee commercial dominance, their wanting to establish a permanent under class by force of arms.

The South was, post Civil War, treated like an internal colony to the detriment of black and white alike, where those on the bottom of the ladder were pitted against each other.

The high export duties imposed before before the war, 46%, were not only continued afterward but never fully removed until WWII, a little nasty item of American history which we don’t teach our children in the government schools.

Many of the established Irish who fought for the North bought into the propaganda of saving the Union. But many Irish were brought in as part of the huge European mercenary recruiting program.

The high bounties of $1000 to $1500 were a fortune at the time. Roughly 350,000 immigrants passed into the Yankee army, similar to the number of Confederate soldiers killed during the whole war.

The main hustle used to get them into the army was to grab them off the immigrant boats and sign them up for an immediate job with cash in hand on the spot.  They were then delivered to the recruiters, quickly signed up, got their second $25, and the rest of the bounty stolen by the scammers with the new American on his way to the front.

The scale of the immigrants being shanghied for bounties was so large during the last year of the war that these ‘inductees’ were literally treated as prisoners. They were constantly under guard while being transferred to the front as replacement cannon fodder for the continuing mass assualts against Confederate fortifications.

Bruce Catton – Pulitzer Prize for Stillness at Appomatox

Historian Bruce Catton described some of their last ditch desperate attempts to escape before reaching the front lines.  Those being transported by river boat would jump ship at night and swim for the shore with the guards shooting them in the water, ending their short romance with American freedom and opportunity.

But both Irish sides are honored after all of these years for the struggle and horrors they endured. Those that survived, the best of them, honor the pledge of remembering their less fortunates despite the conflicting reasons why they fought. And the Irish are at the top of the list for their alternating tragedies and successes here.

In the early years they were beneath the black slaves, and frequently used for dangerous work, like ship loading and mine work, where accidents were frequent and a seriously injured Irishman was simply dispatched with his day’s pay to cover his medical bills.

Similarly, when a ten year old Irish girl who had had her scalp torn off at a knitting mill accident got the same treatment…a full day’s pay. One of the jokes of the day when slaves would complain about working was, ”Oh boss, you want us to work like Irishmen.”

When Frederick Douglas visited Ireland he wrote in his archives of the shock of seeing the desperate poverty which the Irish lived in at the time, and the irony of while England was technically anti-slavery, the Irish were clearly treated worse that black slaves in American. This is another one of those little historical gems which is censored out of American history. Most of the good is until you get to post graduate level.

When the Confederates marched in the huge Saint Partick’s Day Parade in  Savannah, the 189th this year, the route always took them through the black neighborhoods. As the crowd loved the volley firing the parade would be stopped on numerous occasions to perform these. And there was another delay which never made it into the national news.

The local black folks would then swarm the Confederates to quickly shoot as many group photos as they could before the parade march continued.  Mass media felt that these images of happy smiling black families with their arms around Confederate descendants would be ‘confusing’ to the nation’s public.  They protected them from enduring that pain by never publishing any photos, despite their being the classic human interest story of reconciliation.

Prof. Henry Louis GatesI related  this story to Prof. Henry Louis Gates at the SCV Convention once in Concord, NC, when we were shooting a segement for the PBS special,  Looking for Lincoln. If you click on the link, scroll down to the chapter Lincoln and the beginning of the Civil War. The SCV part starts at about half way through with yours truly in a few shots.

He shocked me by sharing that he had discussed the endless anti-Southern bashing by media and left wing elites with Prof. ______, who commented that ‘What they have done is niggarized the South’.

I rarely get shocked by anything anymore, but I must admit I almost fell off my chair.

Mr. Gates got his shock that day, also. He watched a large descendant family of a black Confederate receive a special honor at the convention. His story was told by the head of the North Carolina Archives, a black man, also, who had dug up the story details and those of many others.

When the ceremony was over I watched Skip rush over to to the archivist and the first question he asked was, “How many were there?” And the answer came back instantly, “Thousands!”

Brother Gates learned that he, also…the Harvard professor…had been lied to. We all share experiencing this peculiar part of life, but what separates us is what we do about it.


And for a quick intermission before Calvin’s column, what else but an Irish flash mob in Sydney.

[youtube 7auErQnU6fU] – Irish Flash mob in Sydney


Happy  Saint  Patrick’s  Day  from  Dixie!


CSA General Patrick Cleburne leading the charge at Franklin – painting detail, by Don Troiani

… featuring Calvin Johnson and the Sons of Confederate Veterans

 “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by  Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision…

It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all that our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”Gen. Patrick Cleburne  C.S.A. Jan 2, 1864


General Patrick Cleburne – KIA, Franklin, Tenn.

The 150th Anniversary—War Between the States Sesquicentennial continues with events including the soon-to-reopen Jefferson Davis Presidential Library at Beauvoir on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Jefferson Davis President of the Confederacy was of Welsh and his Mother Jane Cook of Scot-Irish descent.

A lot has been written about the 150,000 Irishmen who fought for the Union during the War Between the States, but do you know about the 30,000 equally brave Irishmen who fought for the Confederacy? It is written that by population a comparable number of Irishmen fought for the Confederacy as did those who supported the Union.

The 8th Alabama Irish Brigade made their mark in history fighting for the Confederacy and is remembered for their Erin Go Braugh! flag with a field of green with Faugh A Ballagh on bottom that is Irish for “clear the way.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 is Saint Patrick’s Day and it’s also the 185th birthday of Patrick Ronayne Cleburne.

Among the Union Armies fighting Irish was the 69th New York but….

Did you know the Confederacy’s units included the 10th Louisiana and the 10th Tennessee Infantry which was formed at Fort Henry in 1861 and defended Fort Donelson before becoming part of the Army of Tennessee?

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was born on March 17, 1828, in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland. He was an Anglo-Irish soldier who served in the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army. He is, however, best known for his service to the Confederates States of America.

One of the most loved Confederate Generals

He was only eighteen months old when his Mother died and a young fifteen when his Father passed away. He tried to follow in his Father’s footsteps, Dr. Joseph Cleburne, in the field of medicine but failed his entrance exam to Trinity College of Medicine in 1848.

He immigrated to America three years later with two brothers and a sister and made his home in Helena, Arkansas.

In 1860 Cleburne became a naturalized citizen, was a lawyer and was popular with the residents.

He sided with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the War Between the States and progressed from the rank of private of the local militia to major general.

Cleburne, like many Southerners, did not support the institution of slavery but chose to serve his adopted country out of love for the Southern people and their quest for independence and freedom. In 1864, he advocated the emancipation of Black men to serve in the Confederate Armed Forces.

Cleburne participated in the Battles of Shiloh, Richmond, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap and Franklin. He was killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864.

General Cleburne took a shot in the abdomen, shown here

General Patrick R. Cleburne said before his death:

“If this cause, that is dear to my heart, is doomed to fail, I pray heaven may let me fall with it, while my face is toward the enemy and my arm battling for that which I know is right.”

Cleburne was engaged to Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama.

On March 17, 1979, Cleburne’s birthday, I proudly organized the Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne Camp 1361 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Jonesboro, Georgia, which is still active.

Gen. Cleburne is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.

A good book “A Meteor Shining Brightly” Essays on Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne”—edited by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn, is a good source of information about Cleburne.

Don’t forget that April is Confederate History and Heritage Month.

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson, Chairman of the National and Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate History Month Committee—-Scv.org lives near the historic town of Kennesaw and he’s a member of the Chattahoochee Guards Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is the author of the book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country.” Calvin can be reached at: [email protected]


The South died at Franklin. By late afternoon four of our best generals were laid out on the front porch of the Carnton House. Yes, they went in with the charge with their men. 

The Federals knew the Confederates were going to attack so they moved their artillery right up into the front lines to load with double canister. Confederate division cmdrs protested that moving laterally across the field to their departure point of attack, that they would be visible and under fire the whole way. Joe Johnson simply told them they had their orders. Some lost 25% of their men just moving into position.

Where the Confederates reached the federal lines, despite the wideness of their front line trenches, they were filled to the top with bodies of both sides, the dead and the not quite dead, suffocating underneath. Both attacking and retreating troops walked on bodies where there was no ground to step on.

It was a huge waste of irreplaceable combat veterans who could have make Grant’s march on Atlanta a much tougher one. But such is the harsh arithmetic of war. Many southerners regret that Joe Johnson had not led the charge himself.

Atlanta had been so covered in blood and mini balls that during WWII ‘lead drives’ were held where people were asked to sift their gardens for all the mini-balls that were thick in the soil, where they were left in buckets by the road for pick up, tons upon tons. Southern ladies had earlier contributed in a different way during the invasion, by collecting their urine in barrels which was then evaporated and used to supply the gunpowder factories… Jim Dean

Editing: Jim W. Dean



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Jim W. Dean was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022.  He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.