What’s With the Irish Brigade? (Obligatory St. Patrick’s Day Post)

Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 9.26.16 AMSince today is St. Patrick’s Day,  I thought that I would simply make a few observations and pose some questions – or rather, one big question: What’s with the Irish Brigade?

The thing is this. In terms of  Civil War imagery appearing here and there in popular culture and visitor center gift shops, the Irish Brigade seems to get more than its fair share of face time.

Now I am not in any way denying that these guys deserve accolades – they did…and still do. But I am interested in why people today find them so compelling among the many units of distinction.

Points of possible discussion include, but are certainly not limited to:

1) the fantastically maudlin scene in the film Gods and Generals, where the Irish Brigade face their Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 9.26.35 AMIrish Confederate counterparts at Fredericksburg. You remember….they burst in to tears as they blaze away at each other – oy.

2) the imbalance favoring the Irish Brigade in the broader collection of popular Civil War artwork. Having a look at paintings by Dan Nance and Don Troiani would be a good place to start. And as a side note – I have always wondered why these paintings show the regimental and national colors flapping furiously in the wind…while none of the soldiers’ hats are flying off.

Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 9.26.50 AMThe truth of the matter….I have more questions than answers. I suppose that is what keeps this blog going.

Fág an bealach!!

Keith

 

One thought on “What’s With the Irish Brigade? (Obligatory St. Patrick’s Day Post)”

  1. Dear Kieth;
    I have researched the Irish Brigade for 30 years. If you
    Google Irish Brigade Robert McLernon, you will find some
    of the things I have online. dmna has a file I put together
    called Irish Brigade …It Rushed into the Fight With its Well-known Gallantry…” It explains ‘What’s With The Irish Brigade.’

    I don’t think it is an imbalance, so much as it is a lack of things
    about, say, the Vermont Brigade, and other brave units. This
    is true for a lot of units. You have heard a lot about the 20th Maine at Little Round Top, not much about the other units that were there. 54th Masachusetts, little about the USCT.

    Sincerely;

    Robert McLernon

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