We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Green and the Gray

The Irish in the Confederate States of America

David T. Gleeson

Publication Year: 2013

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.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Civil War America

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.4 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (63.9 KB)
pp. vii-11

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (66.4 KB)
pp. xi-17

My first thanks must go to David Perry and Gary Gallagher, who encouraged me to do this project. Since I began, their support and patience have been key to its successful completion. Other folk at the University of North Carolina Press, especially Cait Bell-Butterfield, John K. Wilson, and Ron Maner, have put a lot of work...

read more

Introduction: The Fighting Irish

pdf iconDownload PDF (81.4 KB)
pp. 1-9

Irish participation in the Confederate experiment represents a complex and imperfectly understood element of the American Civil War. Much less numerous than their countrymen who took part in the Union war effort, Irish Confederates still present serious questions about what it meant to be Irish and American in the mid-nineteenth century. Those Irish who lived in the ...

read more

Chapter 1 Reluctant Secessionists: The Irish, Southern Politics, and the Birth of the Confederacy

pdf iconDownload PDF (245.6 KB)
pp. 10-40

The Irish, Southern Politics, and the Birth of the Confederacy Irish immigrants were active participants in the politics of southern cities. They generally supported the Democratic Party, attracted to its rhetoric of the common man as well as its pro-immigration platform. The relationship between the Irish and southern Democrats became even closer during out-...

read more

Chapter 2 Irish Rebels, Southern Rebels: The Irish Join the Confederate Army

pdf iconDownload PDF (285.9 KB)
pp. 41-72

The secession of southern states and the creation of the Confederate States of America compelled the Irish who wished to remain in those states to switch their allegiance to the new nation. Many also responded to calls to defend it, often forming their own ethnic units. About 20,000 Irishmen would serve in the Confederate armed forces. Rhetoric and images compar-...

read more

Chapter 3 Faugh a Ballagh! (Clear the Way!): The Irish in the Confederate Army

pdf iconDownload PDF (243.5 KB)
pp. 73-111

Fulfilling in part the stereotype of the “Fighting Irish,” Irish soldiers earned a reputation for bravery in the Confederate army as well as one for being difficult to manage. One of their commanders observed, for example, that with the “strong hand” of good officers, they could be great soldiers.1 Unfortunately for Confederate authorities, even “strong hands” could not stop Irish ...

read more

Chapter 4 Hard Times: The Irish on the Home Front

pdf iconDownload PDF (232.9 KB)
pp. 112-149

Support for Irish Confederate soldiers from home was vital both for encouraging them to stay in the army and to highlight to native white southerners that the entire Irish community was behind the Confederacy. Civilian leaders of the Irish in the South did embrace the Confederate national project and most became advocates of a “hard-war” policy. They accepted that state ...

read more

Chapter 5 For God, Erin, and Carolina: Irish Catholics in the Confederacy

pdf iconDownload PDF (230.9 KB)
pp. 150-186

Although Irish religious leaders of all denominations supported the Confederacy, it was Catholic clergy and sisters who natives saw as the leaders and role models of the Irish community. Thomas Smyth from Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, for example, was a prominent cleric and Irish immigrant, but it was his Catholic counterpart and fellow Irish immigrant ...

read more

Chapter 6 Another “Lost Cause”: The Irish after the Confederacy

pdf iconDownload PDF (387.6 KB)
pp. 187-220

In the commemoration of the Confederacy aft er the Civil War, the Irish in the South rediscovered a Confederate spirit they had lost during the conflict. Aft er the surrender of the major Confederate armies in April and May 1865, all, including the most patriotic of them, accepted defeat and a return to the United States. The decision made by prominent Confederates such ...

read more

Conclusion: Ambiguous Confederates

pdf iconDownload PDF (55.7 KB)
pp. 221-224

The Irish experience of the Confederacy was indeed an ambiguous one. They had been reluctant secessionists, yet rallied in large numbers to the Confederacy when war began. Those who joined the armed forces were, in general, good fighters, but also more likely to desert than native Confederates. Irish civilians supported their “boys” in the service, but most tired of ...

Appendix: Irish Surnames in Mobile, Alabama, Units

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.0 KB)
pp. 225-228


pdf iconDownload PDF (215.7 KB)
pp. 229-266

Selected Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (183.0 KB)
pp. 267-296


pdf iconDownload PDF (611.2 KB)
pp. 297-307

E-ISBN-13: 9781469612508
E-ISBN-10: 146961250X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469607566
Print-ISBN-10: 1469607565

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Civil War America
The Civil War America series interprets the field broadly to include biography, military and nonmilitary history, works that explore the immediate background of the conflict, and studies of postbellum topics related to the war. A few diaries, sets of letters, and memoirs that make exceptional contributions to our understanding of the era also will appear as volumes in the series.