Did you cozy up to the bar at Carlos O’Brien’s for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, share a great tale of the fighting Irish in Mexico.
The “San Patricios” battalion was a group of mostly Catholic Irish men led by Captain John Riley of County Galway that deserted their U.S. troops to fight along side the Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.
When the U.S. Soldiers looted and burned Catholic churches, many Irish-American soldiers fed up with mistreatment from their Anglo-Protestant officers, couldn’t resolve themselves to the fact they were fighting against another Catholic country and jumped to the other side.
While held prisoner in Mexico City, Riley wrote to a friend: “Be not deceived by a nation that is at war with Mexico, for a friendlier and more hospitable people than the Mexicans there exists not on the face of the earth.”
Learn more about Los San Patricios!
- The History Guy: Saint Patrick Battalian (video)
- Saint Patrick’s Battalion (Irish song)
- Irish Central: Saint Patrick’s Battalion: What caused them to turn on the U.S. and fight for Mexico? (article)