Next time you are cozying up to the bar at Carlos O’Brien’s for Saint Patrick’s Day you’ll be able to 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.”
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