An Irish-American Southerner Describes His Family's Confederate Past
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Re: James Fulford’s article Happy St. Patrick’s Day (2016) From!

From: A Confederate-American Reader [Email him]

I enjoyed James Fulford’s article on the Famine Irish and St. Patrick's day. My Irish-American family story is a bit different than the usual saga. My paternal great-great-grandparents immigrated from Ireland as young people in the early 1830s and settled in the Gulf Coast seaport city of Mobile, Alabama.

They met and married there and their first born son, my great grandfather, was born in Mobile in 1841. in 1861, at the age of 20, he joined E Company of the 3rd Alabama Infantry Regiment and fought with the Army of Northern Virginia for two years until he was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

He came home and married his sweetheart, a local gal named Kelly (my great grandmother). He died fairly young at the age of 46, but his four grandsons (my Dad and his three brothers) all served in the Army in WW2. Strangely enough, I can't remember even being aware we were of Irish descent until I started looking into it some years back.

In my grandmother's house were portraits of various men in Confederate officer's uniforms and my great aunt was active in the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Aside from our family being Roman Catholic, there were never any discussions of Ireland. As an interesting aside, my Confederate great grandfather did have one thing in common with the San Patricios (Irish-American immigrants who deserted to the Mexican side during the Mexican War)in that he was fighting US Army soldiers as well.

In one case, during the battle of Antietam in September 1862, he and his unit helped defend a stretch of sunken road that later became known to history as the "Bloody Lane". The Yankee soldiers he was firing at were none other than Meagher's Union Irish Brigade from New York as they came over the rise in front of the lane!

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