Tuesday, September 13, 2005

St Patrick's Battalion branded and hanged

1847 Mexico: Some 40 of the 800 or so Irish of the Battalion of San Patricio (Batallón de San Patricio or St Patrick's Battalion, led by Captain Jon Riley of County Galway) were executed – soldiers who fought next to the Mexicans against the US invading force. Most of them were of Irish extraction or recent immigrants from other Roman Catholic countries.

Even to this day, an Irish person in Mexico will be told a countless number of times about the famous ‘Irish Martyrs’ who defected from the US Army and gave their lives trying to save Mexico from US aggression from 1846 - 1848. The San Patricios first emerged during the Battle of Monterrey where they served with great distinction, and are sometimes credited with defeating two separate American assaults into the heart of the city.

As per the orders of General Winfield Scott, at the precise moment that the flag of the United States replaced that of Mexico atop the citadel they were executed. Those who had entered the Army before the official declaration of war on Mexico (Riley among them) were branded with the letter 'D' as deserters and sentenced to the stockade at hard labor. Those who had entered the Army following the declaration of war were hanged en masse as traitors in the town square, in full view of the site of the Battle of Chapultepec the previous day.

To commemorate the support of those Irish-American renegades in the Mexican army, the street in front of the Santa María de Churubusco convent was named Mártires Irlandeses (Irish martyrs) ...

(I dips me lid to Dave Brown at Daily Bleed)

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