the irish civil war

It’s a shame more people don’t know who Jack White is. He was born to an Irish Protestant military family but became disillusioned with the British Empire during his service and joined the burgeoning Home Rule movement in Ireland, later becoming good friends with James Connolly and becoming involved in the socialist backed labour movement.

It was actually White who suggested to Connolly the formation of the Irish Citizens Army to protect striking workers from the police. When Connolly was sentenced to death for his role in the Easter Rising, Jack tried to instigate a miners strike in Wales in order to pressure the British government. Post 1916 he helped found the Republican Congress, a far left Irish Republican organization, in 1934.

He then travelled to Spain during the Spanish Civil War as a medic with the Red Cross, and while in Barcelona was impressed with the CNT-FAI’s revolution and was drawn into the anarchist cause, partially due to his own growing anti-Stalinist and anti-statist views which made him a misfit among the orthodox socialists in Ireland. Upon his return he wrote a great first hand account of the ‘37 May Days and campaigned in Britain and Ireland for the cause of anarchist Spain. He remained involved with the anarchist cause for the remainder of his life, dying in 1946.


The Irish Brigade,

During the American Civil War, there were a handful of units on both sides that gained a reputation as being elite units, among the bravest, toughest, and fiercest of the army.  The Iron Brigade for example, has a reputation as the best unit of the whole Civil War. Another unit to earn such a distinction was the Irish Brigade, consisting of Irish immigrants and composed of the 69th, 88th, and 63rd New York Volunteer Regiments.  The Irish Brigade was commanded by Brigadier Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, who was born in Ireland but had to flee to America because he was a participant in the failed Revolution of 1848 against the British.

The courage and tenacity of the Irish Brigade began at the Battle of Bull Run AKA Manasas when it was one of the few units that didn’t break and run when the Confederates gained the upper hand.  Holding firm, the Irish Brigade formed an effective rear guard, holding off the entire Army of Virginia while the Army of the Potomac fled in panic, thus averting a major military disaster for the Union.  Throughout the rest of the war, the Irish Brigade was often employed as elite shock troops, either forming the spearhead of Union assaults or being employed in desperate rear guard actions as the Union Army retreated.  The big problem with being an elite unit is that elite units suffer disproportionate casualties.  The Irish Brigade was no exception.  Originally the Irish Brigade originally consisted of around 2,000 - 2,500 men.  When the unit was disbanded, it had less than 600 men. 

Much of the Irish Brigade’s woes stemmed from the fact that they were armed with Model 1842 Springfield muskets which were smoothbores.  Gen. Meagher insisted on the smoothbore muskets because then they could be loaded with buck and ball unlike a rifled musket.  Instead of a single bullet, the musket was loaded with a .69 caliber ball and 4 to 8 pieces of .30 caliber buckshot, thus turning the musket in a shotgun.  The problem with this was that their muskets had limited range, no more than 50 - 100 yards.  When advancing against enemies armed with rifled muskets, which had a range of several hundred yards, the brigade would suffer horrific casualties.  However, once in range, a volley from the Brigade would be devastating.  Due to the casualties and loss of manpower, the Irish Brigade was disbanded in June of 1864, them men reassigned to other units.

Known as the “Bloody Tinth”, it was one of only two Irish Catholic regiments in the Confederate Army, although their elected officers were mostly Ulster-Scots Protestants.

They built Forts Henry and Donelson and then were captured and held in Camp Douglas Prison. Reconstituted, the 10th were deployed as sharpshooters through the tough campaigns at Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Atlanta.

The Regimental flag originally belonged to Company ’D’ of the Tennessee Home Guards (State Militia). It was outlined in Kelly Green on a light green background. A gold harp, maroon trim with white lettering; above the harp, “Sons of Erin”; below the harp “Where glory await you”.


The Paper Musket Cartridge,

Today when one thinks of ammunition one probably imagines modern cartridges made of brass which contain smokeless gunpowder, a bullet, and a primer.  Many firearms today even have magazines that can hold 20, 30, perhaps even 100 cartridges at a time.  However before the end of the American Civil War, when soldiers fought with flintlock or percussion muskets, most firearms were limited to one.  Cartridges of the time were also much different from the metallic self contained cartridges of today.  From the 17th century until around 1865, most cartridges were actually paper.

Before the invention of the cartridge, a soldier or hunter would typically load a musket by pouring loose powder from a flask, then loading a patch followed by the bullet, or maybe just the bullet.  Using a flask was often slow and if it lacked a tap, the amount of powder poured could vary from shot to shot, effecting performance. Eventually by the late 15th century soldiers in both Europe and Asia had the idea to place pre-measured powder charges in containers, typically worn on a bandoleer, thus speeding the loading process and ensuring better consistency.

 In the late 16th century soldiers in Denmark and Naples had the idea to wrap a pre-measured amount of gunpowder as well as a bullet inside a piece of paper.  Doing so ensured consistency of powder and sped up the process of loading.  By the 17th century the use of paper cartridges became widespread in Europe and the America’s.

To load a musket with a paper cartridge, the user would first bite off an end of the cartridge.  The user would first pour a little bit of powder in the flashpan, unless the musket was a percussion lock which became common around the mid 19th century. Then the user would drop the cartridge, powder and all into the barrel. The ramrod would be used to push the entire cartridge down the barrel, thus properly seating it and ensuring there was no air gaps between the bullet, gunpowder, and chamber (which could cause an explosion).  

Typically the paper was also pre-lubricated with wax, tallow, or lard to protect it from moisture, allow it to travel the down the bore easier, and lubricate or clean the muzzle.  Using this method a well trained soldier could expect to fire around 3-4 shots a minute. Some of the most battle hardened soldiers could achieve even more. This was the case when in April of 1866 seven hundred soldiers of the Fennian Brotherhood invaded Canada.  Composed entirely of battle hardened Irish Union Army veterans who served in the American Civil War, the Fennians were able to maintain such an intense rate of fire that initial Canadian Militia reports stated that the invaders were armed with repeating rifles.

 A seat of your pants, loading on the run method called the “tap method”, made famous by the Sharpe’s Rifle’s book and TV series, could speed up the loading process further. In this method the user pours primes the pan, drops the cartridge down the muzzle, then taps the rifle butt against the ground to seat the cartridge. The tap method made the process faster since the user didn’t have to withdraw and replace the ramrod.  This method was certainly not officially used in any army, and I myself am unsure how often it was used in history, if at all. One thing to note, as a flintlock smoothbore musket shooter myself, I would never recommend doing this, as an improperly seated cartridge could turn your musket into a pipe bomb. Below is the famous scene from Sharpe’s Eagle, and a vid of murphysmuskets using the same technique.

The paper musket cartridge would be most popular in the 18th up to the mid 19th century.  By the mid 1800’s gun makers began designing others types of cartridges, eventually inventing the self-contained metallic cartridge, which allowed for conventional loading and practical multi-shot repeating firearms.  The last conflict which saw the widespread use of paper cartridges and muzzleloading firearms was the American Civil War.  By 1870 the reign of the paper cartridge ended with the production of rimfire and centerfire metallic cartridges and repeating firearms technology.  

A musket cartridge wrapped from newspaper, late 18th century.


We’ll Fight for Uncle Sam

An American Civil War song popular among Union Irish soldiers, set to the melody of “Whisky in the Jar”.

Performed by David Kincaide

infinite-raindrops  asked:

So u have any Irish language movie/music recommendations? I find those help me learn a new language a bit faster

Hey there! Well unfortunately Irish isn’t one of those languages were there is lots of pop songs written in the language :( i wish there was! However there is a fantastic youtube channel were the latest (english language) popular songs are translated into Irish and sung by Irish students who are learning the language! It’s here. There is also plenty of traditional Irish songs and ballads written in the language.

As for movies I have done a quick google search and here are a few;

  • Poitín (1978) — the first feature film to be made entirely in Irish — watch here
  • The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006) — set during the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War — available dubbed in Irish.
  • Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom (2003)  — short film about a Chinese man who has learned to speak Irish but cannot be understood when he comes to visit largely English-speaking Ireland — watch here
  • Song of the Sea (Amhrán na Mara) (2014) — animated movie which was nominated for an Academy Award — available in Irish.

- Nikita :)

Cathal Brugha was an Irish Republican who fought in the Easter Uprising, the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War. He was born in 1874, the tenth of fourteen children, and christened Charles Burgess. He was raised Catholic and his family were staunch supporters of Irish liberation. Brugha achieved highly at school and intended to graduate and study medicine, but had to leave at 16 when his family had financial problems. He started working as a clerk in an English-owned church supplies business and later left to start an Irish-owned company with two friends. Brugha was a keen athlete and pursued swimming, cricket, hurling, football, rope-climbing, shooting, cycling, boxing and gymnastics. He joined the Gaelic League as a young adult and attended Irish language classes. It was here that Brugha met his wife, Caitlín, with whom he had six children. Brugha soon became a fluent Irish speaker and changed his name from Charles Burgess to its Irish form.

Cathal Brugha fought in the Uprising of 1916 and was severely wounded by a hand grenade and several bullets. He dragged himself behind a wall and continued to fire on the British. He was later found in a pool of his own blood, still holding his weapon and singing ‘God Save Ireland’. Brugha was tended by his comrades and taken to hospital a day later, where doctors said he was unlikely to survive. He defied the odds and after a slow recovery returned to both work and his political activities. He was left with a bad limp however, and was in great pain from shrapnel that couldn’t be removed.

Cathal Brugha organised the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army into the Irish Republican Army and was appointed chief of staff for two years. Later he became the Sinn Féin MP for County Waterford. When Sínn Fein assembled a revolutionary parliament known as Dáil Éirinn, Cathal Brugha was made Minister of Defense. He also presided over the first Dáil meeting. Brugha voted against the Anglo-Irish treaty, although he opposed taking up arms against the Free State Army. When the civil war  broke out Brugha commanded part of the IRA forces during the Battle of the Four Courts. He was shot in the thigh and died in hospital two days later, a week shy of his 48th birthday.


Ireland’s biggest and most iconic fascist movement, the Blueshirts (and later splinter, the Greenshirts), was founded in 1932. Many of the Blueshirts went on to fight for Franco on the fascist side of the Spanish Civil War as the Irish Brigade, led by Eoin O’Duffy. As the Blueshirts made up a portion of the Irish political party, Fine Gael, the party and it’s members to this day are often nicknamed blueshirts.