IRISH-IN-CHICAGO-L ArchivesArchiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2007-02 > 1172267896
From: dan hogan <>
Subject: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Fwd: 1st St. Patrick's Day Parade,1779 - "Volunteers of Ireland"
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 13:58:16 -0800 (PST)
> SNIPPET: For an Irishman of patriotic and
> independent inclinations, the opportunities to
> celebrate the feast day of his national saint were
> distinctly limited on March 17, 1779. New York, in
> its third year of British military occupation,
> swarmed with soldiers and sailors. Civilians who
> openly supported the Patriot forces of George
> Washington had long fled, their places taken by
> Loyalist refugees. New York's more ambivalent
> citizens, living under virtual martial law, wisely
> kept their patriotic opinions to themselves.
> The main event of the day in 1779, as is still the
> case, was a parade in Manhattan. Since 1852, New
> York's famous Irish regiment, the Fighting 69th, has
> led the St. Patrick's Day parade through the heart
> of the city, but military men or units were active
> in New York's March 17th celebrations more than a
> century before the 69th began its escort duties.
> The military's first formal participation in New
> York's St. Patrick's Day parade was in 1779, when
> the Volunteers of Ireland marched through the city.
> The regiment of Loyalist Irishmen recruited in
> America had recently taken up quarters in Bowery
> Lane, then on the outskirts of the 18th century city
> at the lower end of Manhattan Island.
> The parade had two main purposes - to create an
> ethnic esprit along the men already in the regiment
> and to drum up more recruits. That Wednesday
> morning, Irish readers of the "Royal Gazette" were
> invited to join the Volunteers, "a Corps in which
> every recruit is sure of finding Townsmen or
> The regiment, formed at Philadelphia in 1778 was
> built around a nucleus of Irish deserters from
> George Washington's hungry and frost-bitten forces
> at Valley Forge. Since then, an active recruiting
> campaign, aided by broadsheets and ballads, had
> built up the unit's strength to 400 men of Irish
> birth, Anglo-Irish, Scots-Irish and Gaelic-Irish.
> The ten most common names were Murphy, Barry, Jones,
> Kelly, O'Reily, Thompson, Connolly, Doyle, McCarthy
> and Stewart.
> Among the 30 most common names, traditional
> recruiting areas of Munster and Connaught were
> represented by Barry, Fitzgerald, Griffin, Murphy,
> Ryan, Sullivan and McCarthy.
> But most of the non-Gaelic origin, Bingham, Clarke,
> Jones, Thompson, Stewart and Wilson, had strong
> Ulster associations.
> Many of the most common Gaelic names, including
> Connolly, Dougherty, McCormick, McLoughlin, McMahon
> and O'Reily, were also closely linked to Ulster.
> The regiment's distinctly Ulster cast was not
> surprising as emigration to America from the nine
> northern countries had been heavy throughout the
> 18th century. The commanding officer, 25-year-old
> Colonel Francis Rawdon (a strict and sometimes
> brutal disciplinarian) was an Irish nobleman from
> Co. Down. Rawdon was already a seasoned veteran of
> the American war, having taken two bullets through
> his cap at Bunker Hill and participating in the
> battles of Brooklyn and White Plains. He also did a
> number of wartime watercolor sketches of new York
> and New Jersey which are deposited in the NY Public
> Library's Emmet Collection.
> His second-in-command, Lt. Col. Welbore Ellis Doyle,
> came from a well-known Co. Kilkenny military family.
> His brother, Capt. John Doyle, commanded a company
> of the Volunteers. Both brothers would later rise to
> the rank of Major General. In 1793, John Doyle
> formed the regiment later known as the Royal Irish
> Fusiliers. During the Napoleonic War, their
> blood-curdling Irish war cry "Fag an Bealach" (Clear
> the Way) won them the nickname Faugh-a-Ballaghs, or
> the Faughs.
> One of the best-known members of Rawdon's wartime
> staff was another young Irish nobleman, Lord Edward
> Fitzgerald. Just 15 years old in 1779, Fitzgerald
> would join Rawdon as his aide-de-camp two years
> later in South Carolina. Fitzgerald died in 1798.
> >From "St. Patrick's Hearty Invitation to his
> Countrymen," the Volunteers of Ireland recruiting
> ballad, sung to the tune of "Paddy Whack."
> Each son of St. Patrick,
> each true-hearted fellow,
> Come join in our March,
> and bear Part in our Song;
> The Offer's no bad one,
> my Lads, let me tell you,
> So give us your Hand,
> and parade it along.
> At Yankey hereafter
> we'll tickle a Trigger,
> For Clinton, God bless him,
> will give use the Van;
> Let's first shew our Vigour,
> on Beef and good Liquor,
> St. Patrick's the Word,
> and your fife to your Can.
> The Harp of sweet Ireland
> has called us together,
> The Rights of our King
> and our Country to shield;
> We hope the Assistance of all who would rather
> Than slave in a Trade,
> take the Chance of the Field;
> To such gallant Fellows,
> we give Invitations,
> Whether born on the Nore,
> Shannon, Liffey, or Ban,
> St. Patrick's the Word,
> and each Fist to the Can.