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Pat Murphy of Meagher’s Brigade

Pat Murphy of Meagher’s Brigade

Publisher: Horace Partridge, Boston

Medium: Print On Paper

Shelfmark: RB 23 b 7019 (0054)

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Printed Music

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The song Pat Murphy of Meagher’s Brigade presents an Irish Battalion soldier’s view of the conflict, detailing the atmosphere during the night before a battle, the battle itself, the death of the soldier and remembering all 'the brave Irish Volunteers fought in defence of the Flag of our Union'.

General Thomas Meagher founded the Irish Brigade in the first few months of the war. Originally from Ireland, Meagher arrived in America a decade before the Civil War started. A staunch believer in national independence, he initially supported the Confederacy’s secession, but joined the Union Army due to his strong abolitionist beliefs.

The last verse of the song comments that 'if ever Old Ireland for Freedom should strike, we’ll a helping hand offer quite freely', implying that America should honour the debt Irish soldiers made by helping their fight for independence in the future. This sentiment reflects the complicated attitude Meagher and many Irish–born soldiers on both the Union and Confederate sides had towards Irish national independence and American national unity.

Meagher had been involved with Fenian fraternal groups, which had originated in America during the antebellum period in support of an independent Ireland. Yet when the war came, both urged Irish–born and Irish-descended men to fight for the Union’s preservation and neither accepted the Confederate’s right to secede.

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