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The Irish Battalion

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

March 18.—Yesterday, the anniversary of Saint Patrick, the tutelar saint of Ireland, was celebrated in New York by the natives of that kingdom, with their accustomed hilarity. The volunteers of Ireland, preceded by their band of music, marched into the city, and formed before the house of their colonel, Lord Rawdon, who put himself at their head, and, after paying his compliments to his Excellency General Knyphausen, and to General Jones, accompanied them to the Bowery, where a dinner was provided, consisting of five hundred covers. After the men were seated, and had proceeded to the enjoyment of a noble banquet, the officers returned to town, and dined with his lordship. The soldierly appearance of the men, their order of march, hand in hand, being all natives of Ireland, had a striking effect.

This single battalion, though only formed a few months ago, marched four hundred strapping fellows, neither influenced by Yankee or Ague; a number, perhaps, equal to all the recruits forced into the rebel army in the same space of time, which shows how easily troops may be formed on this continent, from the people who have been seduced into America, and spurn at the treason and tyranny of the Congress, providing proper measures are followed, and they are headed by men of their choice. And, also, that such men, however long they may have remained in the haunts of hypocrisy, cunning, and disaffection, being naturally gallant and loyal, crowd with ardor to stand forth in the cause of their king, of their country, and of real, honest, general liberty, whenever am opportunity offers.1


1 New York Gazette, March 22.