Irish in the British Army

Linkedin Long-Form Post #5

Irish in the British Army

By James Francis Smith
Author of the “Irish-American Story”

After my last post, pointing out the deficiencies of the British officer corps, I thought it only fair to illustrate how well Irishmen also fought on their side. Among the Irish-born were the following:

Brigadier General Charles O’Hara,
Perhaps the most well known was delegated by Lord Cornwallis to accept the defeat of the British forces. This bastard son of an Irish Lord and an Indian mother surrendered his sword at the siege of Yorktown.
Lord Francis Rawdon,
Formed a British regiment from loyalist Irishmen, residing in the Philadelphia area,
Serjeant Roger Lamb,
Served with the Welsh Fusiliers, Lamb escaped from American captivity four times; first from the Saratoga Convention Army, the second time from the defeated army at Yorktown. While on the loose, he was recaptured but escaped twice more. He survived the war and wrote a book published in Dublin in 1809, An Original and Authentic Journal of Occurrences During the Late American War: From Its Commencement to the year 1783.
Thomas McCann,
Commanded the 23rd Fusiliers, – his name was often (spelled Mecan) – McCann died of a fever before the Battle of Camden, South Carolina.
Lord Edward Fitzgerald,
Served on Rawdon’s staff, was wounded and left on the battlefield, but had his life saved by a Negro slave. He brought the slave to Ireland. Fitzgerald joined the United Irishmen, died in Newgate Prison.

Their exploits can be found Smith’s book, Irish in the American Revolution, which covers in full the Saratoga Convention Army and the British side of the siege of Yorktown.

“James Smith is to be given much credit for documenting and describing the many escapades of Irish men and women in that great war. This is story telling at its finest.”
Dr. Eugene Wiegman, retired President of Pacific Lutheran University.


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