The True Story Of How Irish-American Rebels Fought Against Their Country In The Mexican War

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Image: James Walker
Image: James Walker

It’s the 1847 Battle of Churubusco during the American war with Mexico. Among the Mexican forces is the Foreign Legion of Patricios, a unit of European volunteers. Many of them are Irish and deserters from the U.S. Army. These men fight with bitter ferocity because they know all too well the grisly fate that awaits them if enemy forces capture them.

Image: Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot, Carl Nebel
Image: Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot, Carl Nebel

We’ll return to the outcome and the decidedly grim aftermath of the Battle of Churubusco later. But first, let’s take a look at the story of the Mexican-American War. We’ll also examine the origins of the Foreign Legion of Patricios or the St. Patrick’s Battalion as it’s perhaps best known in modern times.

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Image: Culture Club/Getty Images
Image: Culture Club/Getty Images

The war between America and Mexico began in 1846 and lasted until 1848. Mexico had, in fact, been a sovereign nation since 1821. That’s when the Treaty of Cordoba was signed, freeing the country from the Spanish Empire. It then started out as a monarchy but in 1824 transformed into a republic. From the earliest days of the new nation, though, its northern territories suffered Native American incursions, particularly by the Apache and Comanche peoples.

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