How the heroic Irish won the American Revolution remembered this Patriot’s Day
Phillip Thomas Tucker, Ph.D. @IrishCentral Apr 15, 2019
George Washington Park Custis, Washington’s adopted son and a careful student of history, placed the significant Irish contribution to the American revolution in a proper historical perspective:
“When our friendless standard was first unfurled for resistance, who were strangers [foreigners] that first mustered ‘round its staff when it reeled in the fight, who more bravely sustained it than Erin’s generous sons? Who led the assault on Quebec [General Montgomery] and shed early luster on our arms, in the dawn of our revolution? Who led the right wing of Liberty’s forlorn hope [General Sullivan] at the passage of the Delaware [just before the attack on Trenton]? Who felt the privations of the camp, the fate of battle, or the horrors of the prison ship more keenly than the Irish? Washington loved them, for they were the companions of his toil, his perils, his glories, in the deliverance of his country.”
Yet, the role of the Irish has often been written out. No chapter of America’s story has been more thoroughly dominated by myths and romance than the nation’s desperate struggle for life during the American Revolution. Unfortunately, America’s much-celebrated creation story has presented a sanitized version of events.
The long-accepted proper imaginary of the typical American patriot was that of an Anglo-Saxon who descended from early English settlers. This popular perception became a permanent part of the national mythology, in regard to the people who were seen as having been most responsible for sustaining and winning the revolutionary struggle.
As could be expected, the seemingly endless romantic myths about…