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The Battalion of Saint Patrick

In 1835, Texas had gained independence from Coahuila in Mexico and its recognition as an independent state of Mexico, in 1846 war broke out between Mexico and the United States; The cause of the dispute was the difference of ideas on the border between the two countries; Since the southern border of the United States extended to Mexican territory.

The border problem worsened in 1845 when the American Congress approved the Texas Annex; The Texan government had declared the southern border reached the Rio Bravo, but in fact the frontier was further up the Rio Nueces. Mexican Minister Luis Gonzalez Cuevas, by a note from William Shanon, the American minister, stated that relations between both countries broken. In spite of the diplomatic breakdown since the action was warlike it took more than a year to be presented.

In March 1846, provisional president Mariano Paredes refused to recognize John Slidell as United States Minister; Meanwhile the American forces were threateningly concentrated on the Rio Bravo line in the disputed territory. The American militia sent General Zachary Taylor, who camped near Matamoros, despite protests from the Ciudad Victoria authorities. General Pedro Ampudia, who was named Chief of the Mexican Army in the half internal division that existed in national politics, arrived in Matamoros in April. The first encounters were skirmishes without importance and in May the first battle of Palo Alto took place. It was the prelude to the war that lasted until July 1848, when the last invading American forces left Veracruz. Just then, the southern border of U.S.A. Not only encompassed Texas but also: New Mexico, Alta California, part of the state of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora. In exchange for the lost territory and all the blood spilled, the Mexican government received 15 million dollars, nevertheless the internal political instability in the War of 47 made heroic actions and the defense of the country was assumed by troops of all the social classes and affiliations Policies.

Very little conicide is the defense made by the St. Patrick Battalion composed of Irish immigrants descendants of those 300 Catholic families that were persecuted by the Protestantismo, Moises Austin directed to those Protestants in the colonization of Texas and persecution of the catholics to the Beginning of the 19th century. When the U.S. Congress Voted in favor of the war against Mexico, many immigrants and Irish descendants enlisted in the ranks of Taylor's army. Some historians assert that natives, ie Anglo-Saxons born in US territory, underestimated Irish immigrants and Catholics as they opposed slavery, which was in effect in the U.S. That is the reason why since the outbreak of hostilities on the border, the Irish began to leave the army and became part of the Mexican side, perhaps they identified more with the Mexican liberals as well as with the Mexican conservatives, both Catholic sides And against slavery.

Quickly the deserters made a company called the Battalion of Saint Patrick in honor of the patron saint of Ireland and was composed of 260 Irishmen who showed great courage and determination in the most important battles of the war. They used a white symbol with the shields of Mexico and Ireland. The name of its captain John O'Reilly was embroidered in green, distinctive color of Ireland, also called the Green Eire.

Most of the Irish died in battle, in battle actions such as Monterrey and Angostura, the latter in a valley near Saltillo, managed to snatch three flags and caused many casualties to the invading army in November, 1846. As the Americans were approaching dangerously to the capital of the country, the Battalion was retreating to the Valley of Mexico and fought in the Battle of Cerro Gordo. In the battle of Padierna, the Irish were especially useful to General Valencia, despite the final defeat due to the contradiction of wrong orders of Antonio López de Santa Anna.

The Saint Patrick's Battalion also stood out in Churubusco on August 20, 1847, when General Pedro María Anaya with severe burns reluctantly surrendered the convent of the place to the division commanded by General Twigs, at that time Only 72 Irish soldiers survived and were learned as deserters and sentenced to death with the exception of their captain.

Days before, governments at war had begun negotiations for peace, although they did not prosper because of the different conditions: The US government called for Texas, New Mexico, the two parts of California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León .

Earlier, warring governments had begun negotiations for peace, although they did not thrive due to different conditions: The US government called for Texas, New Mexico, the two parts of California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León.

Tamaulipas and free transit in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec that united the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. On September 8, the battle of Molino del Rey was carried out, and was lost by Mexicans despite the courageous participation of the civilian population, although it was the battle that cost more lives on the American side. The next day, with the capital of Mexico practically in the hands of General Winfield Scott, the imminent executions of the Irish began. "Saint Patrick's men," says Guillermo Prieto, a famous historian, "had created lively sympathies for their irreproachable behavior and for the courage and enthusiasm with which they defended our cause." Therefore, the news that would be posted caused great commotion among the community. Conservatives and Liberals mobilized to raise money and influence to buy the lives of Irish heroics.

A group of the most distinguished and respectable ladies came to see Scott, an imposing figure before whom they trembled with fear and wept with compassion. They claimed that Irish Catholics, like them, had joined Mexico for religious reasons convinced of the insistence of the eloquent writings of Luis Martínez de Castro, the Martyr of Churubusco and also of other reporters who had convinced them with intense arguments.

It was all useless in San Jacinto Square in San Angel, 16 Irish were hanged. Its slow agony was shared by the inhabitants of the small town of Tlacopac, to the south of the city, the flag of the Battalion waved with the wind, a handkerchief with the image of Saint Patrick and the harp with which, according to tradition had been Expelled to the serpents of Ireland; In the back was the name of the Battalion and the Mexican shield. Four other Irishmen were executed in Mixcoac on 10 September, another 30 on the 13th of the same month and finally 22 more in Tacubaya.

Captain John O'Reilly and others escaped the death penalty that the American Congress had given to deserters, were sentenced to receive 50 lashes on the back and have a "D" on their hip, which meant "deserter" ", Marked with hot iron. Years later those foreigners who offered their lives were offered a tribute with a commemorative plaque in the Plaza de San Jacinto. In the commemorative speech Miguel Angel Mendez said: "They were not deserters, they were loyal to themselves, loyal to the dream of being free that brought them to the American Continent."