The Saint Patrick Battalion

The Saint Patrick Battalion


My name is John Riley
I’ll have your ear only a while I left my dear home in Ireland
It was death, starvation or exile And when I got to America
It was my duty to go Enter the Army and slog across Texas
To join in the war against Mexico It was there in the pueblos and hillsides
That I saw the mistake I had made Part of a conquering army
With the morals of a bayonet blade So in the midst of these poor, dying Catholics
Screaming children, the burning stench of it all
Myself and two hundred Irishmen Decided to rise to the call From Dublin City to San Diego
We witnessed freedom denied So we formed the Saint Patrick Battalion
And we fought on the Mexican side We marched ‘neath the green flag of Saint
Patrick Emblazoned with “Erin Go Bragh”
Bright with the harp and the shamrock And “Libertad para Mexicana”
Just fifty years after Wolftone Five thousand miles away
The Yanks called us a Legion of Strangers And they can talk as they may We fought them in Matamoros
While their volunteers were raping the nuns In Monterey and Cerro Gordo
We fought on as Ireland’s sons We were the red-headed fighters for freedom
Amidst these brown-skinned women and men Side by side we fought against tyranny
And I daresay we’d do it again We fought them in five major battles
Churobusco was the last Overwhelmed by the cannons from Boston
We fell after each mortar blast Most of us died on that hillside
In the service of the Mexican state So far from our occupied homeland
We were heroes and victims of fate

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