I hope some of you guys especially in the states find this article interesting and eye opening a lot of it deals with the incredible links the province of Ulster (Northern Ireland) has with the civil war . It is estimated that 40 per cent of Confederate soldiers were of Scots-Irish protestant lineage many also fought for the Union.
Most Americans are unaware of their Ulster- Scots dynasty. In the United States today an estimated 44 million people claim Irish extraction. But while the Irish American community, the descendants of the Roman Catholic emigrants who moved at the time of the potato famine to places like New York and Boston and fought for the Union cherish their links to Ireland but in fact 56 per cent of Americans with Irish roots are of Protestant stock, whose forebears were the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who settled on the frontier in the 18th century who are descended from the people who make up the majority of Northern Ireland‘s current population, known as Ulster-Scots or Scots-Irish as their descendants came from Scotland during the Plantation of Ireland during the 16th Century.
Many notable Civil War soldiers on both sides were of Ulster-Scots origin: Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson pictured , the cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, Jubal Early ,Ulysses Grant, George Brinton McClellan and Philip Sheridan. In the Carolinas, North and South, it is estimated that 40 per cent of Confederate soldiers were of Scots-Irish lineage. The Scots-Irish headed west 200-250 years ago and led the vanguard against the British in the War of Independence in the 1770/1780s.
After the American War of Independence, which the Ulster-Scots played a major role in fighting for the Patriot side, the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky were calling for a new generation of American-born Ulster Scots. This migration brought many events at which the Ulster-Scots would leave their mark on American culture, particularly in the South. In helping to create music styles such as country and bluegrass, the Ulster-Scots contributed much to American folk culture
In religion, many frontier Ulster-Scots became Methodists and Baptists due to many roving revival preachers. Ulster-Scots poured into Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. other Ulster-Scots staked their claims in Texas, and made their stand at the Alamo in 1838 pictured left. Nine of the 189 men, mostly Texans and Tennesseans, who died at The Alamo in March, 1836, fighting for the freedom and liberty of Texas, were born in Ulster, and many others in this gallant number, like Davy Crockett, William Travis and Jim Bowie were first, second or third generation away from 18th century Scots-Irish pioneering settlers who crossed the Atlantic on the immigrant ships. .
On the eve of the War Between the States in 1861, the Scots-Irish were well established in many states, which would break away from the still young union, but also in many states, which would remain in the union.
Previous to the War, there were many different attitudes among the Ulster-Scots Americans over the growing conflict between the northern and southern states. As family farmers in the Up Country they were conscious of their kinfolk across the Mason-Dixon line, and they did not wish to be cut off from them. Also they rarely saw eye-to-eye with the tidewater Cavalier gentlemen who had initiated secession in the Carolinas, and later in Virginia. As to the issue of Negro slavery, which was actually one of a number of issues between the North and the South, the Ulster-Scots on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line were divided. Some Ulster-Scots owned slaves, and Presbyterian theologians like R.L. Dabney defended slavery, while others had called for an immediate end. Most Ulster-Scot-descended Americans probably wanted to see slavery abolished, but they wanted to see abolition carried out in a peaceful and gradual manner. (Ulster Scot President James Buchanan, from Pennsylvania, was of this view as he tried to avert war in the 1850s.) The Southern Ulster-Scots were also loyal to their respective states, they believed in limited constitutional government, and they believed in the United States as a confederal republic and not as a coercive empire. Decades before the war, one major champion of states rights was Ulster-descended John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, although he was at odds with another Ulster-Scot, President Andrew Jackson.
When the first southern states, (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana), pulled out of the union early in 1861, the Ulster-Scots were apparently divided over secession. South Carolina was the first to secede, but it was the Low Country gentry which had initiated that state's secession. The Up Country Ulster-Scots had had reservations. By mid-1861 North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee seceded. In Virginia, the Ulster-Scots in some of the western counties refused to acknowledge secession, which had been pushed for by the tidewater gentlemen. Thus a new state, West Virginia, was formed. The factor, which caused many Ulster-Scots to eventually support, and fight, for the Confederacy, was the coercive policy of President Abe Lincoln. When Arkansas, a state with a large Scots-Irish population, was asked by Lincoln to contribute troops to force the seceding states back into line, Arkansas joined the Confederacy. Tennessee, the largely Ulster-Scots 'Volunteer state', also rejected Lincoln's call to arms in the spring of 1861, and thus became the last state to join the Confederate States of America. Whatever their differences with the tidewater English the back country Ulster-Scots closed ranks as fellow Southerners to defend their new independence, even if it meant fighting their kinfolk from the northern states. Also, it would appear that the Ulster-Scots gave the Confederacy one of its enduring symbols, the star-charged-blue satire on white and red background. This flag is based on St. Andrew's Cross.
Having joined the Confederacy the Ulster-Scots were more than ready to fight. The most notable southern Ulster-Scots personality was Lieut.-General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Jackson was very conscious of his Ulster roots. There were many units of the Confederate States Army which had a distinctly Ulster-Scots reputation, such as the 33rd and 42nd Virginia Infantry Regiments pictured right . Colonel Hamilton Jones, the Commanding Officer of the 57th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, wrote years after the war that "the high-spirited Scotch-Irish of North Carolina were unsurpassed in the qualities that go to make good soldiers. They do their duty well and valorously, and in fighting, in common with their comrades, they have fixed a standard for the American soldier below which it is hoped he will never fail."
The people of Northern Ireland are justly proud of the fact that more than a quarter of the 42 US Presidents have had their roots in Ulster.
Bill Clinton, has spoken of his ancestral links to Fermanagh during his two Presidential visits to Northern Ireland. Their descendants have been successful in many fields ranging from John Wayne, Mark Twain and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson to Thomas Alva Edison, Kit Carson and Davy Crockett. Ulster roots are also shared by Country music stars Reba McEntire and Jimmie Rodgers; the wealthy Getty and Mellon dynasties, the astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, as well as movie stars James Stewart and Robert Redford.
Irish units in the Confederate Army consisted almost exclusively of native-born Protestants of Northern Irish descent. The ancestors of these soldiers who were largely Scots-Irish Presbyterians and Anglo-Irish Episcopalians had fought with George Washington during the American War of Independence. To many of them the war between the Union and Confederacy was a defence of the principles that their forefathers had fought for nearly one hundred years previously; the sovereign right of individual states to self determination. The increase of immigrants during the mid 1800's to North America also found a small number of Catholic Irish communities. They too fought bravely for the Confederacy
It was General George Washington, who said: "If defeated everywhere else, I will make my stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish in my native Virginia".
President William McKinley, said: "The Scots-Irish were the first to proclaim for freedom in these United States; even before Lexington Scots-Irish blood had been shed for American freedom. In the forefront of every battle was seen their burnished mail and in the retreat was heard their voice of constancy".
There can be no greater tribute than that of Robert E. Lee who was once asked: "What race of people do you believe makes the best soldiers?" He replied: "The Scots who came to this country by way of Ireland".