Chloe Dyer ’18

Project Title: Commemorations on Two Continents: The Saint Patrick’s Battalion in Irish-Mexican-American Memory
Mentor: Nancy Comorau

In 1846, the United States invaded Mexico, sparking the Mexican-American War. At its conclusion in 1848, the United States had annexed what is now the American Southwest, reaffirmed the concept of Manifest Destiny, and cemented itself as a continental power. However, this war is remembered only superficially in American history, and some aspects have been all but entirely forgotten. One such detail is the story of a group of Irish immigrants to the United States who, when faced with anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiments in the ranks of the U.S. Army, defected to fight for the Mexican Army. They fought under a green flag embroidered with an Irish harp and the Mexican coat of arms, and became known as the Batallón de San Patricio, or Saint Patrick’s Battalion. The United States considered them traitors; when Mexico was finally defeated, the United States court-martialed the majority of the battalion and sentenced them to death. However, in Mexico and in Ireland, the San Patricios are remembered as heroes and celebrated to this day on the anniversary of their deaths, September 12th, in Mexico City and in Clifden, Ireland. In the Irish and Mexican imagination, they have become a symbol of an enduring connection between the two nations.

This paper seeks to explore the role of the San Patricios and to bring their story into the American consciousness. It stems from a SIP Grant, “Following the San Patricios: Changing Allegiance in the Face of Prejudice” to Mexico City, and a TPG, “Following the San Patricios to Ireland’s West” to Clifden, Ireland. Both grant projects were undertaken with Dr. Nancy Comorau.

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3880

David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection