Celtic Units In The American Civil War

Before the war there were many ethnic based state militia companies that became absorbed into the war effort. Normally Infantry regiments were made up of 10 companies. As the war waged on and units suffered casualties, they were often consolidated into other units. Even then units were not kept up to strength. Most often in the Confederate Army there were many occasions of units being carried as Companies, Battalions or Regiments that were in actual strength only a shadow of their proper staffing.

Most of the ethnic state militia companies had very distinctive uniforms that gave way to the conformity required by the regiments. Several, however, were allowed to keep some aspect of their original uniform such as a unit flag, guidon, hat, insignia or patch.

One unit that was able to do this was the 35th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment known as the "1st Irish". Their uniform was changed to the regular Union uniform of the army. They were allowed to keep the distinctive green kepi they wore with the shamrock wreath and '1' insignia. The buttons on the sides had an Irish harp embossed on them. The men of the 35th Indiana proudly wore their green kepis throughout the war.



Flag of the Georgia Regiment >



Confederate Units

Emerald Guards (Co I, 8th AL Inf, Wilcox's Brigade)

Jeff Davis Guards, Co F 1st TX Heavy Artillery Reg from Houston and Galveston dock areas, TX

Wigfall Guards from Galveston, TX

Emmett Guards Co B 21st AL Inf Reg
Montgomery Guards Co B 24th AL Inf Reg

Davis Guards, Company F of 37th Alabama Regiment from Pikes County, Ga.

Don Troiani painting of a soldier from the Sons Of Erin 10th Tennessee

Emmett Rifles (Co B, 1st GA (Regulars), G.T. Anderson's Brigade)
Jackson Guards (Co B, 19th GA Inf, Archer's Brigade)
Jasper Greens (cos a & B GA 1st Volunteer Reg from Savannah

Montgomery Guards (Co K, 20th GA Inf, Toombs' Brigade)
McMillan Guards (Co K, 24th GA Inf, Cobb's Brigade)
Lochrane Guards (Co F, Philips Legion Inf (GA), Cobb's Brigade)
Irish Volunteers of the 5th GA Inf Reg

Emmett Guards (Co D, 1st LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Montgomery Guards (Co E, 1st LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Orleans Light Guards (Co F, 1st LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Moore Guards (Co B, 2nd LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
5th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade (no distinct Irish company, but had 94
Irish Brigade, Co A (Co I, 6th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Irish Brigade, Co B (Co F, 6th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Calhoun Guards (Co B, 6th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Sarsfield Rangers (Co C, 7th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Virginia Guards (Co D, 7th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Irish Volunteers (Co F, 7th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)Arty Co from Alexandria
Virginia Blues (Co I, 7th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Cheneyville Rifles (Co H, 8th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)

Sons Of Erin, The Tennessee Tenth >

Emerald Guards (Co E, 9th LA Inf, Hay's Brigade)
Shepherd Guards (Co A, 10th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade)
Derbigny Guards (Co B, 10th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade)
Hewitts's Guards (Co C, 10th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade)
Hawkin's Guards (Co D, 10th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade)
Orleans Blues (Co H, 10th LA Inf, Stake's Brigade)
Southern Celts Co in 13th LA Inf Reg

The regimental colors of the 23rd Georgia Infantry Regiment >

St. Marys Volunteers in 13th LA Inf Reg
6th Louisiana, Tigers
14th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade (6 of the 12 companies were predominately Irish)
15th LA Inf, Starke's Brigade (no distinct Irish company, but more than 100 Irish-born)
Wheat's Tiger Battalion, 1st Special Battalion LA, Richard Taylor's LA

Jasper Grays (Co F, 16th MS, Featherston's Brigade)

5th Missouri Infantry
6th Missouri Infantry

Irish Volunteers (Co K, 1st SC Inf, Gregg's Brigade)
Irish Volunteers (Co C, 27th SC Inf, Hagood's Brigade)

2nd TN Inf Reg later consolidated with 21st TN Inf Reg
5th Confederate TN Inf from Memphis
10th TN Inf Reg "Sons of Erin"
Crockett Rangers Co H 154th TN Inf Reg
Henry Rangers, Co F 154th TN Inf Reg
Jackson Guards, Co C 154 TN Inf Ref

Montgomery Guard (Co C, 1st VA Inf, Kemper's Brigade)

Uniform of the Savannah Jasper Greens at the start of the war >

Irish Battalion (5 Companies, 1st VA Battalion, Jones's Brigade, Provost Guard)
Irish Volunteers (Artillery, Co C 19th VA Inf
Jeff Davis Guards (Co H, 11th VA Inf, Kemper's Brigade from Lynchburg)

Davis Guards of the 10th VA Regiment of Madison County
Emmet Guard (Co F, 15th VA Inf, Corse's Bde)
Emmet Guards (Co G, 17th VA Inf, Corse's Brigade)
O'Connell Guards (Co I, 17th VA Inf, Corse's Brigade)RR workers
Montgomery Guards (Co F, 19th VA Inf, Garnett's Brigade from Charlottesville)
Montgomery Guard, Co C, 1st Reg, Va Volunteers from Richmond area
Hibernians (Co B, 27th VA, Paxton's Brigade from Allegheny County)
Emerald Guard (Co E, 33rd VA, Paxton's Brigade from New Market area)
1st VA Bn, "Irish Battalion"

Scottish Rifle Guards Co in 18th NC Inf Reg
Scottish Guards, SC Co in 17th Militia C Reg









Union Units

12th Ill Inf Reg


Don Gallon's painting of the 4th New York Inf Regiment >

23rd Ill Inf Reg, "Irish Brigade of the West"
65th Ill Inf Reg

35th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, "1st Irish"

1st Bn Maine Lt Inf

9th Inf Reg, MA, "Irish Ninth"
28th Regiment, MA
29th Reg, MA

7th Missouri Inf Reg from St. Louis area

.Regimental colors of the 35th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment >

18th NY Cav Reg "Cornish Light Cavalry"

37th NY Inf Reg "Irish Rifles"
63rd NY Inf Regiment, "Connaught Rangers"
69th Inf. Reg, "Fighting Irish" NY

2nd Bn Lt Arty............................................................................................................................

Scottish 79th New York Infantry

78 NY Inf Reg "Cameron Highlanders (Scottish Unit)

79 NY Inf Reg "Highlanders"llustrated below by Don Troiani

To the right of it is the the uniform they wore for special events.

80 NY Inf Reg, "Ulster Guards"

155th NY Inf Reg
164th NY Inf Reg Zouaves
170th NY Inf Reg
180th NY Inf Reg all in Corcorans Irish Legion

188th Inf. Reg

10th Ohio Reg, Bloody Tenth from Cincinnati area

116th PA Inf Reg, "Brian Boru United Irish Legion"


17th Wisconsin Irish Brigade

The Ninth Massachusetts Regiment was considered Irish, some of the companies listed under it include:

The Fitzgerald Guards of Salem, MA

Wolf Tone Guards of Malboro, MA

Davis Guards of Milford, MA (Named for Irish poet and patriot Thomas Osborne Davis) (There was another Davis Guards unit, Company E of the 6th MA Regiment from Acton, MA., they were named after Isaac Davis one of the commanders at the Concord Bridge in 1775)

McClellan Rifles of Boston, MA

Welshman and other Celts other than the Irish, Scottish and Cornish did not have an organized unit I could find. They fought on both sides in general units. This list is by no means considered complete. Please assist by letting us know of any units missed.

< This book, Irish-American Units in the Civil War, written by Thomas Rodgers and illustrated by Richard Hook and published by Osprey Publishing offers much detail on the 1861 militia company's uniforms and colors.

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