Remembering Los San Patricios on St. Paddy’s Day

David Simmonds

St. Patrick’s Day has never been a big favorite of mine, although it does offer a good excuse to devour a greasy slab of corned beef and cabbage chased with an Irish beer as thick as a Dublin (Dooblin?) accent. Speaking of Dublin, rent the DVD of the best film of 2007 “Once“. A great story and music (won an Oscar for best song).

But back to Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick. It was during the Mexican-American War, when General Zachary Taylor marched his troops into Mexico, that some 200 American soldiers, most of Irish descent, deserted ol’ Zach and took the side of the Mexicans. Most of them were not enamored of the U.S. desire to invade another country (sound familiar?) and they felt a special kinship with the Mexicans because of their Catholic faith. They had not been in the U.S. long enough to have developed feelings of patriotism, but they had been Catholic since birth.

 The San Patricios, as they were called, grew in size over time with other Europeans joining up, becoming a force of some 800 men. They fought fierce battles against the Americans in Matamoros, Monterrey, San Luis Potosi and elsewhere, knowing that if captured they would face severe penalties for desertion and treason. And, indeed, this was eventually to be their fate, with as many as 50 of them hanged and many more whipped and jailed following their surrender.

For a good, concise look at the story click here Then try a good Mexican beer with that corned beef today.