The Missouri Sons of Union Veterans plans to place a monument to honor the men of Col. James Mulligan’s “Irish Brigade” at the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site.
The monument is to be made of African stone to symbolize the effect that the Civil War had on ending slavery and will praise Mulligan and his men as “defenders” of Lexington.
On Sept. 17-20, 1861, Mulligan’s men, who numbered approximately 2,800, fought 10,000 Confederates led by Missouri’s Gen. Sterling Price.
Under these circumstances, no one can doubt the bravery of the Irish brigade. However, I feel it is important to address the historical inaccuracies of the proposed monument.
The case can be made that in 1861 slavery was not a factor in the war. Being new to the country, the men of Mulligan’s brigade most likely enlisted for a paycheck and citizenship rather than for lofty political ideals.
Of the 2,800 men whom Mulligan commanded, only 350 were German “home guards,” the remainder being from Illinois.
Price’s Confederates were born-and-raised Missourians who were fighting to take their state back from invaders.
The monument was paid for through sales of the book “The Chronicles of Lexington,” written by Henry C. Davis, which refers to Missourians as “pukeites.”
To say that the Federals under Mulligan were fighting to liberate the slaves is misleading; to say that they were “defenders” of Lexington is a lie to fund the monument through the sales of the “The Chronicles of Lexington” and is insulting.
Clint E. Lacy
Col. John T. Coffee Camp #1934
Sons of Confederate Veterans