Saturday, October 24, 2009

Garry Owen And The Irish Brigade And The Fourth Ward

The Irish Brigade was an infantry brigade, consisting predominantly of Irish immigrants, that served in the Union Army in the American Civil War. Many of them came from New York's Fourth Ward. The designation of the first regiment in the brigade, the 69th New York Infantry, or the "Fighting 69th", continued in later wars. The "Fighting 69th" adopted Garry Owen as their song.
They Died with Their Boots On is a 1941 western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Despite being rife with historical inaccuracies, the film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the last of eight Flynn-de Havilland collaborations.
The film follows the life of George Armstrong Custer (Errol Flynn) from attending West Point, wooing of Elizabeth Bacon (Olivia de Havilland) who becomes his loving wife, the American Civil War, and the Battle of Little Big Horn. In the film, the battle is blamed on unscrupulous corporations and politicians craving the land of Crazy Horse (Anthony Quinn) and his people.
Custer is portrayed as a fun-loving, dashing figure who chooses honor and glory over money and corruption. Though his "Last Stand" is probably treated as more significant and dramatic than it may have actually been, Custer (Flynn) follows through on his promise to teach his men "to endure and die with their boots on." In the movie's version of Custer's story, a few corrupt white politicians goad the Western tribes into war, threatening the survival of all white settlers in the West. Custer and his men give their lives at Little Bighorn to delay the Indians and prevent this slaughter. A letter left behind by Custer absolves the Indians of all responsibility.
...The character of "Queen's Own" Butler, while English, is essentially a composite of two real-life officers who were from other parts of the British Empire: Canadian William W. "Queen's Own" Cooke, and Irishman Myles Keogh, who is linked to an apocryphal account of introducing the song "Garryowen" to the 7th Cavalry.

the origins of Garryowen are unclear, but it emerged in the late eighteenth century, when it was a drinking song of rich young roisters in Limerick. It obtained immediate popularity in the British Army through the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, who were garrisoned in Limerick and was played throughout the Napoleonic War, becoming the regimental march of the 18th Foot (The Royal Irish Regiment).
Garryowen became the marching tune for the 69th Infantry Regiment, New York Militia, (the famed "Fighting 69th" ) in the mid-1800s. The "Fighting 69th" adopted Garry Owen before the Civil War and recently brought it back to combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom
It later became the marching tune for the US 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 1800s. The tune was a favorite of General George Armstrong Custer and became the official air of the Regiment in 1867. According to legend it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
The name of the tune has become a part of the regiment, the words Garry Owen are part of the regimental crest, and there is a Camp Garry Owen, north of Seoul, Korea, which houses part of the 4th Squadron of the regiment.The Seventh Cavalry regiment became a part of the US 1st Cavalry Division in 1921, and "Garryowen" became the official tune of the division in 1981.
The word garryowen is derived from Irish, the proper name Eóghan ("born of the yew tree") and the word for garden garrai - thus "Eóghan's Garden". The term refers to an area of the town of Limerick, Ireland.

Instead of spa, we'll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.
2. We are the boys who take delight
In smashing Limerick lamps at night,
And through the street like sportsters fight,
Tearing all before us
3. We'll break the windows, we'll break down doors,
The watch knock down by threes and fours,
And let the doctors work their cures,
And tinker up our bruised
4. We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
We'll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin.
5. Our hearts so stout have got us fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.

1 comment:

Joseph Barone said...

The Gary Owen is also featured in Once We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson.