“Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade”

Alternate titles: “Song of the Splintered Shillelagh”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1865 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 31(118))
Keywords: Civilwar death battle foreigner
Found in: US


"Said Pat to his mother, "It looks strange to see, Brothers fighting in such a queer manner." But Pat joins the Union army. He goes to battle still singing, but is shot and dies "far from the land of shillelagh."


In at least one sense, this song is quite accurate historically. The Army of the Potomac's famous "Irish Brigade" (63 NY, 69 NY, 88 NY; 28 Mass and 116 PA added later) had the highest casualty rate of any unit in the army in the early years of the war. By Gettysburg, the brigade had only 600 men (out of over 4000 originally enrolled), and the three New York regiments had fewer than a hundred men a piece -- a casualty rate in excess of 90%. - RBW

Broadsides LOCSinging sb30412b and Bodleian Harding B 31(118) are duplicates.

Broadsides LOCSinging sb30412b and Bodleian Harding B 31(118): H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Same tune

Cross references



  1. Silber-CivWar, p. 22-23, "Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #11630
  4. BI, SCW22