“You May Bet Your Life Sor”

After weeks of hard fighting and long marches through the Shenandoah Valley, the men of the Louisiana Sixth Regiment had heard that Federal commander Gen. Shields was in the area. Shields was Irish born and had Irish troops. One of the Sixth Regiment Irishmen remarked, “Them Germans is poor creatures, but Shields’ boys will be after fighting.” The Irishman was referring to a prior battle in which the German soldiers – composed of mostly recent arrived German immigrants – performed very poorly in battle. They ran in the face of strong resistance. The Sixth Regiment soldier was saying that if the Union regiment has Irish soldiers, then they will fight with more determination than the prior Federal regiment.

Confederate Gen. Taylor responded that his boys could match Shields’ soldiers any time. That remark brought a loud assurances from “half a hundred Tipperary throats.” “You may bet your life on that sor,” said one.


James P. Gannon, Irish Rebels, Confederate Tigers (De Capo Press 1998), p. 42.

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