The 69th Infantry Regiment ‘Fighting Irish’ was founded in 1849


The 69th Regiment, known as “The Fighting Irish”, was founded on December 21, 1849. In November 2019, ahead of its 170th anniversary, a special Irish whiskey was unveiled to commemorate the iconic force.

The Fighting 69th Regiment takes pride of place in New York’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at the top of the march, and now they have a new Irish whiskey named in their honor.

Read more: Heroic priest ‘Fighting 69th’ memorial to be unveiled for Veterans Day

On November 19, the official launch of the Fighting 69th Whiskey took place at the Tara Rose Irish Bar, not far from the Regiment’s headquarters on Lexington Avenue and East 25th Street.

The whiskey will initially be available in New York and other East Coast cities, just in time to mark the regiment’s 170th anniversary on December 21, 1849.

According to a press release, the concept of a special Irish whiskey dedicated to the 69th was the brainchild of Colonel (Retired) James Tierney, a former officer in the unit and trustee of its non-profit Historical Trust. Having also served for ten years as historian of the 69th regiment, the idea came to him during one of his many stays in Ireland.

Colonel Bill Donovan (1883-1959) leads the parade of the 69th New York Volunteers up Fifth Avenue, New York, USA, circa 1918.

“With our strong Irish heritage, members of the 69th are invited to Waterford each year to take part in the annual tricolor celebration, which marks the creation in 1848 of the flag that would eventually become the national flag of the Republic of Ireland,” Tierney recalled. .

“It has been an honor for me to attend the celebration frequently and a few years ago, while enjoying the festivities with a taste of local whiskey, it occurred to me that the Fighting 69th should have its own Irish whiskey.

“A partner from the Espiritus Group, a spirits development and marketing company, was visiting the armory and I brought up the idea of ​​a Fighting 69th Irish whiskey. He was immediately intrigued, and we were on our way. for this to happen.”

Scott Reid, director of marketing for Espiritus, said the company’s management team were strong supporters of the US military and quickly embraced the idea of ​​an Irish whiskey for the preeminent unit of the Irish army.

“It just made sense,” Reid said. “Some of the best whiskeys in the world come from Ireland and the category is currently on fire. To be able to help create a great brand of whiskey and associate it with a military unit with the reputation and tradition of the 69th Infantry Regiment was a opportunity that we simply could not pass up.

A portion of the sale of each bottle sold will benefit the trust and support its historic preservation mission as well as philanthropic activities on behalf of the regiment’s veterans and their families.

You can read more about The Fighting 69th Irish Whiskey on their website.

The origin of the 69th regiment

According to, “After the failure of the Irish Youth Rebellion in 1848, Irish revolutionary activity was transferred from Ireland to New York. Irish patriots in New York thought they should form an Irish Brigade composed of Irish regiments to liberate Ireland from British control. To this end they began to organize independent military companies in New York. In late 1848 and early 1849 the first companies were formed. exercises were conducted at the central market and in mid-1849 a skeleton of the First Irish Regiment As can be seen from the Certificate of Lineage and Honors, which hangs on the wall in the entrance hall of the 69th Armoury, c It is to this regiment that the 69th traces its earliest history and lineage of the 69th Regiment can be found online.

“Michael Doheny, a refugee from the failed revolt of 1848 was one of the company commanders of this regiment. He was instrumental in the founding of all the early Irish regiments.

“In the summer of 1849, and continuing into the fall, the Irish leaders in New York entered into negotiations with the State to form an Irish regiment from the existing and future independent Irish companies. On December 21, 1849, the first regiment Irish was adopted. by the State. (This date is the officially recognized date of organization for the 69th Regiment.)”


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