Volunteers of Ireland

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For other units with the same regimental number, see 105th Regiment of Foot (disambiguation).
Volunteers of Ireland
Active 1778-1784
Country  Great Britain
Allegiance  British Army
Branch infantry
Type British provincial unit and later, became British establishment
Size regiment (1,000)

American Revolutionary War


The Volunteers of Ireland also, known as the 2nd American Regiment and the 105th Regiment of Foot was a British Provincial military unit, raised for Loyalist service, during the American Revolutionary War, which was later added to the British regular army. The Volunteers of Ireland should not be confused, with the contemporaneous Irish Volunteers an autonomous militia that supported the Irish Patriot Party, in the 1770s and 1780s.

Regiment formed[edit]

The "Volunteers of Ireland" were raised, in Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania, in 1778 and went to New York City, with the British Army, in April 1778. The regiment was placed on the American establishment as the 2nd American Regiment on May 2, 1779, by Francis Rawdon-Hastings, an Irish lord who had joined the British Army and rose through the officer ranks and had been given permission to form a British Provincial regiment from Irishmen, serving in other Loyalist units, in the American Thirteen Colonies.[1]


Following the Patriot surrender in 1780 at Charleston, the Volunteers helped win the Battle of Camden, where Sergeant Thomas Hudson received a decoration for heroism, one of only two such decorations given during the duration of the prosecution of the war to a soldier of the British Army. The regiment was the primary unit in the 1781 Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, as well as the later, relief of the Loyalist fort, in the Siege of Ninety-Six. They remained in South Carolina until the British surrender of General Lord Cornwallis, at Yorktown. The regiment was removed from the Province of South Carolina and taken by ship to New York. The Volunteers were put on the British establishment, as the 105th Regiment of Foot, on December 25, 1782.

Notable Volunteers of Ireland[edit]

  • Thomas Hudson

Regiment disbanded and resettled in England and Ireland[edit]

The soldiers of, the Volunteers of Ireland were mustered out in New York City, and taken by ship to Nova Scotia. This was in response to the policy of resettlement for British colonists displaced from their lands during the war, coupled with the fact that the vast majority of soldiers were Irish, and England had no desire to return Irish emigrants back to England or Ireland, as it needed new settlers in Canada. It was also much cheaper to move them to Canada than to bring them to England. The regiment was placed in a cadre status, and officially "moved" to England in 1784.


Today, one can find communities with the name "Rawdon", established by former soldiers of the Volunteers of Ireland and named after their commanding officer.


  1. ^ Middelkauff R., The Glorious Cause Oxford University Press (1982) p.455.