Volunteers of Ireland

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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.



The regiment was raised in Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania, as the Volunteers of Ireland in 1777 and went to New York City with the British Army in April 1778.[1] The regiment was placed on the American establishment as the 2nd American Regiment (Volunteers of Ireland) on 2 May 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.[2]

American Revolutionary War[edit]

Following the Patriot surrender at Charleston in May 1780, 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 Battle of Hobkirk's Hill in April 1781, as well as the relief of the Loyalist fort, at the Siege of Ninety-Six in May 1781. They remained in South Carolina until the British surrender of General Lord Cornwallis, at Yorktown in October 1781. 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 25 December 1782.[1]


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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Volunteers of Ireland". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Middelkauff R., The Glorious Cause Oxford University Press (1982) p.455.