Speaker Series: Dr. Tim Johnson

Dr. Tim Johnson, guest curator of the exhibit “Shaping a Nation: Tennessee Volunteers & the Mexican-American War” will be back on March 17th at 4pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Parrish Hall, next door to the Polk Home visitor’s center. 

During the war with Mexico, several hundred immigrants who had joined the U.S. Army deserted and joined the Mexican Army. Mostly Irish Catholics, they deserted after being subjected to religious persecution and xenophobia from superior officers. Led by John Riley, the deserters formed a crack fighting unit called The Saint Patrick’s Battalion, and they fought in virtually every major battle of the war. Late in the war, at the Battle of Churubusco, 72 members of the unit were captured by American forces. After a military tribunal, 30 were executed by hanging and the rest were whipped and branded with the letter “D” for deserter. It remains the largest mass execution in American history. 


The Shaping a Nation Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Please RSVP through the Eventbrite linked below.

© 2024 President James K. Polk Home and Museum

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