A Fighting 69th flag carried by the Irish Brigade in numerous battles during the American Civil War was flown by members of the mob who attacked the Capitol in Washington on January 6th. The flag is one of the enduring symbols of Irish identity in the United States.

“I am absolutely disgusted by the attack on the Capitol" said former congressman  Joe Crowley. “And to see the battle flag of our forebears from the Fighting 69th desecrated by being used by those thugs and terrorists sickens me. Watching the destruction and violence shook me to my core.”

NBCnews showed the flag in the background as rioters attacked the Capitol Building, While it is impossible to identify who is carrying the flag, it is possible another video will turn up the people who flew the deeply symbolic flag with its motto “Who Never Retreated from the Clash of Spears. (translated from the Irish)

The  Irish Brigade lost more men than any other brigade during the Civil War.

The flag flew proudly at the Battle of Antietam, Battle of Fredericksburg. and Battle of Chancellorsville as well as at Gettysburg where the brigade performed heroically despite having far fewer numbers due to heavy casualties..

Its most famous commander was Thomas Francis Meagher, “Meagher of the Sword.” The Waterford exile became a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln and stood with him on ending slavery. Meagher went even further calling for voting rights for African Americans. 

A painting of the Irish Brigade, the Fighting 69th, fighting below their famous flag.

A painting of the Irish Brigade, the Fighting 69th, fighting below their famous flag.

The flag flies in the chamber of the Irish parliament, gifted by . President John F. Kennedy during his Irish trip in the summer of 1963.

A furious Crowley stated the Capitol building is “the tabernacle of our democracy,” pointing out that. ”Abraham Lincoln himself served in the Old House Chamber.”