Thomas Francis Meagher is a former governor of the Montana Territory. The Montana Historical Society said the statue was meant to portray Meagher as "the gallant commanding officer of the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War, guiding his Irish brothers through some of the most difficult battles of that war."
Meagher, an Irish nationalist, was the leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848. He was convicted of sedition and sentenced to a penal colony in Australia.
In 1852 he escaped and made his way to the United States where he settled in New York City. He joined the army and rose through the ranks to become a brigadier general.
After the war in 1865 he became the acting governor of the Montana Territory. He drowned in 1867 in the Missouri River at Fort Benton having fallen from a steam boat.