#OnThisDay 1827 Brig General Michael Corcoran was born in Ballymote, Sligo. Corcoran had joined the Revenue police in Ireland in 1846, which aimed to stop illicit alcohol production. Corcoran was stationed in Creelough, Donegal but felt his struggle was more akin to the poor farmers and poteen makers than the police. He became involved with the Ribbonmen, a local agrarian group who threatened local landlords to lower rents. The police became suspicious so just before his 22nd birthday, Corcoran left for New York.
He soon became the Colonel in the New York ‘Fightin 69th’ Regiment & in 1860 refused to parade for the Prince of Wales. This was because he could not celebrate the arrival of a member of the English royal family who were responsible for so much death and destruction during the Famine in Ireland. Corcoran was court-martialled for this but the outbreak of the American Civil War saw him reinstated. He led the 69th into battle at the Battle of First Bull Run, where he was captured and spent two years in Confederate prison. Once released he formed Corcoran’s Irish Legion but died in 1863.