1829 – Fr. John B. Bannon, Confederate Army Chaplain, is born in Co. Leitrim.

Confederate chaplain and sometime diplomat John B. Bannon is born in Roosky, Co. Leitrim. Shortly after being ordained at Maynooth in 1853, he emigrated like so many of his parishioners and settled in St. Louis. For much of the war, he was chaplain to the First Missouri Confederate Brigade.

Bannon was captured and released twice before being asked by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to conduct a diplomatic mission to the Vatican to persuade Pope Pius IX to recognize the Confederacy. Following his (failed) Vatican mission, he returned to Ireland where he discouraged Irish support for the Union and in particular warned of what was effectively press-ganging of Irish (and other) immigrants by Union forces as soon as they came off the boat. One scam involved encouraging immigrants to declare US citizenship as soon as they landed. Once that declaration was made, the poor unfortunate was immediately conscripted as a US citizen.

Bannon never returned to America and became a Jesuit priest, dying in 1913.



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