Most histories refer to the 8th Virginia as "the German Regiment." It was certainly led by Germans: Peter Muhlenberg, Abraham Bowman, and Peter Helphinstine. But many or even most of the enlisted men were "Scotch Irish." The term Scotch Irish didn't exist then, however. They were simply called "Irish," even though their ancestors often came from Scotland via Northern Ireland. They were universally Protestant, but Presbyterian--a denomination that most British soldiers equated with revolutionary sentiment. The term "Scotch Irish" was conceived seventy years later to distinguish them from the Catholic Irish who began to come to American in large numbers in the 1840s. Here's an interesting article on the difference between "Irish" and "Scotch Irish" in American history and culture.
I use the term "Scotch-Irish" and "Protestant Irish" and sometimes just "Irish" interchangeably. Occasionally, someone will tell me that the proper term is "Scots-Irish." I've stuck with "Scotch-Irish" because it is the traditional term and the one I was taught. "Scotch" is also the original term, dating back three centuries. It shows up in Scotch Tape, Scotch plaid, and Scotch whiskey. It is, however, now distinctly American. If you go to the British Isles they will correct you if you say "Scotch" to refer to a person.
"You say 'tom-AH-to' and I say 'tom-AY-to.'" As an American blog about American history, "Scotch-Irish" seems like the right term here.
(Revised, April 26, 2020)
is researching the history of the Revolutionary War's 8th Virginia Regiment. Its ten companies formed on the frontier, from the Cumberland Gap to Pittsburgh.
© 2015-2020 Gabriel Neville