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which no return has been published; our loss of men has never been stated accurately, nor the loss of the French ever known
The Marquis Cornwallis, from the first intelligence of the invasion, had, notwithstanding the smallness of the invading army, been so sensible of the danger of rekindling the smothered flame of rebellion as to have determined to march in person against the enemy. His Excellency saw that the utmost caution was expedient, as well as vigour in the movements of his forces. The motions of the main army, immediately under his own command, were calculated to cover the country, to intimidate the abettors of rebellion, and to afford an opportunity of rallying to any smaller bodies of troops which might be defeated; while these bodies were ordered to harass the enemy as much as possible without running risks, or engaging in battle without certainty of success. The marquis proceeded on the 30th of August in the road to Castlebar, and arrived on the 4th of September at Hollymount, fourteen miles distant from Castlebar; in the evening of that day he received intelligence, that the enemy had abandoned their post, and marched to Foxford.
After their victory at Castlebar, the French received great accessions of Irish peasantry to their standard, who encreased indeed the numbers of the enemy, but proved to be of no effectual aid to them; the French had been taught to expect far more powerful assistance from the Irish.
The advanced guard of the French having arrived at Coloony, was opposed on the 5th by Colonel Verreker of the City of Limerick Militia, who had marched from Sligo for the purpose, with about two hundred infantry, thirty of the 24th regiment of light dragoons, and two curricle guns. The colonel found the enemy arranged for his reception between him and the town of Coloony. After a smart action of about an hour's continuance, he was obliged to retreat, with the loss of his artillery, to Sligo, whence he withdrew his little army to Ballyshannon. Colonel Verreker proved himself a man of ability, spirit, and courage, in this affair: he was actually engaged with the whole French force, though he conceived himself to be engaged with the vanguard only.
This opposition, though attended with defeat to the opposers, is supposed to have caused the French general to relinquish his design on Sligo. He directed his march by Drummahair toward Manorhamilton in the county of Leitrim, leaving on the road, for the sake of expedition, three six pounders dismounted, and throwing five pieces more of artillery over the bridge at Drummahair, into the river. In approaching Manorhamilton he suddenly wheeled to the right, taking his way by Drumke
rim, perhaps with design of attempting, if possible, to reach Granard in the county of Longford, where an alarming insurrection had taken place. Crawford's troops hung so close on the rear guard of the French, as to come to action with it on the 7th, between Drumshambo and Ballynamore, in which action they were repulsed with some loss, and admonished to observe more caution in the pursuit. The French on their side are said to have mistaken the Colonel's army for the van-guard of the British army, and to have been thereby prevented from attempting to surround it.*
The French army, passing the Shannon at Ballintra, and halting some hours in the night at Claone, arrived at Ballinamuck on the 8th of September, so closely followed by the troops of Colonel Crawford and General Lake, that its rear guard was unable to break the bridge at Ballintra, to impede the pursuit ; while Lord Cornwallis, with the grand army, crossed the same river at Carrick-on-Shannon, marched by Mohill to Saint-Johnstown, in the county of Longford, in order to intercept the enemy in front, in his way to Granard; or should he proceed, to surround him with an army of thirty thousand men. In this desperate situation, Humbert arranged his forces, with no other object, as it must be presumed, than to maintain the honour of the French arms. The rear-guard having been attacked by Colonel Crawford, about two hundred of the French infantry surrendered. The rest continued to defend themselves for above half an hour, when, on the appearance of the main body of General Lake's army, they also surrendered, after they had made Lord Roden, with a body of dragoons, a prisoner. His lordship had precipitately advanced into the French lines to ob tain their surrender. The rebel auxiliaries, who had accompanied the French to this fatal field, being excluded from quarter, fled in all directions, and were pursued with the slaughter of about five hundred men, which seems much less to exceed the truth, than the returns of slain in the south-eastern parts of the island. Notwithstanding the diminution by desertions on the march, about one thousand five hundred rebels were with the French army at Ballinamuck, at the time of the surrender of Humbert. The loss of our troops was officially stated at three privates killed, twelve wounded, three missing, and one officer wounded. The troops of General Humbert were found, when prisoners, to consist of seven hundred and forty six privates, and ninety-six officers, having sustained a loss of about two hundred men since their landing at Killala on the 22d of August.
• Humbert is reported to have said, that Colonel Vereker was the only Bri tish officer he had faced that was fit to command fifty men.
It must ever remain an humiliating reflection upon the lustre and power of the British arms, that so pitiful a detachment as that of eleven hundred French infantry, should, in a kingdom, in which there was an armed force of above 150,000 men, have not only put to rout a select army of six thousand men, prepared to receive the invaders, but also provided themselves with ordnance and ammunition from our stores, taken several of our towns, marched* 122 Irish (above 150 English) miles through the country, and kept arms in their victorious hands for seventeen days in the heart of an armed kingdom. But it was this British army, which the untemporizing and gallant Abercrom bie had, on the 26th of February, found in such a state of licen tiousness, that must render it formidable to every one but the
The prudence of Lord Cornwallis in the plan of his move ments, in a line between the French and the interior country, is evinced, from the failure of an insurrection in the neighbourhood of Granard, which had taken place while the French were marching from Castlebar, and had been designed as a powerful diversion in their favour, and even to afford them a commanding post, whence they might more conveniently direct their operations against the metropolis. The plan was, first to seize the town of Granard, and then to attack the town of Cavan, where considerable stores of arms and ammunition were deposited. Granard was nearly surprised by a body of some thousand rebels, chiefly from Westmeath and Longford, on the 5th of September; but it was most ably defended by Captain Cottingham, of the Cavan and Ballyhaife yeoman infantry, whose whole force consisted of a hundred and fifty-seven infantry, and forty
* The following was the route of the French.
Round the west end of Lough Bar, and over the Barna
gee mountains to Foxford
Cross the river May to Swineford
To Manor Hamilton
Back to Drumkerin
Cross to Drumsnave
nine cavalry. Between two and three in the afternoon the rebels fled, and were pursued with great slaughter. Notwithstanding the speedy suppression of the rebels in the neighbourhood of Granard, and the surrender of the French army two days after at Ballynamuck, yet, in the county of Mayo, where they had first risen to assist the invaders, they still persevered in a state of insurrection. Humbert's surrender was not known in these parts for some days after. Castlebar, which on its evacuation by the French, had been occupied by the king's troops, was attacked in the morning of the 12th of September, by a body of rebels, reported to be two thousand in number. The garrison, consisting of fifty-seven of Fraser's fencibles, thirty-four volunteers, and one troop of yeoman cavalry, was so judiciously posted by Captain Urquhart, of the Fraser's, as to completely rout the assailants, whose object probably was to plunder the town. All the places which had fallen into the hands of the rebels were now recovered, except Ballina and Killala, which remained some time longer in their possession. On his march from Castlebar on the 4th of September, Humbert had left no part of his army at Killala or Ballina, except three officers at the former, and one at the latter, to command the rebels who formed the garrisons of those towns. No force was detached from the army to re-occupy Ballina, till the 22d of September, about three o'clock in the afternoon, when, upon their approach, the rebel garrison, with its French commander, Truc, fled towards Killala.
On the 22d of September, thirty-two days after the landing of the French army, and fifteen after its capture at Ballinamuck, a large body of troops arrived at Killala, under the command of Major General Trench, who would have been still some days later in his arrival, had he not been hastened by a message from the bishop, to announce the fearful apprehensions his lordship's family, and the other loyalists were under, from the ferocity of the rebels.
On the 23d of September, the arrival of General Trench, with a part of the army at Killala, and some other transactions of the French, whilst that part of the country was in the inglorious subjection to their rule, are thus faithfully narrated by the right reverend eye witness of them.*
"A troop of fugitives in full race from Ballina, women and children, tumbling over one another to get into the castle, or into any house in the town where they might hope for a momentary shelter, continued for a painful length of time to give notice of the approach of an army.
*Narr. p. 145
The rebels quitted their camp to occupy the rising ground close by the town, on the road to Ballina, and posted themselves under the low stone walls on each side, in such a manner as enabled them with great advantage to take aim at the king's troops. They had a strong guard also on the other side of the town towards Foxford, having probably received intelligence, which was true, that General Trench had divided his forces at Crosmalina, and sent one part of them by a detour of three miles to intercept the fugitives, that might take that course in their flight. This last detachment consisted chiefly of the Kerry militia, under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Crosbie and Maurice Fitzgerald the knight of Kerry, their colonel the Earl of Clandore attending the general. It is a circumstance, which ought never to be forgotten by the loyalists of Killala, that the Kerry militia were so wrought upon by the exhortations of those two spirited officers, to lose no time in coming to the relief of their perishing friends, that they appeared on the south side of the town at the same instant with their fellows on the opposite side, though they had a league more of road to perform.
The two divisions of the royal army were supposed to make up about twelve hundred men, and they had five pieces of cannon. The number of the rebels could not be ascertained. Many ran away before the engagement, while a very considerable number flocked into the town in the very heat of it, passing under the castle windows in view of the French officers on horseback, and running upon death, with as little appearance of reflection or concern, as if they were hastening to a show. About four hundred of these misguided men fell in the battle, and immediately after it. Whence it may be conjectured, that their entire number scarcely exceeded eight or nine hundred.
The whole scene passed in sight of the castle, and so near it, that the family could distinctly hear the balls whistling by their ears.
We kept our eyes on the rebels, who seemed to be posted with so much advantage behind the stone walls that lined the road. They levelled their pieces, fired very deliberately from each side on the advancing enemy, yet (strange to tell!) were able only to kill one man, a corporal, and wound one common soldier. Their shot, in general, went over the heads of their opponents, A regiment of highlanders (Fraser's fencibles) filed off to right and left, to flank the fusileers behind the hedges and walls; they had a marshy ground on the left to surmount before they could come upon their object, which occasioned some delay, but at length they reached them, and made sad havoc among them. Then followed the Queen's County