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of Killala was assured by an intelligent officer of the King's army, that the victors were within a trifle of being beaten. I was myself told by a gentleman, who rode as a volunteer on that day, that, to the best of his belief, it was merely a mistaken order of the rebel chiefs, causing a false application of a select reserve at a very critical moment, which had saved his own party from a decisive repulse. It may be added, upon almost universal testimony, that the re-capture of Killala was abused, not only as respected the defeated rebels, but also as respected the loyalists of that town. The regiments that came to their assistance, being all militia, seemed to think that they had a right to take the property they had been the means of preserving, and to use it as their own whenever they stood in need of it. Their rapacity differed in no respect from that of the rebels, except that they seized upon things with less of ceremony and excuse, and that his Majesty's soldiers were incomparably superior to the Irish traitors. in dexterity at stealing. In consequence, the town grew very weary of their guests, and were glad to see them march off to other quarters.'
The military operations in this brief campaign were discreditable, in the last degree, to the energy, to the vigilance, and to the steadiness of the Orange army. Humbert had been a leader against the royalists of La Vendée, as well as on the Rhine; consequently he was an ambidextrous enemy fitted equally for partisan warfare, and the tactics of regular armies. Keenly alive to the necessity under his circumstances of vigor and despatch, after occupying Killala on the evening of the 22d August, (the day of his disembarkation,) where the small garrison of 50 men, (yeomen and fencibles) had made a tolerable resistance; and after other trifling affairs, on the 26th, he had marched against Castlebar, with about 800 of his own men,
and 1500 or 1000 of the rebels. Here was the advanced post of the Royal army. General Lake, (the Lord Lake of India,) and Major General Hutchinson, (the Lord Hutchinson of Egypt,) had assembled upon this point a respectable force; some say upwards of 4000, others not more than 1100; I heard from what may be considered respectable eye-witnesses, that the whole amount might be reckoned fairly at 2500. The disgraceful result is well known the French, marching all night over mountain roads, and through one pass which was thought impregnable, if it had been occupied by a battalion, instead of a captain's guard, surprised Castlebar on the morning of the 27th. I say surprised,' for no word, short of that, can express the circumstances of the case. About two o'clock in the morning, a courier had brought intelligence of the French advance; but from some unaccountable obstinacy at head-quarters, such as had proved fatal more than either once or twice in the Wexford campaign, his news was disbelieved; yet, if disbelieved, why, therefore, neglected? Neglected, however it was; and at seven, when the news was found to be true, the Royal army was drawn out in hurry and confusion to meet the enemy. The French, on their part, seeing our strength, looked for no better result for themselves than summary surrender, more especially as our artillery was well served, and soon began to tell upon their ranks. Better hopes first arose, as they afterwards declared, upon observing that many of the troops fired in a disorderly way, without waiting for the word of command; upon this they took new measures: in a few minutes a panic arose; and, in spite of all that could be done by the officers, the whole army ran. General Lake ordered a retreat; and then the flight became irretrievable. The troops reached Tuam, thirty miles distant, on that same day; and one small party of mounted men actually pushed
on the next morning to Athlone, which is above sixty miles from Castlebar. Fourteen pieces of artillery were lost on this occasion. However, it ought to be mentioned that some serious grounds appeared afterwards for suspecting treachery: most of those who had been reported 'missing,' on this first battle, having been afterwards observed in the ranks of the enemy, - where it is remarkable enough, (or perhaps it argues that not being fully relied on by their new allies, they were put forward on the most dangerous services,) all of these deserters perished to a man. Meantime, the new Lord Lieutenant, having his foot constantly in the stirrup, marched from Dublin without a moment's delay. By means of the grand canal, he made a forced march of fifty-six English miles in two days; which brought him to Kilbeggan on the 27th. Very early on the following morning he received the unpleasant news from Castlebar. Upon this he advanced to Athlone, meeting every indication of a routed and panic-struck army. Lord Lake was retreating upon that town, and thought himself so little secure, even at this distance from the enemy, that the road from Tuam was covered with strong patrols. Meantime, in ludicrous contrast to these demonstrations of alarm, the French had never stirred an inch from Castlebar. On the 4th of September, Lord Cornwallis was within fourteen miles of that place. Humbert, however, had previously dislodged towards the county of Longford. His motive for this movement was to cooperate with an insurrection in that quarter, which had just then broken out in strength. He was now, however, hemmed in by a large army of perhaps 25,000 men, advancing from all points, a few moves were all that remained of the game, played with whatever skill. Colonel Vereker, with about 300 of the Limerick militia, first came up with him, and skirmished very creditably,
(September 6,) with part, or (as the Colonel always maintained) with the whole of the French army. Other affairs of trivial importance followed; and at length on the 8th of September, General Humbert surrendered with his whole army, now reduced to 844 men, of whom 96 were officers, having lost, since their landing at Killala, exactly 283 men. The rebels were not admitted to any terms; they were pursued and cut down without mercy. However, it is pleasant to know, that from their agility in escaping, this cruel policy was defeated: not much above 500 perished and thus were secured to the Royal party the worst results of vengeance the fiercest, and clemency the most undistinguishing, without any one advantage of either. Some districts, as Laggan and Eris, were treated with martial rigor: the cabins being burned, and their unhappy tenants driven out into the mountains for the winter. Rigor, therefore, there was; for the most humane politicians, erroneously as I conceive, believed it necessary for the army to leave behind some impressions of terror amongst the insurgents. It is certain, however, that under the counsels of Lord Cornwallis, the standards of public severity were very much lowered, as compared with the previous examples in Wexford.
The tardiness and slovenly execution of the whole service, meantime, was well illustrated in what follows:
Killala was not delivered from rebel hands until the 23d of September, notwithstanding the general surrender had occurred on the 8th, and then only in consequence of an express from the Bishop to General Trench, hastening his march. The situation of the Protestants was indeed critical. Humbert had left three French officers to protect the place, but their influence gradually had sunk to a mere shadow. And plans of pillage, with all its attendant horrors, were daily debated. Under these circumstances, the
French officers behaved honorably and courageously. 'Yet,' says the Bishop, the poor commandant had no reason to be pleased with the treatment he had received immediately after the action. He had returned to the castle for his sabre, and advanced with it to the gate, in order to deliver it up to some English officer, when it was seized and forced from his hand by a common soldier of Fraser's. He came in, got another sword, which he surrendered to an officer, and turned to re-enter the hall. At this moment a second Highlander burst through the gate, in spite of the sentinel placed there by the General, and fired at the commandant with an aim that was near proving fatal, for the ball passed under his arm, piercing a very thick door entirely through, and lodging in the jamb. Had we lost the worthy man by such an accident, his death would have spoiled the whole relish of our present enjoyment. He complained and received an apology for the soldier's behavior from his officer. Leave was immediately granted to the three French officers [left at Killala] to keep their swords, their effects, and even their bed-chambers in the house.'
So terminated the Irish civil war of 1798; or, with reference to its local limitation, the Civil War of Connaught. But in the year 1798, Ireland was the scene of two rebellions; one in the autumn, confined to Connaught, it is this which I have been circumstantially retracing, — and another in the latter end of spring, which spent its rage upon the county of Wexford. These two had no immediate connection: that in Connaught was not the product of its predecessor; each, in fact, resting upon causes however ultimately the same, had its own separate occasions and immediate excitements; and each had its own separate leaders and local agents. The one was a premature explosion of the great conspiracy conducted for