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AN

HISTORICAL REVIEW

OF THE

STATE OF IRELAND.

THE town of Enniscorthy is situated at the foot of a commanding eminence called Vinegar Hill: here the rebels formed, what they called a camp:* made entrenchments round it, and placed some batteries on them. They then stationed a large garrison in the town, which was relieved every day by an offi. cer's guard from the camp. Such great numbers of the lower class of the people from the adjacent country focked to their camp,

that it soon consisted of at least ten thousand men, women and children. They posted strong piquet guards, sentinels, and videts in all the avenues leading to the town, and for some miles round it. They then proceeded to destroy, with wanton and bigotted ferocity, the interior of the church of Enniscorthy.t

A body of more than 1000 rebels in advancing towards Go. rey on the 1st of June, had taken possession of a small village called Ballycannoo, four miles to the south of Gorey, and were proceeding to take possession of an advantageous post called Bally manaan Hill, midway between the village and the town,

It is remarkable that the small town of Clonnegall, under the command of Lieutenant Holmes. (a justice) of the North Cork, was kept under such laudable discipline and firmness, that though in the neighbourhood of Carnew, it never fell into the hands of the rebels.

+ This is the first outrage committed by the rebels on a Protestant church. They were afterwards repeated in some, though not very many instances. 'In order to avoid the odious detail of the wanton destruction of places of divine worship, a list may be seen of the Catholic chapels destroyed in time of and after the rebeilion, in Appendix, No. CXII.

VOL. V.

A

when they were met by the whole of the small garrison of Gorey, and by a steady and well directed fire, the rebels were soon completely routed. The garrison consisted only of twenty of the Antrim and twenty of the North Cork militia, with fifty yeoman infantry, and three troops of yeoman cavalry.* Had the cavalry pursued, they might have greatly annoyed the rebels. This victorious band on their return to Gorey fired most of the houses at Ballicannoo, and entered the town in triumph with 100 horses and other spoil, which they had taken. In this, as in every other engagement at the beginning of the rebellion, the insurgents elevated their guns too much for execution ; which accounts for the paucity of the slain on the part of the king's troops : on this occasion three only were wounded and none killed. The rebels are said to have lost above threescore.

This success, coupled with that at Newtonbarry, gave a momentary check to the ardour of the rebels. A party from Vinegar

Hill surrounded this latter town in such a manner, that Colonel L'Estrange, more hastily it appears, than necessarily, gave orders to abandon it, contrary to the earnest remonstrances of the officers of the yeomen and volunteers. After a retreat of about a mile, he yielded to the solicitations of Lieutenant Colonel Westenra, and suffered the troops to be led back to the succour of a few determined lovalists, who had remained in the town, and continued a fire on the enemy from some houses. This accidental maneuvre had all the advantages of a preconcerted stratagem. T'he rebels, who had rushed into the street in a confused multitude, intent on plunder and devastation, and totally unapprehensive of the return of the troops, were unprepared and driven out of the town with the loss of about two hundred men.t

One of the great mischiefs attendant upon the necessary dispersion of our troops into small detachments, was the multipli. cation of commands; which sometimes necessarily fell upon persons little qualified for that arduous charge, under the criti. cal and delicate situation of the army. Whatever excesses and faults were unfortunately committed by them, cast disgrace and

The Reverend Mr. Gordon recounts (p. 136.) an occurrence after the bat. tle, of which his son was a witness, which greatly illustrates the state of the country at that time : “ two yeomen coming to a brake or clump of bushes, “ and observing a small motion, as if some persons were hiding there, one of " them fired into it, and the shot was answered by a most piteous and loud ".screech of a child The other yeoman was then urged by his companion to “ fire ; but he being a gentleman, and less ferocious, instead of firing, com“ manded the concealed persons to appear, when a poor woman and eight “chuldren, almost naked, one of whom was severely wounded, came trembling “ from the brake, where they had secreted themselves for safety.”

+ The light in which this conduct of the commanding officer at Ne: tonbarry was set forth in the official bulletin, was, that bu at first retreated in oriler to collect bis forces.

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