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men must be conclusive. It may easily be conceived, that, on this communication, horribly vociferated by Dixon, and reechoed by his wife, the populace became ungovernable. The people instantly approved of his plan, and demanded that all Orangemen should be sent out to them. Eighteen intended for execution were first conducted from the gaol, under a strong guard, headed by Dixon, flanked by two Orange informers, whom he wished to exhibit as the grand support of his conduct. The fate of the prisoners was quickly decided, on their being conducted to the bridge. The proceedings concerning them were summary indeed. It was asked, did any one know any good action of the intended victim sufficient to save his life? If no answer were made, the assertion of an individual of some deed against the people, was conclusive evidence of guilt, and immediately death was the consequence, on this primary denunciation by Captain Dixon.*
The following letter of Dr. Caulfield, though not intended for publication, I have considered as too material to be suppressed from the public. It was written in the next month after the tragical scene at Wexford.
Wexford, July 31, 1798. "To the Right Rev. Dr. TROY.
"It is impossible for me to gratify your curiosity, as I cannot collect or recollect the particulars of our conduct, or the individuals we endeavoured to serve or save during three long weeks of tragical confusion; and if I could, I really feel that modesty and decency would forbid me, because it would appear, that we claimed gratitude from the individuals, and acknowledgements from the public, which as it strikes me would appear ostentatious and indecorous. Certain it is, we could name many, very many persons, who, I apprehend, would not be pleased at seeing their names and religious professions published by us. I can say, there is not a Protestant, Presbyterian or Quaker in this town or adjoining baronies of Forth, Bargy, Keelmaler, Ballaghkeen, besides many from Enniscorthy, and other more remote parts, who fled and flocked in here, except such as quitted the country, that did not call on us for protection, and that we were employed from morning till night writing, speaking, and pleading for them, to procure protection from the leaders or chiefs of the insurrection, and in general we succeeded for the first fortnight. After that, the evil sanguinary spirit broke loose, and no protection availed. Our houses were constantly thronged, and every part, garrets, back houses, yards, every place filled with the people, their furniture, goods of all kinds. But, it soon became treason to plead for protection, for they were all Orangemen, and would destroy us all. In vain did we urge humanity, charity, religion, mercy. I declared, if any of them had killed my friend, my brother, or father, that I would protect and save him, if he threw himself on my mercy; for it was by shewing mercy, that I could expect mercy myself. This conduct and language graduated me equal to an Orangeman; my house must be pulled down or burnt, and my head knocked off. This last sentence was boldly pronounced to my face, surrounded as I was by four or five thousand pikes, spears, or muskets, when I was striving to save Lord Kingsborough's life, which we providentially effected by gaining over a few of those rebels, who had influence over the rest. That task engaged me from nine o'clock in the morning till eight in the evening, during which time I had not moment's rest, nor did I expect it in this wicked world, and I was alone, i. e. without any of the clergy with me the latter part of the day, except the Rev. James Roche, who mostly remained within doors with Lord Kingsborough. There were other priests there too,
We must leave the tumultuary horrors of Wexford to follow the movements of the army, which led to the final liberation of
from the country, but dared not shew themselves or speak, for fear of pikes, &c. I remained until the king's army began to come in (it was Thursday the 21st of June), then I was in as perilous a situation as ever, not knowing but an indiscriminate slaughter might be their first act. However, I sat down with Lord Kingsborough and some others at his place of concealment to a bit of salt beef at the fall of night, and got a Captain Bourke of the North Cork militia, a worthy fellow, to escort me home. Two days before this the demon of murder broke out, and a banditti as if dispatched from hell assailed the gaol and barrack, both crammed with prisoners, and called them out by dozens to be executed, and two prison ships in the harbour, to be brought out, two others to be executed on the bridge. The Rev. Mr. Corrin dined with me, for my cry to the clergy was, that we should keep together, living or dying; and at the close of dinner a call for him came from Mr. Kellet, who was brought from the ship to the bridge for execution. He ran with all speed, and found Kellet and several others waiting the awful moment. He addressed the wretches in the best manner he could, warned them, that the blood they were spilling and to spill must shortly appear against them at the awful tribunal of God, and conjured them to stop, &c. &c. They did so, Kellet and the rest were allowed to live, and after that there was no massacre. Some days before there was a similar attack on the gaol, when Rev. Messrs. Corrin and Broe happened to be there and prevented its intended effect. On the above mentioned day, Mr. Corrin went home with Mr. Kellett, and all I could do could not bring him to town for near a week, although I sent him General Lake's protection. He had really pined away to a skeleton. My condition was, providentially for me, the reverse; for I never felt myself more vigorous, and the more pressing the difficulty and the more imminent the danger the firmer and the more steady was I. I had made up my mind to the worst at the set out, and afterwards took every occurrence as preparato y to the fatal moment I apprehended, and thus continued in unimpaired health, till the week before the last, when I was visited by a painful complaint for six days, but have got well rid of it, thank God. Indeed, the clergy of this town conducted themselves with zeal and activity through the whole, except while on board the vessel in harbour to which they occasionally fled to escape the fire, fury, &c. of the pikemen. When the rebels were defeated every where, and the king's army was approaching, a gentleman, my close neighbour, came to me and told me, he would go out to meet them at the risk of his life, and represent me to the commander as the protector of the Protestants, &c. I thanked him and said, that government well knew my loyalty, and I was satisfied gave proper instructions to the commanders, that I had nothing to fear from the king's forces except, by a general conflagration, but if necessary, I would avail myself of his kind offices, &c. I mentioned to you in a former letter my introduction to General Lake and his polite and kind attention to me, to the clergy, &c. His stay was short; but General Hunter, the day after he came here, called on me. I can't say it was so much a visit, as a confidential friendly conference. He has occasionally called on me since in the same confidential way, nor can I determine whether he deserves more credit for his sound understanding and judgment, or for his humane, compassionate feelings. He knows the spirit of prejudice prevailing here, as if he had lived many years among us. He condemns it as inimical to peace, tranquillity, and the public good. In a word, Providence has sent him a protecting angel to us. Now, my dear friend, do not call on me for further general detail; for I assure you, it sickens me on recollection, more than in the actual suffering. Infandum amice, jubes renovare dolorem. Through the whole I appeared publicly and with every degree of confidence, and for several days was stopt in the street at every step, to receive gratulations and thanks from the Protestants, for having saved them. Wishing you every happiness, I remain, &c.
that town from the ruthless tyranny of the rebels. After the battle at Arklow the royal army remained some days close within its quarters, sending out patroles with great caution, at first to a very small distance, and afterwards gradually farther. At last a troop of yeomen cavalry ventured so far on the road toward Gorey as to approach near the rebel station on Ask Hill. This post had been so thinned by perpetual desertions, that not more than a hundred men fit for action were then remaining in it, and these without a leader. About half of them fled with precipitation at the approach of the cavalry; the rest stripping to their shirts that they might be more expedite for the business, ran full speed to charge the cavalry with their pikes: but the latter avoided the attack, and retreated to Arklow with expedition. Immediately after, the country about Gorey was evacuated by the rebels, to the excessive joy of the loyalists, on whom they had been living at free quarter.
The army, at last, under Major General Needham, moved from Arklow to Gorey, on the 19th of June, and thence towards Enniscorthy on the 20th, according to a concerted plan, conducted by Lieutenant General Lake, that the great station of the rebels at Vinegar Hill should be surrounded by his majesty's forces, and attacked in all points at once. For this purpose, different armies moved at the same time from different quarters; one under Lieutenant General Dundas; another under Major Generals Sir James Duff and Loftus; that already mentioned from Arklow; and a fourth from Ross, under Major Generals Johnson and Eustace, who were to make the attack on the town of Enniscorthy. The march of the army from Ross was a kind of surprise to the bands of Philip Roche, on Lacken Hill, who fled in the utmost confusion, leaving their tents and a great quantity of plunder behind; separating into two bodies, one of which took its way to Wexford, the other to Vinegar Hill, where the Wexford insurgents were concentrating their force. This eminence, with the town of Enniscorthy at its foot, and the country for many miles round had been in possession of the rebels from the 28th of May, during which time the face of affairs had been indescribably
P. S. I did not go to the gaol or prison ship at all, nor did I hear of the horrid murders committed there, till the bloody scene was over, and it was then too late. I could not find that there were more than two or three of this town engaged in the massacres; for the townsmen had been that morning ordered out to camp near Enniscorthy, and a horde of miscreants, like so many bloodhounds, rushed in from the country, and swore they would burn the town, if the prisoners were not given up to them; and, at the time there was not a force sufficient to restrain them. Indeed, most of the United men themselves shuddered at the horrid deeds. Lord Kingsborough, Messrs. Kellett and Bland, and many other Protestant gentlemen may be applied to for particular information concerning my conduct and that of the Catholic clergy of this town, on and previous to the 21st of June, when the king's army entered it.
horrid. Of the hapless prisoners, who had fallen into the hands of the rebels, some were put to death when taken, but most were dragged to Vinegar Hill, where, after a sham trial, often without any form of trial, many of them were shot, or transfixed with pikes; some lashed, or otherwise barbarously treated before their final execution. Reports have carried the numbers of men thus butchered on this fatal spot to about four hundred in all. The Rev. Mr. Gordon gives a singular instance of his own parish of Killegny, five miles to the south-west of Enniscorthy, from the general slaughter; not one Protestant of that parish having been killed in the rebellion, nor a house burned. These people surrounded on all sides before they were aware, found flight impracticable. Their preservation he ascribes to their temporizing conformity with the Roman Catholic worship. The army employed to surround the rebel post of Vinegar Hill, constituted a force of about thirteen thousand effective men, with a formidable train of artillery. With this force the whole insurgent army at this post, in which lay the great strength of the rebellion, might have been completely surrounded. The attack began at seven o'clock on the morning of the 21st, with a firing of cannon and mortars. All the divisions were at their respective posts, except that of General Needham, who either from neglect or accident arrived not at his appointed position till nine, when the business was over. The rebels, after sustaining the fire of the artillery and small arms for an hour and an half, abandoned their station and fled where the passage lay open for them, which was the avenue intended to have been occupied by General Needham, most of them directing their course towards Wexford. Some hundreds were killed, who were found straggling from the main body after the battle; but most of all the real rebels escaped, and those who fell under the swords of the pursuers, were persons who had been forced away contrary to their inclinations, or who took that opportunity of escaping from the rebel army, or loyal prisoners. As the
*The rebel General Murphy experienced similar treatment from the army. He was tauntingly desired to work miracles, and otherwise scoffed at and insulted by a young officer, who went the length of offering a most indecent insult to his person, which so irritated his feelings, that, though on the very brink of eternity, he doubled his fist and knocked down the officer at a blow; upon which he was unmercifully flagellated and instantly hanged.
Doctor Hill, of Saint John's near Enniscorthy, a gentleman highly esteemed by all his acquaintance, was with his two brothers, within a hair's breadth of augmenting the number of slaughtered loyalists on this occasion. These three gentlemen, who had been prisoners with the rebels, and in the most imminent danger of their lives, ran for protection to the first whom they saw of the royal troops, and these happened to be Hessians. Three of these protectors immediately put their cocked pistols to the heads of the three gentlemen, when a pikeman, running at full speed past them to escape from other soldiers, diverted their attention for the moment: they thought proper to dispatch him first, but he led them such a chase as saved the gentlemen.
flight of the rebels was precipitate, they left behind them a great quantity of rich plunder, together with all their cannon, amounting to thirteen in number, of which three were six-pounders. The loss on the side of the king's forces was very inconsiderable, though one officer, Lieutenant Sandys, of the Longford Militia, was killed, and four others slightly wounded, Colonel King of the Sligo regiment, Colonel Vesey of the county of Dublin regiment, Lord Blaney, and Lieutenant, Colonel Cole.*
Enniscorthy being thus recovered after having been above three weeks in the hands of the rebels, many loyalists in it were relieved from a dreadful state of terror. Excesses, as must be expected in such a state of affairs, were committed by the soldiery, particularly by the Hessian troops, who made no distinction between loyalists and rebels. The most remarkable act of this kind was the firing of a house, which had been used as an hospital by the rebels, in which numbers of sick and wounded who were unable to escape from the flames, were burned to ashes.t
The town of Wexford was relieved on the same day with Enniscorthy, Brigadier General Moore, according to the plan formed by General Lake, having made a movement towards that quarter from the side of Ross on the 19th, with a body of twelve hundred troops, furnished with artillery; and having directed his march to Tagmon, in his intended way to Enniscorthy, on the 20th, was, on his way thither, between one and two o'clock in the afternoon, attacked by a large force of the enemy from Wexford, perhaps five or six thousand, near a place called Goff's Bridge, not far from Hore Town. After an action, which continued till near eight, the rebels were repulsed
Great discontents prevailed in the army upon General Needham's conduct on this as on a former occasion. Non nostrum est, to institute a court of enquiry upon those, whose conduct has been commended by the commanding officer. It has raised a personal contest between Sir Richard Musgrave and Mr. Gordon. The general has not a very powerful or persuasive advocate. The sarcastical appellations which became general after the action of the late General Needham and General Needham's gap, shew on which side the mass of inculpation lay. The following, however, is the official account given by General Lake, and published by government, of as much of that transaction as General Needham was or ought to have been engaged in. "Lieutenant "General Dundas commanded the centre column, supported by a column upon "the right under Major Generals Sir James Duff and Loftus; a fourth column "upon the left, was commanded by the Honourable Major General Needham. "To the determined spit, with which these columns were conducted, and the
great gallantry of the troops, we are indebted for the short resistance of the "rebels, who maintained their ground obstinately for the time above men "tioned, but on perceiving the danger of being surrounded, they fled with great "precipitation.
The Rev. Mr. Gordon says, he was informed by a surgeon, that the burning was accidental, the bed clothes having been set on fire by the wadding of the soldier's guns, who were shooting the patients in their beds.