Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

mostly Protestants, burned to death in a barn at Scullabogue on the evening of that same day. Scullabogue house, which is the property of a Mr. King, was situated at the foot of Carrickburn mountain. When the rebel army marched to Corbet hill, these prisoners had been left under a guard, commanded by John Murphy, of Loghnaghur. The run-aways declared, that the Royal army in Ross were shooting all the prisoners, and butchering the Catholics, who had fallen into their hands, feigned an order from Harvey for the execution of those at Scullabogue. This order, which Harvey himself, a Protestant, and a man of humanity, was utterly incapable of giving, Murphy is said to have resisted; but his resistance was vain. Thirty-seven were shot and piked at the hall door; and the rest, a hundred and eighty-four in number according to report, crammed into a barn, were burned alive, the roof being fired, and straw thrown into the flames to feed the conflagration.

It appears upon the whole, that the burning of the prisoners at Scullabogue was not, as has been generally represented, the consequence of any regular order or system, but perpetrated by some runaway rebels from the assault on Ross (the coward being ever cruel), who, to palliate their own flight, invented or magnified the cruelty of the king's troops. It is generally believed, that several persons, who were on guard at Scullabogue, and suffered for the transaction, were in truth the most innocent of that inhuman and barbarous massacre.*

On the day ensuing the rebels' defeat at Ross, they re-assumed their former position on Carrickburn hill. Great discontent pervaded the whole army from their failure on the preceding day. Loud murmurs were heard against their commander in chief, who in consequence thereof resigned his command, and retired to Wexford. He is said to have been much disgusted, not only at the turn of events in the field, but more particularly at the general insubordination that prevailed throughout their ranks. Being a man of natural benevolence and humanity, he was shocked at the massacre at Scullabogue : and the last act of his power was, the issuing general orders denouncing the penalty of death against such persons, as should murder the prisoners, burn any house, or commit any plunder, without special written orders from the commander in chief.*

and Mr. Frizell answered, that the only cause that he, or he believed the other prisoners ever understood, induced the rebels to this action, was, that they had received intelligence, that the military were again putting all the rebel prisoners to death in the town of Ross, as they had done at Dunlavin and Carnew. Mr. Ogle asked no more questions of Mr. Frizell, and he was goon after dismissed from the bar. To those gentlemen who were present at this examination, the truth of this statement is submitted.

* According to some accounts, about fifteen Catholics perished in this barn. But I find, in a letter from Dr. Caulfield to Dr. Troy, of the 29th of October, 1799 ; that he could " mention but seven, viz, lwe men of the name of Neille, “ the clerk of Mr. Shalloe's chapel, Johnston a piper, Eleanor Ryan a servant “Maid, Edward Ryan her father, and Edward Killa a berd. The people at “ Wexford (town) were not the authors of that massacre, nor had they any “ hand in it. We cannot tell who commanded the guard that remained “ there."

The rebels remained only two days at Carrickburn: they took post on Sleeva Keelta, another hill which rises over the river of Ross, probably with design to intercept the navigation of the channel between Waterford, Ross, and Duncannon Fort. In this they in some degree succeeded; for, though they failed in

GENERAL ORDERS.

At a Meeting of the General and several Officers of the United Army of the

County of Wexford, the following Resolutions were agreed upon : Resolved, That the commander in chief shall send guards to certain baronies for the purpose of bringing in all men they shall find loitering or delaying at home, or elsewhere ; and if any resistance be given to those guards so to be sent by the commanding officer's orders, it is our desire and orders, that such persons so giving resistance, shall be liable to be put to death by the guards, who are to bear a commission for that purpose ; and ali such persons so to be found loitering and delaying at hume, when brought in by the guards, shall be tried by a court-martial, appointed and chosen from amongst the commanders of all the different corps, and be punished with death.

Resolved, That all officers shall immediately repair to their respective quarters, and remain with their different corps, and not depart therefrom under pain of death, unless authorized to quit by written orders from the commander in chief for that purpose.

It is also ordered, that a guard shall be kept in rear of the different armies, with orders to shoot all persons who shall Hy or desert from any engagement, and that these orders shall be taken notice of by all officers commanding such engagement.

All men refusing to obey their superior officers, to be tried by a court. martial, and punished according to their sentence.

It is also ordered, that all men who shall attempt to leave their respective quarters when they have been halted by the commander in chief, shall suffer death, unless they shall have leave from their officers for so doing.

It is ordered by the commander in chief, that all persons who have stolen or taken away any horse, or horses, shall immediately bring in all such horses to the camp, at bead-quarters, otherwise every horse that shall be seen or found in the possession of any person to whom he does not belong, shall be seized, and the person convicted of taking it shall suffer death.

And any goods that shall have been plundered from any house, if not brought in to head-quarters, or returned immediately to the houses or owners, that all persons so plundering as aforesaid shall, on being convicted thereof, suffer death.

It is also resolved, that any person or persons who shall take upon him or them to kill or murder any person or prisoner, burn any house, or commit any plunder, without special written orders from the commander in chief, shall suffer death.

By order of
B. B. HARVEY, Commander in Chief.

Francis BREEX, Secretary and Adjutant.
Head-quarters, Carrickbyrne camp, June 6, 1798.
VOL. V.

their attempts on some gun-boats, they obliged some small vessels to surrender, in one of which was a mail, from which they learned much concerning the state of the kingdom in general from newspapers and private letters. Here by a tunultuous election, was chosen for general, in room the of Harvey, Father Philip Roche, who has been before mentioned to be a man of large stature and boisterous manners, not ill adapted to direct by influence the disorderly bands he had to deal with.

This choice of Father Roche shews how much the warfare had now altered its complexion, and began to assume the form of a fanatic and religious crusade. The term United Irishmen had been designedly merged into that of Popish Rebels on one side, and the denomination of Orangemen into that of Protestants and Heretics on the other. It shews also how little guided the Wexford rebels were by any thing like a preconcerted plan from their first rising. Of all men, the Roman Catholic priests were the least qualified for feats of arms and military conduct. Yet they being the individuals, to whom the lower class of society paid the most personal subservience and obedience, it was perhaps considered prudent to confide the command of this indomitable rabble to persons of that description. The few of them* who had debased their ministry by giving into the rebellion were either ferociously fanatical, or profligately hypocritical : such characters were supereminently adapted to control these licentious and ungovernable bands. Little is it to be. wondered at, that men, who could so pollute the sacred character, as to convert the mild and persuasive weapons of the Evangelist, into the exterminating sword of blood and devastation, should sharpen the latter with every fraud, imposition, and falsehood, which the innate reverence of the Irish at all times for the sacred character of the priesthood, enabled them to father upon them, and thus mislead and enflame the people.t

* From the most unbiassed accounts which I have seen, the number of Roman Catholic priests, who gave into the rebellion, fell considerably short of a score, which out of two thousand and upwards in the kingdom is a very small proportion. Amongst those few no prelate or ecclesiastic of consequence and respectability was to be found. Some few of them appear to have been ntimidated by their flock, and forced into the cause under threats and menaces of their lives. Such were not prominently active in the field ; but weak enougb to sanction by their authority and functions the execrable cause of rebellion.

+ Thus it appears not improbable, that in this particular Sir Richard Musgrave speaks some truth (p. 432.) " A respectable Protestant who was taken “ prisoner by the rebels, and compelled to serve in the camp at Carrickbyrne, " informed me, that Father Roche, in a public harangue, denounced all Pro“testants as heretics, and that they could not have luck or grace while any “ of them were permitted to serve in their ranks : that on the same day he “met Roche in a tent, and that he with singular dissimulation, assured him, “ that they made no religious distinction, and never regarded a man's religion, “ provided he was loyal and true to their cause : that Bagenal Harvey on "hearing Roche's harangue, lamented to him, that the war unexpectedly “ turned out to be purely religious; that the priests had got absolutely sway: “ that he seemed quite distracted, and wished he could make his escape.”

Quitting the post of Sleeve Keelter in three days after their arrival, the troops of Philip Roche occupied the hill of Lacken, within two miles of Ross, where they formed a less irregular encampment than usual, many tents being erected for their officers. Here for some days they lay inactive, regaling themselves on the slaughtered cattle and liquors, they had plundered, supinely negligent of their safety, and open to be surprised on any night by a sortie from the garrison of Ross. Had the rebels, immediately after the rout of Walpole's army, advanced to Arklow, they could have taken possession of it without resistance, for the garrison fled from it before day break on the 5th of June, to Wicklow. The insurgents of the county of Wicklow had with extreme difficulty been kept in check by Major Hardy, the commander of that district who had been very unaccountably repulsed in five different rencounters; which advantages though singly of no great importance, rendered the rebels in those parts far more audacious, and eager to co-operate with the Wexford insurgents. The officer who commanded in Arklow when the garrison was preparing for fight, issued orders that no person should be permitted to quit the town until the garrison had marched ; so that if the rebels had come, as they were every moment expected, the whole multitude of women and children of the loyalist's party must have fallen into their hands. This order was probably intended to prevent the intelligence of Walpole's defeat from being carried northward; it was quite nugatory, as that intelligence was conveyed by several different roads to the metropolis.*

As Major Hardy was ignorant of the great force of the rebels posted at Gorey, he highly disapproved of the evacuation of Arklow, and commanded the garrison instantly to return from Wicklow to their post, without even permission to taste any refresh. ment. It was augmented on the sixth by the arrival of the Ca. van regiment of militia, and at one o'clock on the morning of the ninth by the Durham fencibles. The arrival of this regi. ment, which was well disciplined, most critically prevented the taking of Arklow, the consequences of which might have been fatal to the cause. This regiment had been remarkably successful in the preceding year, in the county of Down in disarming the United Irishmen, and thereby preventing the breaking out of rebellion in that part. When ordered southward, on account of the insurrection in Leinster, an ambuscade of seven thousand men was placed in the county of Meath, to the north of Balbriggen, to surround and cut it to pieces on its march; but by the excellent dispositions made by its commander Colonel Skerret, it passed this formidable ambuscade without loss, and arrived safely in Dublin ; whence, after much deliberation, and a delay dangerous at such a crisis, it was sent to Arklow; carriages having been procured for the men, that they might arrive fresh at the scene of action.

And Mr. Gordon, (p. 157 ) speaking of Father Michael Murphy, who was killed at the battle of Arklow says, this priest had been supposed by the “ more ignorant of his followers to be invulnerable by bullets or any other kind “of wcapon; to confirm them in which belief he had frequently shewed them “musket balls, which he said he caught in his hands as they flew from the

guns of the chemy. Though I was well acquainted with the extreme credu"lity of the lower classes of my Romanist countrymen, I could not give credit “ to this account until I found it confirmed beyond a doubt by various concur"curring testimonies. The same divine protection was believed to be pos. "sessed by father John, the famous Fanatic already mentioned.”

An exaggerated account of this disaster was received by the disaffected in Dublin, before it was known by the members of administration at the castle ; for the societies of the conspiracy had an established mode of speedy conveyance by verbal messages from one secretary to another.

After the defeat of Walpole's army on the 4th of June, the rebels had wasted much time in burning the town of Carnew, in trials of prisoners for Orangism, the plundering of houses, and other acts of like nature; at length however, they collected their force at Gorey, and advanced to attack Arklow on the ninth, the only day in which that post had fortunately been prepared for defence. Their number exceeded twenty thousand, of whom near five thousand were armed with guns, the rest with pikes, and they were furnished with three serviceable pieces of artillery. The garrison consisted of sixteen hundred men including yeomen, supplementary men, and those of the artillery. The rebels attacked the town on all sides, except that which is washed by the river. The approach of that column, which advanced by the sea shore, was rapid and impetuous: the piquet guard of yeomen cavalry, stationed in that quarter, instantly galloped off in such terror, that most of them stopped not their flight till they had crossed the Barrow which was very broad, swimming their horses, in great peril of drowning. The farther progress of the assailants was prevented by the charge of the regular cavalry, supported by the fire of the infantry, who had been formed for the defence of the town, in a line composed of three regiments, with their battalion artillery, those of the Armagh and Cavan militia, and the Durham fencibles. The main effort of the rebels, who commenced the attack near four o'clock in the evening was directed against the station of the Durham, whose line extended through the field in front of the town to the road leading from Gorey.

As the rebels poured their fire froin the shelter of ditches, so that the opposite fire of the soldiery had no effect, Colonel Sker. ret, the second in command, commanded his men to stand with ordered arms, their left wing corered by a breast work, and the

« PoprzedniaDalej »