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Chap. French dominion, instead of recovering it for its V^yw former sovereign, retired southward with wounded pride, and violent resolution of exertions to retrieve his injured reputation, beyond the Suck, a great auxiliar stream of the Shannon; while the whole Irish party, variously actuated with hope, despair, revenge and shame, concurred with the determination of their general to bring the contest to a speedy issue. Proceedings On the other hand Ginckle, desirous of ending ° 1691. 'the war without farther bloodshed, or at least of disuniting the enemy by tenders of pardon, issued on the fifth of July, notwithstanding the opposition of great English subjects in Ireland, a proclamation of that import, which the lords justices at first, influenced by members of the privy council, from motives already mentioned, seemed inclined to disavow; but the propriety of the measure was so plainly demonstrated, that in two days afterwards a proclamation was formally signed and published by government, offering a free pardon, with a reasonable payment for their horses, arms, and furniture, to all soldiers and officers who should surrender within three weeks, and to all governors who should surrender their posts; a free pardon and full possession of their estates to all officers who should bring with them the regiments, troops, or companies under their command; liberal rewards to those who had no landed property; and a free exercise of religion to all, with such security in this particular as a parliament of Ireland might devise, and which the king would endeavour to procure, so as to convince the Irish of the difference
between between the blessings of English government and the Chap. tyranny of France. But, though many availed v—^—/ themselves of the opportunity to sue for protection, the liberality of these offers came too late for a decisive effe6t; and Ginckle was convinced that by the sword alone was peace procurable. Having repaired the fortifications of Athlone, he marched on the tenth of July toward the enemy, and encamped along the river Suck, three miles north eastward from the Irish forces, who occupied a post of great strength at the village of Aghrim.
The army of Saint-Ruth, consisting of twenty-Battle of five thousand men was encamped along the heights ScTi. of Kilcomineden, behind a bog, near a mile in breadth, which extending all along the front, left only two passes for the approach of an enemy; the one on the right, through a range of hills, opening into wider ground; the other on the left, occupied by the old castle of Aghrim, and entrenchments filled with soldiers, between the bog and a tra6l of hills and morasses. The whole slope of Kilcommeden down to the edge of the bog, was intersected with hedges and ditches, which formed lines of communication, guarded by Irish infantry. With only eighteen thousand men, and even these not otherwise collected than by draining his garrisons to a degree of danger, Ginckle advanced, on the twelfth of July, at noon, after a foggy morning, to attack an army so superior in number, so strongly posted, but without sufficient artillery, encouraged by every argument of the general in his harangues, and
Chap, by the priests who ran through the ranks, and are Sm^mJ said to have sworn the men on the sacrament not to desert their colours.
A part of Ginckle's army, consisting of Danes, supported afterwards by English dragoons, and these again by other detachments, began the battle by forcing the pass on the right of the enemy, which after a variety of fortune they accomplished in an hour, gaining a position beyond the bog. After a pause, in consequence of a consultation among Ginckle's officers, the entire left wing of the English army, according to a plan recommended by Mackay, advanced at five o'clock in the evening through the acquired pass, and furiously attacked the right of the Irish, who obstinately defended their ditches, not giving way till the muskets of the combatants 'mutually touched, when they retired by their lines of communication, flanked their assailants, and charged with double fury. When the engagement had thus continued on that side for an hour and a half, Saint-Ruth drew great part of his cavalry from his left wing to support his right. Mackay, who had waited for this incident, immediately ordered the cavalry in the right wing of the English to force their way through the pass of Aghrim castle on the left of the enemy; and some regiments of infantry in the centre were ordered to march through the bog, and to take post Oh the lowest ditches beyond it, until the cavalry should gain the pass by the castie, and wheel from the right to support their attack.
The infantry, plunging to the middle in the bog, c a A P. made their way with great labour to the opposite v^"^) side, where the enemy, after a furious fife poured on them from the hedges, designedly retired. Transported with ardour, forgetting their Orders, and pursuing almost to the main body of the Irish, they Were overpowered by a charge in front and flank, driven back to the bog, many of them slain, and many taken, of whom some were persons of distinction; while the French general, too easily elated, exclaimed in an extacy of joy, '* Now will I drive the English to the very walls of Dublin!" But in the mean time the English cavalry, commanded by Talmash, rushed through the narrow and dangerous pass on the enemy's left, close by the walls of Aghrim castle, through a tremendous fire, to the amazement of Saint-Ruth, who asked some officers, " What do the English mean?" Receiving for answer," To rbrce their way to our right;" he had the generosity to say, "They are brave fellows \ It is a pity they should be so exposed." While the cavalry were pressing forward with desperate impetuosity, andgave opportunity to the infantry in the centre to rally at the bog and recover their former ground, the French general, resolving to direct his maih force against the cavalry, pointed a battery for that purpose, and led a formidable body of horse to attack them. In this critical moment, when fortune seemed to threaten discomfiture to the English, Saint-Ruth Was slain by a cannon-ball; and as the order of battle had not been, communicated to Sarsfield, who
Chap, had not lived on friendly terms with the deceased, v—^^-z this commander was unable to form dispositions till the battle was decided. When the Irish cavalry, destitute of orders, on the fall of their general, halted * and returned to their former ground, confusion spread through all their troops, who violently pressed from every point of attack by the forces of Ginckle, were driven to their camp, and thence into total rout;, the infantry flying to a bog, the cavalry to Loughrea. With all their cannon, ammunition, tents, and baggage, a great quantity of small arms, eleven standards, and thirty-two colours, the Irish lost in the battle and pursuit of three miles, seven thousand slain, four hundred and fifty taken prisoners; of the English were killed seven hundred, and a thousand wounded. siege of The victors, having lain all night on the field of battle on their arms, amid heaps of their slaughtered enemies, marched thence, after a few days of refreshment, to attack Galway, whose governor, lord Dillon, expecting succours from France and elsewhere, returned a defiance to the summons of Ginckle, and was resolved on an obstinate defence. But, after a resistance of some days, the citizens and garrison perceived that all attempts to send them assistance from Limerick were frustrated by the operations of the besiegers; and that the troops of a famous Irish partizan, named Balderog O'Donnel, who had promised to fly to their assistance from the north with six or seven thousand men, had fled in dismay since the defeat of Aghrim, except about six