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seventeen, who in too eager a pursuit were slaughter- c H A P. ed by lord Roden's cavalry. These are said to have v_-v~» been previously made prisoners, and retaliation Mas threatened by the French commander.
The marquis Cornwallis had, notwithstanding the Motions or smallness of the invading force, been so sensible of the danger, as to have instantly determined to march in person against the foe. On the twenty-sixth of August he arrived with his army at Philips-town, and on the succeeding day at Kilbeggan, having advanced fifty-six English miles, in two days, by the grand eanal. Receiving here, very early in the next morning, intelligence of the defeat at Castlebar, he hasted to Athlone, where he was positively informed by many who had fled from the field of battle, that the French had pursued the army of general Lake to Tuam, driven it thence, and seized that post. If such a pursuit had been practicable to the French, after their exhausting march to Castlebar, even this extraordinary report might have been true, since Lake had judged his disorderly troops unsafe at Tuam, and a retreat expedient nearer to Athlone. Even on this town, eighty English miles from the French army, which never moved farther in that line than Castlebar, an attack was apprehended, and pickets and patroles were advanced far on the roads to Tuam and Ballinasloe. From those facts a judicious reader, acquainted with the state in which Ireland then was, where multitudes were prepared to rise in rebellion as soon as they should see any force in a probable condition to support them, may doubtless be
Chap, of opinion, that, if such a man as Cornwallis had . '. not been at the head of the Irish administration,
with full power to act according to his judgement, the consequences of this petty invasion might have speedily become ruinous. The viceroy saw the necessity of both vigour and caution. His operations were planned on this idea. On the fourth of September he arrived at Hollymount, whence he was preparing to march to the attack of the French at Castlebar, fourteen miles distant; but received information in the evening that the enemy had abandoned that post, and had directed their course to Foxford. Motions of After their victory at Castlebar the French receiv
ihe Freuch. J
1798. ed great additional accessions of Irish peasantry to their standard, chiefly from the western and mountainous parts of Mayo. To furnish these with arms, the stores brought from France were quite insufficU ent, though five thousand five hundred muskets had been distributed in Killala. These mountaineers were mostly very aukward in the use of guns, and of little use in combat to the French, who had expected far more powerful assistance from the Irish. They had hoped also to be immediately followed by additional troops and stores from France. Totally disappointed in the former expectation, and seeing little ground for hope in the other, they began to suspe6t that they had been sent on a desperate errand, to annoy, not to conquer, the enemies of their country. Like brave and faithful soldiers, they resolved, even in this case, to perform their duty, and to exert every
power against the British government, until irre- Chap,
. . XLVI.
sisUble necessity should compel them to surrender. »*—y—J Humbert accordingly, having ordered the troops left at Killala to repair to the main body, commenced a rapid march, early in the morning of the fourth of September, from Castlebar, through Foxford, towards Sligo, perhaps with a design of attempting to approach the county of Donegal, where the additional forces from France were expected to make a landing.
The motions of the main army, immediately un-fian of
• * , J Corawallii.
der the personal command of the viceroy, were calculated to cover the country, to intimidate the abettors of rebellion, and to afford an opportunity of rallying to any smaller bodies of troops which might be defeated; while these bodies were ordered to harrass the enemy as much as possible, without risking a battle, except where success would be nearly certain. Colonel Crawford, with a body of troops, supported by another under general Lake, hung upon the rear of the French: and general Moore, with a third, observed their motions at a greater distance; while Cornwallis, with the chief army, moved nearly in a parallel direction from Hollymount, through Clare and Ballyhaunis, toward Carrick-on-Shannon, intending to regulate his subsequent motions by those of the enemy.
Pursued by such forces from behind, the FrenchBattleof
* ^ Coloony,
leader found himself also opposed in front bv ano-s^ptember
ther army. Colonel Verreker of the city of Limerick militia had marched from Sligo for that
Chap, purpose with three hundred and thirty men and two VyJcurricle guns. He met and fought the hostile troops when they had passed the town of Coloony on the fifth of September. A mutual mistake had place. The colonel^ supposing himself engaged with the van-guard only of the French, pressed with eagerness for the victory before the main body should arrive to its relief. Humbert, conceiving the colonel's force to be the vanguard of a great army, attempted only to repulse, not to surround it. Verreker displayed a true military spirit, which was afterwards highly applauded by the French commander; but, after a battle of about an hour, he was obliged to retreat, with the loss of his artillery, to Sligo, whence he withdrew his little army to Bally^ shannon. Procteaings This opposition, though attended with defeat to French, the opposers, is supposed to have caused Humbert to relinquish his design on Sligo. He directed his march by Drummahair toward Manorhamilton in the county of Leitrim, leaving on the road, for the sake of expedition, three six-pounders dismounted, and throwing five other pieces of artillery over the bridge at Drummahair. In approaching Manorhamilton he suddenly wheeled to the right, taking his way by Drumkerin, perhaps with the design of an attempt to reach Granard in the county of Longford, where an insurrection had taken place. His rear-guard skirmished successfully on the seventh with the advanced guard of Crawford, between Drumshambo and Ballynamore. Crossing
the Shannon at Ballintra, and halting some hours Chap. in the night at Cloone, he arrived at Bally namuckv *
on the eighth of September, so closely pursued, that his rear-guard had been unable to break the bridge at Ballintra to impede the pursuit; while the viceroy, with the grand army, crossing the same river at Carrick-on-Shannon, marched by Mohill to SaintJohnstown in the county of Longford, to intercept him in front, in the way to Granard. This movement reduced him to such a situation that, if he should proceed, he must inevitably be surrounded by near thirty thousand British forces, commanded by an accomplished leader.
In this desperate situation Humbert arranged hisSurrendry forces, doubtless for no other purpose than to main-muck, sept. tain the honour of the French arms. The rear-' guard was attacked by Crawford, and about two hundred laid down their arms. The rest continued a defence for above half an hour; but, on the appearance of the main body of Lake's army, surrendered also. They had previously made lord Roden a prisoner, who, with a body of dragoons, had advanced into their lines to obtain their surrendry. This nobleman now, by ordering the troops oFhis party to halt, fortunately prevented some effusion of blood. Excluded from quarter, the rebel auxiliars, fifteen hundred in number, who had accompanied the French to this fatal field, fled in all directions, and were pursued with the slaughter perhaps of five hundred. The troops of Humbert were found, after surrendry, to consist of seven hundred and