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from Kildare, the Wexford division reached sufficient to acquaint the reader with the the banks of the Boyne, and so far—in a primary motive and the ultimate object of route of nearly fifty miles-had encountered the Wexford leaders in that fatal enterprise. no serious interruption to their advance. I shall now turn to the more immeBut now, pressed by a squadron of British diate object of my excursion, and from cavalry which had for some time hung on which, perhaps, I have too long digressed. their rear, the leaders found themselves I had made but slow progress in the latter constrained either to halt and give battle to part of my journey, and the evening was far the enemy, or to attempt the passage of the advanced when I reached the hospitable river under disadvantageous circumstances. mansion of my venerable friend. Our interPrompt in all their resolves, they quickly view was such as might naturally have been decided on the expedient; and after a sharp expected, after so long a separation. contest, succeeded in repelling their pur- Time, I was happy to perceive, had not
But the star of these adventurous wrought the customary changes in the apchiefs was no longer in the ascendant. pearance of my friend. He was still hale in They had traversed a large section of constitution and vigorous in frame, while the Meath without experiencing that popular gay and lively disposition of his nature redemonstration in their favour, which they mained unclouded. I soon found that“ long had too confidently anticipated. Few or by-gone occurrences" were yet green in his none of the rural population had joined remembrance, and that passing years seemed their ranks, and the aspiring hopes with rather to have matured his judgment, than which they had entered on their daring en- to have impaired the energy of his menterprise, could no longer be entertained. tal powers. The night was well nigh spent Having crossed the Boyne, and pressing before either thought of retiring to rest ; onward, with unabated vigour, which they but the morning avocations of my host maintained to the last—they encountered were not interrupted by the social enjoythe two British Generals, Meyrick and ments of the evening before. I had arisen Weyms, at the head of their concentrated at what I conceived a reasonable hour, and forces, and an immediate conflict ensued. observed him from the windows of my
The position occupied by the Wexford apartment, brushing with his dogs and his troops, eventually exposed thein to a de- gun, through the thick green furze yet dripstructive fire from the enemy's cannon, ping with the morning dew, while he kept which had not come up in the early part of moving on in the apparent energy of youth, the action; and in a little time their ground and with the wary eye of the veteran sportsbecame untenable. It was now evident man. I hastened to join him ; but he was to the commanders on either side, that no now on his return homeward : and while at alternative reinained but unconditional sur- some distance, displaying (as if in raillery of render, or immediate retreat. The former my indolence) a portion of his morning's was an expedient which no disaster could sport,“ see here,” said he,“ the fruits of early compel the Wexford leaders even to con- industry." "To-morrow," I replied," you will template,* while, in the preparatory ar- find me no sluggard.” “We shall see that,” rangements of the enemy, they perceived he significantly rejoined; “ but come, if you his intention to render the latter imprac- be determined on the excursion which we ticable.
It, however, was accomplished. talked over last night, let us now to breakfast, In a desperate charge they forced the Eng- and then we shall proceed on our tour of lish line, and extricated their followers in observation." the moinent the most critical to their for- The excursion which we had planned, tune.
although at no point very distant, embraced This bold and successful measure a considerable range of the country, and was frustrated the contemplated design of the interesting as the scene of some memoBritish commander, who saw the enemy rable events in the earlier as well as in the escape as from a net, before him. For a more modern period of our History; but, time, with his cavalry, he followed up the the chief object of my curiosity was the retreat, but deriving no aid in the co-opera- line of The WEXFORD RETREAT,—the tion of his infantry, he abandoned the pur- scene of that day's rout and disaster, when suit.
having been defeated by the divisions of The preceding review, which I have con
have con- Meyrick and Weyms in the morning, a fined to a brief outline, will, I presume, be portion of the scattered forces assembled in The vanquished “ Rebel ” never received quar. thern bank of the Boyne.
the evening of the same day, on the norter in the field, nor mercy in the tribunal.
Our preparatory arrangements were soon tions. No doubt the moment was a critical formed, and while the day (as my friend one, the Wexford band was yet formidable, expressed it) was yet young, we commenced and the ground you perceive favourable either our tour.
for action or retreat. There then they rallied We first visited the deep marshy plain, on the instant, and if they did not actually which forined the memorable theatre of drive back their pursuers, it must be adcontest, and was at the same time the field mitted they conceived themselves in a condiof their defeat, and of that bold achievement, tion to face them; and recent example had
l which rescued the Wexford band from im- already shown what might result from pending ruin. Adjacent to this, is the more pressing a bold and determined foe, to the eligible position on which the Wexford extreme point of resistance. leaders commenced the action, and for a “ These considerations might have operatime successfully maintained it against his ted on the mind of a prudent commander to Majesty's troops, until the British generals, exercise moderation in victory; and not less reinforced, compelled the enemy to abandon influentially, if he conceived that a large and his ground. Whatever advantages the for- excitable population, in any of the adjacent mer position afforded, the latter presented towns, required, at this period, a more imnone, and the result has already been told. pressive display of that salutary control
In reviewing this field of strife, earlier which it was the duty of the army to impose. remembrances crowded on my mind, and For it is to be remembered that military while I turned on the moment, to contrast authority in Ireland had superseded the civil with the unruffled serenity of nature around power ! But a truce to conjecture, let us me, the restless dispositions of men, and the now trace the line of retreat. vicissitudes of human fortune, my friend “ It was on the first of those open and conaddressed me—“ Look here," said he :" you tinuous levels which meet your eye, that see that elevated ground to the west, the Wexford division enjoyed a momentary scarcely, as you would suppose, a mile off; respite, after a rapid flight and disastrous but by the very shortest line of approach, conflict; and there, the feelings of the leadyou will find that it is more than double the ers and the fortitude of the men were tesdistance. The plains beyond it, now shel- ted by no ordinary trial. They had detered from our view, lte open and exposed feated by their bold and successful charge in every other direction, affording facilities the contemplated design of the enemy, and by which the fugitive chiefs knew how to were now apparently freed from his further profit. Why am I so particular in thus di- pursuit; nevertheless, no prospect remained recting your attention ? Because to that on which to found any rational hope of atpoint the British general followed with his taining the object of their enterprise. The cavalry on the enemy's retreat ; but,” he country was alarmed—the several garrison continued, " let us proceed; we must eco- towns had been aroused from a state of senomise our time, if
would trace through- curity, if not a more censurable state of suout this line of disaster, the many scenes of pineness, and an important military station* painful interest.”
yet lay between the discomfited band and We hastened our pace, and passing the point of their destination. through the “Wexford Break," gained in “Enfeebled in force, though still buoyant some time the eminence which commands in spirit, the only expedient which the an extended view over a fine campaign leaders could devise, in the emergency of country, on the northern side of the river their situation, was to retrace their march to Boyne. “Here," said my venerable com- Kildare, and renew the junction with their panion," let us rest: there is no point more late confederates in arms. But, however defavourable to our object, and when we have sirable the adoption of this measure, serious taken in all that this view embraces, we will impediments stood in the way of its attainturn more to the southward and east.” ment, and the not least embarrassing of
“ It has often,” he observed, pointing to these was, how to transport the troops ; the open and extending plains beneath us, for the saine facilities were not now to be “it has often afforded subject of enquiry, looked for, which, in a prompt supply of with those perhaps better acquainted with the localities of the country, than the tactics of the field, why the fortunate commander Dundalk, then temporary head quarters of did not follow up his success? and why, of cavalry and artillery. The smaller, but more
two infantry regiments, with an ordinary garrison having a rebel force still in arms, he re- adjacent towns of Collon, Ardee, &c. were gar. manded his troops to their respective sta- risoned by supplementaries.
horses, had aided the division on its advance. ous from this point, is less exposed as you No other alternative, however painful the approach, because of a rising plantation consideration, could on the moment be which screens it in front, while it is covered suggested, than to dismount the extra horse- by a gentle acclivity in the rear. That is men, and trust the issue to fortune and their the parsonage house; and, were it not otherown unsubdued courage.
The expedient wise remarkable, is memorable for having was instantly adopted, and embraced with a afforded shelter to a Wexford rebel. The ready devotion, characteristic of men, who, story is short, but it is one which, throughif not reckless of life, evinced, under the out this neighbourhood, has long been the most appalling circumstances, an extraor- subject of sorrowful recollection, and will dinary disregard of danger.
not fail, I am persuaded, to excite your “ The arrangement was but the work of a sympathy. moment; and as each division formed into “A gentleman who accompanied the line of march, one parting cheer was inter- Wexford chiefs in their incursion into Meath, changed between them. The dismounted was wounded in the recent engagement. men, in an easterly direction, and by the From the serious nature of his wound, he shortest route, proceeded direct for the found himself in a little time unable to general point of rendezvous assigned for keep up with his division; and his compathe first night of retreat; while the cavalry nions, who could afford him no relief, were division diverged to the west, the better to constrained to leave him behind. Without deceive the enemy as to the ulterior object any other hope of security before him, he of both.
proceeded direct for that mansion, the first “The district yeomanry were under arms; dwelling within his reach-resolved to cointhey were numerous, and in general well mit himself to the honour and humanity of appointed—the cavalry particularly so; and its master. His confidence was not mis. on these devolved the duty, after the with placed. drawal of the British troops, of marking the “ The parsonage house, seldom honoured movements of the Wexford band. This was by the presence of the superior, was then in a service," observed my friend, “which we the occupancy of an humble curate—a kind prudently performed at a harmless distance. and hospitable man, whose heart was not Indeed," he added, “ some of our lads, it was closed to the claims of the destitute, whether presumed, had no great stomach for the in the garb of a friend or a foe. The fight, nor had we much reason to boast wounded gentleman was received with comof our military achievements so long as we passion, and the best offices of the benevofollowed the enemy in the line of their retreat. I lent divine were not wanting in ministering -But,” he continued, with a countenance ex- to his relief. But his fate was not to pressive of painful concern—“there were be averted. A small party of yeomanry amongst us some, whose intemperate feel-dragoons, who had occupied themselves ings, with the excitement to plunder, sti- throughout the day, in the pursuit of strag, mulated them to acts neither creditable to gling men, and the capture of abandoned their humanity as men, nor to their dis- horses, were seen approaching the cipline as soldiers. You, my friend, have retired and peaceful asylum. Whether not to learn that such acts were some this movement was preconcerted or incitimes countenanced, if not more directly dental, it was regarded with considerable approved, by those whose duty it was to excitement by the stranger, who, not less have restrained the outrage, or punished alive to his friend's safety than to his own, the perpetrator; while the more humane insisted on quitting the house, and retiring have reluctantly been compelled to witness for concealment into a thick shrubbery of that which, however sensibly they may ornamental planting, which was covered have deplored it, they had not the authority from the road by a high beechen hedge. to prevent. How many of those unfortunate His host expostulated against any present fugitives, the weak or the wounded, who, movement or change of position, and even when no longer able to keep pace with bantered him on his scrupulous delicacy their companions, had fallen defenceless and imaginary fears. “Do you think,' said in the rear of their division, were wantonly he, “they will enter my dwelling ?—is this a immolated—meeting their fate with that quarter where they could contemplate the firmness which would have disarmed a more concealment of an enemy? Rest satisfied generous assailant !
you have no cause for alarm.' .There is,' “See that mansion to the left; it is conti- replied the wounded stranger, but your guous to the road ; and though so conspicu- roof-tree shall never blaze for having shel.
tered a rebel! Are you aware that my march, to the station which their chiefs detection here would justify the incendiary had appointed for the general rendezvous in wrapping your mansion in flames of the forces. The cavalry having diverged During this generous parley the dragoons so far to the west as was conceived suffihad neared the dwelling. The stranger was cient for the attainment of their object, resolute—the moment was pressing, and the changed their course; and entering Louth benevolent host with reluctance yielded to in an easterly direction, they took post in the importunity of his guest. Fatal impor- Dowth demesne—the seat of Lord Nettertunity! The tottering step of the wounded ville-a bold commanding position, overman betrayed him as he left the house. He hanging the Boyne, at a point where the was called on to stand and surrender : but river is deep and wide. Here the division without being afforded time for reply, he halted, and promptly formed their line of dewas fired on by the leading file of the party- fence, which the pursuing squadron permortally wounded, and, in the convulsive ceiving, as quickly withdrew, leaving the agonies of death, literally sabred to pieces. enemy in the undisturbed possession of the
"In the fate of this unfortunate gentle- post, which they occupied for the night, man,”, continued the humane narrator, “is —about midway between the garrisoned comprized the only authenticated portion of towns of Drogheda and Slane, and some his history which we have been able to trace. three or four miles distant from either. Many and various were the reports and con- · The actual loss sustained by the cavalry jectures as to his rank, his family, and in this day's retreat, after having separated station in life. It was rumoured, but I from their dismounted companions, was inhave no better authority to advance, that considerable. It chiefly consisted in horthe humane clergyman recognized in the ses ; several, from fatigue and want of properson of his unfortunate guest, an early vender, were unable to bear up in the friend, and college companion. Nothing hurried march, and consequently were abancertain, however, is known about him. doned by their riders. As the straggling
“ The only article of value found on his horses became the gratuity of the captors, mutilated corpse, was a golden ring of ex- they were eagerly contended for; but in quisite workmanship, richly embossed, dis- general they proved of little service to playing in the centre ground of a deep their new masters ; some were high-bred enamel, the popular device of the day, animals of fine form and figure, and the -Erin Go BRAGH. This was torn from lucky possessor of these already contemthe dismembered limb by the rapacious plated 'the acquirement of his fortune. hand of the assassin ; and was subsequently But woeful was the disappointment; for purchased by a gentleman who could more as, in the best blood, the high spirit only highly appreciate the national symbol.” yields when animal vigour is exhausted;
During the recital of this melancholy few or none of this description were recovertale, I could perceive in the countenance able from the excessive fatigues they had of the compassionate narrator, a manly previously endured. glow of indignation, with a vain effort to “We shall
, for the present,” said my restrain the unbidden tear. But resuming friend, “leave these chiefs in their defen. a mild and placid composure, -"it were sive position on the Boyne, where, in the idle," said he, " to dwell too much on indi- course of the night, they received as many vidual suffering, where a mass of human of their dismounted companions as had the misery meets the eye, Yonder is Chambers- good fortune to reach that point of genetoren Hill; and the deeds it records are ral rendezvous.” “ When the Wexford scarcely less atrocious than that I have band,” he continued, “was necessitated to mentioned, though perpetrated under the make a division of their forces, the dismockery of justice. Let us, however, mounted men were placed under the trustbefore we visit that scene of suffering, worthy leadership of a bold and experienced mark the further route of the cavalry Shelmalier marksman, named Doyle, who division, in which the leaders displayed commenced the retreat in orderly and well such admirable address. The ruse proved organised movement. In the absence, howsuccessful, in the detour which they ever, of the more influential leaders, and made to the west ; it served as designed, from that temperament of mind, which is to withdraw the attention of the yeo- not, under such circumstances, at all times. manry troops from the dismounted men, easy of control, a certain laxity of discipwho were then in close and compact order, line had become discernible in the ranks. proceeding by the more direct line of Impelled by a natural levity of disposition, and impatient of delay, some of the more fail to render him a favourite with all his active and robust had gained ground in ad companions in arms. Of easy circumstances vance of their companions; elated with in life, and of lively habits and disposition, the prospect of reaching the rendezvous of a considerable portion of his earlier years the night, ere, as they conceived, their expec- had been devoted to rustic sports and those tant friends on horseback would conten- manly exercises in which he excelled. plate their arrival. Others, from their pre- Ever active and ardent in all his pursuits, vious toils and increasing fatigues, were his constitutional frame was formed for the constrained to slacken their pace; while toils and privations which it was often his many of the still more weak and wearied, fortune to encounter through the Wexford falling in the rear, were reluctantly com- campaign. From the commencement of pelled to lag behind.
his military career, he bore a long Shel“The disorder in Doyle's ranks had now malier musket, * which, from the deadly become observable to such bodies of the precision of its fire, was, in compliment yeomanry infantry, as in the general state to its owner, pronounced “Doyle's ordof alarm had sought security by congrega- nance," for whether on land or water, ting at remote and different points for self- Doyle never missed his mark. When amprotection. But emboldened by the ap- munition was scarce in the ranks—a cirparent disorganization of the enemy's line, cumstance which often occurred during the they made a better arrangement of their insurrectionary war—no man ever thought force; and at intervals were to be seen of reserving his own if Doyle wanted a to the right or the left, or following charge ; and that charge was sure to tell at a distance in the rear of Doyle's di- with effect. vision. Although at no time formidable “ However popular the qualities of the to the main body under his command, they leader, or unreserved the confidence of his proved destructive assailants to all who, men, Doyle's situation had now become when separated from their companions, fell an arduous one,-presenting difficulties, as within the range of their arms. Many un- he advanced, which required all the ener. fortunate men, in order to avoid a fate, gies of his active mind, and the firmness of otherwise inevitable, when broken down or his bold and daring spirit to surmount. exhausted by privation and fatigue, sought The intemperate ardour of some—the phyconcealment in the high standing fields sical weakness of others—the many inciof corn-in the break-in the brushwood, dental occurrences attendant on a retreat, or under the thick spreading foliage in the had reduced his once formidable band to a dense plantations which lay contiguous to slender and comparatively inefficient force. the line of their retreat.
In proportion to his weakness the enemy “ These coverts further afforded temporary acquired confidence; and while they avoidshelter to numbers who, though weakened ed a contact, they omitted no opportunity by the oppressive heat of the day, re- of annoyance when it could be resorted to quired only renovating rest to resume their with impunity. But beyond a certain line march ; and hence, in the coolness of the of district where the country became more night, many of them effected a retreat, open and less favourable to the system of and rejoined their friends on the Boyne. their pursuit, they conceived it imprudent But many also perished in the shade of to advance. those recesses, which for two successive “ Doyle was scarcely freed from the teasdays were invested by the enemy. But, ing, but (to the unfortunate detached of his to return from this digression to the more followers,) destructive enemy, when he had immediate subject before us.
to contend with fresh difficulties, where he “ In appointing Doyle to the command had least contemplated any obstruction. of the dismounted men, the superior leaders An outpost, consisting of a subaltern offievinced their prudence and discernment. cer, with a detachment of dragoons, had They had neither overrated his abili- that morning been established by order of the ties for the trust, nor his zeal in the British general, at a considerable distance service; and throughout the entire Wexford band, there was no one, perhaps, so * A firelock of more than ordinary dimensions, well adapted to the emergency of the occa- and in the exercise of which, the inhabitants of sion.
certain districts in Wexford displayed peculiar “ Doyle was a man of much native hu- address. In more peaceful times those arms were
principally used for shooting waterfowl ; mour, of great muscular strength, and in
amusement in which the Wexford sportsmon were trepid courage,-qualities which could not singularly expert.