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Full text of "Memoirs of Miles Byrne"

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MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE 



MEMOIRS OF 
MILES BYRNE 



EDITED BY 
HIS WIDOW 



A NEW EDITION WITH AN 
INTRODUCTION BY STEPHEN GWYNN 



VOL. I. 



DUBLIN 

MAUNSEL & CO., LIMITED 

LONDON : A. H. BULLEN 

1907 



INTRODUCTION 

I OWE my acquaintance with these Memoirs to Mr. 
John Dillon, who spoke of them as the best of all 
books dealing with Ireland ; and a reading of the 
volumes left me inclined to agree with him. The in- 
trinsic interest of Byrne's narrative, its easy unaffected 
flow, and above all the high and chivalrous temper which 
pervades the whole, give it an excellence, rare any- 
where, but which in all the bitter records of Irish warfare 
is without parallel. No man could have subjects more 
painful than the Wexford Rebellion and Emmet's 
rising ; no man could have handled them more frankly, 
whether in stating facts or in judgments upon conduct. 
Yet of all books dealing with modern Irish history this 
is the least painful to read that is known to me. 

But Byrne's Memoirs were not only concerned with 
Irish rebellion ; he wrote as a veteran who had seen 
war in half the countries of Europe. The title of the 
original edition is 

" Memoirs of Miles Byrne. Chef de Bataillon in the 
Service of France : Officer of the Legion of Honour, 
Knight of St. Louis, etc. Edited by his Widow. Paris : 
Bossange et Cie. 1863." 

A brief sketch of his career will best explain the nature 
of the Memoirs. 



2067257 



i v INTRODUCTION. 

In 1798 Miles Byrne was a young and well-to-do 
farmer at Monaseed on the northern border of county 
Wexford. He was a sworn United Irishman, and, before 
the rebellion actually broke out, was in hiding. From 
the first raising of the standard he was active, but his 
narrative leaves us in doubt by what deeds of bravery 
he attained to the position of leader; no soldier was 
ever more modest After fighting through the whole 
series of actions, he led a body into the Wicklow hills, 
where he and his held out along with Holt and Dwyer 
till the general dispersal which took place on the news 
of Humbert's surrender. Byrne made his way to 
Dublin, and found means to conceal himself and gradu- 
ally to find occupation in supervising a builder's work- 
men. Four years passed by and he had nothing to 
apprehend ; yet when Robert Emmet came to Dublin 
in the winter of 1802-3, Byrne promptly associated him- 
self in the new peril The story of that unhappy 
enterprise is nowhere so clearly and consistently told 
as in these Memoirs ; and whoever else may slight the 
memory of Emmet, Byrne, the soldier of Napoleon, 
looking back from a long life's experience, offers more 
heartfelt homage to this ill-starred leader than to any 
of the great men whose names figure in his record. 

When the rising had failed, Emmet made his way 
back to Dublin and asked Byrne to carry news to the 
United Irishmen in Paris. This service of danger was 



INTRODUCTION. V 

faithfully performed, and the exile found himself among 
a group of Irishmen, all in the same unhappy situation, 
yet all hoping for another French invasion in which they 
should take part. Their hopes ran high when they were 
formed into the cadre or skeleton of a regiment 
which should be filled up with men when they landed 
in Ireland, and were sent to be trained on the Breton 
coast. But months and years passed, and when the 
Irish Legion was called into service and its ranks filled 
up, the service was on the Continent. In the Low 
Countries, in the Spanish Peninsula, on the Elbe, and 
on the Rhine, Byrne and his comrades fought for Napo- 
leon, till the great general's star set finally in disaster. 
Then they or what was left of them were dismissed 
the French service, for the Bourbons were naturally 
eager to pleasure the Court of England Some were 
actually banished from France ; some, more fortunate, 
had leave to remain on half-pay, and of the latter 
Byrne was one. 

But in 1830 the revolution which dethroned Charles 
X. brought better days for Miles Byrne. He was not 
only recalled to full pay, and given the rank of chef de 
bataillon (equivalent to lieutenant-colonel) which had 
been promised him under Napoleon, but he was at once 
actively employed, and in the cause of freedom. He held 
a high command in the first expedition despatched for 
the liberation of Greece. 



vi INTRODUCTION. 

For many years after this he was an ordinary regi- 
mental officer in the French army ; these Memoirs were 
the occupation of his leisure after he had finally retired, 
and the latter part of them was clearly never finished. 
The book, as it originally appeared, was edited by Mrs. 
Byrne, and it made three volumes, of which the first 
was occupied with the description of his experiences of 
rebellion in Ireland, while the second gave an admir- 
able narrative of his campaigns under Buonaparte, in- 
cluding the whole history of Napoleon's Irish Legion 
from its formation to its dissolution. These two volumes 
aie evidently as their author intended them to be. The 
third is little more than loose leaves from a notebook 
but a notebook full of interesting material. Opening 
with an account of Byrne's own life in Paris before the 
formation of the Legion, it passes into a general char- 
acterisation of the Irish exiles then in France. The 
account of the Greek campaign is fragmentary ; and 
there is a good deal of repetition and defective arrange- 
ment 

In the present edition the eleven hundred odd pages 
of the original have been reduced into the compass of 
two volumes; and even so the book remains so large 
that it has seemed best to add nothing by way of illus- 
trative comment. My task as editor, then, has reduced 
itself to seeing the pages through the press, correcting 
the spelling of proper names, suppressing actual repre- 



INTRODUCTION. vii 

titions, and here and there altering the arrangement. 
I have dealt a little more freely with the third volume, 
omitting here and there what seemed to lack interest. 
But care has been taken to leave in full Byrne's judg- 
ment on the men with whom he served or whom he 
met during his residence in Paris ; for nothing is more 
remarkable in the book than the clearness and justice 
of perception which these judgments display. Byrne's 
mind was neither subtle nor brilliant ; but it was evi- 
dently rich in common sense, an it combined generosity 
with a rigorous conception of honour and principle. 

As a soldier, he seems to have been the very type 
of a regimental officer, whose place is in the fighting 
Hne, whose concern is not with the general conduct of 
a campaign or an action, but who can be trusted to act 
boldly, decisively and intelligently in the individual cir- 
cumstances of war. His book throughout makes one 
feel the most agreeable and most human aspect of 
warfare the generous relations between man and man, 
the cordiality of comradeship, the interludes of gaiety 
and good-humoured pleasure better than any other 
known to me except the admirable autobiography which 
General Sir George Napier wrote, to tell his children 
how he and his brothers and their brothers in arms 
fought in the Peninsula "for fun and glory." 

But there one strikes a contrast and a sad one. 
Byrne was not, like the Napiers, a soldier by choice ; 



viii INTRODUCTION. 

necessity and unjust dominion drove him from his farm- 
He and his comrades were the descendants of the 
Wild Geese "war-dogs battered in every clime," 
fighters in every cause but their own. His book gives 
an extraordinary picture of the dispersion of his race : 
Irish names figure in it under every flag in Europe. 
And the book is naturally pervaded from first to last 
with a fierce resentment, the exile's anger against those 
who keep him from his home, against those who hold 
his native country in subjection. Byrne and his com- 
rades fight for France against England with more than 
a Frenchman's detestation of the enemy. Is this to 
be wondered at ? 

To those Irishmen who know the book this publica- 
tion will need little commendation. To those who do 
not, it may be said that it is a trial whether it be pos- 
sible to find a public ready to buy reprints of books 
which have a high value in the study of Irish history, 
and which having passed out of general circulation, are 
only to be had at a high price ; and upon the success of 
this venture must depend the subsequent undertaking of 
similar publications. 

STEPHEN GWYNN. 



Contents of Volume I. 

Page 

INTRODUCTION ... iii 

CHAPTER I. 

WEXFORD IN 1796 i 

UNITED IRISH SYSTEM INTRODUCED IN WEXFORD .. 6 

PREPARATIONS FOR THE GENERAL RISING .. .. 21 

FREE QUARTERS, AND EXECUTIONS .. .. 22 

OUTBREAK OF RISING IN CARLOW . . . . 28 

FATHER MURPHY'S SUCCESS AT OULART .. .. 33 

CAPTURE OF ENNISCORTHY .. ... 42 

MILITARY REFLECTIONS _ .,. 46 



CHAPTER II. 

CAMP ON VINEGAR HILL .. .. 52 

DEFEAT OF FAWCETT'S DETACHMENT .. .. 55 

OCCUPATION OF WEXFORD .. .. 58 

BAGENAL HARVEY, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF . . . . 59 



CHAPTER^III. 

DIVISION OF FORCES . . . . 63 

FATHER KEARNS ATTACKS NEWTOWNBARRY . . . . 64 

RETURN TO CAMP ON VINEGAR HILL . . . . 68 

BATTLE OF TUBBERNEERING : DEFEAT OF WALPOLE . . 72 

OCCUPATION OF GOREY AND OTHER INCIDENTS .. 83 

BATTLE OF ARKLOW . . . . 



CHAPTER IV. 

MOVEMENTS AFTER BATTLE OF ARKLOW . . . . 109 

BATTLE OF VINEGAR HILL .. .. I2 6 

RETREAT TO WEXFORD .. .. 13 3 



CHAPTER V. 

Page 

DIVISION OF THE DEFEATED FORCE I S I 

WITH FATHER MURPHY TOWARDS THE BARROW .. 154 

COLLIERS OF CASTLECOMER JOIN *59 
MARCH INTO QUEEN'S COUNTY 

REPASSING SCOLLAGH GAP I / 

BYRNE RETURNS HOME 1 74 

MARCH NORTHWARDS 1 7 6 

CHAPTER VI. 

MOVEMENTS OF THE OTHER DIVISION .. .. 187 

BLOODY FRIDAY, 22ND JUNE *9o 

DESTRUCTION OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS .. .. 198 

BATTLE OF BALLYGULLEN, JULY 4 .. .. 205 

CHAPTER VII. 

SITUATION OF THOSE STILL IN ARMS .. .. 215 

JUNCTURE WITH DWYER AND HOLT .. .. 219 

STAY IN GLENMALCRE .. .. 223 

HUMBERT'S LANDING .. 235 

BYRNE ESCAPES TO DUBLIN .. 239 

CHAPTER VIII. 

CONCEALMENT IN DUBLIN .. .. 241 

MEETING WITH EMMET . . . . 249 

EMMET'S PREPARATIONS .. .. 252 

RUSSELL'S ARRIVAL FROM PARIS . . . . 264 

EXPLOSION AT DEPOT IN PATRICK STREET .. .. 269 

PREPARATIONS FOR RISING ON JULY 23 .. ..271 

NIGHT OF THE RISING. ITS FAILURE . . . . 277 

EMMET COMMISSIONS BYRNE TO CARRY NEWS TO FRANCE 285 

ESCAPE OF AMERICAN VESSEL .. .. 290 

ARRIVAL IN BORDEAUX . . . . 296 

MEETING WITH THOMAS ADDIS EMMET .. .. 299 

CHAPTER IX. 

BYRNE'S LIFE AND ACQUAINTANCE IN PARIS . . . . 302 

FORMATION OF IRISH LEGION .. .. ..318 

BYRNE LEAVES PARIS FOR MORLAIX .. .. 325 



NOTES OF AN IRISH EXILE 
OF 1798. 



CHAPTER I. 

VARIOUS circumstances occur almost daily which remind 
me that I should leave some notes respecting the part 
I was forced to take in the struggles of my unfortunate 
country after the year 1796, when the people expected 
to be able through the United Irish system to accom- 
plish their independence. I say " forced," because it 
was impossible to remain neutral. I may give as a 
proof the fate of my unfortunate first cousin, Pat Breen, 
and his father, Terence Breen, both shot in cold blood 
by the Ancient Britons, accompanied by the yeomen of 
the county, and in the presence of my aunt and her 
daughters. My cousin, Miles Breen, was saved only on 
account of his youth, he being but 16 years of age: 
but he was sent on board a transport ship in the harbour 
of Dublin. Yet neither my uncle nor his son ever 
fought in the ranks of the Insurgents, nor left their 
homes unluckily for them ! Had they followed the 
people's camp they might have escaped the cruel end of 
being put to death in the presence of all that were 
dear to them, without judge or jury. 

Thomas Knox Grogan, of Castletown, having served 
in the Green Horse, received a commission from Govern- 
ment in the end of 1/96 to raise a corps of yeomen 
cavalry. Possessing two estates, Monaseed and Castle- 
town, he found no difficulty in getting men well 
mounted amongst his tenants, who enrolled themselves 



2 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

with pleasure, for it was difficult to find a more upright, 
honourable man, though he was not very well fitted for 
command, being subject to the gout. Sir Thomas 
Esmonde, of Ballinastra, was first lieutenant ; Laurence 
Doyle, his first cousin, second lieutenant; Murt 
Murnagh, of Little Limerick, adjutant. The last was 
my near relation. Seeing several of my best friends 
and school-fellows, such as Nick Murphy, of Monaseed ; 
Ned Fennell, of Deerpark; John Doyle and his 
brother James, of Knock, and my aunt's husband 
Michael Morning, all sending their names to Captain 
Knox Grogan, I readily consented to leave mine, but 
added my mother would not consent until she got the 
lease of the land called the Fox Cover renewed She 
could never forget what she suffered a few years previous 
when leaving Ballylusk, the townland and place where 
I was born, and which had been in the family for cen- 
turies : she could not get the lease of that place renewed, 
as the landlord (J. Doyle) wished to come and live on 
it himself. Catholics could only get then leases of 
thirty-one years. Mr. Grogan at once complied with 
my mother's wishes, and had the leases filled up im- 
mediately with three lives mine, my sister Bridget's, 
and my first cousin's, Miles Morning. The latter was 
then about fifteen years of age. He died a few years 
after. My poor father was then sick and confined to his 
bedroom. 

After Mr. Grogan had signed the leases, in the pre- 
sence of my uncle Morning and his land-agent, Jackson, 
he requested these gentlemen to accompany my mother 
to Monaseed, a distance of six miles from Castletown, 
in order for my father to sign them in their presence. 
My mother was quite happy at having this business 
settled, and expected it would cheer my poor father's 
spirits. She was cruelly disappointed. For, when she 
told him I was enrolled in the corps of yeomanry, with 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 3 

all my friends and comrades, he declared " he would 
rather see the leases burned and me dead than ever see 
me put on a red coat." I was then very young, and the 
pang I felt left me motionless for some time. All he 
had so often told me of the persecutions and robberies 
that both his family and my mother's had endured under 
the English invaders came to my recollection. How 
often had he shown me the lands that belonged to our 
ancestors now in the hands of the descendants of the 
sanguinary followers of Cromwell, who preserved their 
plunder and robberies after the restoration of that 
scoundrel Charles II ! My poor father was low-spirited 
and pining in consequence of the death, a short time 
before, of my sister Katherine ; she was everything that 
was beautiful, intelligent, and good, and extraordinary 
for her age, being but eighteen. My father did not 
long survive her. He died in a few months after the 
period I allude to ; and if I did not follow all his last 
injunctions, I at least conformed with one I never wore 
a red coat. On my father's demise, being an only son, 
and my presence being necessary to take charge of the 
land, Captain Knox Grogan had my name taken off the 
roll of the yeomanry. 

Every exertion was made by Government to get 
yeomanry corps organized throughout the country, but 
scarce any were equipped or armed when Hoche's expedi- 
tion appeared off Bantry Bay, in December, 1796. But 
the following year they were raised and embodied in 
every part of the counties of Wexford, Wicklow, and 
Carlow. These are the counties I know best, and 
where I had many friends. The corps generally 
assembled for drill twice a week, and these meetings 
frequently were terminated with dinner parties and other 
amusements. 

Had Hoche's army corps (consisting of about 15,000 
men) landed, as there was then no English force in 



4 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Ireland, nothing could have prevented them marching 
on Dublin and establishing there a provisional govern- 
ment. Everywhere he would have been joined by the 
people. Then in place of yeomanry, Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald, Arthur O'Connor, and Wolfe Tone would 
have been charged to organize national guards to keep 
order in the towns and villages throughout the country, 
whilst waiting to raise a national army or militia for its 
defence. As to men, a hundred thousand could have 
been enrolled at once. With the 20,000 stand of arms 
brought by the French, and the arms found everywhere, 
they would soon have been equipped. The country 
possessed all the resources necessary for this great under- 
taking. The Church property becoming immediately 
the property of the State, and the estates of all those 
who should emigrate or remain in the English army, 
fighting against their country, being confiscated, the 
revenue arising from these funds would have been 
employed to provide for and defray all the expenses 
necessary for the defence and independence of the 
country. 

For fourteen years previous to this period the Volun- 
teers were well equipped and armed throughout every 
part of Ireland. Of course all these arms were well 
preserved, and would be delivered up immediately to the 
governors of the different provinces if the actual posses- 
sors did not come forward to make use of them them- 
selves. But the Protestant counties of the North were 
all organized and ready to shake off the English yoke. 
The United Inshmen and the Presbyterians, whether 
they were United Irishmen or not, were all republicans. 
They knew that Hoche came not for conquest, but to 
afford them an occasion for declaring their right to self- 
government ; therefore all the North would have joined 
him at once. As to the South, it being a Catholic 
country, though the United Irish system was scarcely 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 5 

known there at that time, the people everywhere sighed 
for that equality of civil and religious liberty so long 
refused to them, and so insultingly refused by that 
great bigot Lord Charlemont and by Henry Flood. 
The immortal Grattan was for the full and complete 
emancipation of his fellow-men, though he counted too 
much on the guarantee obtained from the Government 
of that deceitful epoch for the independence of his un- 
fortunate country. The removal of Lord Fitzwilliam 
should have shown him that there was nothing to be 
expected but treachery and infamy from those who 
replaced him. 

It is quite fresh in my memory, and I shall never 
forget it, the mournful silence, the consternation of the 
poor people at the different chapels on Christmas Day 
and the following Sunday, after learning that the French 
had not landed, and that the French fleet had returned 
to France. Had Hoche been at the head of his troops 
in the Bay of Bantry, instead of Grouchy, he would have 
landed them immediately, and from that moment the 
then English Government was shaken to its centre. 

Hoche knew well that the Irish people only waited 
for a fit opportunity to change the form of their govern- 
ment, and his presence in Ireland at the head of a 
powerful army afforded them an excellent one. He was 
determined that the new Irish Government should re- 
cognize the French Republic, and allow the French 
people the right of choosing that form which suited them 
best. As to the independence of Ireland, that would be 
already accomplished, and no more to be questioned. 
Such were the solemn engagements given to Tone, and 
they would be renewed with the provisional government 
when sitting in Dublin. What a blessing it would have 
been for humanity had all this taken place, and what 
torrents of blood and treasure it would have spared to 
England and the continent of Europe ! But Providence 



6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

seems to have decreed that Ireland should remain the 
most degraded, the most miserable country on the face 
of the globe. 

The principal chiefs of the United Irish, both in the 
North and in the city of Dublin, did not yet despond ; 
on the contrary, they prepared an extensive plan for 
organizing all Ireland, and in the spring of 1797, whilst 
Government showed the greatest activity in getting 
yeomanry corps equipped and armed through every part 
of the country, and had them ready for active service, 
United Irishmen were made by thousands daily. No 
one scrupled to take the test, which indeed had nothing 
in it treasonable or dishonourable. Thomas Addis 
Emmet took it and kissed the Book in presence of a 
court of justice (before which he was pleading for a man 
who was charged with being a United Irishman), to show 
the absurdity of wanting to punish a man because he 
wished to obtain an equal and adequate representation 
of Irishmen of every religious persuasion in Parliament. 

For my own part I took it with pleasure, and worked 
to the best of my abilities in every way to forward the 
cause, and to show the great advantages that might be 
obtained by the union of Irishmen of all religious per- 
suasions; and I now most solemnly declare, in the 
presence of the Almighty, that I never regretted the 
part I took, and that if it were to be done over again I 
should do the same ; the only difference would be that, 
from the experience I have acquired as a military man 
(who has had the honour to serve in the French army), 
I might be enabled to do it better. Thus my confession 
of faith being made, I shall now begin to relate every- 
thing worth mentioning which took place previous to 
the 23rd of May, 1798, the day that was fixed upon for 
a general rising of the United Irishmen of Ireland by 
the Directory, then acting under the presidency of Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 7 

There were very few United Irishmen in my part of 
the country when I was made one, but before a month 
had elapsed almost every one had taken the test, by the 
exertions of Nick Murphy, Johnny Doyle, Ned Fennell, 
and myself. The priests did everything in their power 
to stop the progress of the Association of United Irish- * .-t-^ 
men: particularly poor Father John Redmond, who 
refused to hear the confession of any one of the United 
Irish, and turned them away from his knees. He was 
ill-requited afterwards for his great zeal and devotion to 
the enemies of his country: for, after the Insurrection 
was ail over, Earl Mountnorris brought him in a prisoner 
to the British camp at Gorey, with a rope about his neck, 
hung him up to a tree, and fired a brace of bullets through. 
his body. Lord Mountnorris availed himself of this 
opportunity to show his "loyalty," for he was rather 
suspected on account of not being at the head of his 
corps when the Insurrection broke out in his neighbour- 
hood. Both Redmond and the parish priest, Father 
Frank Cavanagh, were on the best terms with Earl 
Mountnorris, dining frequently with him at his seat, 
Camolin Park, which place Father Redmond prevented 
being plundered during the Insurrection. This was the 
only part he had taken in the struggle. 

The good effects of the United Irish system in the 
commencemeni were soon felt and seen throughout the 
counties of Wexford, Carlow, and Wicklow, which were 
the parts of the country I knew best. It gave the first 
alarm to the Government; they suspected something 
extraordinary was going on, finding that disputes, fight- 

fing at fairs and other places of public meeting had 
completely ceased. The magistrates soon perceived this 
change, as they were now seldom called on to grant 
summons or warrants to settle disputes. Drunkenness 
ceased also ; for a United Irishman to be found drunk 
was unknown for many months. The man who had 



8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the misfortune to drink too much considered himself 
a lost man as soon as he became sober, fearing that no 
more confidence would be placed in him. I often had 
to console men who feared it might be thought because 
they had formerly been prone to drinking that they 
could not be trusted with any enterprise of importance. 
Such was the sanctity of our cause and the assistance 
we received from every new member who joined our 
Society that we soon organized parochial and baronial 
meetings, and named delegates to correspond with the 
county members. Robert Grahame, of Corcannon, near 
Coolgreany, a cousin of my mother, was named to repre- 
sent the county at the meeting to be held in Dublin at 
Oliver Bond's. He was too late for the meeting, and 
indeed had the good fortune to escape being taken, 
being apprized in time that the house was surrounded 
by soldiers and police. 

Anthony Perry, of Inch, was one of the first and most 
active of the United class. He being a Protestant, and 
originally from the North, we had the greatest confi- 
dence in him. Poor Ned Fennell and I went frequently 
by night to consult and get instructions from him: we 
had to ride seven miles and to return before day. We 
used all our influence to prevent the people going by 
night to take arms ; they were anxious to be prepared 
for the rising, which they longed much for. We were 
very successful in this undertaking, and had it pro- 
pagated that the Orangemen were seizing the arms in 
order to throw suspicion on the poor people. One night 
returning from Inch we left the high road and passed 
through a little village of about a dozen houses; we 
passed and repassed several times, making a great noise 
with our horses, and calling out the names of some of 
the well-known chiefs of the Orange party Next day 
the poor people of this hamlet were ready to make 
affidavit that the Gorey yeomanry had come to take the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 9 

arms from the Protestant gentlemen of that neighbour- 
hood in order to have a pretext to have the country 
proclaimed, as if the Catholic peasantry had been 
seizing the arms. The people everywhere believed it, 
and it had the best effect, for consequently they gave 
up all idea of taking arms by night. 

Ned Fennell was bold and active, and brave to 
temerity. He was handsome and well made, and of 
distinguished manners, and, though but the son of a 
respectable farmer, might have been taken for a man 
of the first rank in the country, from his high tone and 
daring address. 

His elder brother Garret was also handsome and 
brave. Nick Murphy, though young, inspired great 
confidence in all who knew him ; he was active and 
honest, and thought he never could do enough to for- 
ward the cause of the United Irish system and in 
organizing the baronial meetings ; he was one of the 
first to correspond with the county members. He and 
I had been intimate from childhood ; he was two years 
older than me, but we never had a secret from each 
other. 

A large quantity of powder in jars was confided to' 
us to have made into cartridges, but a search for arms 
and ammunition being ordered by the magistrates, we 
decided at once to have it hid in a field on my land. 
Lest we both should be absent, or in custody, we thought 
it right to have another person with us, less likely to be 
arrested, who would be forthcoming and be able to find 
the powder when it was wanted. We agreed to com- 
municate the secret to a neighbour, John Sheridan, a 
very worthy man, and who, though a United Irishman, 
could not be suspected, we thought, as he did not commit 
himself to any but to Murphy and myself. Notwith- 
standing, when Murphy and I were hiding, previous to 
the Insurrection, poor Sheridan was taken up and on 



10 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the point of being shot. To save his life, he discovered 
where the ammunition was hid, and it being found on 
my land, I had nothing to expect had I fallen into the 
hands of the Orangemen. Sheridan did everything he 
could afterwards to make amends, and we forgave him ; 
he fought bravely with us throughout the Insurrection, 
and died in exile after all was over. 

John Doyle, of Knockbrandon, was one of my 
school-fellows, and one of the most active young men 
in the country ; unfortunately he was killed early in the 
Insurrection ; had he lived, he would have been one of 
the most daring chiefs : he was wealthy and had the 
greatest influence over people of every class. 

The first United Irishman's funeral that took place, 
being attended by vast crowds, and put into sections and 
marching order by a young man of the name of Toole 
(of Annagh), who wished to imitate one he had seen in 
Dublin, attracted the notice of Hunter Gowan, and, of 
course, made him suspect that something extraordinary 
was going on in the country. 

As I shall have often to allude to the cruelties and 
cold-blooded murders committed by this monster, it is 
necessary to mention what he was. He had for many 
years distinguished himself by his activity in apprehend- 
ing robbers, for which he had been rewarded by a pen- 
sion from Government. He was a low fellow, but this 
pension enabled him to hold some rank in the country. 
He called his place Mount Nebo, and planted his land 
with trees of different kinds. He kept a pack of 
hounds, and wished to be looked upon as a great sports- 
man, and felt much mortified when the neighbouring 
gentlemen refused to hunt with him. 

He happened one day to be led by the chase some 
miles from his own place, and fell in with old Garrett 
Byrne, of Ballymanus, who, with his hounds, was in 
full chase. The latter, enraged at being crossed in his 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. II 

sport by an upstart, as he called Hunter Gowan, gave 
him a horse -whipping, and told him never to presume 
to come in his way again. Gowan took the law of 
Garrett Byrne, and ran him into great expense. This 
occurrence of the horse-whipping took place many years 
previous to 1798, but it would appear that from that 
moment Gowan swore eternal hatred to Catholics in 
general, but most particularly against the Byrnes. 

A brother of Hunter Gowan lived in Gorey and kept 
a saddler's shop there ; he was considered a good sort 
of man, without any pretence of being above what he 
was. 

Garrett Byrne was a descendant of one of the oldest 
and most distinguished branches of the Byrnes of the 
county of Wicklow ; he inherited the small estate of 
Ballymanus, and lived in great style, associating with 
men of the highest rank in the county, all of whom 
esteemed and feared him : he was a perfect gentleman. 
He was dexterous in the use of arms, particularly the 
small sword and pistol ; my father often saw him shoot 
swallows from his hall door with a pistol ball. He 
brought up his family with high notions of what they 
owed to their ancestors. He had five sons, all splendid 
men Garrett, John, Colclough, Edward, and poor Billy 
or William, who was executed at Wicklow, and two 
daughters Nelly and Fanny, both very fine women, 
and very well educated. 

Garrett Byrne, finding himself getting old and feeble, 
and wishing to secure an independency to his daughters, 
proposed to his eldest son, Garrett, who had been lately 
married to a Miss White, to give him up the estate and 
that he and his daughters would go to reside in Arklow. 
The son readily complied, and settled on his sisters 
what their father thought sufficient for them, and they 
gave up Ballymanus to young Garrett and his wife a 
few years previous to 1797. From this epoch young 



12 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Garrett Byrne was looked up to by the people of that 
part of the county of Wicklow as a chief in whom they 
could confide when the rising should take place, and they 
were not deceived. From that moment Garrett Byrne 
became active and enterprising in organizing the 
country, where he was destined to command, and the 
people looked up to him as one who was to lead them 
to victory when the campaign began. 

During the summer of 1797 all the yeomanry corps 
of the counties of Wexford, Carlow, and Wicklow, 
cavalry and infantry, were equipped in the most splen- 
did manner. Reviews took place in districts, where 
several corps were assembled for the purpose. The 
greatest harmony reigned amongst them; although 
these corps were composed of Catholics as well as 
Protestants, religious animosity was unknown. The 
United Irish system contributed not a little to promote 
this blessing and to remove the chance of a religious 
war, had not the infernal Orange system, making its 
appearance about this time from the North of Ireland 
into the province of Leinster, thwarted its good effects. 
The United Irish laboured for nothing but civil and 
religious liberty for Irishmen of all persuasions, and for 
the independence of their country. 

How sickening it is to reflect that no man inde- 
pendent of English influence has yet come forward to 
write the history of that period and to give the lie to 
the calumnies that were invented and propagated 
against those brave patriots, who were ready to sacrifice 
life and property and everything dear to them to see 
their unfortunate country well governed and happy, as 
she ought to be ! 

I frequently went to see the reviews of the yeomanry 
corps at Shillelagh, Camolin, Gorey, Castletown, Cool- 
greany, etc., to meet friends and ascertain from them the 
progress our system was making in their various dis- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 13 

tricts ; likewise, to consult with them about the best 
means of keeping the people quiet until the proper 
time arrived for acting and taking the field. All seemed 
to be going on as well as we could wish, till the autumn 
of 1797, when the chiefs of several yeomanry corps 
became alarmed, and proposed to them to take a test 
oath that they were neither United Irishmen nor 
Orangemen, and never would be either the one or the 
other. 

Captain Knox Grogan assembled his corps at Little 
Limerick, and begged them to take this oath. Michael 
Redmond, one of the finest young men of the corps, and 
the most eloquent, made a speech in reply, and said 
that, for his own part, he took the proposition as an 
insult, and therefore would resign. " If there were 
proofs," he said, "against any one of them of misde- 
meanour, let him be arrested and brought to trial, but 
not insulted . that they were men of honour, and could 
not put up with such treatment." All the corps, except 
two officers, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart., and Laurence 
Doyle, lieutenants, and two sergeants-instructors, who 
had served with Grogan in the Green Horse, joined 
Redmond, and arranged to go to Captain Knox Grogan's 
residence the next day to give in their resignations and 
all that had been furnished by Government, such as 
arms, saddles, etc. Poor Grogan was much dejected, 
and left the field, followed only by Sir Thomas Esmonde, 
Lieutenant Doyle, and the two sergeants. He re- 
cruited a few men amongst his poor Protestant tenantry, 
to whom he furnished horses, and, at the head of some 
twenty or thirty of them, was killed at the battle of 
Ark low, fighting against the Insurgents, on the gth of 
June, 1798. 

Sir Thomas Esmonde and Laurence Doyle, although 
they fought beside Grogan during the battle, were 
arrested on the I2th of June and sent prisoners to 



14 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Dublin. As they were Catholics, the only way for 
them to have been considered loyal subjects in those 
days was to have died beside their unfortunate captain. 
A curious coincidence : the brave and undaunted Michael 
Redmond, who commanded a corps of the Insurgent 
Army, was killed about the same time, fighting against 
Grogan and his English allies, the Durham Fencibles, 
commanded by General Skerrit. Poor Redmond's death 
was sorely felt ; he would in a short time have become 
one of the principal leaders of the great cause the re- 
demption and independence of Ireland. His younger 
brothers, Denis and John, fought bravely, and had to 
escape to Dublin and abandon their families and homes. 

The corps of yeomanry cavalry, commanded by 
Beaumont, of Hyde Park, in which Anthony Perry, of 
Inch, or Perry Mount, and Ford, of Ballyfad, were offi- 
cers, refused to take any oath respecting their being 
Orangemen or United Irishmen ; at the same time they 
resolved not to resign, but to continue their service as 
usual. Soon after the corps was ordered to assemble, 
when a regiment of militia was in waiting, and the sus- 
pected members were surrounded and disarmed; that 
is to say, all the Catholics, which were about one-half 
of the corps, with Perry and one or two other Protes- 
tants, being considered too liberal to make part of a 
corps that was henceforward to be upon the true Pro- 
testant or Orange system. 

Captain Beaumont's sisters being Catholics one 
married to William Talbot, of Castle Talbot, another to 
Barry Lawless, of Shankill, her first cousin he thought 
it necessary to show his aversion to their religion that 
he might not be suspected of lukewarmness in the Pro- 
testant cause; and from that moment he became a 
savage and cruel bigot, and a great tyrant wherever he 
had an opportunity of exercising his power. The brave 
men of his corps whom he had had disarmed deeply 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 15 

regretted that they had not had the satisfaction of re- 
signing, as Grogan's corps had done, before having met 
with such an affront. They felt it keenly, and, conse- 
quently, became the more active in organizing the 
country ; amongst those may be mentioned in particular 
Perry and Garrett Fennell. They knew well that they 
were marked out for vengeance, but that they did not 
mind. No proof could be brought against them, from 
the impossibility of procuring informers to give evidence 
against United Irishmen. Such was the holiness of the 
cause they were embarked in that they dreaded no 
danger from any quarter, and continued quietly and 
successfully with the preparations necessary for the 
general rising; they waited, no doubt, with impatience 
for that great event, which they hoped would leave them 
free and independent of the detestable English yoke to 
which their country had been subjected for centuries. 

In the towns there were corps of foot and yeomanry 
as well as cavalry. White, of Ballyellis, raised a foot 
corps, and got great praise from the Government, as 
he had it equipped and armed when Heche's expedition 
came to Bantry Bay, in 1796. If this corps was one 
of the first that was ready to march, it was also one of 
the first to be disbanded and disarmed, for it was com- 
posed principally of Catholics, though the officers were 
Protestants. 

It is curious for me to relate now that only for the 
illegal and arbitrary disbanding of the Ballyellis corps 
of yeomanry I should probably never have enjoyed the 
influence I had in the country; but this requires ex- 
planation. These brave and most honest men felt that 
they were badly treated by their captain, Mr. White, 
against whom they intended to enter a lawsuit. Some 
of them called on me to have my opinion, and I advised 
them to name two or three of the corps who could 
afford it to go to Dublin, and that I would give them a 



l6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

letter to my half-brother, Edward Kennedy, who was 
intimate with Counsellor Thomas Addis Emmet, and 
that from that gentleman they could have the best law 
opinion on their case. Two were immediately named, 
John Keelly and his brother-in-law, both very simple 
but very honest, worthy men. I gave them a few lines 
to my brother, who, on their arrival in Dublin, accom- 
panied and presented them to Mr. Emmet. He at once 
undertook their affair. He saw it would afford a good 
opportunity of punishing and exposing those tyrants, 
who selfishly thought of nothing but their own advance- 
ment. 

Counsellor Curran joined Emmet, and both pro- 
mised poor Keelly that the lawsuit should be carried on 
free of all expense to the brave Ballyellis corps : they 
bid him return and get all his comrades immediately to 
sign a paper which they gave him for the purpose of 
proceeding forthwith against White, who, it would 
appear, felt himself open to the law by his improper 
conduct. 

It is needless to add that Keelly followed to the 
letter the instructions he received from his lawyers, and 
that not only the members of the corps, but all the 
people of the country, were enchanted to hear of the 
kind reception he had met with in Dublin through my 
means, and that injustice could not be committed with 
impunity on any member of their Society. Certainly 
my brother enjoyed a good deal of influence and con- 
sideration amongst the leading patriots of the day, such 
as Keogh, of Mount Jerome, Thomas Braghal, Emmet, 
Edward O'Reilly, Richard MacCormick, etc., and he was 
always ready to avail himself of it to serve his country- 
men, who were continually calling on him in Dublin, 
from the counties of Wexford and Wicklow in particu- 
lar. Indeed it is only justice to his memory to add that 
he made the greatest sacrifices, both pecuniary and 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 17 

otherwise, for the great cause we were all embarked in. 
From 1798 till 1803 he lost no opportunity of serving 
those brave men, who had had to escape from their 
homes and take refuge in Dublin, in procuring situa- 
tions and employments for them ; and finally, he had 
to pass three years of his life in Kilmainham Jail with- 
out ever being brought to trial, and he only got out of 
prison in 1806, on Mr. Fox coming into administration. 

I think it necessary to enter into these details before 
I begin to relate what I saw and experienced during the 
Insurrection which followed, and to mention some of 
the incidents which took place in the country previous 
to it. 

White, of Ballyellis, little thought he was drilling 
and preparing some of the bravest fellows that ever 
pulled a trigger against tyranny. His corps would have 
rendered the greatest service as instructors had the In- 
surgents succeeded. Many of them excelled in dex- 
terity and military acquirements ; both Isaac and Jacob 
Byrne were very much looked up to by their comrades 
as chiefs. Three brothers of the name of Finn Lau- 
rence, Luke, and Dan rather small-sized men, dis- 
tinguished themselves by their bravery and by their 
brotherly attachment ; they seldom separated, and fre- 
quently saved one another in the greatest danger. One 
day when charged by cavalry on the high road Luke 
fell under the horse's feet, whilst his brother Laurence 
escaped over a hedge or ditch ; the latter turning round 
to ascertain what had become of Luke, perceived him 
lying on the ground and two horsemen in the act of 
firing their pistols at him ; he instantly shot one of 
them. Luke, though knocked down, kept his fowling- 
piece by his side, raised it up, shot the other horseman, 
escaped with his brother, and gained the main body 
soon after. They were the first in every action, and 
always the last to quit the field of battle. After many 

C 



l8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

adventures and dangerous enterprises they effected their 
escape into Dublin when the Insurrection was put 
down : they left their widowed mother and sister to the 
mercy of White and the Orange ruffians of that neigh- 
bourhood. The elder brother, Laurence, went to 
America; Luke became a clerk and book-keeper in a 
mercantile house; Dan, the youngest, had to become 
a waiter in a porter house in Patrick Street. Such was 
the reputation of the Finns that the worthy proprietor, 
Thomas MacGauran, had to enlarge his establishment 
and open a second house next door, for all the good 
patriots of Dublin began to frequent it. Soon after 
young Finn married Mr. MacGauran's niece and be- 
came his partner. When I left Dublin they were making 
a fortune. In consequence of the explosion of the 
depot in Patrick Street, in 1803, they were imprisoned 
and much injured in their business, though no charge 
whatever could be brought against them. Poor Finn 
died some time after getting out of prison. MacGauran 
came with all his family, after the peace, to reside at 
Ingouville, near Havre de Grace, and some years after he 
had the misfortune to take nitre instead of salts, of 
which he died immediately, much lamented and re- 
gretted by all the Irish patriots who knew him, and 
leaving several young children unprovided for. 

The situation of the few Catholics who still remained 
in the different yeomanry corps became every day more 
insupportable and humiliating, and particularly so in 
those of Shillelagh and Carnew, these corps being prin- 
cipally composed of Orangemen, or, to say the least, of 
very prejudiced and bigoted Protestants. Poor Thomas 
Cullen, a very able sculptor, and a very enlightened 
man, fell a victim to the rage of his fellow-yeomen when 
the Insurrection broke out, for his being a Catholic. 

Towards the end of the year 1797, the Orange 
magistrates used all their influence and made every 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 19 

effort to find out a clew by which they might discover 
what the United Irishmen were bent on doing; but 
all in vain. They could not for any sum of money find 
any to turn informer and betray the sacred cause. 
Thus the proverb was found untrue, for an Irishman 
could not be found to turn the spit. 

An incident occurred, however, in the neighbourhood 
of Carnew which caused great alarm throughout the 
country. A young man of the name of Whelan, who 
had been riding home in a shower, bid his servant put 
his great-coat on a hedge to dry ; it had scarcely been 
placed there, when it was stolen by a man passing that 
way. Whelan instantly pursued the thief, and when 
he overtook him, with his great-coat under his arm, he 
gave him a drubbing, instead of taking him a prisoner, 
as he ought to have done. This fellow was known by 
the name of Cooper, the sowgelder. He went to the 
next Orange magistrate to swear information against 
Whelan for beating him, but the magistrate told him 
it would be a surer way to get revenge, and also to 
obtain compensation, were he to swear that Whelan 
had made him a United Irishman. Cooper readily fol- 
lowed the advice of this " honest " magistrate, and, a 
few days after, numbers of innocent men were arrested 
on this fellow's information, and sent to Wicklow and 
Wexford Jails. Fortunately the Assizes Circuit came 
on soon after, and Mat Bowling being employed as 
solicitor, and Counsellor Curran specially retained to 
plead for all those imprisoned in Wicklow Jail, the per- 
jured villain was soon unmasked, and proved by Curran 
to be a returned felon of the name of Morgan, and not 
Cooper, who had been transported for ten years for 
robberies and other crimes, and had only returned a 
short while before. Thus his evidence was scouted, and 
the prisoners acquitted; but not before Curran had 
stigmatised those magistrates who could encourage and 



20 MEMOIRS OF MILES. BYRNE. 

bring forward such a villain. He declared in the open 
court that the baseness and infamy of such transactions 
would reflect eternal infamy not only on them but on 
the Government if they were allowed to retain their 
commissions. The formality of bail being required, my 
step-brother Kennedy and Mr. Thomas Seagrave, of 
Kevin Street, who were at the trial in Wicklow, went 
bail for twenty of those who had been acquitted ; two 
of our tenants were amongst the number. 

Mat Dowling exerted himself in the most surprising 
manner on this occasion. It was past twelve at night 
before he was able to get the last of these brave fellows 
out of prison. Not having had time to dine or eat any- 
thing all day, it is needless to say that he and the 
gentlemen who had bailed the prisoners supped heavily 
together and passed a merry night after the victory of 
the day. Mat Dowling was a most honest attorney and 
an agreeable companion, and one of the truest patriots 
that could be met with in all Ireland. I made his ac- 
quaintance at Paris, in 1803, after he got out of Fort 
George, and I must say I passed many happy days in 
his company. He was full of talent, witty, and generous 
beyond description ; everyone liked him that knew him, 
and was delighted with his agreeable manners. 

Counsellor Curran learned from the judge who went 
the circuit that it was not thought expedient to bring 
Cooper to Wexford to prosecute the prisoners who were 
in jail there on his information. They were all set at 
liberty, on the judge entering the courthouse at Wex- 
ford, to the great mortification and disappointment of 
those upright magistrates who did not scruple to have 
so many honest men torn from their homes, their wives 
and children, when no charge could be brought against 
them, save from the information of the villain Morgan 
or Cooper, who had in fact been instigated to swear 
against them by these same magistrates. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 21 

All these brave patriots who had to quit the diffe- 
rent yeomanry corps knew well that they would be 
regarded by the Orange magistrates as men who should 
be closely looked after, and that no pains or expense 
would be spared to procure informers to swear against 
them. All this only served to excite them to exert 
themselves in every way to forward the organization 
of the United Irish system, and really obtained for them 
greater consideration and influence than they otherwise 
would have had. Already the people began to look up 
to them as their chiefs and leaders, although only a 
few of them were entitled to rank by the organization 
then known in the country. 

It was well understood that the ensuing spring was 
finally fixed on for the great struggle and simultaneous 
rising ; therefore the winter of 1 797 and 1 798 only re- 
mained to complete the preparations necessary for this 
long-wished-for event. Nothing could exceed the readi- 
ness and good-will of the United Irishmen to comply 
with the instructions they received to procure arms, 
ammunition, etc., notwithstanding the difficulties and 
perils they underwent purchasing those articles. Every 
man had fire-arms of some sort, or a pike ; the latter 
weapon was easily had at this time, for almost every 
blacksmith was an United Irishman. The pike blades 
were soon hadj but it was more difficult to procure 
handles for them, and the cutting down of young ash- 
trees for that purpose awoke attention and caused great 
suspicion of the object in view. However, as there 
were no informers, all went on smoothly until the fatal 
3<Dth of March, 1798, when all Ireland was put under 
martial law, and officially declared to be in a state of 
rebellion by a proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant and 
the Privy Council of the realm. By this proclamation 
the military were directed to use the most summary 
method of repressing all kind of disturbance. From 



22 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

that moment every one considered himself as walking 
on a mine ready to be blown up, and all sighed for 
orders to begin. 

What a pity that Lord Edward Fitzgerald or the 
Directory did not at this juncture immediately issue 
their decree to take the field, instead of waiting until 
the chiefs were in prison or hiding to escape the most 
cruel tortures that ever were invented by any savage 
nation on the face of the globe. The furious inquisitors 
of Spain might have taken a lesson from the Beresfords 
of that day. Flogging, half hanging, picketing, were 
mild tortures in comparison of the pitch caps that were 
applied to the heads of those who happened to wear 
their hair short, called croppies; the head being com- 
pletely singed, a cap made of strong linen well imbued 
with boiling pitch was so closely put on that it could 
not be taken off without bringing off a part of the skin 
and flesh from the head : in many instances the tor- 
tured victim had one of his ears cut off to satisfy the 
executioner that if he escaped he could readily be dis- 
covered, being so well marked. 

The military, placed on free quarters with the in- 
habitants, were mostly furnished by the Ancient 
Britons, a cruel regiment, which became obnoxious 
from the many outrages they committed wherever they 
were stationed: being quartered in houses where the 
men had to absent themselves, the unfortunate females 
who remained had to suffer all sorts of brutality from 
these ferocious monsters. What hardships, what cala- 
mities and miseries had not the wretched people to 
suffer on whom were let loose such a body of soldiery 
as were then in Ireland! It was on this occasion that 
Sir Ralph Abercrombie, unwilling to tarnish his military 
fame, resigned the chief command of the army in Ireland 
on the 2Qth of April, 1798, rather than sanction by his 
presence proceedings so abhorrent to his nature. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 23 

Many of the low-bred magistrates availed them- 
selves of the martial law to prove their vast devotion 
to Government by persecuting and often torturing the 
inoffensive country people. Archibald Hamilton Jacob 
and the Enniscorthy yeomen cavalry never marched out 
of the town without being accompanied by a regular 
executioner, with his ropes, cat-o'-nine-tails, etc. 
Hawtry White, Solomon Richards, and a Protestant 
minister of the name of Owens were all notorious for 
their cruelty and persecuting spirit; the latter particu- 
larly so, putting on pitch caps, and exercising other 
torments. To the credit of some of his victims when 
the vile fellow himself was in their power, and was 
brought a prisoner to the Insurgent camp at Gorey, 
they sought no other revenge that that of putting a 
pitch cap on him. I had often difficulty in preventing 
the others, who had suffered so much at his hands, 
from tearing him to pieces. He in the end escaped 
with many other prisoners, being escorted and guarded 
by men who did not consider that revenge or retalia- 
tion of any kind would forward the sacred cause they 
were embarked in : particularly as they were desirous 
it should not be thought that it was a religious war 
they were engaged in. Although several of the prin- 
cipal chiefs of the United Irishmen were Protestants, 
the Orange magistrates did all they could to spread the 
belief that the Catholics had no other object in view 
but to kill their Protestant fellow-subjects : and to give 
weight to this opinion, they/ did what they could to 
provoke the unfortunate people to commit outrages and 

i\ reprisals by killing some and burning their houses. 

In short, the state of the country previous to the 

^ Insurrection is not to be imagined, except by those who 

A? witnessed the atrocities of every description committed 

by the military and the Orangemen, who were let loose 

' v on the unfortunate defenceless and unarmed population. 



24 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

The infamous Hunter Gowan now sighed for an 
opportunity to vent his ferocious propensity of murder- 
ing his Catholic neighbours in cold blood. When the 
yeomanry corps were first formed he was not considered 
sufficiently respectable to be charged with the command 
of one; but in consequence of the proclamation of 
martial law, he soon obtained a commission of the 
peace and was created a captain, and was commissioned 
to raise a cavalry corps : in a short time he succeeded 
in getting about thirty or forty low Orangemen, badly 
mounted ; but they soon procured better horses at the 
expense of the unfortunate farmers, who were plun- 
dered without redress. This corps went by the name 
of the " black mob." Their first campaign was to arrest 
all the Catholic blacksmiths and to bum their houses. 
Poor William Butter, James Haydon, and Dalton, 
smiths whom we employed to shoe our horses and do 
other work for many years before, were condemned to 
be transported, according to the recent law enacted, 
that magistrates upon their own authority could sen- 
tence to transportation. But the monster Hunter 
Gowan thinking this kind of punishment too slight, 
wished to give his young men an opportunity to prove 
they were staunch blood-hounds. Poor Garrett Fennell, 
who had just landed from England, and was on his 
'way to see his father and family, was met by this 
corps and tied by his two hands up to a tree ; they then 
stood at a certain distance and each man lodged the 
contents of his carbine in the body of poor Fennell, at 
their captain's command. They then went to a house 
close by, where they shot James Darcy, a poor, inoffen- 
sive man, the father of five children. The bodies of 
these two murdered victims were waked that night in 
the chapel of Monaseed, where the unhappy women and 
children assembled to lament their slaughtered relatives. 
This chapel was afterwards burned. Poor Fennell left 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 25 

a young widow and two children. This cruel deed took 
place on the road between our house and the chapel. 
The day after (the 25th of May, 1798), about three miles 
from our place, one of the most bloody deeds took place 
that was ever recorded in Irish history since the days of 
Cromwell. Twenty-eight fathers of families, prisoners, 
were shot and massacred in the ball-alley of Carnew, 
without trial. Mr. Cope, the Protestant minister, was 
one of the principal magistrates who presided at this 
execution. I knew several of the murdered men, par- 
ticularly Pat Murphy, of Knockbrandon, at whose 
wedding I was two years before ; he was a brave and 
most worthy man, and much esteemed. William Young, 
a Protestant, was amongst the slaughtered. 

At Dunlavin, county of Wicklow, previous to the 
rising, thirty- four men were shot, without any trial: 
officers, to their disgrace, presiding and sanctioning these 
proceedings. But it is useless to enumerate or continue 
the list of cruelties perpetrated : it will suffice to say 
that where the military were placed on free quarters 
and where all kinds of crime were committed, the people 
were not worse off than those living where no soldiers 
were quartered ; for in the latter instance the inhabi- 
tants were generally called to their doors and shot 
without ceremony, their houses being immediately 
burned or plundered. 

This was the miserable state our part of the country 
was in the beginning of May, 1798. All were obliged 
to quit their houses and hide themselves the best way 
they could. Ned Fennell, Nicholas Murphy, and I 
agreed, the last time we met previous to the Insurrec- 
tion, that, through the means of our female friends, we 
should do everything in our power to keep the people 
from desponding, for we had every reason to hope that 
ere long there would be orders received for a general 
rising from the Directory. We also promised to en- 



26 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

deavour to get news from Dublin, if possible, and at 
least from Arklow, through Phil Neill and young Garrett 
Graham, of that town, both of them very active and 
well known to the principal men in Dublin ; and 
through them and Anthony Perry we expected shortly 
to receive instructions for what was best to be done 
under the critical circumstances in which we were 
placed. I was daily in hopes of getting some informa- 
tion from my step-brother, Kennedy (at Dublin), and 
on this account I remained as long as I could in the 
neighbourhood of our place, keeping away, however, 
from my mother's house; sleeping at night in the 
fields, watching in the day-time from the hills and 
high grounds to see if the military or yeomen were 
approaching. 

The 22nd of May I ventured to call on Ned Fen- 
nell's father, who I met on his own land, to enquire if 
he had any news for me. He told me he had seen my 
sister and also Nick Murphy's sister that morning, and 
that neither of them had learned anything new, the 
communications then being everywhere intercepted, 
and that they had little hopes of being able to procure 
any. Mr. Fennell assured me I might accompany him 
to his house without any risk, and there take some re- 
freshments, of which I stood in great need ; he pro- 
mised that both he and his young son, Mathew, then 
seventeen years of age, would be on the look-out ; that 
they could see in every direction to a great distance, if 
the military were approaching. I accepted his kind 
offer, and in less than fifteen minutes after I entered 
the house the son came in in haste to tell me that the 
Carnew yeomanry were crossing the river from Burks- 
town, at the bottom of the land, but that we could 
escape unseen by a hedge and get to a hill about a 
mile off without being perceived I followed his ad- 
vice, and soon reached it. On this hill I met Ned 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 2/ 

Nowlan and Mick Kearney, both very fine young 
fellows. They had just escaped also from the infernal 
Carnew corps. We agreed to remain together, and I 
proposed to them to go to my step-sister, Mrs. Doyle, 
at Ballintemple, in the county of Wicklow: it was a 
woody country and offered more facilities for hiding, 
and was about five miles from Arklow. 

We set out in the night and arrived in the morning, 
when I found my poor sister in great distress, fearing 
every moment that her husband would be arrested, the 
house having been ransacked the day before, under pre- 
text of searching for concealed arms ; but she was con- 
vinced that it was me they were looking for, so we im- 
mediately left the house, took some bread with us, and 
got into a wood, where we passed the day, near the 
Vale of Avoca. 

When night came on we decided to go to Arklow. 
Nowlan had a friend of his, James Earichty, who had 
gone there a few days before to conceal himself at his 
brother's place, the latter being an inhabitant of Arklow 
and a sea-faring man, and keeping also a small inn or 
public-house. We expected we could stop some time 
unnoticed ; besides, we thought it was necessary to 
learn something from the leaders in the town. One of 
my father's sisters and her husband had been living 
there for some time, which was another inducement for 
me to go there. Next day being the market-day of the 
town we got in without being remarked. I went in- 
stantly to my aunt's, and got her husband to procure 
me an interview with Garrett Graham, who was to be 
one of the principal chiefs there. In the garden be- 
longing to his own house I found him terribly cast 
down ; he told me how he expected to be arrested every 
moment, and that he could not think of escaping, as 
his father would be taken in his place, the house 
burned, etc., if he was not forthcoming. He told me 



28 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

that Phil Neill had surrendered himself to save his 
father from imprisonment and destruction ; he seemed 
to envy my situation, and added "that he was con- 
vinced, from all he had learned that morning and from 
the different movements of the military and yeomanry 
corps of the town and neighbourhood, that there was 
fighting going on somewhere, and that it was reported 
that the Insurgents were in great force in the counties 
of Kildare and Carlow." 

I took my leave of Graham, and went instantly to 
meet Nowlan and Kearney at Earichty's brother's house. 
They had heard all the news Graham gave me, and 
even more, and from better authority. We, in conse- 
quence, decided to quit the town immediately, and to 
get again into the country, and, if possible, go in the 
direction where we might expect to meet the Insurgents. 

Earichty, who resided in Arklow, knew two recruit- 
ing sergeants of the Fourth Dragoon Guards, who had 
been quartered there for some time, and frequented his 
house. They had just received orders to rejoin their 
regiment at Carlow. Mrs. Earichty arranged with 
them that his brother and his three comrades might 
march with them as long as it suited their convenience ; 
of course we readily availed ourselves of this oppor- 
tunity. But as it was known in town that their orders 
for recruiting had ceased, they did not wish us to march 
through the streets with them; consequently, as soon 
as Mrs. Earichty had procured us four cockades, we 
set out by a back-way and joined our two sergeants on 
the great road. We stopped in a village about three 
miles from Arklow for the night, and next morning 
rejoined our two horsemen on the high road to Hackets- 
town. 

James Earichty was on friendly terms with those 
sergeants, having seen them so much at his brother's. 
He saw that they seemed rather alarmed, and asked 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 29 

them if they had heard any news during the night. 
They replied " that they had got very bad news ; that 
it was probable they would have to return ; that the 
Insurgents were rising and attacking the military in 
different places, but that they did not get any satisfac- 
tory details one way or another." 

We got no further news until we reached Hackets- 
town in the evening, and, on entering it, poor Ned 
Nowlan was met by a clerk of Ralph Blaney's, of Car- 
new, Effy Page, who arrested him, and had him put into 
prison immediately. On seeing this one of the sergeants 
came instantly and told Earichty that he thought we 
should do well to go outside the town to pass the night, 
and that we could rejoin them in the morning on the 
great road to Carlow, and if we saw them accompanied 
by any cavalry that, of course, we knew what was best 
to be done. We followed their advice, and next morn- 
ing at daylight we saw them at a great distance and 
alone, which raised our spirits very much. As we had 
heard during the night from the country people that 
Rathvilly was attacked and also the town of Carlow, we 
hoped to meet the Insurgents somewhere or other in 
force, but, unfortunately, we were again cruelly disap- 
pointed. Passing at Rathvilly we saw a great number 
of men lying dead on the roadside, where they had been 
killed the day before by the military who were quar- 
tered there. 

On arriving in Carlow we saw every appearance of 
the greatest confusion and dismay. The Insurgents, in 
great force, had attacked the town at two o'clock that 
morning, the 25th of May ; and although they were de- 
feated and dispersed, and many of them burned in the 
houses in Tullow Street, where they took shelter, yet 
it was generally thought that they would muster again 
in greater numbers than ever, as they were not pursued 
by the cavalry to any distance from the town. We had 



3O MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

remarked that we did not meet a single corps of yeo- 
manry from Arklow to Carlow ; they were so frightened 
that they preferred keeping concentrated in the garri- 
sons of the regular troops. 

Kearney, Earichty, and I all concluded that, from 
everything we had witnessed and learned during the last 
two days, there must have been an attempt at a general 
rising in the counties of Carlow, Wexford, and Wick- 
low. We therefore decided at once on making the best 
of our way back to our own county, where we should be 
more likely to render service. 

We instantly left Carlow, and at a short distance in 
the fields went into the first house we came to. There 
we remained till night. Earichty had been a good deal 
at sea with his brother, and seemed to know how to 
direct his course on land by the stars, as well as if he 
had been on the ocean ; he promised to guide us across 
the country to my mother's place, a distance of more 
than twenty miles, without following any of the prin- 
cipal roads, where we might be liable to meet patrols. 
He kept his word But of all the forced marches I ever 
made this was the worst, on account of being obliged to 
leap over hedges and ditches to avoid the highway. 
Poor Kearney caught a dysentery by it, of which he died 
soon after. He was a fine young man of twenty years 
of age. Earichty was twenty-eight or thirty, six feet 
two inches high, powerfully made and well proportioned, 
sagacious and clever. To him I may say I owed my 
existence, for we never could have made the journey 
by night but for the knowledge of astronomy he ac- 
quired at sea. 

We arrived a little before day-break at my mother's 
house. I approached the house with great precaution 
(lest there might be soldiers placed there), and I must 
add, overwhelmed with anxiety, fearing to learn every 
thing for the worst However, finding all silent, I went 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 31 

at once and knocked. My poor sister came to the 
window, trembling and alarmed, until she saw it was 
me. She told me that my mother had gone to Gorey 
to strive to get our step-brother Hugh out of prison; 
he was in the last stage of a decline, and had only 
arrived a short time before from Dublin to recover his 
health. Still the cruel* Orangemen took him up as 
they could not get me. 

Before I had time to ask any questions my sister 
told me " she hoped to have good news to tell me in 
the morning ; that it was certain the people were rising 
in every direction, and had already defeated the troops. 
She could not then give me the details, but in an hour 
or two she was sure to be able to satisfy me in every 
particular." Until she ascertained something more 
positive, E aridity, Kearney, and I thought it prudent to 
remain out in a field concealed near the house whilst 
waiting for the news. When it was broad daylight we saw 
my sister running to look for us to give us the cheerful 
tidings, with all the joyful enthusiasm so characteristic 
of a young Irish girl of eighteen. She told us that the 
troops had run away from Gorey, and that all the 
prisoners were at liberty to go where they pleased ; but 
still the people, or the Insurgent army, as we must now 
call them, did not march that way, but were in great 
force in the neighbourhood of Camolin and Ferns. 

We instantly prepared to go and join them. I dis- 
tributed the few arms I had concealed. My fowling- 
piece, not having been hid, was taken a month before 
by Earl Mountnorris' corps of yeomanry: but I ex- 
pected to be able to bring a treasure to our camp in 
an immense large jar of powder, which Nick Murphy, 
Jack Sheridan, and I hid some time before. I was 
cruelly disappointed when I went to the field and found 
that it had been dug up and taken away. My sister 
told me that some days before she had seen Sheridan, 



32 MEMOIPS OF MILES BYRNE. 

in company with soldiers, in that field, but she could 
not say what they were doing; the unfortunate man 
discovered this treasure, no doubt, to save his life. 

It was only now that I heard for the first time of all 
the barbarous murders that had been committed whilst 
I was away: the massacre at Carnew, the murder of 
poor Garrett Fennell, Darcy, and a list of others who 
had shared the same fate. My dear sister thought she 
could never tell me enough about all that had hap- 
pened during my absence ; how our horses were taken, 
and that three men mounted my mare and sprained her 
back, etc. But if I had not remarked a long scar on 
her neck she would not have mentioned anything about 
herself. A yeoman of the name of Wheatly, of the 
Gorey corps, the day on which poor Hugh was arrested 
threatened to cut her throat with his sabre if she did 
not tell instantly the place where I was hiding: the 
cowardly villain no doubt would have put his threat in 
execution had not some of his comrades interfered to 
prevent him. 

Being joined by a few of our farmer workmen and 
tenants' sons, who heard I had returned, I prepared 
again to take leave of my sister, knowing that my dear 
mother would soon be home to keep her company. 
This time she saw me depart with joy and delight, for 
she had set her heart and soul on the success of our 
undertaking; her courage and spirit was surprising 
under such circumstances for a girl of her age, and she 
never despaired. I bid her farewell, and marched off 
with my faithful friends, Earichty, Kearney, and the 
others who had just joined us, on the great road to 
Camolin, a distance of seven miles, and reached this 
town without meeting with a single armed man to 
oppose us. Here we learned all the particulars of 
Father John Murphy's wonderful success the night be- 
fore, and we instantly resolved to march and join him 
without delay. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 33 

The Rev. John Murphy, of the parish of Monageer 
and Boolavogue, was a worthy, simple, pious man, and 
one of those Roman Catholic priests who used the 
greatest exertions and exhortations to oblige the people 
to surrender their pikes and fire-arms of every descrip- 
tion. As soon as the cowardly yeomanry thought that 
all the arms were given up, and that there was no far- 
ther risk, they took courage and set out on Whit Satur- 
day, the 26th of May, 1798, burning and destroying all 
before them. Poor Father John, seeing his chapel and 
his house and many others of the parish all on fire, and 
in several of them the inhabitants consumed in the 
flames, and that no man seen in coloured clothes could 
escape the fury of the yeomanry, betook himself to the 
next wood, where he was soon surrounded by the unfor- 
tunate people who had escaped. All came beseeching 
his reverence to tell them what was to become of them 
and their poor families : he answered them abruptly 
that they had better die courageously in the field than 
be butchered in their houses : that, for his own part, if 
he had any brave men to join him, he was resolved to 
sell his life dearly and prove to those cruel monsters 
that they should not continue their murders and devas- 
tations with impunity. All answered and cried out that 
they were determined to follow his advice and to do 
whatever he ordered. " Well, then," he replied, " we 
must when night comes get armed the best way we 
can, with pitch-forks and other weapons, and attack the 
Camolin yeoman cavalry on their way back to Earl 
Mountnorris, where they will return to pass the night 
after satisfying their savage rage on the defenceless 
country people." 

Father John's plan was soon put in execution ; he 
went to the high road by which the corps was to return, 
left a few men near a house with instructions to place 
two cars across the road the moment the last of the 



34 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

cavalry had passed, and at a short distance from thence, 
half a quarter of a mile, he made a complete barricade 
across the highway, and then placed all those brave 
fellows who followed him behind a hedge along the 
roadside ; and in this position he waited to receive this 
famous yeomanry cavalry returning from being glutted 
with all manner of crimes during this memorable day 
the 26th of May, 1798. 

About nine o'clock at night this corps, riding at 
great speed, encountered the above-mentioned obstacle 
on the road, and were at the same moment attacked 
from front to rear by Father John and his brave men 
with their pitch-forks. The cavalry after discharging 
their pistols got no time to reload them or to make 
much use of their sabres. In short, they were literally 
lifted out of their saddles, and fell dead under their 
horses' feet. Lieutenant Bookey, who had the command 
in the absence of Earl Mountnorris, was one of the first 
killed ; he was a sanguinary villain, and it seemed a just 
judgment that befell them all: but be that as it may, 
Father John and his men were much elated with their 
victory, and, getting arms, ammunition, and horses by 
it, considered themselves formidable and able, at least, 
to beat the cruel yeomanry in every rencounter. They 
marched at once to Camolin Park, the residence of 
Lord Mountnorris, where they got a great quantity of 
arms of every description which had been taken from 
the country people for months before, and even the 
carabines belonging to the corps, which had not been 
distributed, waiting the arrival of the Earl from Dublin. 

During the night and the next day, Whit Sunday, 
the 2/th of May, the people flocked in to join Father 
John's standard on hearing of his success ; and as soon 
as the news was known in Gorey the troops took fright 
and abandoned the town, letting the prisoners go where 
they pleased But finding that Father John had 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 35 

marched in another direction, they returned and re- 
sumed their persecutions as before : they again arrested 
great numbers and had them placed in the market-house 
loft ready to be butchered the moment the Insurgents 
made their appearance before the town. Poor Perry 
was amongst the prisoners and in a dreadful state, 
having the skin as well as the hair burnt off his head. 
Esmond Kyan was arrested that day, and made a 
prisoner. 

Father John might have marched to Gorey and even 
to Arklow without meeting with much resistance, but 
he thought it would be more advisable to raise the 
whole county of Wexford first, and get possession of 
the principal towns. In consequence of this decision, 
on Whit Sunday, the 2?th of May, he marched with all 
his forces, then amounting to four or five thousand men, 
to Oulard Hill, a distance of ten miles from Wexford 
and five from Enniscorthy. He encamped on this hill 
for the purpose of giving an opportunity to the unfor- 
tunate people who were hiding to come and join him. 
He soon perceived several corps of yeomanry cavalry 
in sight, but all keeping at a certain distance from the 
hill, waiting till the infantry from Wexford arrived to 
make the attack first. 

Shortly after he saw a large force on the march, 
flanked by some cavalry, and, as soon as they began 
to mount the hill, Father John assembled his men, and 
showed them the different corps of cavalry that were 
waiting, he said, " to see us dispersed by the foot troops 
to fall on us and to cut us in pieces ; but let us remain 
firm together, and we shall surely defeat the infantry, 
and then we shall have nothing to dread from the 
cavalry, as they are too great cowards to venture into 
the action." All promised to conform to his instruc- 
tions. "Well, then," he rejoined, "we must march 
against the troops that are mounting the hill, and when 



36 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

they are deployed and ready to begin the attack, we 
must retreat precipitately back to where we are, and 
then throw ourselves down behind this old ditch," 
pointing to a boundary on the top of the hill All his 
instructions were executed as he had ordered. 



BATTLE OF OULARD HILL. 

The King's troops were commanded by Colonel 
Foote and Major Lombard, and as soon as they came 
within about two muskets shot of the Insurgents they 
deployed and prepared for action, but became enraged 
when they saw the Insurgents retreating back to the 
top of the hill ; however, they followed quickly, knowing 
that the hill was completely surrounded by the several 
corps of yeomanry cavalry, and that it was impossible 
for the Insurgents to escape before they came in 
with them. 

Father John allowed the infantry to come within 
half musket shot of the ditch, and then a few men on 
each flank and in the centre stood up, at the sight of 
which the whole line of infantry fired a volley. In- 
stantly Father John and all his men sallied out and 
attacked the soldiers, who were in the act of re-charging 
their arms ; and, although they made the best fight 
they could with their muskets and bayonets, they were 
soon overpowered and completely defeated by the 
pikemen, or, rather, by the men with pitch-forks and 
other weapons; for very few had pikes at this battle 
on account of having given them up by the exhortations 
and advice of the priests. 

Of this formidable expedition, which was sent from 
Wexford, on the 2/th of May, to exterminate the In- 
surgents, very few returned to bring the woeful tidings 
of their defeat, and the glorious victory obtained by 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 3/ 

the people over their cruel tyrants. Of the North Cork 
party that had been the scourge of the country for 
several months previous, and so distinguished for mak- 
ing Orangemen, hanging, picketing, putting on pitch- 
caps, etc., Major Lombard, the Hon. Captain 
De Courcy, Lieutenants Williams, Ware, Barry, and 
Ensign Keogh, with all the privates but two, were left 
dead on the field of battle. In short, none escaped ex- 
cept Colonel Foote, a sergeant, a drummer, and the two 
privates mentioned above. The Insurgents had but 
three killed and five or six wounded. The Shelmalier 
cavalry, commanded by Colonel Lehunt, as well as the 
different corps of cavalry that surrounded the hill dur- 
ing the battle and did not take any part in the action, 
in their precipitate retreat to Wexford, Enniscorthy and 
Gorey, shot every man they met on the road ; went to 
the houses, called the people to their doors and put 
them to death : many who were asleep shared the same 
fate, their houses being mostly burned 

Solomon Richards, commander of the Enniscorthy 
cavalry, and Hawtry White, who commanded all the 
troops of cavalry sent from Gorey to exterminate the 
people, surpassed any description that could be given 
of the cruel deeds of those cowardly monsters, who ran 
away that memorable day Whit Sunday, the 27th of 
May, 1798. They little thought, however, that for 
every one they put to death in cold blood, they were 
sending thousands to join the Insurgent camp. 

Father John and his little army now became quite 
flushed with their last victory. Seeing the King's 
troops flying and escaping in every direction, they were 
at a loss to know which division they should pursue ; 
they however, having as yet no cavalry, marched from 
Oulard Hill, and encamped for the night on Carrigrew 
Hill. Next morning, the 28th of May, at seven o'clock, 
they marched to Camolin, and from thence to Ferns. 



38 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Not meeting with any of the King's troops in this town 
to oppose them, and having learned that they had re- 
treated to Gorey and to Enniscorthy, Father John 
resolved at once to attack this last town. In order to 
afford a better opportunity to the brave and unfortunate 
country people to escape from their hiding places and 
come to join his standard, he and his little army crossed 
the Slaney by the bridge at Scarawalsh, and certainly 
this skilful manoeuvre or countermarch had the happiest 
result; for immediately on crossing the river he was 
joined by crowds, and amongst them many of those 
splendid young men who so much distinguished them- 
selves in every action afterwards against the enemies 
of their country, such as Ned Fennell, John Doyle of 
Ballyellis, Nick Murphy of Monaseed, Michael Red- 
mond and Murt Murnagh, from Little Limerick. 
Thomas Synnott, of Kilbride, though not so young as 
many of the others, surpassed them in activity. In short, 
all the fine, brave young men of the most respectable 
class of farmers in the neighbourhood joined on this 
memorable day. All of them agreed to obey and 
comply with Father John's instructions, and to have his 
order strictly executed ; offering him, at the same time, 
their opinions on the best way of carrying on the war : 
to all of which this courageous, simple man, listened 
with delight. Thus he became general-in-chief provi- 
sionally. Would to God he had been confirmed in this 
rank all through! His lieutenants now only vied with 
each other in showing their skill and bravery against 
the cruel enemy that had been desolating the country 
for months. 

These young men only wanted a little drilling to 
become great leaders and excellent officers to enable 
them to obtain by their courage and tolerance the com- 
plete independence of Ireland. Nothing could be farther 
from their views than a religious war. The best proof 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 39 

of this assertion is their love and sincere attachment 
to Perry and all the other Protestant chiefs embarked 
with them in this holy struggle to get rid of the cruel 
English yoke, and to have established, in its stead, 
perfect toleration for every creed and religious persua- 
sion that is to say, civil and religious liberty for all to 
the greatest extent possible. Such was the sacred 
engagement of the United Irishmen to one another 
from the commencement of the war, which they never 
suffered to be violated in their capacity as chiefs, when- 
ever they had the means to prevent it. Yet, because 
three or four priests were driven from their neutral 
position by the blood-thirsty Orangemen to join the 
people's camp, the English Government wished to 
stamp the war in Ireland of 1/98 as merely a religious 
war, carried on by priests. Yet now, strange to say, 
this same Government and English nation holds up to 
the skies as the greatest heroes of the age those bishops 
and priests who marched forward with the crucifix as 
their standard at the head of the people in Spain, 
Portugal, Hungary, and Lombardy, to drive the French 
and Austrians from their various countries. The unfor- 
tunate Irish Roman Catholic priests of that day did not 
show their love of country as the Spanish and Italian 
clergy did. The priests saved the infamous English / 
Government in Ireland from destruction, and for their | 
pious assiduity and earnest endeavours on this occasion i 
to keep the people in thraldom they were but poorly 
recompensed. With the exception of Dr. Troy, the 
Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, few or none got favours 
for themselves or their friends. Had ten counties of 
Ireland produced each at the same time a Father 
John Murphy, with his success, the remaining thirty-two 
would all have followed the example. Then the English 
forces would have been obliged to have evacuated the 
country; their army, reduced by desertion and sick- 



40 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

ness, would have been overwhelmed in every part by 
the multitude of people pouring in upon them in every 
direction. 

I feel this long digression necessary at this epoch 
of my narrative, on account of the great pains taken by 
the enemies of the independence of Ireland to make it 
appear that the Catholic United Irishmen had no other 
object in view than retaliation and revenge on their 
Protestant fellow-countrymen during the war. If none 
but the slanderer Sir Richard Musgrave had propagated 
such a calumny I would not deign to refute it ; but the 
book-making bigot, the Protestant minister Gordon, 
whilst he allows that the greatest atrocities and murders 
were committed by the Protestant yeomanry on the 
unarmed and innocent Catholics previous to the rising, 
still condemns Father John Murphy as a vulgar, fero- 
cious fanatic, because he had the courage to take the 
field and give battle to those blood-thirsty troops, in 
which Gordon's son was an officer. Is this impartial 
history ? 

On the other hand, honest Edward Hay, one of the 
Catholic aristocracy, who had his brother executed in 
Wexford as an United Irishman and chief of the In- 
surgents, wishes to make it appear, in his narrative, that 
there were very few United Irishmen in his country the 
county of Wexford because the reports found at 
Oliver Bond's scarcely made mention of the county of 
Wexford. The reason is simple. The County Delegate, 
Robert Graham, had the pood fortune to arrive too late 
at Bond's, and escaped Therefore his report of men 
and arms to the provincial meeting could not be ascer- 
tained. 

In another page Edward Hay tells that, from the 
exhortations and exertions of the priests in every 
parish, the pikes were surrendered and generally lodged 
in the chapels at night. He also mentions that Bagenal 
Harvey had brought all from his district the day he was 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 4! 

arrested. Thus, as none but United Irishmen would 
risk having pikes, and they were discovered everywhere, 
it proves that the great mass of the people were United 
Irishmen. The Government knew it perfectly. There- 
fore it is useless to strive to maintain that the county 
of Wexford people were less desirous than those of 
other counties to shake off the yoke of England. 

What a misfortune for Ireland not to be able to 
produce one historian who could boast that he was 
neither a place-hunter, placeman, or pensioner of the 
English Government ! To such a man the most valuable 
materials could be furnished. What a pity and misfortune 
that the author of " Captain Rock " did not possess a 
thousand a year, or at least an independence which 
might have enabled him to live out of England! He 
could have brought his History of Ireland down to the 
Union and even later, instead of leaving it off at the 
reign of Henry VIII. ; thereby he would have had an 
opportunity of doing justice to Father John, and to all 
those brave patriots of 1798, who sacrificed everything 
dear to them, life, fortune, all the enjoyments on earth, 
to see Ireland free and governed by Irishmen, and as 
she ought to be, in place of being the last and most 
unfortunate country on the face of the globe. 

Another Irishman who took upon himself to write 
and publish the history of the brave United Irishmen 
says "he is not for revolutions made by the sabre." 
But as this declaration coincides so well with the fulsome 
cant of "not spilling one drop of blood," I shall leave 
these divines to be judged by posterity, and return to 
Father John Murphy, who would have been the last 
man in the world to transgress the divine laws of his 
religion. By acting as he did to resist English mur- 
derers, he showed to the tyrants of the earth how 
dangerous it is to drive even slaves to desperation. 
His success in this just war affords a fine specimen of 
what a people are capable when resolved to be free. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 



BATTLE AND TAKING OF THE TOWN OF ENNISCORTHY 
WITHOUT CAPITULATION. PRECIPITATE RETREAT 
OF THE KING'S TROOPS TO WEXFORD. THE 
PEOPLE OF THE IRISH ARMY ENCAMP ON VINEGAR 
HILL, 28TH MAY, 1798. 

As soon as it was decided to attack the town of 
Enniscorthy, Father John marched his little army to the 
hill of Ballyorrel. I still call it his army, amounting now 
to about seven or eight thousand men, six or seven 
hundred of whom were armed with muskets or fowling- 
pieces, and tolerably supplied with ammunition : but not 
having either artillery or cavalry, it required the greatest 
care and precaution to provide provisions and have 
them always at hand, to leave no pretext to the men to 
quit the camp in search of them ; consequently a park 
of cattle was soon collected and driven by careful men 
at the rear of the column. A halt on this hill of Bally- 
orrel became necessary, after a march of six hours, in 
order to let those who were fatigued repose themselves. 
Besides, vast numbers were seen escaping from the 
Orangemen and marching towards the hill. Amongst 
these was the Rev. Michael Murphy, of Ballycarnew, 
who was accompanied by several fine young fellows, 
who, though badly armed, had all some kind of weapon, 
and each longed for an opportunity to use them. 

Every disposition that could be thought of was now 
in readiness, and at half -past one o'clock Father John, 
at the head of his little army, left the hill and marched 
to attack Enniscorthy. A small advance guard of two 
hundred men, with fire-arms, flanked by some pikemen, 
preceded him. They were met at the Duffrey Gate, 
outside of the town, by the whole military force of the 
garrison, composed of several corps of infantry and 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 43 

cavalry, commanded by Captains Pounden, Cornocks, 
Richards, Jacobs, etc., with the exception of Captain 
Snow, of the North Cork Militia, who did not think it 
prudent to quit the town and march with the infantry 
under his orders : probably in consequence of the severe 
lesson which his regiment had received the day before 
on Oulard Hill. But be that as it may, Father John's 
advance guard was attacked and charged desperately 
by the Enniscorthy cavalry the moment it approached 
the Duffrey Gate, and was forced, not to retreat, but 
to get behind the ditches on each side of the road, 
and thus escaped the fury of the further charges of the 
cavalry, who had to fall back on their infantry corps 
that were placed in the rear, at the point where two or 
three roads join leading into the town from the Duffrey 
Gate. 

Father John, fearing it would be very difficult to get 
his pikemen to attack this mass of infantry so well 
posted, flanked on one side by the River Slaney, and 
on the other by houses and walls, from which a con- 
tinual fire was kept up, and many of his men killed 
when they advanced, bethought himself of a stratagem, 
after consulting with the other leaders; it consisted in 
getting some thirty or forty of the youngest and wildest 
of the cattle brought from the rear of his column, 
goaded on by some hundreds of brave, decided pikemen, 
which immediately threw the Enniscorthy infantry into 
the greatest confusion. The more they fired the more 
the cattle and their drivers advanced through the smoke 
and balls, until the line was completely broken, and all 
forced to retreat precipitately into the town, where 
Captain Snow and his infantry had remained on the 
bridge, and secured thus the passage to this panic- 
stricken army, that boasted in the morning they would 
never return until all the Insurgents were exterminated 
They now, however, betook themselves to the houses, 



44 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

from which a tremendous firing was kept up from the 
windows and doors on the Insurgents, who bravely pur- 
sued them into the town. Though exposed to the 
greatest danger under the terrible fire, and seeing their 
comrades fall dead by their side, yet the people set to 
work calmly and determinedly to besiege every house 
where the enemy took refuge. Such perseverance and 
courage finally succeeded. The King's troops, seeing 
some houses on fire in the suburbs, on the road to 
Wexford, and a great number of people appearing 
suddenly on the top of Vinegar Hill, which commands 
the town completely, believed they were going to 
be attacked on all sides; and from what they had 
already experienced of the intrepidity of this gallant 
little Irish army, they suddenly sounded a retreat, and 
fled to Wexford in the greatest disorder, abandoning 
the town without being able to put their threats into 
execution, to have all the prisoners put to death that 
were confined in the castle. Fortunately the keeper of 
the prison was one of the first to escape, and took the 
keys with him, so the cruel Orangemen were disap- 
pointed, not having time to have the doors broken open 
before their flight. 

But had Father John's army been less fatigued and 
exhausted after the long march made in the morning 
and fighting all day, without having had time to take 
any nourishment, half this infernal band would have 
been made prisoners before they reached Wexford ; for 
they neither observed order nor discipline on the way : 
officers taking off their epaulets and other marks of dis- 
tinction to try to pass for privates in the event of being 
overtaken by the people. No doubt they fought bravely 
and defended themselves as well as they could during 
the battle until they were overpowered ; but I will never 
call a man brave who kills his fellow-man in cold blood 
whom he finds unarmed and unable to resist. This was 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 45 

the kind of bravery the military were practising 1 every- 
where throughout the country previous to the Insurrec- 
tion, without having the pretext or excuse of reprisals 
or retaliation of any kind cowardly murderers, wan- 
tonly committing all sorts of crimes for months before ; 
and now they were forced to abandon their houses and 
for the greater part to leave their families behind them 
at the mercy of this brave army that took the town by 
storm and after a battle that lasted more than four 
hours, and during the latter part of which the people 
had to fight with the greatest disadvantage. Yet, com- 
pare and contrast their conduct after the victory with 
that of the cruel yeomanry and military. There were 
no houses burned or pillaged after the town was taken : 
yet the victors did not want for pretexts for reprisals 
and revenge. The houses were, however, searched for 
arms and ammunition, for the people stood in the 
greatest need of ammunition, having used almost all 
they had during the battle. 

No doubt the sudden flight of many of the families 
belonging to the yeomanry excited the greatest sym- 
pathy, when they arrived in Wexford, amongst the in- 
habitants of every class ; but there was little pity shown 
to the unfortunate women and children who had been 
forced to sleep out in the ditches for weeks before, and 
whose husbands and fathers were hunted day and 
night by this same yeomanry, and who were sure to be 
shot if they fell into the hands of those blood-thirsty 
monsters, who were a disgrace to humanity. 

A camp was immediately formed on Vinegar Hill, 
and the Irish army marched there without delay to pass 
the night. A report that fresh troops were coming to 
attack them had the best effect, as it caused all the 
stragglers to quit the town and join their respective 
corps on the hill 

The numbers of killed and wounded was nearly 



46 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

equal on both sides ; however, in the town, the people 
had more killed, on account of having been fired at from 
the houses as they entered. But at the Duffrey Gate 
the King's troops had more than a hundred killed, with 
several officers; Captain John Pounden, of the Ennis- 
corthy infantry, Lieutenant Hunt, of the yeomanry, and 
Lieutenant Garden, of the Scarawalsh infantry, were 
found amongst the dead after the battle. 

I trust that one day, when poor Ireland will be free, 
there will be a monument raised to the memory of 
those brave men who so heroically contributed to gain 
the battle of Enniscorthy : to Thomas Synnott, who, 
with his little band, waded the river Slaney, above the 
town, under the fire of the enemy ; and to those fine 
fellows in the suburbs, who set fire to their own houses 
in the rear of the King's troops, and made them thereby 
suppose that they were surrounded on all sides, and 
caused them to fly with confusion in every direction. 



REFLECTIONS. 

It would be indeed difficult to appreciate the great 
and precious results that might have been obtained after 
the victory at Enniscorthy for the independence of Ire- 
land, had this victory been promptly followed up by 
another, which could have been easily accomplished the 
day after the battle the 2Qth of May in place of 
waiting on Vinegar Hill to receive deputations from the 
garrison of Wexford, which had literally capitulated by 
letting out their prisoners, and sending these same 
prisoners to make terms for them, or, in other words, 
to give them time to escape. The entire Irish forces, 
amounting then to ten or twelve thousand, should have 
marched at once on New Ross, which town they would 
have readily taken, for the military there were equally 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 4? 

terror-struck as those of Wexford From New Ross, 
the army could follow the River Barrow to Carlow, and 
this rapid march would have afforded an opportunity 
to the Queen's County as well as the county of Kil- 
kenny to rise in a mass and form camps of their own ; 
and on the same day, the 2gth, three or four thousand 
could have been spared, and sent to take Bunclody or 
Newtownbarry, where the troops were also terror- 
stricken, in place of giving them time to recover from 
their panic to the first of June, four days later, when 
the town was taken, but evacuated the same day, on 
account of reinforcements coming to the aid of the gar- 
rison. Newtownbarry in possession of the Irish army, 
they could have followed up their victory along the 
River Slaney to Tullow, where those brave men who 
failed at Carlow, on the 25th of May, would all have 
joined, and have had a better occasion and more time 
to prepare for new combats. 

Another great advantage would have been obtained 
by this rapid march : Garrett Byrne, of Ballymanus, 
would have marched, with his brave county of Wicklow 
men, to this camp, and the junction once formed, he would 
have had the chief command, which would have had 
the happiest effect, as he enjoyed the highest considera- 
tion, and was beloved and esteemed by all. All would 
have obeyed and executed his orders most willingly. 
But instead of this, those brave Wicklow men were 
making night marches, in groups of twenties, to join the 
camp at Vinegar Hill. By the time they arrived it was 
not men that was wanting ; for the brave and dauntless 
Thomas Cloney, of Moneyhore, joined the camp on the 
29th of May, at the head of a splendid corps of fine, 
determined fellows. Cloney, though young, being about 
twenty-four years of age, was a man of the soundest 
judgment, the purest honour, and coolest bravery, and 
well fitted to be a chief. He was six feet two or three 



48 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

inches high, well proportioned, and handsome. He 
would, had the war continued and succeeded, not only 
have become a good general, but a statesman and 
senator. He was ever ready to save the lives of all 
prisoners, and often at the risk of his own: still he 
was cruelly persecuted for his humanity and upright- 
ness. His long imprisonment and sufferings are well 
known to every true Irish patriot. I feel at a loss for 
expressions to do justice to the memory of Mr. Cloney ; 
I knew him well, and as I shall have to speak of him 
often before my narrative is finished, I shall endeavour 
to make amends for any omissions of what could have 
redounded to his honour. 

Another gentleman, one of the purest Irish patriots 
that ever lived, joined the people's camp at Enniscorthy 
on the 29th of May. William Barker was a wealthy 
resident of the town, connected not only with all the 
Catholic aristocracy of the county, but nearly allied to 
the first Protestant families of the town and county ; 
not belonging to any political society whatever, he did 
not hesitate to take a command when a chance offered 
to set Ireland independent and free. He had, in my 
mind, more merit than almost anyone who took part 
in this war. 

Mr. Barker having served with distinction in France 
in one of the Irish Brigades, Walsh's regiment, the 
people had great confidence in his experience as an 
officer and brave soldier, and were therefore ready to 
obey and execute his orders. His brilliant conduct at 
the battle of Vinegar Hill, on the 2ist of June, where, 
at the head of the division, he commanded the important 
post at the Duffrey Gate against the English troops, and 
where he lost his arm, proved that the people had made 
a good choice. But I shall enter more fully on that 
subject when I come to describe the battle. Mr. Barker, 
being consulted, proposed at once to march to take 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 49 

New Ross the same day, which would probably have 
been accomplished without much loss, the panic then 
being so great amongst the King's troops. Unfortu- 
nately Mr. Barker was outvoted by the other chiefs, 
all of whom wished to take Wexford first. No doubt 
it was of great importance to have the county town at 
once, but it was of still greater importance not to give 
the enemy eight days to recruit their forces at New 
Ross, as was the case, for it was not attacked till the 
5th of June. Had it been taken on the 2Qth of May it 
would have opened a communication and roused the 
people of the whole province of Munster to take up 
arms against the common foe, as it was the key and 
leading road into that country, where there were few 
regular troops ; and as to the yeomen cavalry, they were 
only good for shooting the poor defenceless people in 
cold blood, and in the event of a general rising their 
cruel conduct would soon have proved more prejudicial 
to the King's army than to the Irish, as it would drive 
everyone able to carry arms to join the Irish standard. 
The people of the adjoining counties of Waterford, 
Tipperary, and Kilkenny, not rising at this critical mo- 
ment, afflicted and saddened the lovers of the inde- 
pendence of Ireland, for the awful crisis had arrived 
when every true-hearted Irishman should have taken up 
arms to drive the common enemy out of his country. 
It was not want of courage, but want of unanimity 
amongst the chiefs to take the field, according to the 
pledges or promises they had solemnly given. No doubt 
many of them were absent or in prison, but still suffi- 
cient remained to head the people to victory, and to 
follow the sublime example of the brave people of the 
county of Wexford. But alas ! the destiny of poor Ire- 
land is still depending on chance, as it was in December, 
1796, when General Grouchy, in the absence of General 
Hoche, failed, not from want of courage, but of a fixed 

E 



50 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

determination, to land at once the French army then 
under his command in Ireland, and march straightfor- 
ward to Dublin, there being no English forces sufficient 
in the country at the time to oppose him. On the con- 
trary, more than a hundred thousand Irishmen would 
have joined him before he had reached the capital, 
where he would have found the means of equipping 
and arming them in a very short time. 

I may be asked, if it was so easy to raise a hundred 
thousand men, why not do the business without French 
aid ? The reply is simple : a rallying point and arms 
were wanting to the Irish patriots of 1796. But the 
battle and victory of Enniscorthy, in 1798, would, in a 
great measure, have supplied those deficiencies, had two 
great faults not been committed after this victory. 
The first I have already described, which was not hav- 
ing followed Mr. Barker's advice to march on the 29th 
of May to New Ross, in place of Wexford, and thereby 
afford an opportunity to the province of Munster to rise 
en masse. This general rising would give sufficient 
occupation to the King's regular troops ; and as to the 
yeomanry, I have said before they were rendering ser- 
vice to the Irish army by their cruelty to the people 
who had not joined the camp. 

The second great fault was, having concentrated the 
Irish forces at Vinegar Hill, there to wait and accept a 
general battle on the 2ist of June, with scarcely any 
pieces of artillery or cavalry of any kind, against the 
English army, well supplied with both. Nothing was 
more easy than to have avoided this battle, if the divi- 
sion which came from the county of Wicklow, in place 
of marching to Vinegar Hill to cover Wexford, had 
marched into the mountains of the county of Wicklow, 
where it had nothing to dread from either cavalry or 
artillery ; and by this manoeuvre approaching Dublin, 
the English division would have been obliged to fall 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 51 

back immediately to cover the capital. Thus the war 
would have been prolonged until the French landed 
in August, under General Humbert. Although the 
forces which this brave general brought only consisted 
of a detachment of eight hundred men, from the moral 
effect it would have had, it would have been quite 
sufficient to raise the three provinces en masse: for all 
knew well that other expeditions were in readiness to 
sail from France to reinforce General Humbert's ad- 
vance guard, for as such it was considered. Then the 
ever-to-be-lamented Tone, Tandy, and many other 
chiefs would have accompanied French troops to every 
part of Ireland, when the people would have rallied 
round them as their liberators. 

I thought this long digression necessary to prove and 
to explain the immense importance of the victory gained 
at Enniscorthy, had it been rapidly followed up by one 
or two more, which at that time could have been so 
easily obtained. It was only necessary to continue to 
obey for a few days longer those chiefs under whose 
command the last two battles were gained, and to wait 
to make a proper choice of a commander-in-chief and 
staff from amongst the splendid young fellows who were 
distinguishing themselves in every combat against the 
common enemy. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE camp of Vinegar Hill on the morning of the 2pth 
May, 1798, after the victory, presented one of the most 
glorious and splendid scenes that ever occurred for the 
independence of Ireland. The finest young fellows that 
any country in the world could produce were pouring 
in from all directions, but particularly from the barony 
of Bargy and the country leading to Ross. No doubt 
great confusion and excitement prevailed, but it was the 
excitement of a mass of people beseeching their leaders 
to lead them on to victory, which they could not fail to 
obtain, so bent were they on meeting the enemy and 
on having an opportunity of being revenged on the 
cruel monsters who were committing every crime, violat- 
ing the women, burning the houses, shooting the owners 
in cold blood at their doors, in the presence of their 
wives and daughters, etc. The disputes between con- 
tending parties respecting the next town to be attacked 
were very warm indeed ; some wished to return to 
Gorey, which they knew was again occupied by the 
King's troops; others wished to march on Carnew to 
take vengeance for the slaughter of the twenty-eight 
fathers of families slaughtered there previous to the 
Insurrection, without judge or jury, save the Protestant 
minister Cope, who presided at the massacre. Many 
came forward to show themselves as victims, caps with 
boiling pitch having been put on their heads, because 
they had had their hair cropped short. These not only 
brought off the skin but the flesh in many instances; 
numbers by this inhuman treatment were disfigured for 
life. Some who had been picketed and half hung 
claimed the right of vengeance on the towns where 
these unheard of persecutions had been perpetrated. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 53 

Such were the conflicting scenes to be witnessed on 
this memorable morning at the camp of Vinegar Hill. 

The brave men who gained the battles of Oulard 
Hill and Enniscorthy, though they were fifteen and 
twenty miles from their homes, being mostly from the 
north and north-east of the town, still agreed with the 
thousands of young fellows who had just joined the 
camp to march forthwith and attack Ross, when, un- 
fortunately, the appearance of Edward Fitzgerald, of 
New Park, and John Colclough, of Ballyteague, changed 
this plan. These gentlemen had been for some days 
prisoners with Bagenal Harvey in Wexford Jail, charged 
with being United Irishmen. They were liberated, and 
requested to go to the people's camp on Vinegar Hill 
to pray them to disperse and give up their arms, etc. 
The absurdity of telling a victorious army to disperse 
and go to their homes, and there wait until they might 
be shot in detail, showed how panic-struck the cowardly 
garrison of Wexford was, and how easy it would have 
been to have captured them and to have forced them 
to lay down their arms had there been a rapid march 
made on the town, instead of the circuitous one to the 
Three Rock Mountain, which was made on the 29th, 
and which gave the King's troops time to recover from 
their panic, and wait for the reinforcements they ex- 
pected hourly from Ross and the Fort of Duncannon. 

It was decided that John Colclough should return to 
Wexford to tell the garrison that no terms but a com- 
plete surrender of the town would be listened to; and 
in consequence, as soon as he received his instructions, 
he set out as the bearer of these woeful tidings for the 
cruel Orangemen who composed the force of the place. 
Edward Fitzgerald was detained at the camp, not as an 
hostage, but as a worthy man, possessing a large pro- 
perty, and enjoying great influence in the country, and 
to whom the people looked up as a fit person to become 



54 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

their leader. Mr. Fitzgerald knew nothing of military 
affairs ; he seemed, therefore, disinclined to assume any 
command, but he remained and identified himself with 
the people and their cause, to which he remained faithful 
to the last 

Mr. John Hay, of Newcastle, joined the camp this 
day, and as he had been some time in the French ser- 
vice, it was thought he would become at once one of 
the principal commanders; but, whether from modesty 
or from perceiving the want of warlike stores, discipline, 
ammunition, etc., that existed in the camp, and being 
accustomed to see nothing but regular service, he could 
not be prevailed on to take any command that day. 
Subsequently he fought bravely until he met his un- 
timely end. He was executed at Wexford after the 
town was retaken. 

It being decided that a small permanent camp should 
be kept up on Vinegar Hill, the army at length set out 
on its march to attack Wexford, amounting now to at 
least sixteen thousand men, three thousand of whom 
had fire-arms, and amongst these some of the best 
marksmen of the country ; particularly those from the 
barony of Shelmalier, where the men were trained from 
their infancy to shoot wild fowl in the marshes during 
winter as a means of gaining their livelihood, sending 
loads of barnacles or sea birds to Dublin weekly. An 
army flanked by such rifle men had nothing to fear from 
the yeomen cavalry : nor were there any English regular 
forces assembled at the time in any part of the country 
that could have dared to venture to meet them in the 
field. Thus the march of this valiant little Irish army 
to the Three Rock Mountain, three miles on the other 
side of Wexford, was effected without impediment. A 
camp was immediately formed, and outposts placed to 
guard against surprise, and the wearied mass soon be- 
took themselves to rest for the night. But early next 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 55 

morning, the 3Oth of May, they were roused up by the 
intelligence that an armed force, with artillery, was per- 
ceived at a distance on the road leading from Duncannon 
Fort to Wexford to reinforce the garrison and King's 
troops there. 

This news afforded a fortunate occasion to those 
brave fellows who had lately joined, and who longed 
so much for an opportunity to prove that they were not 
inferior in courage and intrepidity to those who had 
gained the battles of Oulard Hill and Enniscorthy. 
This advanced guard of the King's forces, sent forward 
by General Fawcett, who remained himself at Taghmon, 
was allowed to proceed on its way until arrived on the 
road under the Three Rock Mountain, when it was 
attacked, in front and rear, at once by a force detached 
from the people's camp, led on by the brave Cloney, 
John Kelly, of Killan, Robert Carty, and Michael 
Furlong, of Templescoley. The fight did not last more 
than fifteen minutes ; the v/hole detachment of the 
King's troops was either killed, wounded, or made 
prisoners : it consisted of about one hundred men of the 
Meath Militia Artillerymen and three officers comprised, 
ttith two pieces of cannon. The result of this brilliant 
action had the happiest effect, as it not only caused 
Wexford to surrender forthwith, and struck terror into 
the enemies and persecutors of the people everywhere 
throughout the country, but it shewed that this same 
people could produce the greatest heroes when fighting 
for the independence of their beloved country against 
their cruel English tyrants. 

I have in another part mentioned Thomas Cloney as 
fitted to have filled the highest situation; I must now 
speak of the ever-to-be-lamented John Kelly, of Killan, 
who was considered by all those who knew him, or who 
saw him in battle, to possess all the finest qualities of 
the truest patriot, and the bravery and heroism of the 



56 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

greatest general of antiquity ; this fine young man would 
have become the Hoche of Ireland had the war con- 
tinued and succeeded. He was recovering fast from the 
wounds he received at the battle of Ross, when the 
relentless Orangemen of Wexford had him executed 
after the town was reoccupied by the King's troops. 

No doubt the result of the victory gained under the 
Three Rock Mountain was great, but how much greater 
might it have been, had Edward Fitzgerald, Edward 
Roache, and John Hay (all three considered by the 
people, from the high station and influence they had in 
the country, as destined to take a special command), 
instead of negotiating with the enemy and affording 
them thereby time to get away by land and sea, 
marched at once on the town, with fifteen thousand men 
and the two howitzers just taken, to intercept instantly 
all the roads leading out of the place, particularly the 
one to the barony of Forth, to prevent the possibility 
of a retreat on Duncannon Fort. This measure, pro- 
perly executed, the garrison would have been obliged 
to surrender at discretion, and lay down their arms, or 
be slaughtered to the last man. The moment to have 
put this plan into execution was when Colonel Watson, 
marching with the garrison to attack the camp at the 
Three Rock Mountain, was killed at the head of the 
King's troops, and when all his men fled back to the 
town in the greatest disorder and precipitation, and with 
the utmost terror and dismay. Pursued vigorously then, 
the people would have entered with them, pell-mell, 
without the least hindrance. Besides, at the same time, 
thousands were assembled at the country side of the 
wooden bridge ready to co-operate with the Irish army 
coming from the camp at the Three Rock Mountain to 
attack the town. This plan not being thought of in 
time, or, at least, not put into execution, caused the 
Irish chiefs to become the dupes of the most infernal 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 57 

deception or ruse de guerre ever practised in such cases. 
Two respectable and liberal Protestant gentlemen 
Counsellor Richards and his brother were deputed 
from the garrison to proceed to the people's camp to 
treat for the surrender and evacuation of the town by 
the King's troops; they brought a letter from Mr. 
Bagenal Harvey. This gentleman had been a prisoner 
several days in Wexford Jail, and was now liberated 
for the purpose of being made an instrument by his 
cruel enemies to obtain time for them to get away, 
with their arms and ammunition, all of which should 
have been surrendered had the people's decision been 
executed. The Messrs. Richards were well received at 
the camp, and it was immediately agreed on that 
one of them should remain as an hostage whilst 
the other returned, accompanied by Mr. Edward 
Fitzgerald, to see the terms of the capitulation 
fulfilled. On their departure, the camp began to 
move forward from the Three Rock Mountain, 
with ridiculous precaution, to the Windmill hills, 
near the town, to be ready to receive the arms, 
ammunition, and other military stores to be surrendered 
according to the articles of the capitulation. But by the 
time Edward Fitzgerald and Counsellor Richards ar- 
rived in Wexford, the King's troops had fled, carrying 
off with them, or destroying, all the arms and ammuni- 
tion the town contained, and of which the people stood 
in such need 

Their exasperation and indignation became so great 
at the idea of being outwitted by the cowardly garrison, 
that it required the greatest exertion on the part of the 
chiefs to prevent the town from being burned to the 
ground, and this danger was not so much apprehended 
from the over cautious army of the Three Rock Moun- 
tain as from the thousands of brave fellows who were 
coming from the other side: and had these men not 



58 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

been delayed repairing the bridge, where a part of it 
had been burned at the other end (Ferrybank), they 
would in all probability have arrived in time to intercept 
and destroy great numbers of the troops that were 
escaping in the utmost confusion and disorder, without 
observing any kind of military discipline. It only re- 
quired a few hundred resolute men to be sent after them 
to have defeated them completely before they reached 
the " Scar " at Barrystown. Thus pursued they would 
not have had time to quit the high road to go and kill 
in cold blood, as they did, the unoffending and innocent 
people through the country, wherever they passed. 

Mr. Edward Fitzgerald, in place of having to stipu- 
late with the King's forces for the surrender of the 
town, was prayed by a few of the civil authorities, Dr. 
Jacob, the Mayor, at the head of them, to proceed to the 
bridge to beseech the mass of people then crossing it 
not to set fire to the town. He succeeded with the 
greatest difficulty in appeasing and preventing them for 
a moment putting into execution the vengeance they 
thought themselves so well entitled to from the many 
persecutions practised by the cruel magistrates, who had 
fled with the King's troops, and who had contributed 
so much before and after the Insurrection to deluge the 
country with the blood of its worthiest citizens. 

Whilst Mr. Fitzgerald was thus occupied in en- 
deavouring to pacify those brave fellows who were 
pouring into the town over the bridge, and shouting 
" victory and vengeance," the army of the Three Rock 
Mountain that had halted at the Windmill hills entered 
the town with more order, their chiefs at their head, and 
all exerting themselves in the most praiseworthy manner 
to prevent pillage or harm of any kind being offered to 
the inhabitants, but most particularly for respect to be 
shown to the females of every class and party. They 
succeeded beyond their expectation, which was wonder- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 59 

ful, from the exasperation and disappointment of the 
people in not getting the military stores they were led 
to expect that the town would have preserved for them. 
Nothing could surpass the joy and enthusiasm of the 
patriotic portion of the townspeople, to find that their 
cruel enemies had fled, and to see their liberators march- 
ing into the town in great triumph. Almost every 
house was decorated on the occasion with green flags, 
green boughs, and ornaments of one description or 
another. All this, with the doors thrown open every- 
where, and refreshments of all kinds most freely offered 
and distributed by the inhabitants, to an army now 
twenty thousand strong, contributed in a great measure 
to keep order : besides, parties were immediately sent to 
search all the ships and vessels in the harbour, in which 
a good deal of ammunition and arms was found, with 
those Orangemen who intended to escape by sea, and 
who were brought on shore as prisoners. 

Considering all that had happened during the day, 
Wexford was remarkably quiet on the night of the 
3Oth of May, but very early next morning, the 3ist, all 
began again to be in commotion ; the army became 
anxious to obtain new victories ; orders were given to 
march out and encamp on the Windmill hills, and to 
have it divided into two separate bodies or divisions, one 
of which, consisting of those who inhabited the Wex- 
ford side of the Slaney, marched to Taghmon. Having 
learned that General Fawcett had fled from that town 
precipitately, back to Duncannon Fort, with the I3th 
Regiment, or Meath Militia, as soon as he had heard 
of the defeat of his advanced guard at Three Rock 
Mountain, there was nothing now to prevent this divi- 
sion of the Irish army marching instantly to attack and 
take the town of Ross. But unfortunately a want of 
bold determination prevailed amongst the leaders. At 
length they named Bagenal Harvey to be their com- 



60 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

mander-in-chief. This gentleman, though liberal and 
patriotic, and enjoying the most unlimited confidence 
for his integrity and zeal in the sacred cause of the 
people, did not possess the military talents or qualities 
necessary for such an important rank and situation : 
besides, his very delicate constitution rendered him quite 
unfit for such a command. 

Mr. Harvey, being a Protestant of the highest re- 
spectability, and chosen by his Catholic countrymen to 
become their commander-in-chief, should have been a 
sufficient proof that it was not a religious war that the 
Irish were engaged in against their cruel enemies, the 
English, but a war to obtain equal and adequate rights 
for people of every religious persuasion, and for the 
complete independence of their country. 

The commander-in-chief now made choice of a num- 
ber of splendid young men to compose his staff, all of 
whom would, with a little experience, have become 
distinguished field officers. Amongst these was John 
Devereux, of Taghmon, afterwards General Devereux 
in the South American Service, who contributed so much 
to the independence of that country with Bolivar after 
he had been forced to expatriate himself to North 
America to escape the persecutions of the Orange magis- 
trates of Wexford. But his worthy father did not escape 
the wrath of those vile tyrants ; they had him arrested 
and lodged in Wexford Jail, where he died soon after 
before they had time to have him executed. 

Besides the means of composing his staff with young 
men of exemplary courage and talent, the general-in- 
chief, Harvey, found many other resources in the town 
of Wexford for his army ; such as gunsmiths for repair- 
ing the fire-arms, and blacksmiths for forging pikes ; a 
press for printing proclamations, which should have been 
issued and distributed in thousands, prohibiting pillage 
or plunder of any kind, but particularly against taking 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 6 1 

the life of the greatest criminal before he was tried ; and 
for this purpose a special commission or court-martial 
should have been formed and attached to each army ta 
try all offenders, and have impartial justice rendered to 
all parties. No doubt it would have been a difficult task 
in the first instance to prevent the thousands who had 
had their nearest relations killed in cold blood previous 
to the rising from taking revenge when any of those 
monsters fell into their hands ; but, unfortunately, the 
innocent sometimes become the victims of this kind of 
retaliation, and it might have proved better policy to do 
the reverse of what the enemy was practising every 
day; at all events, cold-blooded murders could never 
be serviceable to any cause. 

The baronies of Forth and Bargy afforded great 
resources to General Harvey as to provisioning his 
camp with eatables of different kinds; the inhabitants, 
were very industrious, and, of course, well supplied in 
general with provisions, but they were less alive to the 
degraded and enslaved state they were kept in than the 
people of the other baronies of the county, and had not 
numbers of them been shot by the King's troops retreat- 
ing from Wexford to Duncannon Fort, very few of 
them would have joined the camp. But the news of the 
murder of so many innocent and defenceless people 
roused them from their apathy, and filled them with in- 
dignation, and, in consequence, some thousands of them 
assembled and waited on Cornelius Grogan, of Johns- 
town, and asked him to become their chief. This aged 
gentleman, though ill with the gout at the time, ac- 
cepted ; he mounted his horse immediately and went at 
their head to Wexford, with green banners flying ; it 
caused the greatest joy to the patriots of the town to 
see a Protestant of his high station and large fortune 
in the country join their standard. But a cruel destiny 
awaited this worthy man ; he fell a victim to the rage 



62 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

of revenge, being one of the first executed when the 
town was retaken by the English. His brother Thomas 
Knox Grogan, captain of the Castletown yeoman 
cavalry, was killed at the battle of Arklow, fighting in 
the English ranks against the people. The third brother 
John Grogan, commander of the Heathfield cavalry, re- 
treated with the King's troops to Duncannon Fort, and 
yet, notwithstanding the active part he took at the head 
of his corps, and his great devotion and loyalty to every- 
thing English, he had not influence enough to save his 
unfortunate brother Cornelius from being hanged. Such 
was the gratitude and the way the best services were 
requited by the enemies of Ireland at that awful 
epoch ! 

Captain Keogh, a Protestant gentleman well known, 
was named to command the town of Wexford, which 
was divided into wards, and a commission of the most 
respectable inhabitants elected to act as the police, pro- 
curing provisions, and seeing them distributed equally 
to all without distinction. Civil guards were organized ; 
the men chose their officers ; the guard did duty night 
and day, and rendered great service in keeping order. 



CHAPTER III. 

THIS was the favourable state of things at Wexford 
when General Harvey and his army corps marched from 
the Windmill hills to Taghmon, where he encamped for 
the night of the 3 1st May, 1798, whilst the other body 
or division, consisting principally of those from the north 
side of the Slaney, who had gained the battles of 
Oulard Hill and Enniscorthy, marched back from the 
"Windmill hills, in the direction of Gorey, to Vinegar 
Hill and to the hill of Carrigrew. This brave little 
army, though having many distinguished leaders, had 
not as yet chosen a general-in-chief. Father John 
Murphy always preserved his influence with all those 
who knew him. 

The Rev. Philip Roche had joined by this time : he 
was a clergyman of the most elegant manners, a fine 
person, tall and handsome, humane and brave beyond 
description. He had been attached at one time to the 
parish chapel of Gorey, and thereby knew of the many 
inhuman deeds committed by the Orange magistrates 
in that neighbourhood on the defenceless, unarmed 
people, so he did not hesitate to take an active part in 
the struggle. 

The Rev. Father Kearns having also joined, and 
immediately availing himself of his influence as a clergy- 
man, proposed to march and attack Newtownbarry or 
Bunclody. He was instantly followed by about two 
thousand five hundred brave, determined men, badly 
armed as to fire-arms, but with pikes and other weapons, 
father Kearns was one of the strongest and most 
powerful men that could be met with in any country, 
and his bravery equalled his strength. Had he been 
bred to the military profession in a country like France, 



64 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

where courage and merit were sure of being recom- 
pensed, he would have been a Kleber, and soon have 
been raised to the first rank in any army he made 
part of. 

Qn the first of June Kearns and his small division 
marched in good order, following up the River Slaney, 
and driving the yeomen cavalry before them whenever 
they came in sight, or dared to make any stand He 
halted and drew up his men on a small hill near the 
town of Newtownbarry, to give time to the rear guard 
and the stragglers to arrive and join the main body. 
During this halt I approached him for the first time ; 
he was on horseback, and well mounted, and indeed it 
required a good horse to carry him. I took the liberty 
of observing to him how desirable it would be to have 
such a military position on the other side of the town 
as the one on which we were standing as soon as we 
should be masters of the place. He cut me short. I 
had still more to say ; he replied, holding up his whip, 
"Tell all those you have any control over to fear 
nothing, as long as they see this whip in my hand." It 
was the only weapon he possessed. I need not add 
that this abrupt answer caused a smile on the counten- 
ances of all those who were listening to our very short 
conversation, and no doubt augmented their belief that 
this powerful man was destined to lead them to victory. 
To speak to him of a rallying point in case of being 
forced to retreat would be worse than treason ; his ships 
were always burned. 

When Father Kearns thought his little army suffi- 
ciently rested, he took off his hat, being still on horse- 
back, and beseeched all to join him in a short prayer ; 
all knelt down ; he then gave the signal for the attack, 
which was executed with such promptitude and vigour 
that Colonel Lestrange who commanded the garrison, 
with five hundred regular infantry, besides the yeomen 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 65 

cavalry, was overwhelmed and forced to retreat precipi- 
tately and in the greatest disorder. About twenty of the 
garrison having been cut off, not having time to escape, 
took possession of an isolated house belonging to a Mr. 
Maxwell and from the windows of it fired out and^dlled 
several people in the streets. It was endeavouring to 
dislodge these men that Father Kearns lost time, and 
was prevented pursuing the King's troops that were 
flying in such disorder, when they were met by a rein- 
forcement of the King's County Militia that was coming 
to their assistance, rallied them, and of course gave them 
new courage. They returned to the town, and did not 
meet the little Irish army in a formidable position to 
resist them, it being dispersed through the leading 
streets. These were the real motives which obliged 
Kearns and his men to retire and evacuate Bunclody, or 
Newtownbarry, and not drunkenness and pillage, as the 
eternal enemies of every thing Irish had it propagated, 
in order to bring disgrace on our cause. For my own 
part, I must declare that I did not see a single man 
intoxicated during the time we occupied the town. 
Besides, the strongest liquors could scarcely have caused 
drunkenness in the short space of time the place was 
occupied. For, in less than an hour, Kearns and his 
men were again outside the town, and, being separated 
into different detachments, they had no doubt to fight 
their way through gardens and lanes for some time, but, 
not being followed by the infantry, they had little to 
apprehend from the cavalry, for twenty pikemen that 
kept together, with two or three with fire-arms, was quite 
sufficient to keep the best of those corps at a respectful 
distance. The number of killed and wounded was nearly 
equal on each side. 

Thus Father Kearns' brave little army, so formidable 
in the morning, and from which so much was expected, 
had to retire without being able to accomplish the great 

F 



66 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

object for which the -pedition was undertaken, namely, 
the opening of the communication up the Slaney into 
the counties of Carlow and Wicklow, and thereby afford- 
ing an opportunity to the persecuted inhabitants of these 
counties that had been dispersed and hunted daily, like 
wild beasts, to rally again and assemble in such force 
that their enemies would have been forced to fly before 
them like chaff. Besides, the infamous towns of Carnew 
and Dunlaven, in the county of Wicklow, where so many 
cold-blooded murders were perpetrated previous to the 
rising, would have been chastised, as they merited. The 
town of Tullow would have been taken at once and 
Carlow would have been afforded another chance of 
revenging its disasters of the 25th of May ; and the 
cruel death and execution of the excellent and humane 
Sir Edward Crosby, whom every one lamented, with the 
two or three hundred victims of military executions 
which took place in Carlow, would have been sufficient to 
rouse the whole country again. 

If Newtownbarry had been retained, as could so 
easily have been accomplished, had Colonel Lestrange 
been vigorously pursued for a mile outside the town, he 
would have been forced to quit the great road, disperse, 
and escape through the fields with the troops he com- 
manded, and the reinforcements coming to his assistance 
would have followed the example. For such was the 
terror and panic spread by the yeomen cavalry in their 
flight, that nothing could rally them until they got to 
Clonegal; and as to the few Orangemen who took 
refuge in the town, it would have been better to give 
them an opportunity to escape, which they would have 
had as soon as night came on, or have been burned in 
the houses, if they persevered in firing from them. 

Kearns' men, being obliged to abandon Newtown- 
barry by different ways, still kept together in small 
detachments, any of which was quite sufficient to make 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 6/ 

head against the yeomen cavalry. Not knowing any 
rallying point at the time but Vinegar Hill, they all 
directed their course that way, marching at their ease, 
stopping for the night whenever it suited them, regaining 
the camp in two or three days afterwards, as it 
answered their purpose ; meeting no enemy they had 
plenty of time to recover from their great fatigue and 
prepare for new actions. For my own part, I longed to 
rejoin the main body as soon as possible, and not being 
certain where to find it, I proposed to those who kept 
by me to march at once to Vinegar Hill, where, no 
doubt, we should get all the information we required. 
We arrived there on the 2nd of June, and learned that 
all those who marched under the orders of Father John 
Murphy, Father Roche, and the other chiefs were then 
encamped on Carrigrew Hill. We immediately set out, 
and arrived at this camp on the 3rd of June, where I 
met hundreds whom I had not seen for months before, 
and who knew me from my childhood. The greater 
part of these brave fellows were just escaping from their 
hiding places, and had run the greatest danger coming 
to join the camp, having to pass through those parts of 
the country which were occupied by the enemy, and 
where all kinds of outrages were perpetrated by these 
cruel monsters particularly a cavalry regiment, the 
Ancient Britons, accompanied by the Orangemen and 
Hunter Gowan, with his " black mob." To the honour 
of the people, the females of this murderer's family 
were respected by them. Hunter Gowan had fourteen 
daughters, all grown up ; they were escaping to Arklow 
on the 28th of May when they were met by a party of 
the people commanded by Murt Murnagh, of Limerick. 
These young women, knowing well the number of 
innocent persons whom their father had shot in cold 
blood, expected, no doubt, every kind of ill-treatment; 
but Murnagh and his followers assured them they had 



68 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

nothing to fear, and, after searching the jaunting cars 
for arms and ammunition, Murnagh and his men 
escorted them on the great road leading to Arklow for 
some distance, until they were out of the way of meeting 
other parties of the same description : he did this at the 
risk of meeting the enemy in superior force. Had he 
fallen into their hands this humane and generous con- 
duct towards these young women would have been 
considered sufficient proof that he was a chief; conse- 
quently, he would have been tried and executed imme- 
diately as such. This was the sort of Turkish justice 
practised by the English throughout this war. Yet no 
provocation on their part could make the people debase 
themselves to retaliate on helpless females. They were 
everywhere respected, as they should be ; not a single 
instance to the contrary could be brought forward when 
the war terminated ; nor was there a Protestant church 
injured, with the exception of one at Old Ross, whilst 
every place of worship belonging to the Catholics was 
burned. 

It was on the 3rd of June I had the happiness of 
meeting my poor step-brother, Hugh Kennedy, for the 
first time since I was forced to leave home in the 
beginning of May. I found him looking better than I 
could have expected after all he had suffered. He was 
busy forming platoons and sections. The men seemed 
to obey him cheerfully; he being a Dublin man was 
considered capable of giving them instruction, and of 
showing them how to form a line, how to break from 
the line into column by platoons and sections. I saw 
with pleasure the great desire every one at this camp 
evinced to see a military organization take place by 
parishes or towns that the men of each assembled 
should freely choose their own officers and promise to 
obey them : but unfortunately there never was sufficient 
time to accomplish a work so necessary for the success 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 69 

of our cause. Being always on the march, or skirmishing 
with the enemy, it was nearly impossible. Yet one 
thing might have been done whch was neglected ; that 
was to oblige the chiefs and officers that were known 
in the United system to wear on their arms a distinctive 
mark according to the rank they held. This would 
have prevented many disagreeable occurrences that took 
place during our night marches. Another measure was 
also in contemplation which would have had the best 
effect. This was that as soon as the men had chosen 
their officers, and had consented to obey their orders, 
that they should consent also to have their coats cut in 
a kind of military form, with the skirts turned up behind, 
no matter what was the colour. This kind of uniform 
(until a better could have been provided) would have 
prevented them in a great measure from quitting the 
camp without permission from their officers. They would 
certainly have felt ashamed to have been seen scamper- 
ing through the country whilst others were obliged to do 
severe duty in their place ; and to be seen with their 
coats of a military shape in a village whilst fighting was 
going on at some distance would dishonour them for 
ever ; and if they attempted to change this coat or Irish 
uniform for one not cut in this fashion it would be 
considered not only as desertion, but high treason, and 
thereby amenable to the severest punishment. But 
instead of those necessary regulations, everyone wore 
what he fancied made him look to advantage and 
appear warlike ; green, of course, was the favourite 
colour, and, wherever it could be had, put on in profu- 
sion. As it could not be got in sufficient quantities to 
furnish all, it would have been advisable to have adopted 
the simple green cockade, and to require all to put it in 
their hats and nothing else. The officers wearing the 
same cockade, and stripes on their arms to distinguish 
the different ranks, would have sufficed until such time 



70 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

as uniforms and epaulets could have been procured 
Drums or some musical instrument were wanted to call 
the men to assemble. This deficiency was remedied by 
the standard-bearers of each corps, accompanied by a 
small guard, marching through the camp and crying to 
the men of such a corps to join their colours forthwith ; 
and as the name of the baronies, towns, or parishes that 
the corps belonged to was always mentioned, it probably 
answered the purpose better than the sound of a drum 
to the ears of the country people, who as yet not having 
had anything to do with the drill sergeant would be 
quite at a loss to know what the drumming meant : but 
the sweet cry of the name of their native barony or 
village roused them up at once. How often have I 
admired the alertness of these brave fellows at the cry 
of the standard-bearer, " Shelmalier men, come to your 
colours," "Men of Monaseed corps, join your colours 
immediately; we are going to march, etc." This last 
mentioned town contained very few houses, but the 
manor of Monaseed was considerable enough, and all the 
inhabitants took a most active part in this war and 
furnished many who distinguished themselves in every 
battle or skirmish to the end ; and all being United 
Irishmen, they followed the chiefs which they themselves 
had named with an entire confidence, and never had 
reason to regret the choice they had made. The stand- 
ard bearer of the Monaseed corps, Pat Murray, of Crane, 
a determined man, rendered the greatest service by 
being always at his post ready to call the men to arms 
when required. He was quite proud of his splendid 
colour, and with reason, for it was one of the hand- 
somest of the camp, being adorned with harps and green 
emblems, put on by handsome young ladies who sym- 
pathised in our sacred cause. Murray had the honour of 
taking this standard himself the first night of the rising, 
at Earl Mountnorris's house, Camolin Park, after Bookey 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 71 

and his cavalry were defeated : it belonged to one of the 
Volunteer corps of 1782, and kept no doubt by the Earl 
as a trophy of the scanty Parliamentary independence 
that was torn from the English at that epoch for poor 
Ireland, and which the great Lord Charlemont and the 
great orator Flood deemed quite sufficient at the time ; 
for the enslaved Roman Catholics, according to those 
bigots, were not entitled to be emancipated, nor to 
participate with their Protestant fellow-countrymen in 
the new acquired liberties. It is a well-known fact that 
not one Roman Catholic was admitted in to the Volun- 
teer corps of the county of Wexford in 1782. How 
different were the enlightened views taken a few years 
later by the ever to be lamented Lord Edward Fitz- 
gerald, Arthur O'Connor, Emmet, and the other great 
patriots, who sacrificed everything that was dear to 
them to obtain equal and adequate representation for 
Irishmen of every religious persuasion. These great 
men knew too well that no justice could be obtained for 
Ireland but by force of arms. Unfortunately we were 
deprived of their aid and counsel ; the greater number 
of them being in prison, or fled to foreign countries 
before the rising took place. 

The brave men who belonged to the different yeomen 
corps who had either resigned, or been dismissed as sus- 
pected of being United Irishmen, were now at the camp 
of Carrigrew, rendering the greatest services, both as 
chiefs and instructors ; particularly Grogan's corps, of 
Castletown ; Beaumont's, of Hyde Park, and White's, of 
Ballyellis. The latter being an infantry corps, and all 
the men well drilled, all of them were acting as instruc- 
tors and teaching the country people how to load and 
prime their firelocks with safety: whilst those who had 
served in the cavalry, being excellent horsemen, were 
looked up to as experienced military men, and conse- 
quently they for the most part acted as chiefs and 



72 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

leaders, and were obeyed and followed by the innocent 
country people as such, without hesitation, which had 
the happiest effect during our short campaign. 



BATTLE OF TUBBERNEERING OR CLOUGH. 

The halt during the 2nd and 3rd of June at the camp 
of Carrigrew Hill was considered necessary to afford 
time to those who had gone to enquire about their 
families on their way back from Wexford to rejoin the 
camp. These two days were well spent in preparing for 
new combats, and in acquiring accurate information as 
to the strength of the enemy, and the respective posi- 
tions and towns where they were concentrated This 
information was soon obtained from the poor people 
who had to fly and escape from their homes before the 
King's troops that were marching on and devastating 
everything as they passed. Early on the morning of 
the 4th of June it was known that four divisions, each 
with artillery, and accompanied by several corps of 
yeomen cavalry, were marching to attack our camp at 
Carrigrew ; one division from Carnew, one from New- 
townbarry, and two other divisions were coming on two 
different roads from Gorey. General Loftus commanded 
the centre division ; the division on his left was com- 
manded by Colonel Walpole, and all these divisions were 
to arrive and attack the hill at the same moment. 

Our little Irish army, consisting now of about ten or 
twelve thousand men, with a scanty supply of powder 
and ball for our fire-arms, and without either cavalry or 
artillery, with the exception of a few gentlemen farmers 
who were still tolerably well mounted, as all their horses 
had not been taken by the Orangemen, had to prepare 
for battle and to make head against all those regular 
forces that were on march to annihilate us and drive us 
into the sea. It was at once decided by all the chiefs 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 73 

assembled, Father John Murphy and others, to march 
and attack the division of the King's troops coming- from 
Gorey, to take the town if possible, and release the 
second batch of prisoners confined there before the cruel 
magistrates could have time to have them executed. 

About nine o'clock in the morning of the 4th of June 
our army was drawn up in line in Mr. Donovan's domain 
near Carrigrew Hill, and I must say in a more military 
order than usual. The line being now broken into 
column, and an advanced guard of two or three hundred 
men formed, some of whom were mounted, orders were 
given to march on the road to Gorey; the advanced 
guard, flanked by some good sharpshooters, set out in 
good order, and preceded the column at the distance of 
a mile : I made part of this advanced guard, and almost 
all my friends and relations that I met at the camp 
made part of it also. We marched in good order until 
we arrived near Tubberneering, where the road leading 
to Gorey turned a little to the left and formed a kind 
of elbow. At this turn or point of the road we perceived 
the English army drawn up in line of battle, their artil- 
lery all placed ready to fire. Instantly one of our 
mounted men was sent back to apprize the head of our 
column of this circumstance ; but before he had time to 
go far a discharge of the enemy's artillery and musketry 
sufficiently showed where they were in a position to 
receive us. We had a great number killed and wounded 
by this volley ; still we kept our ground and advanced 
through a large field to take advantage of a ditch (a 
hedge) that lay between us and the enemy at our left 
flank, and which brought us within half musket shot of 
them. But this manoeuvre cost us dear. Whilst crossing 
this field our men were literally mowed down. My first 
cousin, Pat Bruslaun, had a part of his thigh cut away 
with the grape shot, and on my other sid? I saw several 
I knew fall, and amongst them Ned Doyle, who had 



74 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

been for many years a servant at my father's house : he 
received a musket ball through the thigh, but soon 
recovered from his wound, and fought in many battles 
afterwards with double courage. Once we got to our 
new position, being so very near the enemy, we had less 
to fear, as we could bring more readily our pikemen into 
action ; our men with the fire-arms, having a kind of 
breast-work in front, kept up a well-directed fire, every 
shot of which must have told. 

Whilst we thus occupied the enemy, our column or 
main body in the rear formed their line of battle, which 
extended much to our left flank, advanced in a kind of 
half moon or crescent. Colonel Walpole, seeing this 
manoeuvre, and not finding General Loftus's division yet 
in sight, which was marching on his right flank, ordered 
a retreat, in order to gain time for this division to arrive ; 
but the moment the fire of his cannon had ceased, we 
sallied out, ran on the artillery, and before the drivers 
had time to put to the horses, had captured three pieces 
of six-pounders, with cases of ammunition, and, in short, 
everything appertaining to this artillery. The drivers 
and gunners were treated with respect, but, though 
prisoners, they were obliged to show the men under 
whose guard they were left how to manoeuvre and 
manage this artillery. 

Nothing could equal the enthusiasm of our line of 
battle, not marching, but running to the assistance of 
the advanced guard ; particularly so when they saw the 
fine park of artillery which had fallen into our posses- 
sion. They very naturally thought the battle was com- 
pletely gained ; but they had still to fight another not far 
distant from thence, as Colonel Walpole halted and 
rallied his troops at Clough, about a mile in the rear 
from Tubberneering, where he was joined by a hundred 
grenadiers sent to him by General Loftus. With this 
reinforcement he expected to be able to keep his position 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 75 

until the General himself, with his entire division, came 
to his assistance. 

It is only justice to the memory of this unfortunate 
man to say that he displayed the bravery of a soldier, 
and fought with the greatest perseverance in his critical 
situation : but he was soon overpowered by our men, 
now so flushed with victory that nothng could retard 
their march onwards. Walpole was nearly surrounded 
by our forces that outflanked him before he fell. We 
saw him lying dead on the road, and he had the appear- 
ance of having received several gun-shot wounds. His 
horse lay dead beside him, with a number of private 
soldiers dead and wounded. His troops now fled in 
great disorder, and could not be rallied ; they were taken 
by dozens in the fields and on the road to Gorey. After 
they had thrown away their arms, accoutrements, and 
everything to lighten them, they were yet overtaken by 
our pikemen. It was curious to see many of them witn 
their coats turned inside out ; they thought no doubt by 
this sign of disaffection to the English that when made 
prisoners they would not be injured. But this manoeuvre 
was unnecessary, for I never heard of a single instance 
of a prisoner being ill-treated during those days of 
fighting : our men were in too good humour tc be cruel 
after the victory they had obtained. 

Although the battle was gained at Clough and the 
King's troops in full retreat, still there were two things 
to be feared and to be guarded against : first, that the 
cowardly yeomen, who dir* i ot venture to take part in 
the action, would have time to massacre the prisoners 
who were confined in vast numbers in Gorey, particu- 
larly those who were placed in the market house loft in 
the main street, through which these ferocious men were 
to pass ; secondly, it was to be feared that the infantry 
escaping might have time to get into some isolated 
house and there barricade themselves until reinforce- 



/6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

ments came to relieve them. To obviate these two 
disasters, we decided to pursue them so rapidly as not 
to afford them time to do either. From Clough to 
Gorey, a distance of several miles, we never allowed 
them to rally or make the least resistance, and so 
arrived in the town of Gorey at their heels. They had 
only time to fire through the windows where the priso- 
ners were confined. Fortunately Esmond Kyan, who 
was one of them, made them all lie down quite flat on 
the floor the moment he perceived the enemy approach- 
ing, and by this precaution both he and his fellow- 
prisoners escaped, for none were wounded ; the balls 
only broke the windows and lodged in the walls on the 
other side of the market house loft 

I must here say, without vanity, that I never before 
felt so proud or happier than I did on this occasion to 
think that I was among the very first of our forces who 
contributed to save the lives and put at liberty so many 
brave men. I only knew Esmond Kyan by reputation, 
but he was well acquainted with my father, and, of 
course, he knew all about me and our family. He was 
the greatest acquisition to us at this moment, for his 
bravery and activity could not be surpassed, though he 
had lost an arm some years before. He had a cork arm 
and did not appear to want one at alL 

Being well instructed in gunnery, he went instantly 
to the hill or rising ground above the town, where our 
camp was pitched, and immediately took charge of our 
newly-acquired park of artillery : and certainly a braver 
or more experienced officer could not have got the com- 
mand of it He soon had the honour to fire the first 
salute with this cannon when General Loftus appeared 
in sight, with all his forces, to attack us, which made 
this over-cautious General quickly disappear. Seeing 
this volley so well directed he naturally thought that he 
had approached too near our camp and thereby ran the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. TJ 

risk of having his artillery captured also. But, fortu- 
nately for him, our men were quite exhausted, not having 
had time to repose or take refreshments of any kind 
during the day, otherwise he would have been pursued 
and probably forced to leave some of his cannon behind 
him. A few of our men, who were pretty well mounted, 
were sent after Loftus's division to see what direction 
it had taken. These men soon returned, and told us 
that the King's troops were not marching, but running 
away on the road to Carnew. What a pity that we had 
no cavalry equipped and well armed to follow and attack 
their rear guard, which, making off in such confusion, 
would have been forced to surrender, or at least great 
numbers of prisoners would have been made. 

The result of this day's fighting was incalculable for 
our cause ; to see such numbers of fine fellows rushing 
into the greatest danger for the love of their country 
and its independence, as military discipline as yet could 
scarcely be expected to prevail. I wish I could recollect 
all their names to mention them in this narrative as a 
small tribute to the memory of such true patriots, who 
risked everything that was dear to them on earth to see 
Ireland as she ought to be. Some, however, I can never 
forget, such as Ned Fennell, John Doyle, Nick Murphy, 
Michael Redmond, Murt Murnagh, Laurence and Luke 
Finn, Isaac and Jacob Byrne, of Ballyellis ; as to poor 
Anthony Perry, of Inch, though he had got out of prison 
a few days before, he was suffering so much from the 
cruel treatment he had received there, the application of 
a pitch-cap on his head, which raised all the skin of his 
head and a part of his face, that he was miserably low- 
spirited and weak, and could not render the service he 
otherwise would have afforded us had he been well and 
in his usual state of health, for he was a real soldier and 
devoted to the cause. 

The very inaccurate accounts published of the battle 



78 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

of Tubberneering or Clough by persons who evidently 
were not there oblige me to be more particular in men- 
tioning all that came within my own knowledge during 
that memorable day, the 4th of June, 1798. That day 
the great power of the pike as a war weapon, if the men 
are properly disciplined, was fully shown. 

One version attributes Walpole's defeat to his love of 
dress, about which it is said he spent more time than on 
military operations and tactics. Yet we see he lost no 
time that morning at his toilette, for he would have been 
exact to the moment at the Hill of Carrigrew, according 
to the concerted plan he had with General Loftus, had 
we not met him on the road ; as to his not having scouts 
out, the best proof that he had is that they apprised him 
of our march and that he was not surprised, as he had 
his division drawn up in line of battle ready to receive 
us ; and certainly he had plenty of time to retreat back 
on Gorey before our main body could have come up with 
him had he preferred running away to fighting or risking 
a battle. Another says: "No vedette was out from 
either army, and that the collision was sudden, etc." Our 
advanced guard, on the contrary, marched with all the 
precautions usually taken by detachments sent to recon- 
noitre, that is to avoid falling into an ambuscade on 
either side, and to push on until the enemy was properly 
discovered. All this we accomplished, and, after having 
met the enemy, we might have fallen back on our main 
body without fear or blame of any kind. Fortunately we 
kept our position, and thereby contributed by our per- 
severance to the victory. A third version is that General 
Loftus, on hearing the report of Walpole's cannon and 
other fire-arms in the engagements, not being able to go 
across the country, proceeded by the road to the scene of 
action, etc. Why could he not have come by the same 
way the grenadiers came that he sent to reinforce 
Walpole at Clough, and he would have arrived in time 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 79 

to participate in the action. The divisions that were 
marching from Newtownbarry and Carnew to attack us, 
as well as the one commanded by General Loftus him- 
self, all heard the firing, and knew well that the battle 
was going on. Why did they prefer keeping at so 
respectful a distance? Their cavalry were so well 
mounted, and such great fox-hunters, they might have 
crossed the open country anywhere, and have arrived in 
our rear, and thereby have caused a timely diversion in 
favour of Walpole's army. The truth is they were panic- 
struck, and could not readily be brought into action. 
Besides, their speciality was to murder inoffensive people 
in cold blood, not to meet the armed foe in the field of 
battle. 

I have already mentioned that by our driving the 
regular troops and the cruel yeomanry through the 
town of Gorey in such a rapid manner we not only 
saved the lives of more than a hundred prisoners who 
were lodged in the town jail and on the market loft, 
but also the lives of many others who expected every 
moment to be torn from their homes and families. 
Amongst these were several of my acquaintances, and I 
need not say with what joy and alacrity they came to 
welcome us as their liberators, and to join our standard, 
and to share henceforward all our perils and fatigues. 
Denis Doyle was one of them whom I knew from my 
childhood, as both he and his family were our neigh- 
bours, and we were accustomed to meet every Sunday 
at the Chapel of Monaseed. He had been a short time 
settled in Gorey as a timber merchant, and he expected 
every moment either to be dragged to prison or shot. 
I was the first he recognized amongst our forces, and 
he ran to meet me with open arms: he could scarcely 
contain his wonder and joy when I told him about the 
battle we had just gained ; he mentioned to me how 
Walpole had laid several wagers that we could not resist 



80 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

twenty minutes on the Hill of Carrigrew, and Doyle 
himself told me he thought it was impossible that we 
could make head against the regular troops he saw 
assembled and marched off that morning to attack our 
camp, with artillery of every description, and accom- 
panied by a dozen corps of yeomanry cavalry. 

Denis Doyle from that day became one of our brave 
and active officers : he was young, handsome, and 
spirited. When the war terminated he had the good 
fortune to escape to America, and set up in the same 
business at New York which he had been following at 
Gorey. His brother, Davy, had been practising as a 
lawyer in America for two or three years previous to 
this, which, no doubt, induced him to go and join him 
there. Another of his brothers, Mr. James Doyle, took 
a very active part all through the war, and after the 
defeat at the Boyne he escaped and got to Dublin, 
where he had to hide for a long time, and could never 
venture to return to his home. He was married to a 
daughter of Mr. Kavanagh, of Ballycarten, and a niece 
of Father Frank Cavanagh. My friend and school- 
fellow, Johnny Doyle, who distinguished himself so 
much, and whom I have mentioned before, was first 
cousin to these Doyles. Mr. James D'Arcy, brother to 
the Rev. Father D'Arcy (Roman Catholic priest), who 
had replaced at one time Father O'Leary as chaplain 
to the Spanish Ambassador at London, acted throughout 
the Insurrection with coolness and bravery. He was 
married to another of Mr. Kavanagh's daughters. Being 
obliged to abandon his home and property, he came to 
reside at Dublin. His elder brother, Mr. Matthew 
D'Arcy, was forced to quit Gorey, with his young family, 
to escape the vengeance of the Orangemen ; he settled 
at Islandbridge, Dublin. 

The Messrs. Redmond (Denis and John), first cousins 
to the D'Arcys, and brothers to the brave Michael Red- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 8 1 

mond who was killed at the battle of Arklow, escaped 
to Dublin, where they had to hide for some time ; they 
could not return to their homes. 

Edward Byrne, or " Little Ned," as we used to call 
him, though he was nearly six feet high, because he was 
the last of the brothers, was brother to Garret Byrne, of 
Ballymanus, and to the ever-to-be-lamented William 
Byrne who was executed at Wicklow, and to whose 
sister, Miss Fanny Byrne, Lord Cornwallis had promised 
a reprieve, but this cold-hearted, inhuman man did not 
keep his promise. He allowed the unhappy young lady 
to repair to Wicklow to weep over the cold remains of 
her beloved brother, whose only crime was having saved 
the lives of many prisoners at the risk of his own. 
Byrne's innocence became proverbial ever after through 
the country ; when anyone was going to be tried the 
people would cry out : " Oh ! surely that man is as inno- 
cent as poor Billy Byrne." 

After the Insurrection was over, Ned Byrne married 
in Dublin the third and youngest daughter of Mr. 
Kavanagh, of Ballyscarton, sister to the brave Thomas 
Kavanagh who was killed at the battle of Arklow. 
He thereby became brother-in-law to James Doyle, 
James D'Arcy, and Ned Kavanagh, and allied to the 
Redmonds. 

Nearly half a century after, I was transcribing these 
notes one day at Paris when I received a Dublin news- 
paper, in which I saw an account of a great entertain- 
ment given at the Mansion House by the Catholic Lord 
Mayor of the City of Dublin, Mr. John D'Arcy, son 
to the late Matthew D'Arcy, nephew to Mr. James 
to the late Matthew D'Arcy, nephew to Mr. James 
the other Insurgent Chiefs of 1798, to the English Pro- 
testant Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Clarendon, under 
whose administration the unfortunate country suffered 
greater miseries than at any other epoch of her history. 

G 



82 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

I don't mention this coincidence to disparage Mr. John 
D'Arcy, for whom I feel the greatest esteem; for he 
only complied with the duties incumbent on the high 
situation he owes to his fellow-citizens when he enter- 
tained the enemy of the independence of Ireland, for 
which so many of his near relations suffered. 

I only mention the circumstance on account of the 
questions put to me so often by my French friends, who 
cannot conceive why such vast numbers of Irish Catho- 
lics are abandoning the land of their birth to escape 
famine and the many unheard of miseries there, to go 
off to America, whilst they have still the means of 
paying their passage, whilst the Catholic Lord Mayor 
and the Protestant Lord Lieutenant of Ireland are on 
such friendly terms ; it is quite beyond their comprehen- 
sion, for they say that if there was anything like a 
St. Bartholomew or a revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 
they could easily understand the matter ; but it appears 
to them quite incomprehensible to see Catholic lords 
and Catholic members of the House of Commons 
sitting in the English Parliament, whilst Irish Catholics 
are allowed to die every day from want and hunger; 
they think this state of thing is equal, if not worse, to 
the massacre of St. Bartholomew. That only lasted a 
day, but the extermination never ceases in Ireland. To 
all this I answer that many causes may be assigned for 
all this misery, but the great one is religious dissen- 
sions ; that about the time I was born no Catholic could 
purchase land as a perpetuity, though all the soil had 
belonged to his ancestors. They were allowed to rent 
it on leases of 31 years, but as soon as the land was 

Elaimed and improved it was let over their heads to 
DC descendants of the followers of Cromwell. These 
n, on account of professing the Protestant religion, 
got leases of nine hundred and ninety-nine years, or 
ninety-nine years, renewable for ever. They thus 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 83 

became the middle-men and cruel taskmasters of the 
unfortunate Irish serfs : and although at a later period 
a law was passed empowering Roman Catholics to pur- 
chase land, very few were able to avail themselves of 
this concession on account of the difficulty, or I may 
say the impossibility, of getting small portions of land 
to buy. The titles to the large estates were so disputed 
in Chancery that no one cared to have anything to do 
with them. The law to sell encumbered estates only 
passed when the million had fled or were about to emi- 
grate to America that happy country where the 
labourer is sure of his hire, and where he cannot be 
evicted when he has improved his land. The Irish 
Catholics, so justly renowned for the steadiness with 
which they have borne persecution on account of their 
religion, see the number of the members of that 
religion diminishing yearly from starvation and bad 
government. I add that until such time as the Irish 
have the power of making their own local laws no 
redress can be expected, English Whigs and English 
Tories seeming delighted to witness the decrease of the 
Irish population. Thus that unfortunate country is 
doomed to remain an enslaved province of England, and 
to be despised by every Clarendon who may be sent 
over to misgovern it. But I must quit this painful 
digression, and resume my narrative at Gorey. 

Although the King's troops had retreated in every 
direction, still it was thought that when they met rein- 
forcements on their way they might return. It was, 
therefore, deemed necessary for us to take every pre- 
caution not to be surprised as we were at Newtownbarry 
after we had taken that town ; and, in consequence, 
Denis Doyle and I were entrusted to place guards and 
out-posts at every entrance into Gorey ; whilst others 
were charged with the same service at the camp. We 
took particular care to place a strong guard on the road 



84 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

to Arklow, from which direction an attack was to be 
dreaded. We chose men of confidence as chiefs of each 
post, and after we had given them the watchword and 
countersign, we made several rounds during the night, 
and found all those chiefs of posts doing their duty 
perfectly well, although I believe it was the first time 
any of them ever performed such a service. Some time 
before day we were relieved from the danger of being 
attacked from the Arklow side, as a large body of 
Arklow men came to join our standard and told us how 
the King's troops had evacuated that town and were 
retreating on the road to Wicklow. This was joyful 
news to me, as I could now lie down with safety to rest ; 
not in a bed, for that was a luxury I had not been accus- 
tomed to for many months past. When I awoke in the 
morning, the 5th of June (1798), I found that several 
small parties had been sent from the camp to recon- 
noitre, one of them specially charged to burn the house 
of that monster Hunter Gowan, about two or three 
miles distant from Gorey. This kind of retaliation was 
a poor compensation, and no consolation to the unfor- 
tunate relations of his victims. Fathers, mothers, wives, 
children, brothers, sisters, all had been left to mourn 
those butchered by such magistrates in the pay of the 
English Government. 

About this time a proclamation was issued from 
head quarters, Wexford, out-lawing Hunter Gowan, 
James Boyd, Hawtrey White, and Archibald Hamilton 
Jacob, all magistrates and commanders of yeomen corps, 
all of whom had committed the most horrid cold-blooded 
murders of the peaceable and well-disposed people 
throughout the country, previous to the Insurrection. 

It has been frequently asked, why Arklow was not 
occupied forthwith by our forces, as the enemy had aban- 
doned the place. No doubt a small body of our men 
might have been detached there, to keep possession of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 85 

the town and to make a general perquisition for arms 
and ammunition, which we stood in such need of. But 
it would have been imprudent to have marched with all 
our forces, and leave General Loftus in our rear at Car- 
new, where we were told he was assembling an army 
and making the greatest preparations to come and attack 
our camp, having received reinforcements from Tullow, 
Carlow and different other places. Perhaps too much 
time was allowed to elapse before the march on Carnew 
was ordered : but let that be as it may, a halt became 
absolutely necessary, to afford time to procure provi- 
sions for so numerous a body of men as we now were, 
amounting to nearly twenty thousand, and at that season 
of the year, when all the old provisions become so 
scarce, it was on meat alone we could count, to furnish 
our troops the means of living. As to rations of bread 
and other victuals, we found the greatest difficulty in 
procuring any quantity, the country being everywhere 
pillaged and devastated by the King's troops and 
Orangemen, who had been placed with the unfortunate 
inhabitants on free quarters previous to the rising. 

Killing cattle at our camp to supply the men, was 
often attended with great inconvenience and waste; 
when the distribution of the meat was made, the men 
not having immediately the means of cooking it, never 
thought of carrying it with them raw, when the order to 
march was given. The offal and hides being left on the 
ground would have caused a pestilence in the hot 
weather, had it not been for the great exertions of an old 
gentleman of eighty, Mr. Barney Murray of Gorey, who 
rode every day to the camp and had them carried away 
and buried For this act of humanity, he was impri- 
soned when the tyrants returned. 

On the 6th of June I made a part of a detachment 
sent to reconnoitre ; we were about thirty in number, 
tolerably well mounted and armed ; we gave directions in 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

different villages where we passed, to the elderly men 
who could not join the camp, to take fat cattle from the 
domains of our enemies, have them killed, the meat 
boiled and cut in small portions, and have it forwarded 
without delay to our army at Gorey. Our orders were 
complied with as well as could be expected under such 
circumstances. We pushed on our reconnoissance in the 
direction of Shillelagh, and had already made seven or 
eight miles without meeting the enemy, when all at once, 
we perceived a corps of cavalry on march. We of 
course did not advance but halted to see what direction 
they would take ; they drew up and halted also, the 
moment they saw we would not advance. After re- 
maining a short time they wheeled about and marched 
back. We concluded that by this manoeuvre they 
wished to draw us into an ambuscade. Perhaps they 
only followed their instructions, or that they supposed we 
could not have ventured so far, if we had not had our 
main body very near us to fall back on. Be that as it 
may, we thought it prudent to avoid a combat with a 
force three times our number : besides, our mission being 
accomplished, we returned to our camp at Gorey without 
having exchanged a shot with the enemy. 

The next day, the /th of June, I got the command of 
another small party to reconnoitre. We took nearly the 
same direction as the day before, but I wished to return 
by another way in order to obtain something certain 
about the enemy's force at Carnew, and to approach this 
town as near as I could with safety for that purpose. 
Being assured by some country people that the King's 
troops had left that place, I now longed to get back to 
communicate to the leaders all the information I had 
acquired, and as Monaseed lay in the way, I wished to 
pay a short visit to my dear mother, and to let the men 
who accompanied me take some refreshments at our 
house. We had not been there many minutes, when we 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 87 

perceived a horseman coming on the road we had just 
left ; I went out and met him. It struck me at once that 
he was a spy. As he did not give any satisfactory 
account of who he was, or where he was going, I thought 
it right to have him arrested. He was rather well- 
looking and about twenty-two or three years of age ; hTs 
horse, bridle and saddle were fit to mount any man ; he 
had no arms. We could not find the least scrap of paper 
on him ; he, no doubt, might have had one sewed in his 
clothes, but we had no time to make a minute search. 
I had a musket primed and loaded in his presence, placed 
him on his knees and had it levelled at him, threatening 
to shoot him forthwith if he did not tell me something 
about where he was going. All to no purpose, nothing 
would he divulge, and yet I was convinced he was going 
on a mission for the enemy. Being eager to rejoin our 
camp without delay, I got one of our tenants, Maguire, 
who had been seeing his wife and children, and was 
about returning on foot to the camp, to mount the priso- 
ner's horse and get him (the prisoner) up behind him. 

We rode off quickly, and about two miles from 
Gorey we met our entire army in full march to attack 
Carnew. I was instantly surrounded by the chiefs who 
were desirous to hear all the news I had acquired during 
the day. When I satisfied them on this point, and told 
them all the particulars about the prisoner, the column 
was ordered to halt, and Esmond Kyan took charge of 
him and engaged he would soon make him speak. For 
this purpose, he made him put his head into the mouth 
of the howitzer or mortar, and threatened to blow him 
up into the air, if he did not immediately confess all he 
knew. But just as with me, nothing whatever could he 
extort from this most extraordinary young man, and yet 
it was evident he came from the country then occupied 
by our enemies. As it was useless to try any further 
experiments on this obstinate fellow, he was sent to the 



88 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

rear of the column to be escorted with the other priso- 
ners, and our army resumed its march towards Carnew ; 
although it was now well known that General Loftus 
had quit the town the day before and marched with all 
the forces under his orders to Tullow. But it appeared 
that a march on Carnew, or a demonstration of some 
kind had become necessary to appease the wrath of the 
vast numbers who had had their dearest friends and 
relations slaughtered there, previous to the rising. How 
far this march was inconsistent with our military opera- 
tions, we learned before many days passed ; but it was a 
difficult matter to avoid committing faults, circumstanced 
as we were. 

Our army encamped, the /th of June, on Kileavan 
Hill, near Carnew, and in a short time afterwards, the 
greatest part of this town was burned Many houses, 
however, belonging to those who were known not to have 
participated in the cold-blooded murders and tortures 
perpetrated there, were exempted from this useless 
retaliation. 

To destroy isolated houses, liable to serve as citadels 
or places of refuge to the enemy, became necessary, 
according to our plan of carrying on the war, but other- 
wise it was bad policy to destroy any habitation, no 
matter who the owner might be. Bob Blaney's malt 
houses, and indeed all his concerns were saved, because 
he was so well known for his humanity and exertions in 
endeavouring to save the lives of the unfortunate people 
who were brought to Carnew to be tortured there pre- 
vious to the insurrection ; his brother Ralph was less 
popular, and of course his house shared the fate of his 
neighbours. Yet it was known that Ralph Blaney, after 
the war was over, did many kind acts to people who were 
in distress. His handsome house at Buckstown, not 
being destroyed, made him very grateful to the people 
of that neighbourhood, whom he knew had contributed 
to save his property there. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 89 

Our camp on Kileavan Hill was visited by some Pro- 
testants of the neighbourhood, who feeling they had 
nothing to dread on account of the neutral part they 
maintained during this struggle for independence, 
approached their Catholic acquaintances with confi- 
dence. They received them well, as persons considered 
friendly to our cause. But judge of my surprise, and 
how glad I was, when I saw amongst these visitors, 
young Effy Page, Ralph Blaney's clerk, he, who had 
had poor Ned Nowlan taken prisoner on the 24th of 
May, when we were passing at Hacketstown. I have 
mentioned all the particulars of this matter in the begin- 
ning of my narrative. Of course I had Page taken into 
custody, and given up to Nowlan's two uncles, Taddy 
and Darby Laughlan, and to his brother John Nowlan. 
All three were fortunately present at the camp at the 
time. I related to them in Page's presence, how he had 
their nephew and brother arrested and thrown into prison 
at Hacketstown ; he owned it was true, and added, that 
Nowlan was safe, and would be exchanged for him ; 
hoped he would not be ill treated, etc. I impressed in the 
strongest manner on the uncles and brother of poor 
Nowlan the necessity of keeping this young scamp well 
guarded until the exchange took place ; that if they had 
not been there I should have taken charge of Page 
myself and never lost sight of him before all was accom- 
plished. Of course they replied I might rest assured 
they would do everything necessary to hasten the release 
of their relative. I quit them upon this, having a good 
deal to do elsewhere. I was happy to think that chance 
had thrown this young scoundrel into our hands, and 
that thereby poor Nowlan would be snatched from an 
untimely end. Think, then, of my sorrow and indigna- 
tion, when Taddy Laughlan, the uncle, told me next day 
that young Page's father, with whom he was well 
acquainted, came to him and pledged himself in the most 



90 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

solemn manner that if his son was put at liberty they 
both would go immediately and have Nolan liberated 
Laughlan had the fatuity to accede to this proposition, 
thinking, no doubt, it was the surest way of getting his 
nephew out of prison ; but unfortunately he was cruelly 
disappointed. In thirteen days afterwards poor Nowlan 
was brought back to Carnew, and there immolated, to 
appease the thirst of the bloody Orangemen of that 
place. 

Ned Nowlan was a powerful strong man, twenty-four 
years of age. The murder of so fine a young fellow was 
deeply felt by all who knew him, particularly as no 
charge whatever could be brought against him. But it 
sufficed that he was brave and a Roman Catholic, to 
have him sacrificed to the fury of the relentless tyrants 
and magistrates of Carnew. It makes me melancholy 
to think that he was not saved. His mother's sisters 
were married to respectable farmers, enjoying considera- 
tion and influence in the country. They did not exert 
themselves on this occasion as they might have done. 
Both Page and his father should have been retained 
prisoners and the females of their family charged with 
negotiating the exchange of the prisoners. Alas ! 
nothing was done. 

An incident occurred, scarcely worth noticing, if it 
did not shew how much we stood in need of discipline 
and some kind of control, to prevent our young men 
scampering through the country without any object in 
view. 

Before quitting the camp at Kileavan Hill, I wished 
to leave a provision of salt at my mother's ; it was an 
article we then began to feel the want of, and for this 
purpose I brought my nephew James Kennedy, a lad of 
twelve or thirteen years of age, mounted on a breeding 
mare, more than twenty years old, and the only one of 
all our horses that the Orangemen left on the land. I 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. QI 

was accompanied by Jacob Byrne of Ballyellis. We 
were riding slowly, when we stopped to speak with 
some friends we met who were just coming out of the 
town of Carnew. My nephew who preceded us about 
two hundred yards, was thrown on the road in the most 
brutal manner by two fellows who mounted the old 
mare and came up meeting us. The poor boy, all 
covered with dust, was running after them, crying and 
shouting to stop them. I crossed them in the road and 
desired them to alight instantly, which they positively 
refused to do. Jacob Byrne, in assisting me to arrest 
these fellows, narrowly escaped ; my piece in the 
struggle went off and shot his horse dead under him ; 
both fell so suddenly on the road that I feared he was 
badly wounded. Fortunately he did not receive the 
least injury ; he lost a fine horse, that was all, and the 
scamps betook themselves to the fields, leaving the old 
mare behind them. So we proceeded to Carnew. Mrs. 
Leonard, a widow, who kept a great warehouse and 
establishment there, and whose premises were respected 
in the general conflagration, had put aside for me a 
small bag of salt, which young Kennedy took charge of. 
But I had to have him escorted back to our house, three 
miles distant. This circumstance with many similar 
that occurred, shewed the necessity there was to have 
companies formed, and the captains and lieutenants 
regularly elected by their men : these companies to be 
from one to two hundred strong, to answer the proximity 
of the locality the men belonged to : each company to 
have a first and second captain, a first and second lieu- 
tenant, a first and second ensign : one at least of each 
of these ranks to be continually present with his com- 
pany. Their duty, of course, would be to look after the 
welfare of all those who elected them to the honour of 
the command ; to see that provisions were procured and 
regularly distributed, but of all things, to pass a minute 



92 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

inspection every morning of the arms of their respective 
companies, and to be more particular about the pikes, 
as on this weapon so much depended ; it being remarked 
that many of our men, as soon as they got any kind of 
firelock, even an old pistol which could not fire a shot, 
gave away their pikes to others. These men, at the 
inspection, could be mildly admonished and made 
ashamed of having given away a fine pike that such 
good use of had been made at the last battle, etc. A 
simple organization of this kind, with a few other mili- 
tary regulations, would have made our army of pikemen 
formidable indeed. Our fire-arms being of different cali- 
bres, we could not easily get cartridges made to fit them 
all ; and this was another reason why we should have 
paid more attention to see that the pikes were always in 
good condition. 

By the march of our army to Kileavan Hill we shewed 
the enemy that had retreated on Tullow under the com- 
mand of General Loftus that we expected to have met 
them in the open field ; but they preferred shutting them- 
selves up in the town, after evacuating Shillelagh, Tina- 
hely, and all that part of the county of Wicklow bor- 
dering on the county of Wexford, sooner than risk a 
battle against our pikemen in the plain, though they 
had cavalry well mounted and knew we had none. Thus 
we were obliged to go and attack them in their towns, 
where they were entrenched and barricaded in such a 
strong way that our pikemen found the greatest diffi- 
culty in making use of their arms. 

But there was a plan suggested which if it had been 
put into execution would have in some measure remedied 
our critical situation and have forced the enemy to quit 
their strongholds. This plan consisted in having a corps 
of six or eight thousand men detached as a corps of 
observation, manoeuvring from Tinahely to Rathdrum, 
and menacing to intercept the Dublin road leading to 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 93 

Arklow, the command of this corps to be entrusted to 
Garrett Byrne of Ballymanus. This gentleman was well 
known to the gentry of the county of Wexford and much 
esteemed by them ; but he was still better known in the 
county of Wicklow, where all the people were ready to 
follow him through thick and thin. It was in this situa- 
tion he could have rendered the most important service, 
aided by so many chiefs, all of whom had distinguished 
themselves in each combat with the enemy, such as Dan 
Kervin, of Ballanacar, and a host of others equally brave 
and enterprising. Garrett Byrne's instructions were to 
be, to avoid a general battle ; to attack all small parties 
of the enemy and harass them in every way ; to keep 
open his communication with the main body or army ; 
but if separated by a superior force of the enemy, he 
could retire into the mountains of Wicklow, to Glen- 
malure and the Seven Churches, where his men would 
have flocks of sheep at their disposition, and from thence 
he could have easily opened a communication with the 
Kildare men. Had this plan been decided on and carried 
into execution on the 5th or 6th of June, we should not 
have had to fight a battle at Arklow, for the town was 
abandoned by the King's forces, and the panic was so 
great, that we might have reached Dublin without meet- 
ing much resistance, and in all probability have assem- 
bled there in a few days, under the walls of the capital, 
more than sixty thousand fighting men, that would have 
come flocking from all parts of Ireland, to join the 
standard of independence. 

All these plans were suddenly relinquished on learn- 
ing that the town of Arklow was re-occupied by the 
English and the Orange yeomanry, and by reinforce- 
ments from Dublin ; carriages, jaunting cars, carts, 
waggons, etc., all being pressed into requisition to trans- 
port troops there in all haste, to strengthen the garrison. 

Our army returned on the 8th of June to its former 



94 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

camp at Gorey Hill, to make preparations for the attack 
of the enemy at Arklow. Our ammunition became very 
scarce, except for the artillery, of which we had still a 
tolerably good supply, and provisions of all kinds were 
very difficult to be had for so numerous a body as was 
now agglomerated at our camp. 

Different applications for gunpowder was made to the 
town of Wexford, which were not complied with, under 
the pretext that it was all wanted for the defence of the 
city, as if we were not defending the town more effectu- 
ally than its inhabitants. Though we were thirty miles 
away, still we were fighting their battles as well as our 
own. At length we received a very small barrel of 
powder from Wexford ; a scanty supply, no doubt, but 
it arrived very opportunely, the eve of a great battle ; it 
was distributed immediately to those who had firelocks, 
as there was no time to have it made into cartridges. It 
was whilst witnessing this distribution that poor Nick 
Murphy and I lamented the loss of our large jar of fine 
powder, which held sufficient to have supplied our army 
for a long time. 

I have mentioned already how John Sheridan had 
discovered to Hunter Gowan the place where we had 
this jar concealed, whilst Murphy and I were absent, 
going from place to place to conceal ourselves and to 
escape the fury of the Orangemen. 

About this time the result of the hard-fought battle 
at Ross was known at our camp, and also that Bagenal 
Harvey had resigned the chief command, and that 
Father Philip Roche had been chosen by the people to 
replace him as commander-in-chief of their forces before 
Ross. 

Roche was a very superior, intelligent man. Of 
course we regretted seeing him leave our corps, though 
we were in no want of chiefs to lead us to victory. We 
had still Father John Murphy and Father Michael 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 95 

Murphy, both enjoying immense influence amongst the 
fighting men. 

Besides, we had Anthony Perry, Esmond Kyan, and 
many other distinguished leaders, all of whom by this 
time were well known to have merited the rank they 
obtained in the United Irish system. What we wanted 
most, was gunpowder and a proper plan of campaigning, 
to draw the enemy from their entrenchments into the 
plain, and thereby enable us to bring our intrepid pike- 
men into action, as we did at the memorable battle of 
Tubberneering against Walpole. 

We were now in possession of the whole of the 
county of Wexf ord, except Newtownbarry on the Slaney 
confines of the county of Carlow, New Ross on the 
Barrow confines of Waterford and Kilkenny county, and 
the Fort of Duncannon. We were also masters of that 
part of the county of Wicklow bordering on the county 
of Wexford, from Carnew to Shillelagh and Tinahely to 
the town of Arklow. It is only justice to say that those 
districts of the county of Wicklow furnished our army 
with the most determined, fine, brave fellows, and all to 
a man, priding themselves on being United Irishmen. 
They had all, either personally, or some members of their 
families, suffered the most cruel tortures and persecu- 
tion, such as having had pitch caps put on their heads ; 
they had been picketed or half hung ; they had had the 
King's troops living on free quarters at their respective 
homes, and there committing all sorts of atrocious 
crimes, shooting the inhabitants, burning the houses, etc. 
Several men from Dunlavin came to tell the dreadful 
fate of their nearest relations who had been murdered 
there in cold blood previous to the rising. These fine 
fellows were now only occupied how they could best 
serve their country's cause. How much it is to be I 
lamented that the inhabitants of all the districts of I fc^ 
Ireland were not then animated with the same love of I 



96 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

independence ! Then indeed the English yoke would 
have been soon shaken off, and no power could have 
fastened it on again. England would have had too 
much to do at home to keep her own population quiet, 
and guard herself against the French nation, at that time 
so powerful and so desirous to see England weakened 
and reduced to be a second-rate state, which evidently 
she would have been the moment Ireland was separated 
from her. 

A short notice of a man whom I knew well, from 
one of the above-mentioned districts in the county of 
Wicklow, and who acted throughout our struggle for 
independence a most conspicuous part, first in the organ- 
ization of the United Irish system, and subsequently as 
one of our brave chiefs in the war, will be in its place 
here on account of what is to follow. 

Matthew Doyle, who resided on the way between 
Ballyarthur and Arklow, was appointed by the provincial 
chiefs to travel in the adjacent counties, to give instruc- 
tions to the societies, and to report on their progress. 
Putenham MacCabe was frequently sent from Dublin on 
the same mission. I met them at Nick Murphy's house, 
at Monaseed, where they stopped the night, to take 
refreshments. No two men could be more dissimilar 
in manner. MacCabe was quite a man of the world, 
rather handsome, plausible in conversation, with a myste- 
rious air of importance, which was greatly enhanced by 
his tie, wig, and other disguises he had to put on during 
the perilous mission he had undertaken for the welfare 
of Ireland. I met MacCabe in Paris in 1803. I never 
could rightly understand his patriotism. We were 
several Irish officers at the time, just setting off from 
Paris for Brest, from which place we expected an expe- 
dition would soon sail to free our unfortunate country. 
MacCabe seemed to gibe at our great hurry to repair to 
the coast, just as if he knew the secrets of the Govern- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 97 

ment ; nor could I ever learn that he volunteered to go 
on any of the expeditions preparing in the French sea- 
ports to invade Ireland Yet he ran great risks, going 
frequently to England and Ireland and returning to 
Fiance during the war. In 1807 I was with a battalion 
of our regiment in garrison at Antwerp. MacCabe 
arrived there from England by way of Amsterdam ; he 
had two ladies under his care, who were coming from 
Ireland, Madame Berthemy and her daughter Madem- 
oiselle Berthemy. We invited these ladies and MacCabe 
to dine with us at our mess, which they accepted, and we 
spent a very pleasant evening at the Hotel du Lion d'Or. 
MacCabe shewed us a handsome case of pistols he had 
purchased in London, and which he intended for General 
Arthur O'Connor. This was the last time I ever spoke 
to MacCabe, though I saw him one day in the streets of 
Paris after the restoration of the Bourbons. He had 
just arrived from Dublin, where he had been imprisoned 
some time. 

Matthew Doyle was a stout, healthy looking man ; 
when travelling he was always mounted on a good horse, 
as the farmers and graziers generally are when going on 
their business to fairs or markets. In this way Doyle 
passed through the country quietly, without attracting 
any notice, yet notwithstanding all his precautions, his 
dwelling was one of the first in the country where the 
soldiers were let loose on free quarters. The Ancient 
Britons, finding Doyle had escaped into the woods, estab- 
lished themselves in his house, where they kept his wife 
and children prisoners until they were called away when 
Arklow was abandoned on the 5th of June. Doyle had 
the satisfaction of seeing, before the war terminated, 
these cruel monsters nearly all slain at the battle of 
Ballyellis in which he took an active part. But in a 
few days after, he was taken prisoner and on the point 
of being shot, when it was thought better to put him 



98 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

into a regiment as a private soldier ; this regiment being 
one of those sent to Egypt under the command of Sir 
Ralph Abercrombie. Doyle made the campaign there 
against the French. When discharged a few years after- 
wards, he was very vain of his military acquirements, 
which he trusted might one day be employed for the 
emancipation of his country. He was introduced to 
poor Robert Emmet in 1803. 

I mention all these particulars about Doyle previous 
to giving an account of the battle of Arklow, because no 
man knew the environs of that town better than he did, 
and no one was more capable of making a diversion in 
the rear of the enemy's line, had it been resolved to do 
so during the battle, and which no doubt would have 
rendered the victory less dear to our army. 



BATTLE OF ARKLOW QTH OF JUNE, 1798. 

At about ten o'clock in the morning, all the prepara- 
tions that were possible to be made being now ready, and 
all our men who were absent during the night having 
joined their respective corps, the order to march from 
Gorey Hill was given, and never did I witness anything 
before like the joy that seemed to brighten every coun- 
tenance when this command was repeated from rank to 
rank throughout the entire column ; it had more the 
appearance of a march to some great place of amuse- 
ment than to the battle field. I think we mustered 
twenty thousand strong at least, but we had not two 
thousand firelocks fit for use. The greater part of the 
muskets were taken by the country people, little accus- 
tomed to make use of them, the locks soon became 
deranged, and we had no gunsmiths following our army 
to repair them, nor had we even blacksmiths to repair 
our pikes ; for those poor fellows were either shot, trans- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 99 

ported, or in prison previous to the rising. But still we 
had some three or four thousand tolerably well mounted 
pikes in our army, and the remainder of the men were 
armed with weapons of different sorts, all of which in 
close fighting would suffice against the soldier's gun and 
bayonet. We met no scouting parties from the enemy's 
camp before we reached Coolgreany ; in this town we 
made a short halt, to let the men take some refreshments, 
and after a rest of less than an hour we resumed our 
march on Arklow, the enemy's cavalry flying back before 
us, without waiting to exchange a single shot with our 
advanced guard. Thus we arrived between three and 
four o'clock (after making ten Irish miles), in front of the 
enemy's line, which we found intrenched and barricaded, 
to commence a regular battle, with our very irregular 
troops, against a regular and disciplined English army. 
We first perceived a number of field officers seemingly 
very busy riding before their line of battle, but they, as 
soon as the first shot was fired from our troops, retired to 
the rear of their line, and we saw one of them fall from 
his horse, we supposed either badly wounded or killed. 
He belonged to the Durham Fencibles that occupied this 
strong position. 

Esmond Kyan lost no time in drawing up our artillery 
to attack this position, and the very first volley he fired 
he had the satisfaction to see that he had dismounted 
one of the enemy's cannon. The Monaseed corps, to 
which I belonged, entered the field in front of the 
enemy's intrenchments at the same time with Esmond 
Kyan and the artillery; but we were instantly ordered 
to file to the right and attack the outlets or fishery where 
the enemy was in great force, and the corps not yet 
arrived were to take our place to guard the artillery and 
force the enemy's position in that direction. 

We immediately obeyed and marched to attack the 
fishery, but we were greatly exposed to the fire from the 



IOO MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

enemy's intrench ment in crossing an open field, and by 
this prompt measure we lost several fine fellows. We 
were soon joined by other corps of our army that had 
made a circuitous road and consequently without losing 
any men. We, being now in sufficient force, began the 
attack, and in a short time the battle became general in 
every direction where the King's troops were perceived, 
and the yeoman cavalry shewed more pluck on this 
occasion than usual. They accompanied the regular 
forces in several charges against our men, but without 
success, for we forced both them and the English troops 
to abandon their position in the fishery with great loss 
of men killed and wounded. Such were the prodigies of 
valour exhibited by our chiefs at the head of their re- 
spective corps, that General Needham, who commanded 
in chief the King's forces, from the onset despaired of 
success, and he had already begun to take the necessary 
dispositions to effect his retreat before the great mass of 
our pikemen should be brought against him. His troops, 
he saw plainly, though they fought bravely, could no 
longer resist the impetuosity of our attacks in the open 
field. Besides, he feared every moment that his forces 
might disband in confusion, particularly that part of 
Walpole's division which escaped at Tubberneering, and 
which, although now considerably reinforced by the 
Cavan militia and other troops sent from Dublin, could 
not forget its late panic at Clough, where Walpole was 
killed. 

General Needham had also the cavalry regiment of 
Ancient Britons and at least a dozen corps of yeoman 
cavalry to bring against us, whilst we had scarcely any 
men mounted to make head against them ; yet we de- 
feated and dispersed them in every engagement during 
the day. Captain Thomas Knox Grogan at the head of 
the Castletown cavalry was one of the first who 
attempted to charge our troops ; both he and his cousin 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. IOI 

James Moor of Monaseed and several others of his corps 
were killed in an instant and the rest dispersed. I knew 
them both well ; Moor was a near neighbour, and we 
rented land from Grogan, one of the most worthy men in 
the country. All the other cavalry corps that came to 
attack us, were defeated and dispersed in like manner 
as Grogan's. So we were now, after four hours of des- 
perate fighting, completely masters of the field of battle, 
with the exception of one corner, the position occupied 
by Colonel Skerret and the Durham Fencibles, and this 
post was only attacked by our artillery, commanded by 
Esmond Kyan. Unfortunately, this brave and experi- 
enced officer, after having forced Skerret to abandon his 
first stronghold, received a wound which disabled him for 
some time. He had his cork arm with a part of the 
stump carried off by a cannon ball This accident 
afforded time to Skerret and his much vaunted Durham 
Fencibles to barricade themselves in their new position. 
But, had a few hundred of our pikemen been brought to 
bear on them during this manoeuvre, they would have 
fled as well as all the other troops under the command of 
General Needham. For really those Fencibles showed 
no bravery, further than to keep themselves under cover 
and away as much as possible from our pikemen. They 
never once attempted during the battle to assist the 
other troops of their division, which were overwhelmed 
in every direction by our army. Thus by keeping as 
much as he could out of the fight, Colonel Skerret made 
a reputation for himself, and for which, according to the 
military letter)', he was recompensed with the rank of 
general. 

On the other hand the intrepid and heroic chiefs of 
our Irish army looked for no other reward than to see 
their country free and independent. Stimulated by this 
sublime aspiration, they cheerfully marched to meet the 
enemy, no matter how perilous the situation, and gene- 



1U2 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

rally under the greatest disadvantage, suffering all man- 
ner of privations ; and here it is only just that I should 
mention some of those who displayed the greatest 
bravery and courage during this action. 

The brave Michael Redmond with the Limerick 
corps, and the men of his own neighbourhood contri- 
buted most powerfully in gaining the battle. After 
defeating the King's troops in the fishery, he was pur- 
suing them into the town, when he received a mortal 
wound of which he expired instantly. This misfortune 
threw a damp over the men who looked to poor Red 
mond as their principal chief; but they were again 
cheered and encouraged by Anthony Perry, Murt 
Murnagh and other intrepid leaders. 

The Reverend Michael Murphy who led on his men 
with skill and courage, enjoying, as he did, an immense 
influence over all those who knew him, his death in the 
heat of the battle was no doubt a cruel loss, but not an 
irreparable one, as some people would have it thought ; 
for, if it was considered necessary to have a clergyman to 
lead the people to victory, there was still one in our 
ranks who enjoyed a greater ascendancy over the masses 
than the unfortunate man who was killed. Father John 
Murphy, apparently with the simplicity of a child, was a 
lion in the fight ; in short he knew not, nor cared, nor 
feared danger, from the moment he was forced to take 
the field to save his life from the tyrants who had burned 
his house, his chapel, and all he possessed, on the 26th of 
May: and this day at Arklow he was seen in every 
critical situation encouraging the men and exposing him- 
self to the greatest danger, wherever he thought his 
presence could be useful. He was so well known that 
the moment he was perceived there was a general burst 
of joy and enthusiasm throughout the ranks of the army. 
Thus it may be fairly said of Father John, that he con- 
tributed most powerfully to the success of the day at 
Arklow. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 103 

James Kavanagh of Ballyscarton and Michael Fearet 
of Tara, with many other fine fellows, were killed at the 
head of their men, driving the King's troops from the 
fishery. Dan Kervan with the other county of Wicklow 
leaders, distinguished themselves by their coolness and 
bravery all through the fighting ; and of the Monaseed 
corps, I must as usual mention Ned Fennell, Johnny 
Doyle, Nick Murphy, and indeed I could add a host of 
others who shewed the greatest intrepidity in heading 
their men in the thick of the fire. In short, in every 
corps of our army, were to be seen during this battle very 
young men indeed, displaying the greatest courage and 
carelessness about the great danger they were exposed 
to. Such was the endearing love of country and inde- \ 
pendence which animated the soul of each, that if they 
had been well commanded, the enemy had no force in 
Ireland to withstand them any time. I enter into these 
particulars to shew that we were not in want of brave 
and experienced leaders to head the men in the action. 
What we wanted was a commander- in-chief, who should 
have been chosen by all the other chiefs, previous to the 
battle, and whose orders alone should have been punc- 
tually executed, and no other that did not emanate 
from him. There were several trustworthy men to 
whom this important command might have been con- 
fided, such as Garrett Byrne of Ballymanus, Anthony 
Perry, Esmond Kyan, Edward Fitzgerald of New Park, 
and indeed many others who would have been quite 
equal to the task, with a council to direct them and a 
staff of aides-des-camp, composed of fine young fellows, 
to carry their orders and assist them in the fight. But 
instead of having a general-in-chief and a staff organ- 
i/.ed in this way, we were often at a loss to know from 
whom the orders came. For my own part, I never could 
ascertain who it was that gave the order to our army to 
march back to our camp at Gorey Hill, at the moment 



104 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the battle was gained and the King's forces quitting the 
town and retreating on the road to Wicklow. The 
Durham Fencibles that were left to cover this retreat 
only waited till it became dark to begin their retrograde 
march unperceived. 

Our army had only to make a few fires at a little 
distance to shew the enemy we were encamped for the 
night, and a short time after the town would have been 
completely evacuated, not only by the English troops, 
but by the yeomen and Orangemen of every description. 

How melancholy to think a victory so dearly bought 
should have been abandoned for which no good or 
plausible motive could ever be assigned. No doubt we 
had expended nearly all our ammunition, but that should 
have served as a sufficient reason to have brought all our 
pikemen instantly to pursue the enemy whilst in a state 
of disorder and panic struck, as they really were that day 
at Arklow. 

My firm belief is to day, as it was that day, that if we 
had had no artillery, the battle would have been won in 
half the time ; for we should have attacked the position 
of the Durham Fencibles at the very onset, with some 
thousand determined pikemen, in place of leaving tliose 
valiant fellows inactive to admire the effect of each 
cannon shot. No doubt our little artillery was admirably 
directed and did wonders, until Esmond Kyan's wound 
deprived the Irish army of this gallant man's services ; 
he was in every sense of the word a real soldier, and a 
true patriot. 

A diversion in the rear of the enemy's line during 
the battle might have accelerated their retreat and have 
thrown them into still greater disorder and confusion. 
Matthew Doyle, of whom I have already spoken, offered 
to execute this diversion, but it was considered unneces- 
sary. Of course Doyle and his men betook themselves 
to the front of the fight. Had a house or two been set 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 105 

on fire in the rear of the enemy, as was the case at the 
battle of Enniscorthy, on the 28th of May (which 
decided instantly the success there in our favour), the 
same result would have been obtained for us at Arklow ; 
for the King's troops, finding themselves attacked in their 
rear, would begin to fly in every direction ; and already 
disaffection was plainly seen in their ranks, and the Irish 
private soldier had learned that he would not be badly 
treated if he fell into our hands. Thus, had we followed 
up our victory, in a very short time vast numbers of the 
Irish would have deserted from the English and come to 
join our standard ; for, with the exception of the Orange- 
men, all the Irish that were brought against us only 
waited a fit opportunity to abandon their tyrants and 
come over to us ; and no one knew this better than 
General Needham. That was the reason he wished to 
effect his retreat in time, before the disaffection became 
general in his army. But the unhappy destiny of poor 
Ireland would have it, that we were really ignorant of our 
own strength, and did not know how to avail ourselves of 
the immense advantages we had already acquired ; 
having the whole country everywhere through the county 
of Wicklow favourable to us, by which the King's forces 
were obliged to pass, they never could attempt again 
to make another stand before they reached Dublin, and 
our army would, at every mile it advanced, be consider- 
ably augmented by those brave fellows who had had to 
take refuge in the Wicklow mountains, and who would 
now sally forth to attack the enemy in disorder, retreat- 
ing in haste and confusion to escape from twenty thou- 
sand men, by whom they were closely pursued after 
their defeat at Arklow. 

Nothing but the most precipitate march or flight 
could have saved any portion of them. General Need- 
ham dreaded this desertion ; of course he apprised his 
Government of his critical situation. The Government 



106 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

had no reinforcements to send him but Irish militia 
regiments, in whose loyalty now no confidence could be 
placed 

The infernal Orange system and lodges which the 
Government allowed to be organized in all the Irish 
militia regiments, would soon have had the happiest effect 
for us, had we but followed up our victory. For all 
those who refused to take the Orange test, particularly 
the Roman Catholics of those regiments, only waited a 
favourable occasion to escape from all kinds of perse- 
cutions and insults, which they had daily to put up with 
from the Orange ringleaders, who treated them as vile 
united rebels, croppies, etc. 

No redress could they expect from officers who were 
sworn Orangemen themselves. Thus this schism and 
division was augmenting in every Irish militia regiment, 
and with it insubordination and indiscipline, such as was 
never known in any army before, and which confirmed 
the prediction of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, when he 
resigned the chief command of this army on the 2Qth of 
April, 1798, sooner than tarnish his military fame by 
remaining to lead a band of ruffians to scenes of cold- 
blooded slaughter and desolation. " The English army," 
he declared, " in Ireland was formidable to all but the 
enemy." 

Never before had the English Government in Ireland 
been so near its total destruction. When Hoche's ex- 
pedition appeared on the coast in 1796, the Irish nation 
was ready to avail itself of it to throw off the English 
yoke ; but now the people found they were adequate to 
accomplish this great act themselves without foreign aid. 
What a pity that there was not some enterprising chief 
at their head at Arklow, to have followed up our victory 
to the city of Dublin, where we should have mustered 
more than a hundred thousand in a few days ; conse- 
quently the capital would have been occupied without 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. IO/ 

delay by our forces, when a provisional government 
would have been organized and the whole Irish nation 
called on to proclaim its independence. Then would 
every emblem of the cruel English Government have dis- 
appeared from the soil of our beloved country, which 
would once more take its rank amongst the other inde- 
pendent states of the earth ! 

My great anxiety to appreciate the result of the 
battle, or what might have been the result of our victory 
at Arklow, has led me away from our march back to 
Gorey, but I now resume the details of this sad march. 

Being masters of the country all round and of the 
battle-field, where not an enemy was to be seen, we 
should have deserved the greatest blame had we neg- 
lected to carry with us our unfortunate wounded men. 
For my own part, I did all in my power to have those 
who were wounded near me during the action carried 
away by their comrades, until the means of transporting 
them on cars could be procured, which was difficult on 
account of its being now quite dark night. Had we, as 
we should have done, got all the brave men who were 
killed in the action, buried, it would have deprived Lord 
Mountnorris and the ferocious Ancient Britons of the 
cannibal pleasure they enjoyed in mangling the body and 
roasting the heart of the Reverend Michael Murphy. 
But I shall not dwell on this painful subject, of which so 
much has been published by the bookmakers of that 
epoch. 

When I reached Gorey late at night, I went to see 
about the wounded men of my acquaintance ; they 
were placed on a ground floor in the main street, and as 
yet their wounds were undressed One of them, poor 
young Owen Bruslaun took me by the hand, when I 
proposed to bring a surgeon, he told me it was useless, 
that he could not recover, and in a few minutes after he 
expired. Two others died before I left the room. Many 



IO8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

of those who were not badly wounded were taken by their 
friends to their respective homes, where they were sure to 
be well taken care of by the females of their families. 
A melancholy occupation, no doubt, for the poor mothers, 
wives and sisters ; but we had no regular hospitals as yet 
organized, which was the worst feature of our campaign- 
ing. Not to be left the hope of being cured of our 
wounds was grievous indeed, but what was still worse 
was the certainty of being instantly put to death if made 
prisoners. Well, with this gloomy prospect before our 
eyes, I think we were more dauntless and more ready to 
meet the enemy in an open fight than ever ; and so far 
from desponding and remaining at Gorey Hill on the 
defensive, notwithstanding our mistaken retrograde 
movement from Arklow, we resumed our military 
offensive operations the day after. Our losses in killed 
and wounded were, no doubt, considerable, and they must 
have been equally great with the enemy. The numbers 
could never be rightly ascertained; we brought some 
hundreds of wounded men away from the field of battle, 
and from the night coming on, it appeared that many 
more were not brought off. When those unfortunate 
men were discovered by the enemy next day, they were 
instantly slaughtered. 

Esmond Kyan and some others of the wounded chiefs 
had to go to Wexford to get surgical advice. Thus 
ended the battle of Arklow. 



CHAPTER IV. 

OUR great mistake at Arklow of not bivouacking when 
the enemy was in full retreat (for I shall not call it 
a failure, as we gained the battle there), obliged us to 
adopt a new plan ; it was to endeavour to bring the 
enemy to meet us in the open field. This plan consisted 
in changing frequently our camp, marching and counter- 
marching before the English line, to try to induce them 
to quit their strongholds and come to attack us in their 
turn, that our pikemen might be instantly brought into 
action. 

Our camp on Gorey Hill (after we returned from 
Arklow) became stationary there for the loth and nth 
of June, to allow time to all those who went to visit 
their families to return and rejoin their respective corps. 

On the 1 2th of June our army marched from Gorey 
and encamped the same day on Limerick Hill, from 
which place scouting and reconnoitring parties were de- 
tached in the direction thought the most likely to meet 
with the enemy, who, by the by, fled back whenever we 
approached them and refused to engage in combat with 
our men. 

The English forces at Arklow were particularly 
cautious to avoid meeting our pikemen, from whom they 
had so recently received a terrible specimen of the utility 
and advantage of that long-handled weapon, called the 
pike, when properly brought to bear upon the foe. The 
garrison of Arklow, however, took courage and ventured 
to send out several detachments into the country and 
neighbourhood at some miles distant from the town 
not to meet our army in open fight, but to murder in cold 
blood all the unfortunate innocent people who were 
found in their houses. The Ancient British horse regi- 



110 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

merit accompanied by the yeomen cavalry corps, glutted 
their ferocious appetites in these most monstrous deeds. 
Even the Orange historian, Gordon, is obliged to own 
the great extent and enormity of those crimes. He at 
the same time wishes to palliate them by saying that the 
insurgents used reprisals at their camp. No doubt there 
were many, and it was nearly impossible it could be 
otherwise, in the presence of such vast numbers who had 
had their dearest parents slaughtered previous to the 
insurrection by the inhuman magistrates and Orange 
yeomanry. Yet, notwithstanding, many prisoners were 
saved, against whom the most serious imputations for 
sanguinary deeds could be produced. I contributed in 
several instances as much as lay in my power to have 
those vile, ungrateful fellows spared, because I thought 
the spilling of blood in this way could never serve our 
cause. I on one occasion in the market-house loft at 
Gorey had influence enough to prevent the famous 
magistrate and Protestant minister Owens from being 
killed one who had made himself conspicuous in 
putting on pitch-caps on the unfortunate people who 
had the misfortune to be brought before him, as a justice 
of the peace. When several of those who had been thus 
tieated by this miserable bigot insisted on having him 
put to death forthwith, I pointed out to them how he 
had had his sufferings from a pitch-cap, which had taken 
all the hair and skin from his head, and that it would not 
be worth their while to inflict on him any other punish- 
ment ; besides, that he had in consequence become silly. 
Owens, finding I had succeeded in dissuading them from 
their design for the moment, played his part very well. 
Perceiving some young girls amongst those whom curio- 
sity brought to see the prisoners, he offered his services 
to marry any of them who wished to be joined in wed- 
lock to their lovers. A young man and a young girl 
being very near us, he advanced and put their hands 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. HI 

together, and instantly began the ceremony of marriage, 
when the poor innocent girl gave a terrible scream and 
ran away, which caused much laughter and seemingly 
amused all present. Whether it was that she did not 
like the young man, or scrupled being married by a 
Protestant minister, I did not learn. Owens had to show 
himself at the window of the market-house loft whenever 
any of our corps passed through the street. Fortunately 
for him, the windows being very high from the ground, 
the pikes could not reach him. A strong guard was con- 
tinually left at this prison until the day our army left 
Gorey and marched to Limerick Hill ; then Owens and 
the other prisoners that were confined there were sent off 
to Wexford, escorted by brave men who did not thirst 
for spilling human blood, and thereby escaped from the 
reprisals, which sooner or later they might expect did 
they remain in Gorey. What a contrast was this humane 
conduct to the ferocious Hunter Gowan and the young 
bloodhounds who composed his corps of yeomen 
cavalry ; these cowardly murderers being well aware of 
what awaited them if taken prisoners, took good care to 
keep out of the way of our army and never to risk 
meeting in battle the friends of the fine fellows they had 
slaughtered in cold blood previous to the insurrection 
bi caking out. The father, however, of two of those 
young bloodhounds, who had made themselves so con- 
spicuous in shooting poor Garrett Fennell, James D'Arcy 
and many others, on the 25th of May, had the misfortune 
to be taken prisoner and brought to our camp at 
Limerick Hill. John Thumping was his name ; he lived 
at Ballygullen ; he was brother-in-law to Hunter Gowan, 
they having married two sisters ; and the brother of their 
wives, Tommy Norton, was the worthy companion of the 
monster Hunter Gowan in all his cruel deeds during tEIs 
lamentable period an epoch which, either by history 
or tradition must go down to the latest posterity, remind- 



112 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

ing the rising generations never to be at rest, nor to 
forgive, until they get completely rid of their sanguinary 
task-masters, the inhuman English. 

Returning one evening to our camp at Limerick Hi 1 !, 
I passed on the way some men escorting a prisoner 
whom I recognized to be John Thumping ; I knew him 
well by sight, though I never had spoken to him. I 
feared the worst for this unfortunate man on account of 
his son's bad reputation and his other infamous connec- 
tions, such as Gowan, etc. I hastened to the camp to 
communicate my apprehensions to Ned Fennell, whom I 
met on horseback. He was also just returning from a 
reconnoitring party, as I was. This fine undaunted 
fellow, like every brave man, shuddered at the idea of 
having innocent blood spilt : he perfectly agreed with me 
that Thumping should only be made accountable for his 
own acts and not for those of his infernal sons. We 
both instantly rode back to meet the escort that was 
conducting the prisoner to the camp, when at the bottom 
of the hill we perceived a crowd of people and a man 
lying dead at some distance. It was the unfortunate 
Thumping, who being met by men who had their fathers 
and brothers murdered by his sons and Hunter Gowan, 
instantly put him to death. Had poor Ned Fennell 
arrived a few minutes sooner he would have saved the 
unfortunate man, as none could claim a prior right to 
retaliate than he whose brother had been one of the first 
victims, having been murdered by the young Thumpings, 
but not by the father. 

The winter after the war terminated, a poor young lad, 
who lived by his labour, having been one of those who 
escorted Thumping to the camp, was executed at Arklow 
for his death. Mat Fennell, the brother of Ned and 
Garrett, was arrested at the same time ; probably his 
youth saved him (for he was only sixteen) from being 
offered up as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 113 

vindictive Orangemen and cruel magistrates of the 
country at that epoch. It is melancholy to have to 
speak of these sad reprisals. I witnessed none at our 
camp of Carrigrew Hill, Kilkevin or Gorey. 

All our manoeuvring and exertions to induce General 
Needham and the garrison of Arklow to come out and 
meet us in the open field of battle, proved fruitless ; 
and, learning that General Loftus had quit Tullow at the 
head of the King's troops there, and was marching in 
the direction of Tinahely, whilst General Dundas with 
his division had arrived from Baltinglass at Hackets- 
town, to co-operate with General Loftus, we immediately 
left our camp at Limerick Hill and marched to meet 
them. 

On the 1 5th of June our advanced guard had some 
smart skirmishing with the English forces, and after 
driving them before us and making a number of priso- 
ners, we encamped at Mount Pleasant on the i6th of 
June, and there prepared for battle. 

The next morning, the i/th, those generals at the 
head of the English forces, Loftus and Dundas, who had 
marched, one from Tullow and the other from Hackets- 
town, quite determined to attack our camp, and who had 
even boasted that we could not resist them or keep our 
position for half an hour at Mount Pleasant, when they 
approached in sight of our army, and found it in line so 
formidably drawn up to receive them, hesitated and sud- 
denly halted their army instead of coming to attack our 
line and begin the battle. Our generals seeing this 
hesitation of the enemy, ordered our brave fellows to 
sally from the camp and to commence the fight, which 
was instantly executed with great success. We forced 
the King's troops to retire precipitately and to abandon a 
large park of cattle, with a quantity of provisions they 
had following their army ; and notwithstanding the vast 
number of the cavalry they had covering their rear, 



1 14 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

we took a great number of prisoners and forced the 
enemy to quit their first position and to take another on 
a hill at a great distance, from which position they were 
preparing to fall back on Tullow and Hacketstown. 
Here, as well as in most other places where we engaged 
the enemy, skill alone was wanting to follow up the 
King's troops to insure success. The people had numbers 
and courage enough to overthrow any force which had 
been sent against them, if they had been skilfully 
commanded. 

On this day all our corps evinced the greatest courage 
and quickness to march to atack the enemy, but I must 
mention one corps in particular which proved to the 
English on this occasion that they would have been well 
received by our pikemen, had they advanced to attack 
our line, or have waited in their own to accept the 
battle. I don't mean that Matthew Doyle and the 
Arklow men whom he commanded fought with more 
courage and displayed more intrepidity than the other 
corps of our little army, but this I must say, that I could 
not help admiring the clever military manner he kept his 
men, manoeuvring, marching and counter-marching in 
presence of the enemy Doyle was stripped in his shirt, 
a red girdle or sash round his waist, an immense drawn 
sabre in his hand. He was at the head of about two hun- 
dred fine fellows, all keeping their ranks, as if they had 
been trained soldiers and strictly executing his com- 
mands. At one moment a large corps of the enemy's 
cavalry came galloping on the road under where we were 
drawn up and quite near us, but before they had time to 
pass, Doyle had his men drawn up across the road, at a 
point which formed an elbow, ready to meet them. The 
cavalry, on perceiving this formidable barrier impeding 
their passage, halted suddenly, wheeled about, and ran 
away, which caused great cheering amongst our men, 
who were placed on an eminence near the road, and by 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 1 1 5 

this time within pistol shot of the cavalry, whilst they 
were in the act of wheeling about. Many of them must 
have been wounded from the fire of our gunsmen, which 
was kept up as long as the enemy was within reach. 
The enthusiasm caused by this skirmish might have 
been turned to good account, for our pikemen were now 
ready to march against any cavalry, infantry or artillery, 
but it was late in the day, and the main body of the 
enemy was too far off to be reached before night. The 
town of Tinahely afforded us very little resource. As a 
military position it was not worth anything to us ; we 
got, however, some gunpowder, of which we stood in the 
greatest need, and a few firearms, all in bad condition, 
which had been left by the Orangemen in the confusion 
of their escape. 

We were joined here by many brave men who had 
been till then hiding in the mountains, hourly in danger 
of being discovered and shot if they attempted to quit 
their hiding places. 

It was during the stay our army made at the camp of 
Mount Pleasant, that poor Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, by 
his humane interference, saved the lives of several priso- 
ners, against whom charges of persecuting the people 
were brought. Amongst those prisoners was Thomas 
Dowse, a gentleman farmer and grazier, with whom 
poor Byrne was on intimate terms. Of course, he used all 
his influence and succeeded in getting Dowse put at 
liberty. Could it be believed, that Dowse's evidence on 
Byrne's trial at Wicklow afterwards, in which he de- 
clared his heartfelt gratitude, and said that to Byrne 
alone he owed his life, was the principal one on which 
the unfortunate Billy Byrne was found guilty and 
executed there ; Byrne's influence with the insurgents 
showing he was a rebel to the British Government. 

At Mount Pleasant Byrne was in his own country and 
neighbourhood, where every one knew him and loved 



Il6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

him and respected him ; it was not extraordinary that he 
could save persons against whom no very serious crimes 
were proved ; still this humane act sufficed with the cruel 
ascendancy men who conducted the trial at Wicklow, to 
show that Byrne must have been a chief, or he would not 
have had the power to save Thomas Dowse from being 
put to death. How monstrous, and how lamentable to 
have so fine a fellow sacrificed, to appease the thirst of 
the Orange bloodhounds ! 

Brigade-Major Fitzgerald of General Hunter's staff at 
Wexford, procured for Byrne a protection from the 
General-in-Chief of the English forces there, on the faith 
of which protection he quitted the country and came to 
Dublin to join his sisters. There he had been publicly 
walking about for more than a month previous to his 
arrest, so conscious was he of his innocence and that he 
had nothing to apprehend; particularly as his elder 
brother, Garrett Byrne, who was one of the principal 
leaders and distinguished generals of our Irish army, had 
surrendered some time before to Sir John Moore, on 
condition of being allowed to quit the country and ex- 
patriate himself for ever. What a pity that William 
Byrne had not to do with a man like Sir John Moore, 
who valued his own word of honour and his reputation, 
pledged to Garrett Byrne, more than any flattery or re- 
ward he could obtain from the Castle Inquisitors who 
presided over the destinies of the unfortunate country at 
that memorable epoch in the city of Dublin. 

I trust it may not be thought presumption in me to 
say so much on this sad subject, but though very young 
at the time, I knew poor Byrne too well not to appreciate 
his high mind, and the horror with which he spoke of 
crimes committed previous to and during the insurrec- 
tion. I dined beside him two days before his arrest, at 
the house of my half-brother, Edward Kennedy. I came 
from my hiding place to meet him there, and could not 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 1 1/ 

help observing the serenity of his manner and the great 
security he felt that no danger could await him, in con- 
sequence of the protection he had obtained. 

Alas ! he was soon cruelly undeceived and taught that 
no reliance could be placed on the protection granted by 
the authorisation of the cold-hearted Lord Cornwallis, or 
of any of the English tyrants then ruling over unhappy 
Ireland. 

Byrne's sudden trial and execution at Wicklow caused 
the most sorrowful sensation throughout the country and 
saddened the hearts of all those to whom he was person- 
ally known. He was a perfect gentleman, with the soun- 
dest understanding. He evinced the greatest courage. 
He was amiable and simple in his manners ; handsome, 
powerfully strong and well-proportioned; six feet six 
inches in height, about twenty-four years of age. Such 
the ever to be lamented Billy Byrne. 

I must not omit to mention the name of a generous 
high-minded lady, who came to our camp at Mount 
Pleasant, for the purpose of aiding and assisting Billy 
Byrne to get several prisoners liberated. This lady was 
Mrs. Meagher, of Coolalugh, whose son-in-law, Dan 
Kervin, was one of the leaders of the county of Wicklow 
men, and who distinguished himself so much at the battle 
of Arklow ; he enjoyed great influence in our army. 
Mrs. Meagher being a Miss Byrne before her marriage, 
and related to the Ballymanus family, and possessing 
very graceful manners, succeeded beyond her expecta- 
tions in persuading even those who had had their dearest 
relations murdered by the Orangemen, that retaliation 
could not bring them to life, and that it would be better 
to show themselves generous and merciful on this occa- 
sion. 

I must here mention how I became connected with 
Mrs. Meagher, and her son-in-law, Dan Kervin. 
The latter married, about 1795, my brother-in-law's 



1 1 8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

sister, Miss Mary Doyle, of Ballytemple. I was at their 
wedding, which terminated in a melancholy way. After 
spending a delightful evening, just about eleven at night, 
when the young married couple were retiring from the 
supper table, the bride in crossing the hall to go to her 
bedroom fell dead on the floor. She was leaning on my 
sister's arm at the time. It is needless to say what 
all felt that sad night, when they were suddenly plunged 
from the height of gaiety and mirth into such sorrow. 
The year after this mournful event, Dan Kervin mar- 
ried one of Mrs. Meagher's daughters, by whom he had 
two children. He was killed by a cannon-ball at the 
battle of Vinegar Hill. Mrs. Meagher's eldest son, Peter, 
who resided in Dublin, and my half-brother, Edward 
Kennedy, married two sisters, the Miss Leonard's, of 
Meath Street 

I mention the above circumstances to show the oppor- 
tunity I had of knowing and ascertaining all that could 
be hoped or expected of a general rising in the counties 
of Dublin, Wicklow, and Kildare. 

At our camp at Mount Pleasant, three men from the 
city of Dublin, who had escaped with difficulty through 
the Wicklow mountains, joined us. They were known to 
Dan Kervin, and they brought us the sad tidings that 
the Dublin people were completely disarmed, their chiefs 
in prison, or fled from the country, and the brave Kildare 
men, who first took the field, dispersed in every direc- 
tion ; and from the newspapers of the month of May, 
which they gave to Garrett Byrne and the other chiefs, we 
learned that General Buonaparte had been named 
Commander-in- Chief of the French army, destined to in- 
vade both England and Ireland. This news, no doubt, 
was gladly received at our camp. But what a cruel de- 
lusion for the poor Irish to be counting on any kind of 
aid or assistance from France, at the moment the con- 
queror of Italy and his forty thousand men were on their 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 1 19 

way to Egypt ! Besides this intelligence only tended at 
such a moment to create a difference of opinion between 
the leaders ; as some of them thought it would be better 
and wiser policy to wait for the landing of the 
French in Ireland, and not to risk a general 
battle before a junction to co-operate with them 
could be effected ; whilst, on the other hand, the 
majority of the chiefs thought that to stand on 
the defensive would be attended with the worst conse- 
quences, not having any strong places to fall back on, 
where our army could defend itself. They resolved, 
therefore, to meet the enemy in the open field, but, at the 
same time, to choose good military positions, where our 
pikemen could be speedily brought into action ; and, in 
consequence of this resolution, our army marched, on the 
igth of June, to Kilcavin Hill, and there drew up in line 
of battle, and, I must say, the most formidable one I had 
yet seen since the commencement of the war. Every one 
was at his post, and in hopes that the generals, Dundas 
and Loftus, with their divisions, would not hesitate to 
come and attack us ; but, as usual, those prudent gene- 
rals kept at a certain distance, no doubt to induce us to 
quit our strong position of Kilcavin Hill. Thus, we had 
to move forward, to bring the enemy to action, on the 
direction of Carnew, in which town, though nearly all 
burned, the English generals, now joined by General 
Lake and his staff, intended to establish their head- 
quarters. Here great skirmishing between our gun-men 
and the enemy's rifle-men commenced, and our little 
artillery, that followed in the rear, was brought to the 
front, and opened a smart cannonade on the enemy. 
This, with our formidable line of pikemen moving for- 
ward like a wall, made the King's troops retrograde. 
They were quickly pursued, and the fighting continued 
till night put a stop to it. Our pikemen never before 
showed a more determined desire to make good use of 



120 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

their arms than on this occasion, and had the enemy 
accepted the battle from us in our strong position that 
day on the hill, we should have gained it beyond a doubt. 
How lamentable to be engaged the whole day skirmish- 
ing, without being able to bring the enemy to a general 
action, where the great mass of our pikemen would have 
had an opportunity of participating in it, and have shown 
what could be accomplished by brave men armed with 
this powerful weapon, the pike, then the terror of the 
English troops, as well as of the Orangemen. 

We had some fine fellows killed and a great number 
wounded during this day's fighting. My brother Hugh 
received a ball through his thigh, and my dear sister, as 
soon as she heard of it, came and had his wound dressed, 
and remained with him after she had placed him on a 
car, and got a confidential man to drive it in case of being 
obliged to march. It was very fortunate she had all this 
done in my absence, otherwise our poor brother might 
have been abandoned ; for I could not have left my post, 
being then busily engaged with the enemy on the road to 
Carnew, leading from our camp, which post, with the 
brave men who remained with me, we maintained till 
it became dark and the enemy had fallen back on 
Carnew. 

When we rejoined our camp on the hill, we found it 
was already nearly evacuated, a night-march being or- 
dered, after a council of the principal chiefs had been 
held, in consequence of despatches from the General-in- 
Chief of the Irish forces before Ross, in which he stated 
he could not keep his position there, and that he would 
be forced to fall back with his corps of army to cover the 
town of Wexford. He recommended also to our general 
the necessity of concentrating forthwith all their forces 
at Vinegar Hill, in order to co-operate with his army. On 
this latter subject a warm debate took place in the coun- 
cil between the chiefs. Both Anthony Perry, and all the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 121 

county of Wicklow leaders, were for making a rapid 
march to Rathdrum, thereby to intercept the communi- 
cation of the King's forces with Dublin through that 
part of the county of Wicklow ; and if this plan was not 
adopted, to manoeuvre and fight the enemy the best way 
we could in the country which we now occupied and 
where we were still victorious ; as neither the English 
troops nor the yeomen we had before us ventured to 
come into close contact with our pikemen. 

Either of those plans executed would have proved a 
better diversion in favour of Wexford than our silly 
march to Vinegar Hill. But Edward Fitzgerald, who 
deservedly enjoyed great influence amongst the county 
of Wexford men, and indeed with Garrett Byrne and 
many of the Wicklow chiefs also, thought it more advis- 
able to concentrate the Irish forces at Vinegar Hill, and 
there fight a general battle. Unfortunately this opinion 
prevailed, and, in consequence, our little army began its 
movement in the night of the igth of June, 1798, without 
g any obstruction from the enemy, who only 
learned in the morning that we had left Kilcavin Hill. 
Finding that we were not followed by the King's troops, 
we halted to repose for the night, in the neighbourhood 
of Camolin, Ferns, etc., where we procured some re- 
freshments for our men, who were by this time exceed- 
ingly exhausted with hunger and fatigue. 

Next morning, the 2Oth of June, we resumed our march 
towards Vinegar Hill, very slowly, to give time to the 
stragglers and to those who had to go some distance to 
seek something to eat, to regain their respective corps. 

Our column by this time became greatly encumbered 
by vast numbers of poor women escaping with their 
children and everything valuable they could carry off 
with them from the English army and yeomen, who were 
devastating the whole country we had left, going from 
house to house, shooting every sick or wounded man they 



122 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

met, ravishing the women, etc. It would be difficult to 
describe the cruel situation of the unfortunate females 
who had to remain in their respective homes, to nurse 
and take care of their sick and wounded parents, now 
abandoned and left to be butchered by the merciless 
English soldiery. The recollection of all this makes me 
shudder and blush with shame for my country witness- 
ing the perpetration of those monstrous crimes, and not 
having had the courage to rise up en masse, and rather be 
sacrificed to the last man, than to lie prostrate at their 
tyrants' feet, whilst they were committing all these out- 
rages. It is, indeed, lamentable to think of all this. We 
might at any time on the 2Oth of June, have turned about 
with ten thousand resolute pikemen, and have attacked 
the English troops that were following us, commanded 
by Generals Dundas and Loftus, with a certainty of de- 
feating them and of being avenged for the cruelties they 
had committed ; but no, it was doomed we should muster 
on Vinegar Hill, and abandon that great extent of coun- 
try where we had been so successful, and thereby play 
the game our enemies so long desired to see us play. 

Now, General Needham could with safety move from 
Arklow, with all the troops under his command and follow 
on our left flank, whilst General Duff had nothing now 
to impede his march on our right flank, with the forces 
he had under his orders at Newtownbarry, particularly 
as he was supported by General Johnston, who was 
marching from Ross, having nothing more to fear on that 
side, with all the King's troops there, to co-operate in the 
simultaneous attack which General Loftus intended 
making on the town of Enniscorthy and Vinegar Hill. 

How could our generals for an instant think that 
Vinegar Hill was a military position susceptible of de- 
fence for any time without provisions, military stores, or 
great guns? It stands high, no doubt, over the river 
Slaney and the town of Enniscorthy, which it commands ; 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 123 

but on the other side, both artillery and cavalry, as well 
as infantry, can march to the top of the hill with the 
greatest ease. But the die of war was cast. Our little 
Irish army must be drawn up and assembled on this hill 
en masse, and there wait the arrival of the English 
army, now moving after us from all directions, with vast 
parks of artillery, well supplied with everything neces- 
sary for battle, whilst we had with us but two six-poun- 
ders, and a small mortar or howitzer, with scarcely a 
round of ammunition for these cannons. The town of 
Enniscorthy had placed on the hill a few small one- 
pounders, which were of very little use, not having any 
cartridges prepared to fit them. 

On leaving our bivouac the morning of the 2Oth of 
June, we formed a tolerably well organized rear-guard to 
cover our column, which was moving very slowly, on 
account of being greatly encumbered with numberless 
carts and cars, conveying the families escaping from the 
terrible devastation carried on throughout the country 
we had abandoned, by the English and the yeomanry. 

During this day's march I several times halted that 
part of the rear-guard under my command, the moment 
we perceived the enemy's cavalry approaching, in order 
to afford time to our embarrassed column to advance and 
get out of the narrow passages ; but this cavalry halted 
also, when they saw us drawn up en masse to receive 
them, and if any of our cars were thrown across the road 
to impede their march, the sight of those cars was quite 
sufficient to make them retrograde, such was their dread 
of getting into an ambuscade. So we had scarcely any 
skirmishing or fighting before we arrived at the foot of 
Vinegar Hill, late in the evening. It was dark ni^ht, but 
the thousands of little fires to be seen in the fields and 
plain all round the hill, where our people were preparing 
to get something to eat and to pass the night, afforded 
plenty of light, and presented at the same time the 



124 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

-appearance of a vast camp, or rather the bivouac of a 
regular French army. 

As soon as I had heard the dispositions that had been 
ordered for the next day, I, with all those brave men who 
had made part of the rear-guard with me during the 
march, betook ourselves to rest for the night, not being 
required to do any duty, in consequence of arriving so 
late. I need not add that we all slept most soundly, till 
wakened by some random gun-shots about two o'clock in 
the morning (the memorable 2 1st of June, 1798) when 
we were informed that General Johnston, who had 
marched from Ross with the King's troops to attack 
Enniscorthy, had had his advanced guard beat back on 
the 2Oth by some of our forces, commanded by Mr. 
William Barker, of Enniscorthy, and the Reverend Moses 
Kearns, and that the skirmishing continued till night put 
an end to it, quite to the advantage and satisfaction of 
those brave chiefs. 

We also heard that the Irish army before Ross, com- 
manded by the Reverend Philip Roche, General-in- 
Chief, retreated from Lacken Hill on the ipth of June, 
to the Three Rock Mountain, and the next day, the 2Oth 
of June, General Roche marched his army from thence to 
Longraig or Foulksmill, and there fought a desperate 
battle against General Moore, who commanded the 
King's troops, but the latter being on the point of being 
joined by a large reinforcement just landed from Eng- 
land, General Roche, after fighting for four hours, re- 
solved to retire and fall back once more on Wexford, 
which retreat was effected with great order. Sir John 
Moore, no doubt, thought it prudent not to risk another 
battle before his army was reinforced, and he was even 
on the point of retreating when he learned that two 
regiments were rapidly advancing to his support, and 
then contented himself to keep his ground and wait for 
this reinforcement. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 125- 

All these accounts showed plainly that we had no- 
assistance to expect at Vinegar Hill from this part of our 
Irish forces, now fallen back to cover the town of Wex- 
ford ; and to add to this misfortune, one of our generals, 
Edward Roache, who had been the principal instigator of 
the false manoeuvre of marching our army from the 
strong military position we occupied in the county of 
Wicklow, to be concentrated at Enniscorthy and Vinegar 
Hill, and who had made such solemn promises to 
repair to his own country, and there oblige the thou- 
sands of men who had been absent visiting their families 
to rejoin forthwith their respective corps, lost too much 
time by going to Wexford ; where he consulted with 
those men who thought that, through the intercession 
and immediate interference of their " noble " prisoner, 
Lord Kingsborough, with General Lake, General-in- 
Chief of the English forces, everything would be ob- 
tained for the salvation of themselves and the town of 
Wexford. They were soon cruelly undeceived, and we 
were doomed to fight the battle of Vinegar Hill in the 
absence of General Edward Roche and his brave division 
of five thousand strong, and the best marksmen of the 
Irish army. 

In spite of this defalcation, we mustered nearly twenty 
thousand on the 2ist, but not more than from three to 
four thousand had fire-arms, with a very scanty pro- 
vision of powder and ball ; whilst General Lake had 
twenty thousand regular English troops to oppose to us, 
with a vast park of artillery and military stores of all 
kinds, besides numerous corps of yeomanry cavalry well 
equipped and armed, attached to each division of his 
army. 



126 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

BATTLE OF VINEGAR HILL AND ENNISCORTHY 
RETREAT OF THE IRISH ARMY TO WEXFORD, 2 1ST 
OF JUNE, 1798. 

At break of day the different corps began to quit their 
bivouacs, each to repair to the position assigned to them 
on the hill and on all the roads leading into the town of 
Enniscorthy. Our wounded men, that we had trans- 
ported on cars with us from the county of Wicklow, in 
order to have them placed in the hospital, we left at 
Drumgold, one of the suburbs of the town under Vinegar 
Hill ; we had also to leave there a vast number of women 
and young girls, who had followed their husbands and 
brothers, to escape from the English monsters who were 
devastating their homes. All this caused a sad embar- 
rassment, no doubt, to our column, but by no means 
damped the courage of our men ; on the contrary, if any- 
thing was required to rouse them to deeds of valour, it 
was this occasion to protect these innocent females, their 
dearest ties to life. What a heart-breaking scene to 
witness the separation which here took place at the dawn 
of day, husbands quitting their wives, brothers their 
sisters, never more to meet ! 

Skirmishing at all our advanced posts commenced with 
the day ; however the battle did not become general on 
the whole line before seven o'clock, but at day-break 
several cannon-shots were heard in different directions 
from the enemy's camps. These were signal guns, which 
proved to us that we were now nearly surrounded on all 
sides, except the Wexford one which should have been 
occupied by General Needham, it was said, had he fol- 
lowed his instructions. This is mere twaddle ; he re- 
mained in the rear, in reserve, by the orders of his 
general-in-chief, Lake, to keep the road open to Gorey. 
This prudent English general, who refused to fight us at 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 1 27 

Kilcavin Hill, did not like to risk a charge of our pike- 
men, without having a division in reserve to fall back on, 
in case of defeat. His powerful artillery commenced a 
tremendous fire, which was for some time directed against 
the summit of the hill, which was considered our strong 
position, where it was thought our men were massed, 
ready to be brought into action. Our small artillery, in 
answering the enemy's great guns, soon expended the 
last round of ammunition, and to very little effect. We 
wanted Esmond Kyan here to command it, as he did at 
the battle of Arklow, but unfortunately this brave officer 
had to remain at Wexford to get his wound cured. To 
remedy instantly the bad effect which the ceasing of our 
artillery might produce, a large column of chosen pike- 
men was formed, composed of the county of Wicklow 
men, Monaseed, Ballyellis, Gorey corps, etc., to attack 
the enemy's left flank, and, if possible, to turn it and to 
bring our pikemen into the action ; which now appeared 
the only resource we could count on, for our gun-men 
had also nearly expended their scanty supply of ammu- 
nition. As to defending the intrenchments that were 
raised on the hill, it would have been quite ridiculous to 
have attempted it, they not being more than a couple of 
feet high in many parts. 

I had not seen Vinegar Hill since the morning after 
the battle of Newtownbarry, the 2nd of June, and I was 
surprised to find that scarcely anything had been done 
to make it formidable against the enemy ; the vast 
fences and ditches which surrounded it on three sides, 
and which should have been levelled to the ground, for 
at least a cannon shot, or half a mile's distance, were all 
left untouched. The English forces, availing themselves 
of these defences, advanced from field to field, bringing 
with them their cannon, which they placed to great ad- 
vantage behind and under the cover of the hedges and 
fences, whilst our men were exposed to a terrible fire 



128 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

from their artillery and small arms, without being able 
to drive them back from their strongholds in those fields. 

Several columns of our pikemen, however, were in- 
stantly brought to attack the enemy's formidable posi- 
tion behind the fences in the fields, and it was in leading 
on one of those desperate charges, that the splendid Dan 
Kervin was killed, at the head of the brave county of 
Wicklow men. His death at this moment was a severe 
loss, though he was soon replaced by a leader equally 
brave ; yet his men could not be easily roused from the 
gloom cast over them by this misfortune ; besides many 
fine fellows, their comrades, fell at the same moment be- 
side Kervin. Indeed, it is a miracle how the other chiefs 
escaped; they all displayed the greatest coolness and 
courage, charging at the head of their men under the 
tremendous fire of the enemy's batteries, which were 
sending cannon-ball, grape-shot, musket-ball, as thickly 
as a shower of hail stones. 

A. Perry, E. Fitzgerald, Garrett Byrne, Father John 
Murphy, Jemmy Doyle, Ned Fennell, Nick Murphy and 
many others whose names I don't recollect at this 
moment, distinguished themselves at this memorable 
battle. I must also mention the names of some brave 
men who were killed, and with whom I was well ac- 
quainted. Two brave young men, brothers, Pat and Ned 
Headen, were killed beside one another. They left a 
widowed mother. Their eldest brother, James, was 
transported. John Shehan, of Monaseed, a young man 
who showed great courage, was killed. James Mallow, 
of Ballylusk, who left a wife and three children, fought 
bravely and was killed at the head of our column. 
Thomas Neill, of Armagh, who kept a general ware- 
house and cloth shop, an industrious worthy man, 
fell also ; his unhappy widow, before she could be 
brought to contract a second marriage, came to Dublin 
twelve month after this epoch, to the place where I was 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 129 

hiding, to ascertain from me her husband's death. When 
I satisfied her on the subject, she returned home and 
married Bryan Reilly, a brave young man, who carried 
on the business, as her former husband had done. 

I had been in many combats and battles, but I never 
before witnessed such a display of bravery and intre- 
pidity as was shown all along our line, for nearly two 
hours, until our ammunition was expended. It was then 
recommended by some of our chiefs to assemble all our 
forces and to attack the enemy's left flank, overturn it 
and march back to the county of Wicklow. 

At the commencement of the battle, this plan might 
have been easily executed ; but would it not have been 
cruel and shameful thus to abandon the town and the 
brave fellows who were defending it so heroically ? And 
also, to abandon our wounded men and the unfortunate 
families who had escaped and followed our camp ? 

The town of Enniscorthy and its outlets were splen- 
didly defended by Mr. William Barker and Father 
Kearns, who, with the corps they commanded, were at 
the advanced posts beyond the Duffrey gate at day-light, 
where they had been skirmishing the evening before 
with the English forces, under the command of General 
Johnston. 

Mr. Barker had one four-pounder mounted on a car, 
which was of little use, except from the moral effect it 
might have had on his men. His military acquirements 
and the knowledge of tactics, which he had learned in 
the service of France, were now of the greatest advan- 
tage, and turned to the best account for the defence of 
the place confided to his charge. 

Mr. Barker first began by placing a strong guard in 
reserve on the bridge, and then advanced with the main 
body to meet the enemy, having each flank covered with 
his gun-men. In this order of battle he commenced a 
most desperate attack on the enemy's line and kept his 



I3O MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

ground until it was perceived that our forces had re- 
treated from the hill; still he defended and disputed 
every position, and held his post on the bridge with a 
valour beyond description, until he lost his arm and 
was carried away from the field of battle. 

Mr. Barker was surrounded by those brave Ennis- 
corthy men, who were ready to follow him through thick 
and thin. His loss from their ranks was severely felt by 
them ; at this critical moment the undaunted Kearns re- 
placed Mr. Barker in the command, but he, too, soon re- 
ceived a wound which deprived this division of our army 
of two trustworthy chiefs. 

Now, the retreat from the town, as well as the hill, be- 
came inevitable ; all moved rapidly towards the Wexford 
road, which was not intercepted by the unrelenting gene- 
ral-in-chief, Lake, who contented himself this day with 
occupying the town, and having our sick and wounded 
burned in the house which served as an hospital. All 
the wounded found on the field of battle, or in the houses, 
were, by his orders, instantly put to death. Fortunately 
for Mr. Barker, some humane officers of the general's 
staff quartered themselves at his house, which they saved 
from being burned, and they prevented the cruel Orange- 
men from shooting him. One of those staff officers was a 
surgeon of the English troops. This gentleman operated 
the amputation of Mr. Barker's shattered arm, and care- 
fully dressed his wound for a day or two. But this kind 
attention soon ceased. By order of the general-in-chief, 
Mr. Barker was arrested, and sent forthwith and lodged 
in Wexford jail, there to be tried as a leader and a gene- 
ral of the insurgents, and, of course, to be found guilty, 
and as such to be executed without mercy. He was 
accompanied to his dismal prison by his worthy wife, 
with her child Arthur, there to wait and abide his trial 
before a court-martial, composed of prejudiced Orange- 
men. It would be difficult to give a description of the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 13! 

afflicting scenes they witnessed, between the executions 
taking place daily, and the malignant fever raging in the 
prison. Mr. Devereux, of Taghmon, died of this sick- 
ness in the next cell to Mr. Barker's. He was the father 
of General John Devereux, since so distinguished in 
fighting for the independence of South America under 
Bolivar. 

Mrs. Barker lost no time in informing her brother-in- 
law, Mr. Arthur Barker, of Waterford, of their great mis- 
fortune and sad situation. This gentleman, who was well 
known to the first people in Wexford, and who was not 
in any way implicated in the insurrection, came instantly 
to his brother's assistance. After the greatest exertions 
he succeeded in having Mr. Barker provisionally released 
on account of his bad state of health. Mr. Arthur 
Barker, well knowing that new charges would soon be 
brought forward against his brother William, hastened 
to get him, his wife and child conveyed away into some 
safe hiding place, until a neutral ship could be engaged 
to take them aboard. In a short time he found a vessel 
ready to sail for Hamburg, on board of which he had 
his three dear relatives embarked, and took a last fare- 
well of them, never to meet again. After a long and 
stormy passage, and having narrowly escaped being dis- 
covered by the English cruisers, Mr. William Barker, with 
his wife and child, landed at the port of Hamburg. 
His first care was to inform the French minister 
of Foreign Affairs of his arrivel there, and to pray 
him to have passports forwarded for him and his family 
to repair immediately to Paris, etc., that he would 
wait at Altona for the answer. By return of post Mr. 
Barker received what he asked, and set out instantly with 
his family for the French capital, and on arriving there 
he had an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
who told him to prepare in all haste a memoir or state- 
ment of all he knew of the situation of Ireland in general, 



132 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

but particularly to mention what he thought could be 
done for the brave county of Wexford people, and to be 
careful to mention the best landing places there, and 
where the deepest water was to be had on the coast, etc. 
It is needless to say with what readiness Mr. Barker com- 
plied with the Minister's injunction. With his perfect 
knowledge of the French language, the memoir was soon 
prepared and presented to the Minister, who assured him 
that its contents would be taken into the most serious 
consideration by the Government and Directory. 

After this Mr. Barker went to reside at St.-Germaine- 
en-Laye, and having furnished to the French Govern- 
ment all the information he could recollect on the state 
of Ireland, he left that town and went to live at Morlaix 
with his family, to be near Brest, and to be ready to 
accompany the first expedition that should sail from that 
port for his unfortunate country. This brave and 
unassuming officer, who had seen real services in 
France, and who had made in point of fortune and 
otherwise, such great sacrifices for Ireland, might have 
availed himself (as many of his countrymen would 
have done), of those sacrifices and services to obtain a 
high rank from the French Government. But he asked 
no other favour than to be comprised in making part of 
any expedition destined for his country, the independence 
of which occupied all his thoughts. To see this great 
end achieved, there was no sacrifice under heaven that 
Mr. William Barker was not ready to make. I met him 
in 1803 in the Irish legion at Morlaix, for the first time 
from the battle of Vinegar Hill, when I learned from 
him all the details of his sufferings, and fortunate escape 
from Wexford jail. 

Mr. Barker's timely arrival in Paris proved one thing, 
at least, to the French Government, that it was our total 
want of ammunition, even for the arms we possessed, 
that caused our failure. What a shame it was to that 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 133 

Government not to have attempted to smuggle arms and 
powder and ball to us, whilst we were masters of the sea- 
coast round, from Ross to Arklow, for nearly a month ; 
had General Humbert landed, with his eleven hundred 
men, in June instead of August, 1798, he would have 
been joined by a levy en masse from all parts of Ireland. 
For such were the persecutions and tortures whicH the 
people had to endure, that they were ready to avail them- 
selves of any rallying point that offered to be avenged of 
their cruel tyrants. 

Humbert landed too late, when our armies were dis- 
persed. Still had he avoided the vanity of a general 
action with the English army, and have marched with 
his eight hundred remaining men into the mountains, he 
could have gained time, and probably his Government 
would have been induced to send him a reinforcement. I 
recollect well when he surrendered to Lord Cornwallis, 
that we were still in sufficient force in the mountains of 
Wicklow to have rallied the brave men of that county, 
as well as those of Carlow and Wexford, had General 
Humbert had an army capable of keeping the field for 
any time. The Irish soldiers in the English regiments 
would have joined him in thousands, and the Irish militia 
regiments, with the exception of the Orangemen, only 
waited for a good opportunity to declare for the inde- 
pendence of their country. 

Our retreat from Vinegar Hill was not so disastrous as 
might have been expected, from the powerful force of re- 
gular troops well supplied with artillery, which General 
Lake had at his disposition to send after us. No doubt, 
the cruel slaughter of all those unarmed and helpless 
people who were overtaken in the environs of Ennis- 
corthy, and for a mile from the hill, was beyond all 
description. Mercy at this moment was out of the ques- 
tion ; there was no instance of a single person being 



134 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

made prisoner on this occasion, all were barbarously 
butchered. But when we once got our rearguard reor- 
ganized on the Wexford high-road, we were able to save 
a vast number of our stragglers, for then the cowardly 
cavalry, as usual, feared to approach and attack us. 

We afterwards effected our retreat tolerably well to 
the town of Wexford. And here our two armies that had 
separated on the 3ist of May at the Windmill Hill, near 
the town, then flushed with victory, one to go northwards 
to attack Gorey and Arklow, the other to go to take 
New Ross, met again, but unfortunately under very 
different circumstances, they being now completely dis- 
mayed and disheartened after our recent defeats ; and it 
is grievous to think that our generals did not seem to 
have any preconcerted plan of action in the event of such 
disasters as we were now experiencing. This was the 
critical moment, when leaders should have shown that 
energy of character which would inspire their followers 
\ould enthusiasm and confidence. They should have 
rallied and harangued their men, sworn anew never to 
separate from them until the great end for which they 
took up arms was accomplished ; resolved on changing 
the system of carrying on the war, by avoiding as much 
as possible general actions, or battles with the enemy, 
and attacking only the detached forces when success 
was certain ; made regulations that it should be con- 
sidered a crime and punishable for any man to appear 
in our columns who had not fire-arms, a pike, or some 
weapon equivalent; but of all things they should have 
devised some better method of bringing our pikemen to 
charge the enemy en masse, and with that impetuosity 
which no guns or bayonets could withstand for a 
moment. 

Long before our corps, retreating from Vinegar Hill, 
had time to reach Wexford, the town was occupied 
by the division under the command of the General-in- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 135 

Chief, the Reverend Philip Roche, which had been en- 
camped the night before on the Three Rock Mountain. 
It is needless for me to add that, in consequence of this 
occupation, we had nothing to expect in the way of re- 
freshments on our arrival from Enniscorthy. The greatest 
disorder and tumult seemed to reign all through the 
town. 

Edward Hay and some of the principal inhabitants of 
Wexford had the folly to expect that because they saved 
Lord Kingsborough from being put to death, and had 
treated him kindly during his imprisonment, that they 
could, through the intercession of this notorious chief of 
the inventors of pitch-caps and other instruments of tor- 
ture, negotiate a treaty of peace with the general-in- 
chief of the English forces, Lake, and obtain from the 
latter honourable terms for the Irish army. In conse- 
quence of this sad delusion, three deputations were named 
to be the bearers of Lord Kingsborough's recommenda- 
tion on the subject. They were composed as follows: 
Edward Hay and Captain MacManus, of the Antrim 
militia, whom we made prisoner at the battle of Tubber- 
neering. This officer was taken out of jail to accompany 
Mr. Edward Hay. On the road to Oulard, where they 
expected to meet General Needham, Mr. Robert Carty, 
of Birchgrove, and Lieutenant Harman, of the North 
Cork militia, a prisoner also, went to meet General Sir 
John Moore. Mr. Thomas Cloney and Captain O'Hea 
of the North Cork militia (the latter let out of prison to 
accompany Mr. Cloney), were specially charged with 
carrying Lord Kingsborough's despatches and letters to 
General Lake at his headquarters of Enniscorthy. 
These gentlemen were thus three leaders of the people 
and three prisoners of ours set at liberty to accompany 
them. 

Lord Kingsborough, no doubt desirous to escape from 
prison, wished to be one of the deputies himself to go to 



136 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

negotiate for the inhabitants of Wexford, with the gene- 
ral-in-chief of the English army ; but it was thought un- 
safe for his lordship to quit at such a critical moment the 
town which was supposed to have been surrendered to 
him early that morning, many hours before the result 
of the battle of Vinegar Hill could be known in Wex- 
ford. Besides, the inhabitants wished to keep him as an 
hostage until his promises to them were fulfilled. Lord 
Kingsborough now saw plainly himself that there was 
no safety for him but in the custody of those humane 
individuals who had already so often saved his life at 
the great risk of their own. He wisely kept out of the 
sight of the enraged people who occupied the town, 
whilst waiting an answer to his despatches, sent by the 
Wexford embassy to the English headquarters at Ennis- 
corthy. But he cruelly deluded those credulous Wexford 
people by telling them to count on the clemency of the 
unfeeling General Lake, in the course of whose military 
career in Ireland, not a single act of humanity did the 
unfortunate people ever experience from him where he 
was in command 

The following is the very laconic answer from General 
Lake to Lord Kingsborough's entreaties in favour of the 
Wexford people. 

Lieutenant-General Lake cannot attend to any terms 
made by rebels in arms against their Sovereign ; whilst 
they continue so, he must use the force entrusted to him 
with the utmost energy for their destruction. To the de- 
luded multitude he promises pardon, on their delivering 
into his hands their leaders, surrendering their arms, and 
returning with sincerity to their allegiance. 

(Signed), 

GENERAL LAKE. 
Enniscorthy, June 22nd, 1798. 

Fortunately for Lord Kingsborough the town was 
evacuated by our forces before this answer arrived; 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 137 

otherwise he would probably have been torn to pieces 
by the deluded people, who had counted on his great 
influence for protection. How unfortunate for several of 
our leaders that they did not know this answer sooner ; 
they would have seen by it that they had nothing to ex- 
pect from the lenity of Lake, and that they should not 
have left the brave people who were ready to follow 
them through all dangers. I am sorry to be obliged to 
make any allusion to those unhappy men, who showed 
so much resignation and courage, mounting the scaffold 
to be launched into eternity ; but how much better it 
would have been for them to have remained with those 
brave fellows who kept the field and never despaired of 
success! The worst that could happen would be to 
die fighting gloriously against the enemies of Ireland. 

A melancholy inference may be drawn from the kind 
treatment Lord Kingsborough experienced from the 
citizens of We'xford, during his imprisonment in that 
town. Had he been put to death, or cruelly tortured, 
according to his own fashion, by them, many of those 
leaders who left our ranks, counting on his intercession, 
would have remained at the head of their respective 
corps, and they would thereby have shown to their Eng- 
lish tyrants, that a people fighting for liberty and the 
independence of their country, fully determined to sacri- 
fice everything for it, and to persevere to the last ex- 
tremity, must finally succeed. The English Govern- 
ment felt this and knew well that if the war was pro- 
longed, an expedition from France, with a reinforcement 
to the Irish army, might hourly be expected, when conse- 
quently a general rising would take place throughout 
Ireland. Lord Cornwallis was therefore despatched in 
haste from England to offer different and better terms 
to the Irish army than those proposed by General Lake 
at Enniscorthy. To the intercession of the too notorious 
flogging, strangling, hanging, Lord Kingsborough, not a 



138 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

single good measure or pardon could ever be attributed, 
notwithstanding all he owed to those humane inhabi- 
tants of Wexford, who so often saved his life at the risk 
of being put to death themselves. 

It was much to be regretted that a distinguished 
leader, Thomas Cloney, had been chosen as one of the 
deputies to go on the very hopeless embassy to General 
Lake's headquarters at Enniscorthy, to seek for terms 
for the citizens of Wexford. Possessing, as Mr. Cloney 
did, the confidence and regard of a brave and generous 
people, who looked up to him as their trustworthy chief, 
he should not for a moment have separated himself from 
them ; besides, his presence at this momentous crisis 
was too necessary with what we called the Ross division 
of the Irish army, when almost all the other leaders of 
that division or corps of army, Bagenal Harvey, John 
Hay, John Colclough, etc., were absent, from what motive 
was best known to themselves. The brave and un- 
daunted John Kelly of Killan, whose courage and in- 
trepidity had been so conspicuous at the battle of Ross, 
lay dangerously ill of the wound he received there. 
Under these circumstances, clergymen, or men like 
Edward Hay, whose presence at the Irish camp could 
have been dispensed with, should have been chosen to 
go on this silly mission to the English general's head- 
quarters, whilst brave leaders, like Cloney, remaining at 
the head of the fine fellows they had the honour of com- 
manding, would have proved to the enemy that the Irish 
army was still formidable. 

By adopting a different plan of campaigning, avoiding 
general battles, and of all things not seeking to defend 
weak positions like Vinegar Hill, we should be able 
always to outmarch the English infantry and defeat 
them in detail. As to the cavalry, in a country like Ire- 
land, so fenced everywhere with hedge-rows and ditches, 
there was nothing to be feared Besides, our men began 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 139 

to hold the English cavalry in the greatest contempt, 
which was half the battle. By following this system, we 
might have continued the war with success and with a 
certainty that the English army would be every day 
getting weaker from sickness, desertion and other cause, 
when it was found that we could keep the field in spite 
of its manoeuvring and destroy all the small detachments 
sent to seek provisions through the country. But to 
accomplish this plan of campaigning, the chiefs should be 
the first to show the good example to the brave men they 
were leading to victory, to be resolved never under any 
circumstances to separate themselves from them until a 
final and satisfactory result could be obtained for all. 

I am persuaded that the brave Cloney always felt 
the deepest anguish that he had accepted this fruitless 
mission, the execution of which might have cost him 
his life. He never, however, after this fatal embassy 
of the 22nd of June, joined our ranks, nor took any part 
in the war we were still carrying on against our cruel 
enemies. His absence from that division of the Irish 
army which fought so bravely against Sir John Moore, 
at Longraig on the 2Oth of June, and where he, Cloney, 
displayed the greatest valour, was indeed severely felt 
by all those fine fellows who were accustomed to see at 
their head, this splendid young man then about twenty- 
five years of age, and six feet four in height. 

Although Mr. Cloney did not any more make part of 
our army, he could not escape the wrath of the Wexford 
ascendancy faction: he was soon arrested, imprisoned, 
tried by a court martial, and condemned to exile. He 
returned to Ireland in 1803 and was again arrested and 
kept in Kilmainham Jail for three years. My half- 
brother Edward Kennedy, was one of his fellow state 
prisoners during that period ; they were only liberated 
by the Fox administration in 1806. Thus the brave 
Cloney's long imprisonment, and the many persecutions 



140 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

he had to bear up against for the love of Ireland well 
entitle him to hold a rank amongst the immortal Irish 
martyrs who suffered all kinds of torture and persecu- 
tion for the freedom and independence of their beloved 
country. 

I felt unhappy, on the retreat from Vinegar Hill to 
Wexford, not to see many of my friends and comrades 
of the Monaseed corps, Nick Murphy, Ned Fennell, 
Johnny Doyle, etc. ; however, on entering the town, I 
heard that they were already arrived, but the two latter 
I never saw more. Fennell was killed at the attack on 
Hacketstown a few days afterwards, and the brave 
young Johnny Doyle was killed at the head of a recon- 
noitring party the morning of the battle and complete 
defeat of the Ancient Britons, at Ballyellis, very near 
his father's house. The loss of those fine fellows was 
severely felt, particularly by the Monaseed corps, in 
which they were two of the most distinguished officers. 

I also heard that my poor brother Hugh arrived safe 
with the other wounded men from Vinegar Hill, and 
that they were sent out of town on the road to the 
mountain of Forth, or the Three Rock Mountain, 
where it was said that a camp would be formed for the 
night. Of course I was very anxious to follow them 
and to repair to this camp, but first I wished to see some 
of our generals whom I understood were still in town, 
to ascertain from them what plan had been decided on 
for our future operations. I was in this perplexed 
situation surrounded by numbers of those brave men 
from my own neighbourhood, all of whom looked up to 
me at this critical moment for information. We marched 
through different streets without being able to learn 
where those generals could be found ; such was the 
great confusion which prevailed, we repeatedly asked 
for Edward Fitzgerald, Garrett Byrne, Perry, Esmond 
Kyan, Edward Roche, etc., but none could point out to 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 14! 

us the house, or houses, where they were. At length 
we came in front of a house where we perceived the 
Catholic Bishop, Dr. Caulfield, at a window, haranguing 1 
a multitude of people and imploring them to quit the 
town forthwith and repair to the camp, that the generals 
were already gone there. We were also informed that 
the three clergymen, the Reverend Philip Roche, 
Reverend W. Kearns, and Father John Murphy were 
gone to the camp. I was delighted to learn that those 
brave men had escaped. I knew that Father Kearns 
was wounded defending Enniscorthy and it was reported 
that Father John Murphy was killed on the hill. I was 
doubly rejoiced that he was safe, for his energy of 
character and great coolness and decision in times of 
danger endeared him to all those who served with him 
since the commencement of our campaign. How un- 
feeling, and uncharitable, and unjust it is of those 
Roman Catholic historians who have taken upon them 
to write of the insurrection of 1798 in the county of 
Wexford, to condemn, and endeavour to tarnish the 
reputation of those priests who fought so bravely at 
the head of the people, in their efforts to expel the 
common enemy! At the same time, these timid histo- 
rians are obliged to allow, that those clergymen were 
left no alternative but to take the field, in self-defence, 
as death and torture awaited them the moment they 
fell into the enemy's hands. Were these same vastly 
loyal historians asked, if the undaunted and noble part 
which the Spanish priests took to drive the French out 
of their country, during Napoleon's most unjustifiable 
war, was not most glorious, and if the monks and clergy 
did not immortalize themselves at the siege, and the 
unprecedented defence of Saragossa, I am persuaded 
that they would answer in the affirmative, without 
making any allusion whatever to the Gospel, as they 
did in the case of the poor Irish priests. Yet, the 



142 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

mission of the French soldiers in Spain, was not to 
hunt down priests, nor to burn or desecrate the places 
of worship belonging to the inhabitants, but they were 
there as conquerors, and as such, though less cruel and 
less bigoted than the English in Ireland, the Spaniards 
were perfectly right to make every possible sacrifice 
until the French were expelled from their country. 
They finally succeeded, and the brave clergymen who 
were killed in this holy struggle are not spoken of by 
the historians of that epoch as having "deserved an 
untimely and fatal end." On the contrary, their memory 
is revered by all, and they are considered as true mar- 
tyrs who died for the independence of their beloved 
Spain. 

I was marching to join the camp at the head of those 
brave men I had just assembed in the town, when my 
nephew, James Kennedy, a young lad of twelve years of 
age, came running up to me in tears, and told me his 
step-father (Mat Kavanagh), had been killed by his 
side during the battle of Vinegar Hill. Felix Fornen 
of Monaseed, a tenant of ours, and a very worthy man, 
was with him, and had been very kind to him on the 
retreat. Fornen told me that he felt so ill himself with 
dysentery, that he was bent on returning home, to join 
his wife, even at the risk of being shot on the way, and 
that if I would allow my nephew to go with him, he 
would take him home to his mother who lived near 
where he did. I consented, though I feared they would 
find great difficulty in making twenty-five miles, on 
account of the state of the country. Fornen told me he 
intended to travel by night, and to hide in the day, and 
he was sure in this way, of escaping and of bringing 
my nephew safe also. Fortunately, they had not to 
travel by night, nor to hide in the day, for in a short time 
after I left them, they fell in with the division of our 
army that marched over the bridge on the direction to 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 143 

Gorey. So my dear mother heard in a few days after, 
from her grandson James Kennedy, that both my poor 
brother Hugh and I were still living. His wound was 
getting better after the ball was extracted. 

When I marched out of Wexford to join the camp at 
the mountain of Forth, I thought all our forces were to 
assemble there, and it was only when I met Father John 
Murphy at the council of war, which we held at night 
at Sleedagh, Bargy Barony, that I learned that a division 
of our army with some of the principal chiefs, Edward 
Fitzgerald, Garrett Byrne, Edward Roche, Esmond 
Kyan, etc., had taken quite an opposite direction, crossed 
the wooden bridge and marched on the road to Gorey. 

I have already mentioned how General Edward Roche 
arrived at Vinegar Hill with his division of five thousand 
men, too late to take any part in the battle we fought 
there, but both he and his troops retreated back to 
Wexford with us. As they were less in want of provisions 
than the other corps of our army, he was able to keep 
them together encamped at the Windmill Hill, near the 
town, until he and the other chiefs, who, as well as Father 
John Murphy, were not duped by the false promises of 
Lord Kingsborough, decided on assembling and rallying 
all the men who were dispersed in the town of Wexford, 
and crossing the wooden bridge forthwith. I should have 
preferred making part of that division, as it was to pass 
near our place on its way to the county of Wicklow, a 
country by the by, which we should not have left, as 
it affords so many suitable positions for the system of 
warfare we were now obliged to adopt against the 
enemy. 

I had scarcely any acquaintance amongst the inhabi- 
tants of Wexford ; I went, however, to the house of a 
Mrs. Rosseder, where I expected to meet my friend Nick 
Murphy, she being his cousin. But it was shut up, and 
no one appeared to be living in it. Mr. Murphy's 



144 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

mother was of the family of the Roches and nearly- 
related to General Edward Roche and other families of 
the town. Had I met him, I should have known the 
decision newly taken to cross the wooden bridge with a 
division of our forces, and consequently I should have 
brought all those brave fellows I rallied in the streets of 
Wexford to join that division and have marched with it 
to Pepper Castle, where it halted to pass the night. 
I need not say I should have preferred acting with 
those commanders, Anthony Perry, Esmond Kyan, etc., 
whose brilliant courage I witnessed at the battle of 
Arklow and elsewhere ; however, I was consoled to be 
with the Reverend John Murphy, who did not despair 
of being able to out-manoeuvre Sir John Moore and the 
other English generals ; and for this purpose, in place 
of going to encamp on the mountain of Forth, he 
marched into the Barony of Forth, and by this circuitous 
march, he found the route next day quite open before 
him, either to move into the counties of Carlow or Kil- 
kenny, etc. 

As the next chapter will contain all those marches, I 
shall continue to speak about Wexford, and relate every 
thing I learned during my short stay there. 

Much has been said of the massacre which took place 
on the bridge of Wexford and the nearly superhuman 
exertions of some of the principal inhabitants to save 
Lord Kingsborough and his fellow prisoners. Why not 
have kept them all in the same jail and under the same 
guard? This would have ensured equal safety to the 
poor as well as to the rich and the noble. As those 
transactions took place before the 2ist of June, of 
course I could not have witnessed them, and have 
only now to state, that I never knew one of our leaders, 
or the brave men who followed them, in this war 
of extermination, who did not hold in the utmost horror 
these abominable cold-blooded reprisals. It is true 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 145 

many plans were suggested to try to make the English 
generals desist from shooting their prisoners, but without 
avail. One was, that every time it was ascertained that 
one of our men had been murdered at the English camp, 
ten English prisoners with us should draw lots, two only 
were to be drawn, the first shot forthwith, the second 
pardoned and sent to the English head-quarters to 
declare what he had witnessed, and that if the murders 
did not cease at the English camp, the most unheard-of 
retaliation should be executed in every direction where 
an English soldier could be found. 

This was the state of the country when the wily Lord 
Cornwallis, then the most competent judge of what a 
people driven to the last desperation is capable of 
accomplishing, recollecting America, arrived in Ireland 
to issue proclamations, and to offer protections to all 
chiefs as well as to their men. We soon perceived our 
ranks thinned in consequence of those delusive protec- 
tions granted by England's Viceroy or Lord Lieutenant. 
His conduct at that awful crisis reminds me of Ibrahim 
Pasha's in Greece or the Morea. When he arrived 
there at the head of thirty thousand Egyptians, to recon- 
quer the Greeks for the emperor of the Turks, he too 
issued proclamations and gave protections to all those 
Greeks who returned to their homes, and in a few days 
the villages became repeopled. The undaunted Greek 
generals perceiving they were nearly abandoned in the 
mountains, soon hit on a stratagem to put an end to 
this desertion ; a desperate one, no doubt. They laid 
ambuscades in the neighbourhood of those villages 
where already the Egyptian soldiers were peaceably 
mixing with the inhabitants. After a sufficient number 
of those soldiers were caught, when night came on they 
were marched through those villages, some put to death 
there, others were allowed to escape, after having their 
noses and ears cut off, to carry the tidings to Ibrahim's 



146 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

camp near Navarino. This half-savage, half-warrior, 
sallied forth with all his forces, burned and destroyed 
every village and town from Navarino to Patrass, and 
shot every woman and child he found on his way. He 
could not be persuaded that those unfortunate inhabi- 
tants did not participate in these mutilations and mur- 
ders. Consequently, the Turkish justice was in this 
instance quite surpassed by the Egyptian chief. Until 
this event, it was well known, that no person holding 
this extraordinary man's protection was ever molested, 
if he was not guilty of some new fault. Under his 
jurisdiction poor Billy Byrne of Ballymanus would not 
have been executed, for he committed no crime after he 
got the protection of the Lord Lieutenant, nor indeed 
before receiving it either. But Ibrahim had not had the 
advantage of studying at the " refined " Pitt and Castle- 
reagh school, as Lord Cornwallis had ; he thought he 
might be just without endangering his holy religion or 
the Turkish state. 

In consequence of this monstrous butchery, the camps 
of the Greek generals in the mountains were reinforced 
by all those who were fortunate enough to escape the 
Egyptian scimitar. These camps became henceforth the 
only places of shelter and safety for the entire population 
of the Morea. From this moment all the world could see 
that though Ibrahim had a disciplined army, he never 
could pacify or conquer a people capable of making any 
sacrifice under heaven to shake off the monstrous Turkish 
yoke. In 1828 I marched through those burned villages, 
being then attached to the staff of the French general-in- 
chief, who was sent with an army to drive both Turks 
and Egyptians from the land of the Morea, and to leave 
to its heroic defenders the right to govern themselves. 
I had an opportunity of learning all their unheard of 
sufferings during this cruel and protracted war. 

General Maison ordered me to remain with a detach- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 147 

ment of infantry, a few days at Pyrgos (a town which 
had a population of ten or twelve thousand before the 
war), until the unfortunate inhabitants had time to return 
from their hiding-places. On the fourth day the Greek 
Governor of that province, Mr. Ruffa de Benneguela, 
told me all were arrived, then amounting to about twelve 
hundred men, women and children. The rest had 
perished by the sword, sickness and famine. I mention 
all this to show how dearly liberty must be bought when 
there is not a levy en masse in the first instance to crush 
and annihilate the taskmasters and cruel tyrants, who 
are in possession of the strongholds. Had a simul- 
taneous rising taken place in Ireland in the month of 
May, 1798, as it had been agreed on by the Irish Direc- 
tory and Lord Edward Fitzgerald, what a mass of misery 
might have been prevented! Torrents of blood might 
not then have been shed in vain. Or, had even ten 
counties of the provinces of Munster and Leinster com- 
menced the war at the same time, and with the same 
success as the county of Wexford, England had then 
no forces to resist so powerful a mass of people resolved 
to shake off her yoke. 

It is well known that all the Irish militia regiments 
only waited for this rising to come flocking to our 
standard of independence. The Orangemen of those 
regiments of course would not join, but without intending 
it, they were render ng as good service ; as they regarded 
all the Catholic soldiers as United Irishmen, they never 
ceased insulting them, and had them punished on the 
most trivial pretexts. When a detachment of the 
Wexford militia was made prisoners at Goresbridge, 
or Newbridge, on the river Barrow, on the 23rd 
of June, by our forces, the Orangemen of this 
detachment were soon denounced by their Catholic 
comrades as being the principal instigators of all 
the punishments they underwent in the regiment, the 



148 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

flogging, etc. Seven of those unfortunate Orangemen 
were put to death the same night, by their own comrades, 
who availed themselves of this opportunity to be revenged 
for all the tortures they had endured at the regiment. 
This may serve as a specimen of what the authorization 
of organizing Orange Lodges in all the regiments then 
in Ireland was likely to produce. 

We wanted an able General-in-Chief, or in other words 
an honest dictator, whose orders could never be dis- 
obeyed under pain of death, as on the prompt execution 
of them depended the success of our holy undertaking. 
To these different and untoward contingencies, and 
to General Humbert and his few French soldiers not 
arriving in time, may in a great measure be attributed 
our failure in the county of Wexford. 

If we had had a general commanding in Wexford on 
the 2 1st of June, of the stamp of the Greek generals I 
have mentioned, he would, no doubt, have despatched 
Lord Kingsborough and his fellow prisoners to the 
English headquarters with their ears and noses cut off, 
the moment he learned that all our sick and wounded 
were burned in the hospital at Enniscorthy by orders of 
General Lake. This reprisal and mutilation of the noble 
Lord and his companions might have served as a warn- 
ing to the following unfortunate gentlemen : Mr. Bagenal 
Harvey, Captain Keogh, Cornelius Grogan, John Col- 
clough, Reverend Philip Roche, John Hay, Patrick 
Prendergast, John Kelly of Killan, etc. ; it would have 
shown them, that away from the people's camp they 
could make no terms for themselves or any one else; 
and by remaining with the people, they would at least 
have saved the citizens of Wexford the hideous spectacle 
of their heads being placed on pikes over the public 
edifices of the town and there left to bleach and wither 
into dust. 

Poor John Kelly of Killan was obliged to quit his 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 149 

command on account of the desperate wound he received 
at the battle of New Ross. He was brought in a car to 
the place of execution. He would have stood by the 
people to the last. 



CHAPTER V. 

AFTER relating the incidents that occurred during my 
short stay at Wexford, the 2ist of June, I resume the 
account of our march from that town towards the Three 
Rock Mountain, where we expected to encamp for the 
night ; but before we had made a mile on the road, we 
perceived that a column of our army was moving from 
the mountain in the direction of Johnstown in the barony 
of Forth. I instantly, with the brave men who accom- 
panied me, changed our direction and followed the move- 
ment of this column. It being very late in the evening, 
and we in the greatest need of some kind of refreshment 
after the fatigues of this memorable day, I ordered a short 
halt at Johnstown, near the mansion of poor Cornelius 
Grogan. Here I met a worthy man who had known me 
from my childhood, Mr. Nash. This gentleman had been 
agent to the Grogan family, and when he came to receive 
the rents of the Castletown and Monaseed estates, fre- 
quently stopped at our house. He desired an old servant 
to endeavour to get me something to eat, and whilst we 
were speaking of old and better times, the poor woman 
came back to say, that she could give nothing but a slice 
of barley bread and some sour milk I soon devoured 
them, and found both delicious. Mr. Nash told me poor 
Grogan was very ill, and suffering from gout and rheu- 
matism. I took my leave of him, and when I thought 
the men had got all the refreshments the place could 
afford, we set out again to join our division, which had 
halted to bivouac for the night at a place called Slee- 
dagh in the barony of Bargy. 

I need not say how happy I was on arriving at this 
camp to find that my brother Hugh, with many other 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 151 

wounded men, were all there, and that they had been 
kindly treated on the way from Vinegar Hill by the men 
who were charged to escort them. But my disappoint- 
ment and dismay was very great indeed, when I learned 
that the principal division of our little army had crossed 
the wooden bridge at Wexford and directed its course to 
the county of Wicklow, and that almost all the chiefs 
with whom I had been accustomed to act, and who I 
expected to meet here, made part of that division, such 
as Anthony Perry, Esmond Kyan, Ned Fennell, Johnny 
Doyle, Nick Murphy, etc. I also regretted not to see 
Edward Fitzgerald, Garrett Byrne, and Edward Roche. 
The presence of these leaders at the head of our column 
always inspired our brave fellows with a confidence that 
they would be well commanded. 

I now felt that my responsibility became great indeed, 
in consequence of this separation. As all the men of 
the Monaseed corps, as well as the county of Wicklow 
men who followed me here from Vinegar Hill, looked to 
me at present as their chief, in the absence of those 
chiefs who marched with the division on the direction to 
the county of Wicklow, they requested me to act as such, 
and added that they would obey my orders. I accepted, 
and promised to do the best I could in our critical 
situation. 

A council of war was held in the night, at the instiga- 
tion of the Reverend Philip Roche, who wished we 
should remain at this camp of Sleedagh, until he went to 
Wexford, where, he said, he was certain to obtain a 
cessation of arms, and good terms from the English 
general-in-chief, Lake ; on which the Reverend John 
Murphy declared, for his part, he could have no reliance 
on such negotiations, and he never would advise any one 
to surrender and give up their arms. We all loudly 
applauded this declaration, and added that we were ready 
to follow him through thick and thin. Poor Roche now 



152 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

resolved to go alone to the English headquarters ; he 
mounted his horse, and before setting off, he desired to 
know from Father John Murphy how he was to know 
where to direct to him, in the event of obtaining the 
good terms he expected. Murphy replied : " You will 
have no difficulty to learn the direction our little army 
will take, for everywhere that we pass we shall burn all 
the isolated slated houses which might serve as a refuge 
to the enemy." These were the last words they ever 
exchanged. I was quite close to them at the time, it 
was now near daylight ; the Reverend P. Roche rode off 
to Wexford, whilst we were preparing to quit our 
bivouac. What a sad instance of the frailty and weak- 
ness of human nature in this man, so brave on the field of 
battle the day before, at the head of fifteen thousand 
men, though badly armed ; had he remained at his post 
as general, and not have placed any faith in the insidious 
promises of the vile Lord Kingsborough, he would have 
thereby enabled us by his military genius and imposing 
manners to have prolonged the war until ammunition 
came from France ; all of which we hourly expected. 

Poor Roche was very handsome and more than six 
feet high. He enjoyed considerable influence, particu- 
larly over those brave men he commanded at Foulksmill ; 
and his able retreat to the Three Rock Mountain after 
that battle, did him the greatest honour. For he only 
left the field of action at the very last, when he was 
assured that all the wounded men were sent away and 
safe. 

From his camp at the Three Rock Mountain, he im- 
mediately repaired to the council room at Wexford, 
where he insisted all should be stationary until the result 
of the negotiation with General Lake could be known. 
Unfortunately this declaration did the greatest injury, as 
many fine fighting fellows went to their homes, whilst 
waiting an answer from the delegates which were sent 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 153 

to the English headquarters at Enniscorthy ; and conse- 
quently, these brave men, learning the cruel treatment 
their general received, never rejoined our army again. 
Poor Father Roche thought that because he had been 
humane himself and had saved the lives of the enemy 
in every instance where he had influence, that he had 
nothing to risk in meeting the bloody and implacable 
ascendancy, again in possession of Wexford ; but he was 
soon cruelly undeceived. On entering the town he was 
torn from his horse and ignominiously dragged through 
the streets to the scaffold. He deserved a better fate. 

I should have mentioned before, that the Reverend 
Moses Kearns, suffering from the wound he got at 
Enniscorthy, and by great loss of blood, became so weak 
that he was obliged to remain behind at a farmer's house 
on the way from Wexford. This brave chief's absence 
at so critical a moment was another severe loss. Like 
Father John Murphy, he would not have been deceived 
by the false promises of the vile Lord Kingsborough, 
nor would he have abandoned the brave men whom he 
had the honour to command. 

Bagenal Harvey, John Colclough, and John Hay with 
other leaders remaining behind at Wexford, counting on 
the treaty which Lord Kingsborough had made in their 
favour with General Lake, the Reverend John Murphy 
now became the principal chief of our very small corps 
of army at Sleedagh bivouac. 

On the morning of the 22nd of June it did not amount 
to more than five or six thousand men 2 and I doubt even 
if we could have mustered so strong. Still, had the 
then Governor of Wexford, Captain Matthew Keogh 
been actuated with the same desperate spirit which fired 
the Russian Governor at Moscow, and sacrificed Lord 
Kingsborough, our ranks instead of being thinner, would 
have been swelled beyond anything we experienced 
since the commencement of the war. It was doomed 



154 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

otherwise. Intrigue carried the day with the weak 
leaders of the people, who remained behind in the town 
of Wexford. 

At daylight we left our bivouac and formed the 
column for marching, greatly encumbered, as usual, with 
our wounded and vast numbers of females, who were 
following their brothers, or other relatives, not having 
any place of refuge, or other means of escaping from the 
monsters then ravaging their homes. 

We moved on the direction of Foulksmill and Long- 
graig, where the battle was fought on the 2Oth, against 
General Sir John Moore, and where the unfortunate 
Reverend Philip Roche showed so much generalship, and 
also where Thomas Cloney and many other fine fellows 
displayed the greatest talent and bravery. This field 
of battle was a dismal sight ; mangled bodies lying still 
unburied all around ; broken carts and waggons strewed 
over the field and on the adjacent roads. However, these 
obstacles did not stop our march. 

As the English general, Moore, after the battle of the 
2Oth at Foulksmill, retreated on Taghmon, he marched 
from thence to Wexford on the 22nd of June, when he 
had learned that the Irish army had evacuated the town ; 
so that our small division marched in his rear and passed 
over the country which he had abandoned. By this 
manoeuvre and circuitous march, we were enabled to 
bend our course into the counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, 
etc., and, as usual, the cowardly cavalry fled before us ; 
so we had very little skirmishing with them before we 
reached Killan, the town that gave birth to the brave 
and ever to be regretted John Kelly. 

From this place we pursued the enemy closely until 
we came up with them at the village of Killedmond on 
the county of Carlow side of the boundary, where they 
seemed to be in great force, having been joined there by 
a reinforcement. Of course they prepared to dispute the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 155 

passage and give us battle ; but we soon became masters 
of the village and drove both the infantry and cavalry 
from it, as in this instance our pikemen were brought to 
bear on them in the street, though not till they had set 
fire to several houses before they fled. The barracks 
they occupied being a slated house, Father John Murphy 
ordered it to be burned. 

By this time our small army was quite exhausted, 
from so long and so fatiguing a march, and stood much 
in need both of refreshments and sleep. We bivouacked 
not far from this village for the night of the 22nd ot 
June, and early next morning, the 23rd, hearing that 
there was a regular force of cavalry and infantry 
stationed at the little town of Goresbridge, to defend the 
passage there of the river Barrow, we left our bivouac 
in the highest spirits, and marched to attack this post 
Coming near the town we were met by the Fourth 
Dragoon Guards, and after a short skirmish we forced 
them to retreat and fall back on their infantry, the 
Wexford militia, which began a brisk fire, and a smart 
engagement ensued, during which we had several 
wounded. But now, whether from a fear of disaffection 
in his troops, or a terror of another kind, the commanding 
officer of the militia hastened to mount behind a dragoon 
soldier, galloped away, and left his men to do the best 
they could. Abandoned by their officer, who did not 
endeavour to effect his retreat in time with them, their 
fire soon ceased, when they were surrounded and made 
prisoners. No doubt, the officer knowing that the 
greater number of his soldiers were Catholics, and sus- 
pecting they were inclined to join our ranks, hastened 
to escape, lest they might bring him by force with them. 
This is the only apology that can be offered on the 
occasion for his conduct. It was, however, well ascer- 
tained through the English army then in Ireland, that 
the great mass of the Roman Catholic soldiers were pre- 



156 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

disposed to come over to join our standard, but par- 
ticularly so, those of the Irish militia regiments. Indeed 
it was not only the Catholics, but all the Dissenters of 
the militia regiments, who wished to see Ireland indepen- 
dent and self-governed. They waited with impatience 
for a French army, round which they would have rallied 
without hesitation ; as, according to a prophecy they 
had in the north, nothing could be accomplished before 
French aid arrived. I had proofs of the strong and 
implicit faith they had in this prophecy. I was in the 
Wicklow mountains at the time General Humbert landed 
in Ireland. Some days after this was known, a sergeant 
and about twenty men of the Antrim militia regiment 
then stationed at Arklow came to join us. I asked the 
sergeant why he did not come sooner ; he replied, that 
the prophecy in which he believed, said, nothing could 
be done before the French landed ; and that that was 
the reason why he did not come and join our army when 
we were in greater force. He was a Presbyterian in 
religion, and one of the best conducted young men that 
could be. He began immediately to drill our men. He 
was an excellent instructor, and if we had had at the 
commencement several like him, they would have ren- 
dered vast service. I shall have often to speak of this 
sergeant when I come to relate what I witnessed during 
the autumn and winter of 1798, in the Wicklow moun- 
tains. We called him Antrim John, and we considered 
him a great acquisition to our cause at that critical 
moment 

After we took possession of the little town of Geres- 
bridge, where we got a good quantity of flour, we 
marched to the ridge of Leinster and encamped there 
that night. Fires were lighted immediately through the 
camp, and all the young women who were following 
their relations betook themselves to making bread, or 
slim cakes, the best way they could of the sacks of flour 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 157 

which were brought to the bivouac. This, with a 
number of sheep killed, sufficed at least for that day 
to give every one something to eat. Our wounded men 
were conveyed to the camp and good care taken of them. 
Though my poor brother Hugh's wound was getting 
better, still he had to remain on the car, fearing to inflame 
his thigh if he attempted to walk I was obliged tc place 
on the same car with him, poor Jacob Byrne of Bally- 
ellis, who was wounded this day ; the ball entered under 
his hip and passed right through to his other side. I 
thought it impossible he could ever recover from this 
desperate wound A young man whom I did not know, 
seeing me very anxious about Byrne, told me he had 
studied surgery, and that if I would allow him, he would 
dress the wound. Of course I accepted his kind offer, 
although I did not approve of the manner he intended 
to operate ; but the case being, as I thought, hopeless, 
I let him try his hand. The dressing consisted simply 
of a band of linen, about two inches wide and a couple 
of yards long, and when this bandage was well steeped 
in whiskey, he fastened one end of it to a slight ratan 
and passed it through the wound, withdrawing the 
ratan and leaving the linen in the wound, with injunc- 
tions not to pull it out ; he said that suppuration would 
be kept up by leaving it in, and as the wound healed 
it would emit all strange bodies. Poor Byrne suffered 
this rough operation with great resignation. I had him 
again placed on the car with my brother, and charged 
the trustworthy man who drove the horse to be attentive 
to both, and to be always on the alert and ready to 
follow our column when it set out to march. 

It will be seen before the end of my narrative, the 
wonderful escape this brave man Byrne had, and this is 
the reason I give the above details regarding the dressing 
of his wound. They show the scanty means we pos- 
sessed of being useful to unfortunate men in his- 
situation. 



158 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

As the country people were so terror stricken about 
the neighbourhood of the ridge of Leinster, that they 
were not able to give us any information respecting the 
enemy's positions, we had to send reconnoitring parties 
in all directions. After their return we betook ourselves 
to rest, and passed a few hours tolerably well. At day- 
light we were again under arms and marching to Castle- 
comer. By this manoeuvre we afforded a safe occasion 
to the vast number of colliers who were waiting our 
arrival, to quit their hiding places and to come and join 
our standard. 

On quitting our bivouac, a sad spectacle was offered 
to our view. A cruel and foul deed was committed 
during the night. Several of the prisoners belonging to 
the Wexford militia were put to death by their own com- 
rades, who, having met in our army many of their rela- 
tives, had been put at liberty. They of course joined our 
ranks and changed immediately their uniforms for 
coloured clothes. Thus metamorphosed they perpetrated 
these cold-blooded murders, which every brave man must 
execrate. One of these militia soldiers, named Bruslaur, 
was the prime instigator of this horrible and coward 
revenge. It appeared that he had been cruelly punished 
and flogged, for being an United Irishman, on the 
evidence sworn against him by those unfortunate men. 
He, of course, said in his defence, that they were all 
sworn Orangemen, and did everything in their power to 
have him and his fellow Catholic soldiers put to death. 
Let that be as it may, it was but too true that the in- 
famous Orange system was encouraged and sanctioned 
by all the Protestant officers of those Irish militia 
regiments. 

It was about half-past two o'clock in the morning of 
the 24th of June, when we set out in good marching 
order, and before five o'clock we arrived at the village of 
Dunain, where we were immediately joined by vast 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 159 

numbers of colliers, the most determined looking fighting 
fellows I ever beheld ; badly armed, no doubt, with old 
rusty swords and pistols, but well disposed to make use 
of them, and to exchange them for better fire-arms when 
an occasion offered. 

A battalion of the Waterford militia which had been 
stationed at the Colliery, or village of Dunain, about 
three or four hundred strong, at our approach abandoned 
the place and retreated on the town of Castlecomer. I 
was riding beside Father John Murphy at the head of our 
column, entering this village of Dunain, when we saw the 
great masses coming to join us. He at once decided 
that I should proceed on the high road with a part of our 
forces, whilst he would march himself under the guidance 
of the colliers and with the remainder of our troops, by 
another way to attack Castlecomer. 

The column halted for a few minutes only. I had a 
very fine horse, that my men brought me the day before ; 
he being now foundered for the want of a fore shoe, I 
went to the first 'blacksmith's forge I perceived, and 
asked the smith if he would have the goodness to put on 
a shoe on my horse ; he replied he could not then light 
a fire, that he was just come from his hiding-place, and 
besides, he was in too great haste to march and fight 
along with us. However, when I showed him that I had 
the horse shoe, he searched and found as many nails as 
were necessary, and soon tacked it on. I asked a woman 
who was standing at the door to be good enough to 
give me a glass of water, but the smith ordered her to 
bring me a glass of good beer, and a crust of bread. This 
brave fellow seemed quite displeased with me at offering 
to pay him for the little service he had rendered me ; 
as he supposed I was a chief and that we were going to 
fight in the same cause, he thought it was the least he 
could do. I galloped off, and I soon got again to the 
head of our column, which was drawn up and halted on 



l6o MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the great road to Castlecomer. At some distance from 
thence, a detachment of the English forces was also 
drawn up on the righ road. They appeared to be about 
sixty or seventy in number. Our men told me that they 
thought these English soldiers wished to come and join 
us, or at least to surrender ; that they had hoisted a white 
handkerchief, etc. I instantly resolved to ride on and see 
if they wished to surrender, and to offer them all the pro- 
tection and security they should require, on the event of 
their laying down their arms. 

I told our men to be careful not to fire a shot, and to 
be prepared to receive these English soldiers kindly ; and 
if they marched back with me, to open right and left 
and let them pass to the rear of our column. I then rode 
off, and when I arrived at the detachment I found it was 
a company of the Waterford militia ; two officers on foot 
belonging to it came to me and stood on each side of me, 
whilst one of their soldiers held the reins of my bridle. 

These officers told me that they made part of the rear- 
guard of their forces, retreating from the Colliery, and 
now, seeing that they were not only outflanked, but com- 
pletely cut off from their regiment, if they were sure of 
being treated as prisoners of war, they would surrender. 
I assured them that orders were given before I left our 
column, that the first men who should attempt to molest 
them, would be instantly shot. I further pledged myself 
to risk my own life in every instance to save theirs. All 
was now agreed on between us ; these soldiers marching- 
with the butt end of their muskets in the air, and thus to 
pass through our column to the rear, when they would 
have to give up all their arms and ammunition. 

Unfortunately one of our men, of the name of Doyle, 
coming through the fields, and knowing nothing of the 
capitulation, seeing me, as he thought, a prisoner, leaped 
into the road, and drove his pike into the soldier who was 
holding my horse ; on which, one of the officers ordered 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. l6l 

his men to fire, and the other discharged his pistol at me. 
My horse received a ball in the shoulder. They fired 
only a few shots, when they turned about and began to 
escape the best way they could, throwing away accoutre- 
ments, arms, etc., to be able to run the quicker. Many of 
them were, however, overtaken before they got to Castle- 
comer, and the few who did escape over the bridge got 
into Lady Anne Butler's house, which was already 
occupied by the English troops whom Father John 
Murphy had beaten from their position in the town, and 
forced to take refuge in it. This house being two or 
three stories high, and isolated, the enemy kept up a 
tremendous fire from all the windows on our forces 
arriving before it, so that we had several killed and 
wounded in an instant, without being able to approach it. 
We had quantities of hay and straw loaded on carts and 
pushed on by our men ; we endeavoured under cover of 
them to cross the bridge and get up to the house. This 
stratagem failed; for the men who were pushing the 
carts, not being sufficiently covered, were shot through 
the angles of the loads of straw. I had my horse killed 
under me by one of these volleys fired from the windows 
of this house. 

A young man who was on horseback in shade of a wall, 
seeing my horse fall, came good-naturedly and offered me 
his horse, which I accepted, and mounted immediately 
and rode off to a small church about a quarter of a mile 
from the bridge ; we had placed our prisoners there under 
a strong guard I chose from amongst these prisoners, 
a black servant man in livery, as the most conspicuous, 
brought him back with me to the bridge in front of Lady 
Anne Butler's house, made him tie a white handker- 
chief to a cane, and hold it over his head ; on the sight 
of this, the fire from the house ceased. 

I then gave him his instructions, told him he should 
go into the house, ask to see the officer commanding the 

M 



162 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

English troops there, tell him that the rear of the house 
was set on fire by another party of our forces, whilst we 
were engaged in the front ; that if he came out with his 
men and brought their arms and ammunition to us, they 
should not only be protected but set at liberty to go 
where they pleased. That if they did not accept this 
offer they would all be inevitably consumed in less than 
half an hour, as quantities of fuel and combustible matter 
of every kind was applied to the rear of the house by our 
men commanded by the General-in-Chief in person, who 
was at present completely master of the whole town, 
with the exception of this single house, now on fire. As 
to himself, I told him he should be taken care of and put 
at liberty, whatever might be the result of the negotia- 
tion. This honest black servant left me, marched quietly 
to the hall-door, which was opened for him from within, 
and in less than five minutes came back to me on the 
bridge where I remained to receive him. The answer 
he brought to my proposal from the officers besieged was 
as follows : that they knew but too well that the house 
in which they were was on fire, and, consequently, they 
were ready to surrender ; but first, they wished to have 
a written protection signed by the Reverend John 
Murphy, whom they understood was our Commander-in- 
Chief, otherwise they could not venture, on account of 
what had happened that morning to a company of their 
troops retreating from the Colliery; that the chief to 
whom the company surrendered was unable to protect 
them, etc. I, of course, sorely felt the truth of this obser- 
vation, and lamented the fatal error which gave ground 
for it, and caused the failure of the most humane inten- 
tion to save so many lives, and at the same time to get 
their arms and ammunition, which we so much needed at 
that moment. 

I now, accompanied by my black " parlementaire," 
went to seek for Father John, to get him to give this 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 163 

written document required by the besieged officers, and 
to tell him of all that had occurred since we separated at 
the Colliery. After making a great round through the 
gardens, I at length had an interview with him across 
the river, which is very narrow there ; he highly approved 
of the promises I had made to the besieged. He told 
the black servant to return with me, and desired he 
should go instantly back to the house, and tell the 
English troops there that the moment he (Father John 
Murphy) could procure pen, ink and paper, he would 
send them the written protection they required ; that he 
would then give orders to cease adding more fuel to the 
house now in flames, hoped they would not hesitate 
getting out of it before it was too late, and that he would 
be at the bridge, along with me, to receive and protect 
them. On which I returned again with my black mes- 
senger to the bridge, repeating to him his instructions. 
I sent him as before, but this time he could announce 
that he had seen and conversed himself with our General- 
in-Chief, who pledged himself in the most solemn manner 
that all the promises I had made to the military who took 
refuge in the house now on fire should be strictly adhered 
to, and that the moment they came out and gave up 
their arms and ammunition, they would be put at liberty 
to go where they pleased, and that the greatest care 
would be taken that none of them should be molested. 

Of course I now expected that there would be no 
further difficulties raised by those unfortunate men who 
were on the point of being consumed, and that they 
would surrender and come out without hesitation, before 
the house crumbled into pieces under them. I waited 
most anxiously, thinking every minute an hour, but there 
was no appearance of any movement from the house. I 
thought it strange that the besieged should take so long 
to deliberate and decide this time ; more than half an 
hour elapsed, when at length I saw the hall-door open, 



164 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

and the worthy black man running towards me ; he cried 
out this time : " O ! Sir, they won't surrender, they see 
from the top windows an army coming to their relief, but 
the house is all in smoke and flames about them." I 
thanked him for the way he behaved, and bid him stay 
by me. I instantly despatched several of our men to 
seek out Father John, who was still in the town, to let 
him know the failure of our negotiation, and the cause of 
it Soon after we heard the firing of muskets on the hill 
to our left flank, and the whistling of balls through a 
grove of trees on the same side. This firing came from 
the English division which marched from Kilkenny under 
the command of General Sir Charles Asgill. If this 
General had had the courage to have marched straight on 
to Castlecomer, instead of firing at two musket shots' 
distance from us, he might have surprised many of our 
men scattered through the town ; but now we were 
apprised and had plenty of time to rally our forces, and 
take an advantageous position on a rising ground oppo- 
site to his line, and there wait and offer him battle, 
which he prudently declined to accept, and which was to 
be regretted ; for our little army was now flushed with 
victory, and powerfully aided, as we expected it would 
be, by the colliers, who would bravely fight to keep up 
their ancient reputation as the defenders of Irish rights. 

I, not having entered Castlecomer, except in the neigh- 
bourhood of the house at the foot of the bridge, from 
which the greatest resistance was made by the enemy, 
and where our forces sustained the greatest losses, and 
where so many brave men fell, cannot give all the 
details of what took place in the town ; but it was 
attacked and carried in the most brilliant manner by 
Father John Murphy and the fine fellows he commanded, 
and with very little loss. 

Although I have already related a great deal of what 
I myself witnessed during this memorable day, still other 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 165 

incidents occurred later which will shew the chances we 
had in our favour, had the English accepted the battle. 

In moving up the road from the bridge of Castlecomer, 
after we had rallied our forces, we heard the enemy's 
firing, though we did not see their line before the head 
of our column passed the grove or wood on our right 
flank ; then we perceived General Asgill's division drawn 
up in line of battle at a verv little more than a musket 
shot's distance from us, and curious to say, the firing 
ceased, and he allowed our column to gain the rising 
ground opposite his line, and there to form our line of 
battle, whilst he might have attacked us, marching by 
the flank, exposed to all his fire, and in the worst position 
possible to resist or sustain such an attack. 

During this march another odd thing happened. A 
private soldier from the centre of the English line quit 
his ranks and came running towards us, armed and 
equipped. Several shots were fired after him, without 
effect. This soldier told us we might count on seeing 
many others of his comrades follow his example. 

It is difficult to know to what to attribute such great 
want of decision on the part of General Asgill, as he was 
cruel and bloodthirsty. Perhaps his conscience told him 
he would want courage on the occasion, or perhaps he 
thought implicit confidence could not be placed in the 
troops he commanded. Or was it that he waited for a 
reinforcement he expected before he would risk a battle 
with us? Those three motives combined must have 
weighed very heavily indeed upon him, for he abandoned 
the field and marched back with his division on the road 
to Kilkenny, leaving us at perfect liberty to return to 
Castlecomer if we wished. But then we could have no 
object in doing so, as it never was our intention to 
guard or keep the town; and having got all the arms 
and ammunition it contained, except those which re- 
mained with the English troops in the house at the foot 
of the bridge. 



l66 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

If we could have even suspected that General Asgill 
feared risking a battle, we should have left a part of our 
forces before the house at the foot of the bridge, until 
we could have had time to return and force the besieged 
to come out and lay down their arms, which they would 
have done now without hesitation, finding they had no 
relief to expect from this too prudent warrior. 

Although a council of war seemed expedient in our 
critical position, yet none was held, as Father John 
Murphy communicated to us his plan, which we all 
agreed to, as the best to be followed under the present 
circumstances. 

We knew that General Asgill retreated to wait for 
reinforcements, and we suspected that he wished to draw 
us into an ambuscade, if we had pursued him on the road 
to Kilkenny. Without artillery we could not think of 
going to attack a city where the enemy was well provided 
with cannon, ammunition, and arms of every description. 
Nothing but the certainty that we should be joined by the 
mass of the population could have warranted such a 
proceeding. And to the shame of the people of that 
country be it said, they preferred to bow in abject slavery 
and crouch beneath the tyrants' cruelty, sooner than 
come boldly to take the field with us. 

Father John, perceiving our men quite exhausted from 
want of repose and sleep, after the fatigues they had 
endured this day, marching and fighting, resolved at 
once to go and take a military position at some appro- 
priate situation in the Queen's county, where we could 
bivouac and pass the night with safety. 

Though our march from Castlecomer was not impeded 
by the enemy, yet it was distressing to witness how our 
men, from weakness, threw themselves flat on the road- 
side and there fell fast asleep. This showed the necessity 
of halting sooner than was first intended ; for Father 
John's plan was to march that day through that part of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 167 

the Queen's county leading to the town of Athy (county 
of Kildare), from which place and neighbourhood, he 
learned, thousands of fighting men only waited our arrival 
to come flocking to join our standard, and thus avail 
themselves of their courage, and indeed more than suffi- 
cient numbers to overthrow the King's forces, that were 
keeping them in bondage. 

Unfortunately at that sorrowful moment the popula- 
tion lay prostrated and enervated at their tyrants' feet ; 
all their own chiefs being either in exile, banished, 
executed or imprisoned. 

After we passed the night of the 24th of June in the 
Queen's county, seeing not the least disposition on the 
part of its inhabitants either to aid or assist us in our 
present struggle to shake off the cruel English yoke, we 
began our movement on the 25th to approach as near as 
we could that day to Scollagh Gap, Mount Leinster and 
Blackstairs ; we wished to be masters of those important 
passes into the counties of Carlow and Wexford, in order 
to be able to obtain some tidings of the principal division 
of our army, which separated from us on the 2ist of June 
in Wexford and marched over the wooden bridge, in the 
direction of the county of Wicklow. We were at all 
times most anxious to open a communication with that 
division, but it now became imperative to do so, in 
consequence of our critical situation and the want of 
ammunition. For the accomplishment of this poor Father 
John Murphy suggested a plan, to the wise instructions 
of which we all willingly adhered. They were very 
simple. He desired that all those who had any quantity 
of powder should divide it with their comrades who had 
none ; and he ordered all those whose fire-arms were out 
of repair to provide for themselves pikes, or some weapon 
equivalent, such as pitch forks, etc. Thus armed, and 
marching in close order, we had nothing to dread from 
either cavalry or infantry, and we should be able to force 



l68 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

our way through any of the passes, and might always 
avoid risking a battle against a superior force of the 
enemy, and only accept it when we were sure of victory. 

Our retrograde march from the Queen's county to 
repass the river Barrow (though we had scarcely any 
skirmishing with an enemy who fled from us the moment 
we drew up to attack it), was still more fatiguing than our 
march the day before from Castlecomer. The long road 
we had to make, the great heat of the weather^ and not 
being joined as we expected by the people of that 
county, (not even perceiving the numbers of the colliers 
increase, on whose great exertions and assistance we 
counted so much, which was the principal cause that 
induced Father John to come into the country) ; all this 
was disheartening indeed, and we arrived, weary and 
exhausted, very late in the evening of the 25th of June, 
at our bivouac on the Hill of Kilcomney, county of 
Carlow side. And now I must endeavour to explain our 
situation here, as it will be the last time I shall ever have 
to speak of Father John Murphy as our commander. I 
trust it may not be thought I say too much about myself, 
and the intercourse I had with him after we left Wexford. 
Telling my own story may be considered as the narrative 
of what took place, and indeed as the history of the 
events and results which followed and happened to 
every one of my comrades, nearly in the same way, with 
the exception that many of them had not the good for- 
tune to escape as I have had 

We placed our out-posts as we were accustomed to do 
every night, and had our wounded brought to the centre 
of the camp, as well as the females who were following 
their beloved husbands and brohers. Our position here 
at Kilcomney Hill was by no means a military one, or 
well chosen, having roads leading to it from several 
directions. It had, however, one advantage, that of 
being near the Pass of Scollagh Gap, by which w? 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 169 

intended marching next day, and of fighting our way 
to the county of Wicklow. The arrangements for the 
night being completed, in a few minutes all were sound 
asleep. 

I awoke next morning, the 26th of June, a little before 
daylight, and my first care was to rouse up some men 
to send to reconnoitre on different roads. Lamentable 
to say, almost all of them complained how they had been 
robbed of their fire-arms during the night by the colliers. 
A general cry of indignation went through our camp 
against these scoundrels, on whom we counted to see 
performing the greatest military achievements in our 
ranks ; now not only having deserted, but having availed 
themselves of our brave men being overpowered with 
fatigue and want of sleep to wrench their arms from 
them, and escape to their coal pits or former hiding- 
places. One can only compare these colliers to the men 
who were renowned for fighting at fairs and " patterns," 
who we seldom remarked as first in the battle, now that 
we were fighting for our independence, and to shake off 
the English yoke. 

Young men, sons of gentlemen farmers, and the 
farmers' sons, generally speaking, were the men to whom 
the people looked up with confidence in this perilous 
struggle ; and in no instance during this campaign were 
they deceived. Those brave, modest young men, who 
would have thought it a dishonour to be engaged in a 
fight at a fair, were now everywhere seen, first in the 
danger, leading their men to victory. 

I hastened to seek Father John, to let him know what 
I had learned, and to take his orders. He was already 
apprised of the treachery of the colliers, and remarked, 
how many of them went off the night before when we 
were in the Queen's county. He also knew that the 
King's troops were moving on several directions to sur- 
round and attack our camp, as all our reconnoitring 



170 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

parties returning after they met the enemy, confirmed 
this report. The morning being foggy, we could not 
well distinguish the force of the troops coming on dif- 
ferent roads to surround us, but it was at once resolved 
to go on and meet and attack those advancing through 
the pass of Scollagh Gap, and to force our way at any 
price by that road, as we could have no pretence to make 
head against all the English divisions arriving by the 
other routes, in our deplorable state, with a scanty 
supply of ammunition for the fire-arms which the colliers 
did not deprive us of. 

The enemy's cavalry, which marched out from the 
Pass of Scollagh Gap, was boldly attacked and beaten 
back by our gunsmen, well supported in this instance by 
our pikemen ; so that in a short time we were masters 
of a sufficient extent of it to admit all our forces, which 
still amounted to four or five thousand. The greatest 
care was taken to bring off all our wounded, as well as 
the females who were following, and to leave nothing 
at our bivouac to become the prey of a ferocious 
enemy. 

Yet the hired Press of the English ascendancy 
of that day would have it that we abandoned ten pieces 
of artillery and quantities of baggage, and had thou- 
sands killed and wounded. We had no artillery to 
abandon, never having had any since we left Wexford 
on the 2 ist of June ; and as to the losses sustained, ours 
were far less than the enemy's ; our rearguard of sharp- 
shooters covering our retreat through this pass, availing 
themselves of rocks on either side, they took deliberate 
aim and killed or wounded almost every officer who 
appeared at the head of his men following us, whilst our 
advanced guard opened the way, fighting desperately, 
driving the enemy before them, until we got completely 
through the Pass of Scollagh Gap ; and the much prized 
and greatly spoken of Major Mathews thought it pru- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 171 

dent not to pursue us with the troops he commanded 
to the other side of Scollagh Gap; and as to the 
cowardly General Sir Charles Asgill, who was at the 
head of three or four thousand regular troops, his 
friends might have attributed to his "humanity," his 
not wishing to come to close quarters with us, had he not, 
to his disgrace, preferred a more safe and easy victory, 
running with his army through the districts adjoining 
Kilcomney, and instead of pursuing and fighting with 
us in the field, murdering in cold blood the unarmed, 
inoffensive inhabitants, who never left their homes, and 
who, consequently, had taken no part in the war. They 
were now cruelly rewarded for their neutrality by this 
monster, who spared neither age nor sex ; men, women 
and children were butchered without mercy in their 
houses and fields where they were peaceably occupied 

What we had accomplished this morning, the 26th of 
June, might have been considered a victory, had not 
a dismal cloud soon overcast all our hopes and future 
plans. The Reverend John Murphy was missing. In 
vain did we seek him in our column, nowhere was he 
to be found. It is most unaccountable how this excel- 
lent, brave, and enterprising chief became separated 
from the main body, as all our movements were executed 
according to his directions, and there being sufficient 
time for everyone to get away from our bivouac before 
the King's troops could arrive there. Father John would 
have joined us in the Pass, where we were fighting and 
driving the enemy before us, had not something fatal 
prevented him. We never could learn positively the 
final end of this most excellent, worthy man. Nearly 
a year after this time, subscriptions were made in the 
city of Dublin to defray the expenses, it was said, of 
getting Father John Murphy to escape to America. 

Mr. Martin Byrne, a woollen draper in Francis Street, 
and several of his friends, were very active in this 



172 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

matter ; they wished that some person who knew him 
would meet the clergyman to whom the money was to 
be given, to assure them that this man was the real 
Father John Murphy who distinguished himself so much 
in our late campaign. I was hiding in Dublin at that 
time, and was waited on by a friend who asked me to 
accompany him to Mr. Martin Byrne's house, to see a 
fellow whom he feared was only personating Father 
John, in order to swindle benevolent patriots out of 
their money. I readily complied, and on the first sight 
of a black looking fellow, told Mr. Byrne and his friends 
that they were imposed on by an impostor who had not 
the least resemblance to poor Father John. It was 
reported then that he had been executed at Tullow, 
but scarcely anyone would believe it, as no mention 
appeared of his arrest in the Government papers of the 
day, when the vindictive ascendancy would have been 
too glad to have to announce officially such good news 
as the hanging of a popish priest. 

When we got through the Pass of Scollagh Gap, we 
must have appeared formidable to the enemy on that 
side of it. For we soon perceived that the King's troops 
had fled and retreated on Enniscorthy and Newtown- 
barry; as I have already said, the famous General 
Asgill, not deeming it prudent to follow us, we were 
again masters of our movements, and sufficiently strong, 
notwithstanding the want of ammunition and the good 
fire-arms which the colliers robbed us of, to march and 
form a junction with the other division of our army 
which separated from us at Wexford, and which we 
supposed then to be somewhere in the county of 
Wicklow. 

Unfortunately our General-in-Chief was absent at 
this critical moment, and though brave and intrepid 
leaders were still at the head of our men, they could not 
agree on what was best to be done. All of them from 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 173 

the neighbourhood of Wexford and Enniscorthy seemed 
bent on going to the extensive woods of Killaughram, 
as the best and surest place to recruit their forces in, and 
to wait there to hear news of the other Irish division ; - 
whilst all of us from the northern part of the county of 
Wexford persisted on the necessity of marching forth- 
with in the direction of the Wicklow mountains, where 
we might be sure of obtaining intelligence, and probably 
join the division without difficulty. I did everything in 
my power to dissuade these brave fellows from sepa- 
rating from us, by pointing out to them the great danger 
they would run of being surrounded, and of their retreat 
being made impossible. But it was all in vain ; they 
were decided, having only five or six miles to march, 
they said, before reaching those famous woods with 
which many of them seemed well acquainted, whilst they 
observed, that our party might have thirty, or even forty 
miles to march before we could expect to join the corps 
commanded by Garrett Byrne, Edward Fitzgerald, 
Anthony Perry, Esmond Kyan, etc. 

Further supplication now became useless ; thus from 
the want of union did our separation and dislocation 
begin. We were only pursued by an enemy that but 
ventured to send out its cavalry to kill our stragglers 
escaping isolated to visit their families and homes. We 
who were resolved to fight our way to the Wicklow 
mountains, found by this last lamentable separation, our 
numbers indeed very inadequate to such an undertaking. 
Still we persevered and hoped for the best. 

I had my poor brother Hugh, and Jacob Byrne, of 
whose desperate wound I have already spoken, placed 
on the same car, and the same faithful man who drove 
the horse, from the day Hugh was wounded, the i8th 
of June, took the greatest care of them both. Byrne's 
miraculous escape and extraordinary recovery in those 
awful times will show what even a few determined men 



174 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

can accomplish in the most perilous situation by sticking 
firmly together. 

All the cars on which our wounded were placed, got 
safely through the Pass of Scollagh Gap. The one on 
which were my brother and Byrne had still a long and 
dreary route to make of more than thirty miles, from 
being obliged to avoid the towns where the English had 
garrisons, such as Clonegal, Bunclody or Newtownbarry, 
Ferns, Carnew, etc. 

It required an escort composed of men of the most 
undaunted stamp to brave the dangers which overspread 
the country we had to march through, from Scollagh 
Gap to the Wicklow mountains, and that so recently 
after the battle of Vinegar Hill, which so flushed the 
Yeomen and Orangemen with victory. Yet the sight 
of our little column made those cowardly assassins fall 
back on their English supporters, who occupied the 
towns, and leave us at liberty to push forward and 
accomplish our plan, with some skirmishing from time 
to time no doubt. 

Monaseed being on the direct route to the Wicklow 
mountains, I hoped I should there have the pleasure of 
meeting once more my dear mother. My surprise and 
grief was great indeed when arriving at our house, not 
to find a living being to give me the least intelligence 
about her. Everything was in disorder, the doors wide 
open, windows and furniture broken, etc. Two of our 
tenants living on a farm (Fox Cover) at some distance 
from the house and high road, we hastened to go 
thither in expectation of finding some one to give us 
information. Fortunately Mrs. Maguire, the wife of 
one of the tenants, happened to be at home 

This good woman relieved my painful anxiety: she 
told me my dear mother was safe and well, with her 
faithful servant Biddy Cosker, at Buckstown House, then 
belonging to Ralph Blaney, where poor Ned Fennell's 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 175 

father had brought them, with the females of his own 
family for protection. Mr. Fennell having saved this 
house, when our army passed that way, Mr. Blaney felt 
very grateful and offered his services in return, of which 
this worthy man Fennell availed himself on this melan- 
choly occasion, to procure a safe refuge for our unpro- 
tected mothers and sisters. 

Poor Jacob Byrne's own dwelling place, Ballyellis, 
being too near that dreadful Orange town Carnew, he 
could not be brought there without risking being 
shot instantly; he was therefore placed in a house 
belonging to us, adjacent to Maguire's, and which only 
served for keeping cattle in winter. One of his sisters 
being informed of his arrival and of his sad condition, 
came and remained with him day and night in this 
waste house ; keeping the door continually wide open 
to prevent suspicion that anyone was concealed there. 
Provisions of one kind or other were brought and left 
with them during the night, by females, whose courage 
and humanity in those terrible times deserve the greatest 
praise. In less than a month Byrne gained sufficient 
strength to get to another hiding-place, and from thence 
finally to Dublin, where I met him the year after, per- 
fectly recovered from his extraordinary wound, with no 
other treatment than that which his poor sister had 
been able to render him. 

I think it right to mention those details, to show how 
the very worst wounds are cured sometimes without sur- 
gical aid. And I think it necessary to speak of our 
long march from Scollagh Gap, to show that those brave 
men who separated from us to go and take refuge in the 
woods of Killaughram, might have passed through the 
country where the horse and car passed on which Jacob 
Byrne was transported to Monaseed, and from this place 
have gone with us until we joined the other division at 
our army at the Gold mines. 



176 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

My brother Hugh's wound being now a great deal 
better, he resolved to march with us, and on no account 
to remain behind My dear sister who never left him 
an instant from the day he received his wound, had now 
to separate from us and go to remain with our mother 
at Buckstown House, and there endeavour to comfort 
and console her in the best way she could. Though 
very young at the time, she was quite adequate to such 
a task, enjoying great moral courage, and a flow of 
spirits which prevented her desponding in the worst of 
times. This happy disposition of our sister made our 
separation from her less painful than it otherwise would 
have been ; besides, we knew she would be safe at 
Buckstown house with our dear mother and the worthy 
Fennell family. 

Before continuing our route to the Gold mines, we 
wished to get news of the different combats which had 
taken place during the last eight days, and indeed it was 
most cheering to receive the accounts we got on arriving 
at Monaseed, of the advantages gained over the King's 
troops in those districts by our forces commanded by 
Anthony Perry, Garrett Byrne, Edward Fitzgerald, 
Esmond Kyan, etc., the victory called " the Bloody 
Friday," the attack on Hacketstown, on Chamney's 
House, Cootalin, Ballygraheen Hill near Shillelagh, and 
the battle and defeat of the Ancient Britons. All those 
details, though given to us by poor females whose hus- 
bands and brothers no doubt shared in those actions, 
we found afterwards to be quite exact ; and the list of 
the names of the unfortunate victims murdered in cold 
blood on the 2Oth and 2ist of June in their houses, 
where they lay sick, unable to escape, by these monsters 
holding commissions from the English Government as 
magistrates and commanders of yeoman corps, was 
accurate indeed. One shudders to think of it. 

Here is one instance of the many, which may serve as 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 177 

an illustration how these foul deeds were perpetrated 
by cowardly monsters who never ventured to meet us 
on the field of battle. 

Hunter Gowan, justice of the peace, captain of a 
corps of yeomen cavalry, knowing that Patrick Bruslaun, 
a near neighbour of his, and with whom he had always 
lived on the most friendly terms, was confined to bed 
with a wound, rode to Bruslaun's house, knocked at the 
door and asked Mrs. Bruslaun in the kindest manner 
respecting her husband's health. "You see," said he, 
pointing to his troops drawn up at a distance from the 
house, " I would not let my men approach, lest they 
might do any injury. Conduct me to your husband's 
room, I want to have a chat with poor Pat." She, not 
having the least suspicion of what was to follow, ushered 
Gowan to her husband's bedside. He put out his hand, 
and after exchanging some words with poor Bruslaun, 
deliberately took out his pistol and shot him through 
the heart. Turning round on his heel he said to the 
unfortunate woman, " You will now be saved the trouble 
of nursing your damned popish rebel husband." 

These details I had from Mrs. Bruslaun's own lips. 
And how many more of the same kind could I not add to 
them, were it of any use now to look back to that awfui 
epoch of English tyranny and slaughter in Ireland? 

Poor Bruslaun was not forty years of age; he left 
three children quite young. He was, without exception, 
one of the bravest men that ever lived He was re- 
spected by everyone who knew him. For my own part 
I loved him from my childhood like a brother. I had 
many first cousins, but to none of them was I so attached 
as to him ; his mother was my father's eldest sister. 

How grievous to think that none of those would-be 
patriotic writers on Irish affairs had courage to go, even 
some years after 1798, when no danger could await them, 
through those counties, and there collect materials, and 



178 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

where previous to the insurrection so many cold-blooded 
murders were perpetrated on the innocent and peaceable 
inhabitants by these magistrates holding commissions 
as justices of the peace, as colonels of militia regiments, 
and as chiefs of yeomanry corps, and who were a dis- 
grace to humanity and everything sacred on earth ! 

I was " residing," or in other words hiding at Booters- 
town Lane near Dublin, in the winter of 1799. The 
Parish Priest there, the Reverend Father Connelly, on 
whom I sometimes called, asked me one night if I would 
have any objection to go to town, to meet a friend of 
his who was preparing something for the Press, on the 
causes which brought about the insurrection. I answered 
I had none whatever to go and see any friend of his, 
whom I presumed was like himself, a staunch patriot. 
He smiled and told me that the gentleman was Coun- 
sellor MacCanna, and that he would fix a night with 
him when it would be convenient and safe to receive me 
at his house in Dublin. He added how Mr. MacCanna 
wished to be acquainted with those from whom he could 
acquire information respecting the murders committed 
previous to the breaking out of the insurrection, at 
Carnew and in that neighbourhood by the magistrates of 
the district, and especially those perpetrated by Hunter 
Gowan previous to the rising. " I told Mr. MacCanna," 
said Father Connelly, " that you, being from that coun- 
try, would put him in the way of obtaining all he 
required." 

According to appointment, I waited on Counsellor 
MacCanna, at his dwelling place in Dublin, and there 
furnished him with the names of numbers of those who 
were slaughtered at the little town of Carnew and else- 
where previous to the insurrection ; in short, I gave him 
all the information on that subject which I thought could 
lead to a perfect discovery of the instigators and authors 
of those cold-blooded murders. I gave him the names 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. I?g 

of the magistrates who presided at those executions in 
the hall court of the castle of Carnew, and mentioned 
particularly Cope, the Protestant minister and justice 
of the peace of the district, who acted as prime execu- 
tioner in that tragical scene. Mr. MacCanna told me, all 
I mentioned to him should be verified on the spot, and 
that he would avail himself of every occasion to procure 
such information as would tend to a complete exposure 
of the infamous expedients resorted to by the Irish 
Government of that epoch, and which sanctioned those 
murders in almost every district in Ireland. 

I left Mr. MacCanna highly flattered by his kind 
reception, and could not help admiring his ardent manner 
in speaking of the cruel transactions which were carrying 
on at the time to destroy every vestige of Irish liberty. 
His great zeal on this occasion did not surprise me, as 
I knew he was a Roman Catholic, and that his principal 
aim would be to prove to the world that the Irish people 
were not making a religious struggle, but were carrying 
on a just war of self-defence against the most unheard-of 
tyranny, exercised by the English agents, and the vile 
creatures they hired in Ireland to aid and assist them 
in the perpetration of all their monstrous, cold-blooded 
murders. 

When I returned to Booterstown Lane and told the 
worthy patriot Father Connelly of my most agreeable 
interview with his valued friend Counsellor MacCanna, 
he was quite enchanted, and said we might soon expect 
to see something appropriate to the times we lived in 
published from the pen of this highly gifted man, whose 
talents for writing were then well known, as was also 
his great devotion to the interest of Ireland. 

Having learned at Monaseed everything respecting 
the enemy's position, and that we should only have to 
fight their cavalry, we marched off to join the other 
division of our army, which, we were informed, was 



l8o MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

encamped near the Gold mines. Both my brother Hugh 
and I, knowing every part of this country we had to 
pass through, felt the greatest confidence that we should 
be able to fight our way, though our numbers were 
diminished in consequence of our long march from 
Scollagh Gap. Many of these brave men likewise, 
passing near their homes, naturally wished to go and 
see what had become of their families in their absence. 
Still we had a sufficient number to make head against 
any corps of cavalry ; indeed fifty pikemen and three or 
four gunsmen would have sufficed at that moment to 
prevent these dastards from approaching our column. 
Such was their fear, since the recent lesson they had 
received the day the Ancient Britons were defeated, that 
the sight of a car abandoned on the way, or drawn across 
the road, made them halt and cease their pursuit, lest 
they should be surprised and fall into an ambuscade 
prepared by our forces; and from the experience we 
acquired in our long march from Scollagh Gap, I am 
convinced that with six companies of pikemen well 
organized, and about six or eight good marksmen with 
rifle carbines and plenty of ammunition, attached to each 
company, we could have crossed the country in every 
direction in spite of the cavalry that could have been 
brought against us ; for the moment a cavalry corps 
attempted to charge, our men would quit the road and 
get behind some hedge or ditch, and there wait until the 
cavalry was sufficiently near to be sure to take a few 
of them down at the first volley, when it was certain the 
remainder would wheel about and escape; besides, if 
no means of erecting an obstacle was at hand, we had 
always the resource of immediately forming our pikemen 
into a solid hollow square, which certainly would not be 
broken by the cowardly cavalry we had to engage with 
at that epoch. 

No country in the world, except La Vendee in France, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. l8l 

offers the same advantages for making war against 
cavalry as Ireland, on account of the smallness of the 
fields, and the very high fences with which they are 
surrounded in every part. How curious it is, we had no 
instance of those bold fox hunters who composed the 
yeomen cavalry corps (and whose horses never refused 
leaping any kind of fence), making a charge through 
fields to attack even twenty of our pikemen who kept 
well together ; but a single isolated man was sure to be 
pursued and cut down by them. Poor Ned Kennedy of 
Ballyellis, passing at some distance from his own place, 
left us to go and inquire about his family ; being alone, 
a troop of horse attacked him, but before they could kill 
him he wounded three of them with his pike in a des- 
perate manner. Had Kennedy had a dozen of brave 
fellows like himself along with him at the time, probably 
the troop would not have ventured on so perilous a 
combat. He was away at some distance from our little 
column, and that sufficed to give courage to the fox- 
hunters. To conclude this chapter I shall mention the 
heartfelt delight we experienced on meeting at the 
White Heaps the other division of our army, which we 
so much longed to join. It was on its march from the 
Gold mines. We returned with it to Ballyfad, where we 
bivouacked for the night. 

I need not say how glad we were to see again so many 
of the chiefs with this division, and all looking tolerably 
well, viz. : Anthony Perry, Garrett Byrne, E. Fitzgerald, 
Esmond Kyan, Edward Roche, etc., but alas! many 
others were missing. The splendid Ned Fennell, 
Johnny Doyle, and several of my dearest friends were 
killed in different combats whilst we were fighting at 
Castlecomer. However, the friend of my childhood 
and with whom I began my United Irish career, the 
brave and truly patriotic Nick Murphy of Monaseed, 
was here ; and although he was suffering sadly from a 



182 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

fall and sprained foot, which obliged him to ride behind 
a man on a pillion, still he did not despond. He did 
not despair of our being able to keep the field and making 
head against the enemy, until relief in ammunition could 
be procured, even from some neutral country not at war 
with England. It was at this juncture that Murphy and 
I had to lament the loss of our large jar of powder, 
which the unfortunate Jack Sheridan discovered and 
surrendered to Hunter Gowan and by which Sheridan 
escaped being put to death. The want we were in of 
ammunition often was the cause which induced us to go 
and attack barracks and houses where we thought we 
might have a chance of procuring some. By these 
perilous and rash attacks the lives of the bravest of our 
men were sacrificed, which would have been avoided if 
we had had a competent supply of powder and ball to 
carry on a defensive campaign, whilst waiting the assist- 
ance we hourly expected from France. It was even 
hoped at the time that when a proper application would 
be made by our friends in America, that the brave people 
of that country would hasten to send us arms and 
ammunition. They have since, in the Greek struggle to 
shake off the Turkish yoke, afforded the most important 
service to that nation, by sending there provisions of 
every kind. 

From the neutral powers of the Continent we had 
nothing to expect ; on the contrary, they were furnishing 
their Hessian soldiers to our enemies the English, to aid 
and assist them in ravaging and plundering poor Ireland. 
Thus we were doomed to be left to our own resources ; 
and still, if all those who took the United Irish test, had 
been of the same stamp as the brave Nick Murphy of 
Monaseed, we should have succeeded in prolonging the 
war until we should have awakened the sympathy of 
some generous nation in our favour. He was, I must 
say, without exception, one of the most determined men 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 183 

engaged in our struggle. He never thought that he could 
do half enough to forward the sacred cause we had 
undertaken. He was high-spirited and honourable, liked 
by all who knew him, simple and unpretending in his 
manners, and very well informed. He was handsome, 
active, and well made, though rather slight; he was 
twenty-four years of age. 

After the disasters at the Boyne, Murphy escaped to 
Dublin, and was hiding at Mr. Dillon's house, Merchant's 
Quay, where he received the kindest hospitality. He 
passed several months there as one of the clerks of the 
establishment, when one morning a servant came to tell 
him that a country carman was in the hall who had a 
letter for him from his mother, and which he wished to 
deliver himself in person. Murphy hastened down stairs 
to the hall, when the carman, all covered with mud, and 
wearing a pair of big brogues, presented him a letter, 
the seal of which he broke without hesitation, seeing it 
was to his address ; on which the carman opened his 
great coat and drew a cocked pistol, levelling it at his 
breast and telling him not to stir or he would shoot him 
on the spot, that he was his prisoner, etc. Fortunately 
Murphy caught the lock of the pistol with his left hand, 
the forefinger or index of which got between the hammer 
and the flint, which prevented it going off. The finger 
was cut to the bone with the flint. This wound saved 
his life ; but now a desperate struggle ensued between 
the disguised carman and Murphy. Luckily the latter 
knew well how to wrestle, and at length succeeded in 
tripping up his antagonist and getting away through the 
back yard and up to a hay loft, from which he got out 
on the roofs of houses and escaped down into a street 
in the rear. 

When the false carman got up, he hastened to open 
the hall door and to call Major Sirr and his gang to his 
assistance. They entered and also surrounded Mr. 



184 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Dillon's house, sword in hand, pistols cocked, etc. The 
dastardly Town Major took the same precautions on this 
occasion which he did the day he shot poor Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald at Murphy's house in Thomas Street. Seeing 
a heap of straw in the coach-house, and perceiving some- 
thing stir in it, he instantly ordered his men to advance 
and fire a volley into the straw, by which he expected 
Nick Murphy, if not killed, would at least be maimed, so 
as to prevent him offering any further resistance. His 
dismay must have been great indeed when he discovered 
that it was not Murphy, but a beautiful pointer and her 
little puppies that were killed by those fellows, whom he 
made march before him, to cover his sacred person from 
all danger. Mr. Dillon's house was soon surrounded and 
rummaged from one end to the other in every hole and 
corner capable of containing a living being, and the 
adjacent houses were not only searched, but guards left 
to watch every issue leading to them. 

Notwithstanding all these precautions, Murphy found 
a safe place to conceal himself, and baffled Major Sirr 
and his band of ruffians for the moment. Indeed it is 
only justice to say that the Dublin people of 1798, 
though they did not rise en masse and erect bar- 
ricades, as they ought to have done, yet were they ever 
ready to receive and render service to those patriots who 
were driven to take refuge in the city to escape from 
the most cruel and unheard-of tortures and murder 
hourly perpetrated in the provinces of Ireland. 

From his hiding-place Murphy found means to inform 
his poor mother who resided in Wexford, of his fortunate 
escape and actual perilous situation. This worthy 
woman hastened to send him all the money she could 
make up, by her daughter Nancy, who came by sea to 
Dublin, and arrived there just in time to see her brother, 
and to hand him the money to pay his passage to Ham- 
burg, a vessel bound for that city being under weigh, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 185 

and clearing out from the Custom House Dock, and in 
which Murphy lay concealed. He had only time to take 
a sad farewell of his beloved sister, who returned the 
same night to Wexford to endeavour to comfort their 
aged mother in her present affliction. 

After running many perils at sea, Murphy escaped 
from the English cruisers and arrived safely at Hamburg, 
and from thence he hastened to Paris, to offer his 
services to the French Government, to accompany any 
expedition destined for Ireland. He waited several 
years in France, always in hope that sooner or later 
something would be done for his unfortunate country. 
At length, despairing of any aid ever being obtained for 
her from France, and having exhausted all the little 
resources which his mother had been able to provide, and 
by which she was reduced to very straitened circum- 
stances, being in great distress, he manfully decided on 
returning at any risk to find some employment by which 
he would be enabled to support his mother and sister. 
He could not think of ever returning to Monaseed ; 
besides the little property he had there was sold He 
stopped at Enniscorthy, and there became an agent or 
corn factor for merchants. He soon acquired an honour- 
able independence. The principal person by whom he 
was employed was that benevolent and charitable gentle- 
man, Richard Devereux of Wexford. 

Murphy finished his days in sight of Vinegar Hill, 
where he displayed so much bravery on the 2ist of 
June, 1798. Few men ever had a higher sense 
of honour and self-respect than Murphy. He 
was proud, not vain; he never sought the acquaint- 
ance of those rich Catholics whose fathers were the 
tithe-proctors of the cruel ascendancy, by whose avarice 
the wealth and resources of poor Ireland were hourly 
exhausted 



l86 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Although we did not muster very strong the day we 
joined the other division at the White Heaps, yet vast 
numbers of those who remained behind to enquire after 
the families, when we passed Scollagh Gap, rallied during 
the night at our bivouac at Ballyfad and were con- 
sidered a timely reinforcement and welcomed as such 
in the best way, by getting something to eat and drink 
from their comrades. I regretted not to see A. Perry the 
first evening, but I met him next day in the thick of the 
fight at the battle of Ballygullen, an account of which I 
shall give in the next chapter, after first relating the 
different battles and combats fought by this division 
which crossed the wooden bridge at Wexford on the 
2 ist of June, commanded by Edward Fitzgerald, A. 
Perry, Edward Roche, Esmond Kyan, etc., up to this 
day, the 3rd of July, 1798, at Ballyfad. 



CHAPTER VI. 

I HAVE described in the fifth chapter the unaccountable 
way our army separated into two divisions at Wexford 
on the 2 ist of June, after the loss of the battle of Vinegar 
Hill ; and I have related in the same chapter the march, 
combats and engagements with the enemy by the division 
which left Wexford unde the command of Father John 
Murphy, in the direction of Sleedagh (barony of Bargy). 
I will now continue to give an account of the progress of 
the other division of our army which crossed the wooden 
bridge at Wexford on the same day, the 2ist of June, 
under the command of the following chiefs, Edward 
Fitzgerald, Edward Roche, Anthony Perry, Esmond 
Kyan, etc. This division had to march with the greatest 
precaution, as all the roads leading to Wexford were 
supposed to be intercepted by the enemy's forces from 
Enniscorthy. However, though marching on the flank 
of the English, it arrived late in the evening at Peppard's 
Castle, a distance of ten or twelve miles from Wexford, 
where it bivouacked that night ; thus leaving the 
English General-in-Chief Lake's headquarters at nearly 
the same distance behind it at Enniscorthy. 

Early in the morning of the 22nd of June, the principal 
leaders of the division decided at the council of war they 
held, to march forthwith by the shortest and surest route 
to the Wicklow mountains, and there to choose a good 
military position against the enemy, where they 
might avoid being forced to risk another general battle, 
until some ammunition, now so much wanted, could be 
procured, one way or other. 

This division of our army that should have mustered 
at least twenty thousand men, shewed a great falling-off, 



l88 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

as well as the other division with Father John Murphy, 
in consequence of the great hopes held out that Lord 
Kingsborough's embassy to General Lake would be 
successful. Vast numbers of the best marksmen 
remained behind, waiting the return of their delegates 
from the enemy's headquarters at Enniscorthy ; but 
Fitzgerald and the other chiefs were not to be deluded 
by the Wexford negotiations ; they were more deter- 
mined than ever to keep the field and harass the enemy 
in every possible way and gain time and prolong the war 
until assistance arrived from France, which was now 
daily expected 

When the English forces left in reserve at Arklow and 
Gorey, by General Needham, to cover the rear of General 
Lake's army before Vinegar Hill, heard that we had lost 
the battle there, and were told also that our army was 
dispersed and nearly exterminated and not likely ever to 
be able to rally and assemble again, they took courage 
and sallied out from those towns. They began to murder 
all they met, crossed and scoured the country in every 
direction, entered the houses, killing those even who lay 
sick, plundering and robbing the people of everything 
they thought worth taking away. 

The troops which composed this infernal band were 
the Ancient Britons, a cavalry regiment, and several 
English infantry regiments with all the yeomanry corps 
of the country, who were commanded by their Orange 
chiefs, viz. : Hunter Gowan of Mount Nebo, Beaumont 
of Hyde Park, Ram of Gorey, Earl Courtown, White 
of Middleton, Earl Mountnorris, etc. These cowards 
were at their work of extermination on Friday, the 22nd 
of June, when a division of our army on its way to the 
Wicklow mountains came up. They saw several women 
lying with their bowels ripped up and young children 
grasped in their arms ; they became furious at the sight 
cf such horrors, and a general cry for vengeance ran 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 180, 

through the column. The route was changed and 
orders given to scour the country on each side of the 
road to Gorey: those savages were found in various 
houses, committing all kinds of crimes ; they were 
beaten and driven back upon Gorey, where they 
attempted to rally and give battle, but here again they 
were defeated and pursued on the road to Arklow with 
great loss. This town would have been abandoned by 
the English troops had our generals thought it advisable 
to march thither and take possession of it; but they 
wished to keep nearer the Wicklow mountains and were 
satisfied with the complete victory gained over the 
enemy at Gorey, and in the pursuit as far as Coolgreany, 
where vast numbers of those assassins were slain by our 
intrepid men, who were all well mounted and prepared 
for the pursuit. The main body remaining at Gorey to 
get refreshments, orders were sent to all our out-scouting 
parties to return and rally the division there. When 
all had rejoined the column, they marched in the direc- 
tion of Wicklow Gap at the foot of Craghen Hill, to 
bivouac there for the night. 

The humane and generous conduct of that truly brave 
man Edward Fitzgerald of New Park, can never be too 
much praised. For whilst he was using all his influence 
to save the English and Orange prisoners made at 
Gorey, the news of the burning and complete destruction 
of his own beautiful mansion, with its offices", malt- 
house, etc., amounting in value to many thousand pounds, 
was brought to him by some of his faithful servants wha 
had escaped from the flames and the rage of the English 
soldiers sent by General Lake to execute those cruel 
deeds. This melancholy intelligence Mr. Fitzgerald 
heard with the greatest composure and fortitude ; it only 
seemed to make him exert himself the more to save the 
lives of the prisoners, which became now every moment 
more difficult, in consequence of the bodies of nine of 



190 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

our men, who had been hung the day before, having 
been discovered by their relations in the streets, where 
the swine were devouring them. Some were also found 
lying in the streets expiring, having been recently shot. 
The rage of our men at the sight of such horrors was 
such that it was with the utmost difficulty Edward 
Fitzgerald and the other chiefs prevented them burning 
the town of Gorey, and the old governor or sovereign of 
it, Mr. Pippard, from being shot. It was averred that 
he had presided at the execution of our unfortunate men 
the day before. He was a very old man, and defended 
himself by saying that he was forced to comply with 
the wishes of the vile soldiery and Orange mob, who 
had been spreading death and destruction through every 
part of the country, when they were told that our defeat 
at Vinegar Hill was such that we could never rally again. 

It is scarcely possible to describe the horrors and 
atrocities exhibited on this occasion. Unprotected 
females of all ages became the prey of the brutality of 
those ruffian English soldiery ; women and children were 
the victims of their indiscrimmating fury. This dreadful 
day is known since by tradition in the country as 
"Bloody Friday," which was the 22nd of June, 1798. 

A sudden and well-merited vengeance, however, 
overtook many of these monsters caught in the midst of 
their crimes ; but the principal chiefs and instigators of 
such foul deeds, being well mounted, escaped to Arklow. 
Hunter Gowan and the greater number of the com- 
manders of yeomen cavalry who were seldom, or rather 
never to be met in battle, shed more innocent blood, 
going from house to house murdering all they met, than 
those who fought their battles. 

However painful it is to look back on those horrible 
times, having had some of my own dearest relations and 
best friends murdered in cold blood, I cannot refrain 
from repeating in this narrative the names of some of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 19! 

the perpetrators of these cruel deeds, who in their double 
capacity of magistrates and captains of yeomanry, not 
only ordered, but presided at the execution of men, 
many of whom were aged and had never left their houses 
during the war, nor taken any part in it. My uncle, 
Mr. Breen of Castletown, was one of those, but his 
neutrality did not save him. 

In another chapter I have told the treacherous manner 
in which Captain Beaumont of Hyde Park had both him 
and his son Pat murdered in the presence of my aunt 
Breen and her four daughters on the lawn before the 
hall door. Beaumont, who was escorted by a detach- 
ment of cavalry, knocked at the door and asked to see 
my uncle, with whom he was on the most friendly terms. 
As soon as Mr. Breen came out, Beaumont's first ques- 
tion was: "Are your sons Pat and Miles at home?" 
" Certainly ; where should they be ?" was the answer of 
the poor father. " Well, let them appear, or those men 
who accompany me won't believe it." When they came 
out the father and the eldest son Pat were placed on 
their knees and immediately shot. Miles, who was only 
sixteen years of age, was sent prisoner to Arklow, and 
from thence aboard a guard-ship in the Bay of Dublin. 

No pen can describe the dreadful state of my unfor- 
tunate aunt and her four daughters at this awful 
moment. To add to their misery, one of the assassins 
had the brutality to tell the eldest daughter Mrs. Kinsela, 
who had been married but a year or two before, that 
she would find something else to weep over when she 
returned home. She had come but half an hour before 
to visit her family; her own place being but a short 
mile from her father's house. As the monster told her, 
when she went home she found her husband lying dead 
in the court-yard, and a young child of a few months old 
in his arms. The unfortunate man had taken it out of 
its cradle, thinking that the sight of the poor infant 



192 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

might soften Beaumont's heart and incline him to mercy. 
But this staunch supporter of the Protestant ascendancy 
could not let so good an opportunity pass of proving his 
loyalty to his king, by thus exterminating a Catholic 
neighbour. Yet, strange to say, his own three sisters 
were very strict Roman Catholics and respectable ladies 
holding a certain station amongst the Catholic gentry 
of the country. They were Mrs. William Talbot of 
Castle Talbot, Mrs. Barry Lawless of Shank Hill, and 
Miss Mary Beaumont. I have met all these ladies in 
company at Paris after the restoration of the Bourbons. 
Of course I had no conversation with them on the cold- 
blooded murders perpetrated in our unfortunate coun- 
try ; I presume they lamented the active part their 
brother took in these horrible deeds. 

I met also in Paris Mrs. Butler, a daughter of that 
notorious monster Hunter Gowan. It was well known 
that neither this lady nor any of her thirteen sisters (all 
of whom were unmarried at the time of the insurrection), 
ever took the least pains to mollify their father, or turn 
him from his cruel propensity to spilling blood ; on the 
contrary, they seemed to take delight and to be amused 
preparing the poor " croppies " heads for receiving the 
pitch caps, cutting the hair, and making what they 
called asses crosses on them, previous to the application 
of this infernal blistering invention of torture, which was 
introduced into the county of Wexford by the colonel 
of the North Cork Militia, Lord Kingsborough and his 
vile Orange associates. After all this, and the piquet- 
ing, half-hanging and flogging which the magistrates 
had recourse to, are our poor people to be blamed 
for the reprisals they were goaded on to inflict? No 
doubt, cold-blooded murders must ever disgrace the 
most sacred cause, and the perpetrators of them should 
be held up to everlasting execration by all brave men, 
and nothing can excuse the burning of the barn at 






MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 193 

Scullabogue with the prisoners it contained ; yet it never 
appeared that it was a premeditated action ; it could only 
have been the act of some cowardly ruffians escaping 
from the battle of Ross, and never could be attributed 
to anyone above the meanest vulgar wretch ; and the 
cowardly Dixon who got the prisoners put to death on 
the bridge of Wexford, was a seafaring " cannibal," who 
took advantage of the chiefs being away at the camp, 
to commit this atrocious crime. These brave leaders 
would have saved liberty this lamentable disgrace ; not 
one of them ever suffered or countenanced such re- 
prisals. On the side of the English army, the cold- 
blooded murders were perpetrated at the instigation of 
the generals in command, who not only presided at the 
executions, but allowed their undisciplined soldiers to 
enter the houses and violate the unfortunate women, 
who had no means of escaping from these brutal mon- 
sters. To the honour of our army, there was not a 
single instance of a female belonging to the enemy ever 
being molested during the war, and no place of worship 
of any religion was ever desecrated, whilst thirty-three 
Roman Catholic chapels were burned to the ground. 
The Protestant church of Old Ross was burned on the 
second of June, 1798 ; it was said to have been burned 
by accident ; at all events it was the only one. 

The exhausted state of the county of Wexford with 
regard to provisions at this season of the year, when the 
new crops were far from being ripe, was now sorely felt 
by our little army, as well as the want of powder and 
ball, and notwithstanding the brilliant victory gained 
over the enemy at Gorey, it became necessary to march 
to the Wicklow mountains, where at least sheep could 
be easily procured. 

Garrett Byrne of Ballymanus approaching now his 
own country, was consulted on every occasion by 
Fitzgerald and the other chiefs, and indeed he seemed 

o 



IQ4 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

to have the principal command, that is, his suggestions 
and plans were followed for some days. 

From our camp near the White Heaps, at the foot of 
Craghan Hill, on the 23rd of June, several corps of the 
enemy's cavalry were seen at a distance on the road to 
Arklow, but they did not venture to advance or approach 
our column ; and those of the enemy's corps coming 
from the other direction were attacked and dispersed in 
a short combat, and they soon disappeared altogether. 
So skirmishing ceased for that day, and time was 
afforded us to procure provisions of one kind or another ; 
sheep were killed, roasted, or dressed as well as could 
be done under such circumstances. Ball cartridges was 
what our army stood most in need of ; a scanty supply 
was, however, obtained by the victory at Gorey. The 
ammunition that was found in the Orange houses tnere, 
with what was got on the prisoners, sufficed to raise the 
spirits of the men and make them wish to be led on to 
new attacks and to other towns where provisions and 
ammunition might be had. 

Garrett Byrne thought a march first towards the small 
town of Aughrim advisable, as affording the men cf that 
neighbourhood the means of quitting their hiding-places, 
and of rejoining their corps. He counselled afterwards 
a march back to the county of Wexford, in order to give 
the men who took refuge in the woods of Killaughrarn 
after the battle of Vinegar Hill, an oppoitunity of 
marching from those woods with safety in spite of 
General Lake's army at Enniscorthy and Wexford. 

It was during those marches and countermarches, that 
the undaunted Father Kearns, some days later, with a 
large body of men whom he headed, marched out from 
the woods of Killaughrarn and rejoined our division. 
The wound which he received defending the town of 
Enniscorthy on the 2ist of June, when he replaced the 
brave William Barker in the command (he who had his 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 195 

arm carried off), was still far from being in a healing 
state, but he preferred the risk of being killed in battle 
rather than to be found hiding and then to be shot like 
a dog. 

On the 24th of June, as on the day before, there was 
very little skirmishing ; the enemy's cavalry were dis- 
persed by our gunsmen in every attempt they made to 
attack us. 

On entering Aughrim and several villages of the neigh- 
bourhood, our column was shocked to see dead bodies 
strewed on the high road. These unhappy people had 
been murdered a day or two before by the cruel yeomanry 
of the town of Rathdrum. A general cry of indignation 
was raised, and a march on this town was first decided on, 
but Garrett Byrne thought there would be a better 
chance of finding ammunition in the barracks at Hackets- 
town, where, by the private information he had just 
received from that quarter, he learned a large depot of 
ball cartridges had been deposited there a few days 
before. Of course there was no time to be lost. So, 
early in the morining of the 25th of June, the small Irish 
army left its bivouac and marched to attack the town 
and barracks of Hacketstown, and during the march the 
enemy's cavalry were in every attack which they made, 
repulsed and beaten back towards the town, where their 
infantry was drawn up in line in a field just outside the 
place, prepared for a general battle ; but our pikemen 
in this instance dashing forward in the most resolute 
manner, soon threw this infantry into the greatest con- 
fusion, and forced them to retreat and abandon their 
position. After leaving Captain Hardy and many others 
dead in the field, they took refuge in the barracks; 
whilst the English cavalry fled and escaped through the 
town in the greatest disorder on the high road to Tullow. 
The town being thus abandoned offered no resistance, 
as all the Orangemen of the population who had fire- 



196 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

arms repaired to the barracks and there took shelter with 
the English troops. A general attack immediately com- 
menced on those barracks and a malt-house adjoining ; 
but all the windows and doors being completely barri- 
caded and a tremendous fire kept up from within, it 
became necessary to use every kind of stratagem to 
approach it ; feather beds were brought, loads of straw, 
etc., under cover of which the men expected to get safe 
to the doors ; but unfortunately numbers were killed or 
wounded in those attempts, which were continually 
renewed for several hours. It was leading one of those 
attacks that the brave Ned Fennell was killed, at the 
head of the men he had so often led on to victory. The 
death of this intrepid young man threw a great damp 
for the moment over those who saw him fall, but they 
soon rallied with new vigour to be revenged for his loss. 

Being without cannon, it could not be expected that 
the garrison would in fear surrender before it became 
dark night. Thenj, indeed, no alternative was left but to 
be burned, or to escape through the flames. For this 
purpose it was resolved to wait before the town until 
night came on, but a large force of infantry and cavalry 
of the enemy being perceived on a hill at some distance 
during the action, Garrett Byrne and the other chiefs 
were induced to relinquish their plan of a night attack. 
Accordingly, orders were given to bury the dead and to 
have all the wounded carried carefully away and placed 
on cars, to be ready to march in the centre of the 
column, which was assembled, and set out in the direc- 
tion of Baltinglass and Donard, bringing cattle and some 
sheep to serve for the next day's provision. Powder and 
ball were found in some of the houses in town, but in 
very small quantities ; and it is probable that had the 
barracks been taken, little would have been found there 
either. 

The English troops retreated on Tullow the moment 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 197 

they found our army had raised the siege and marched 
away ; of course they carried with them all the ammuni- 
tion which had been deposited in the barracks. Thus 
terminated the attack on Hacketstown, which cost so 
dearly. A better result might have been hoped for 
after the sacrifice of the fine fellows who fell during the 
action. 

The next day, the 26th of June, both Edward Fitz- 
gerald, Perry, and indeed almost all the chiefs thought it 
more prudent to keep in the Wicklow mountains on the 
borders of the county of Wexford, to afford the men of 
this county a rallying point, which they required, having 
being so dispersed after the battle of Vinegar Hill ; and 
in consequence of this resolution, the little Irish army 
marched towards Craghan Hill ; the enemy's cavalry 
from Arklow, Gorey, and other towns, were continually 
seen at a distance, but they seldom ventured to engage 
in combat with our men, so that the 2/th and 28th 
passed with very little skirmishing. 

Early in the morning of the 2Qth of June it was 
resolved to march and attack the town of Carnew. The 
column was halted at Monaseed to repose and take some 
kind of refreshments, which were indeed difficult to be 
had, as every house had been plundered by the English 
troops on their way to Vinegar Hill a few days before. 

The Irish column resumed its march on the high road 
to Carnew, and in less than half an hour after its de- 
parture a large division of English cavalry sent from 
Gorey by General Needham, marched into Monaseed. 
This division consisted of the notorious Ancient Britons, 
a cavalry regiment which had committed all sorts of 
crimes when placed on free quarters with the unfortunate 
inhabitants previous to the rising. This infernal regi- 
ment was accompanied by all the yeomen cavalry corps 
from Arklow, Gorey, Coolgreany, etc., and the chiefs of 
those corps, such as Hunter Gowan, Beaumont of Hyde 



I9 8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Park, Earl Mountnorris, Earl Courtown, Ram, Hawtry, 
White, etc., could boast as well as the Ancient Britons 
of having committed cold-blooded murders on an un- 
armed country people. But they never had the courage 
to meet us on the field of battle, as will be seen by the 
dastardly way they abandoned the Ancient Britons at 
Ballyellis. 

The officers of the Ancient Britons, as well as those of 
the yeomen corps, learned that the Irish forces had just 
marched off on the road to Carnew, and were informed 
at a public house that the insurgents who had been there, 
were complaining how they were fatigued to death by 
the continual marching and countermarching, and that 
although they had fire-arms, their ammunition was com- 
pletely exhausted, and scarce a ball cartridge remained 
in their army. The truth of this information could not 
be doubted ; it was acquired at an inn or public house 
at Monaseed kept by the widow of a yeoman, Mr. James 
Moore, cousin to Captain Thomas Grogan Knox, and 
who was killed at the battle of Arklow on the Qth of 
June. Grogan was killed at the same time at his side. 
All the information coming through so sure a channel, 
encouraged the English troops to pursue without delay 
the insurgents, and to cut them down and exterminate 
them to the last man, for they could not resist without 
ammunition. The Ancient Britons were to charge on 
the road, whilst the yeomen cavalry, being so well 
mounted, were to cover the flanks and to march through 
the field ; and those fox hunters promised that not one 
Croppy should escape their vengeance. 

All being thus settled, and plenty of whiskey distri- 
buted to the English soldiers, the march to overtake the 
insurgents commenced, and when about two miles from 
Monaseed, at Ballyellis, one mile from Carnew, the 
Ancient Britons being in full gallop charging, and as 
they thought, driving all before them, to their great sur- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 199 

prise were suddenly stopped by a barricade of cars 
thrown across the road, and at the same moment that 
the head of the column was thus stopped, the rear was 
attacked by a mass of pikemen who sallied out from 
behind a wall, and completely shut up the road, as soon 
as the last of the cavalry had passed. The remains or 
ruins of an old deer park wall on the right-hand side of 
the road ran along for about half a mile ; in many parts 
it was not more than three or four feet high. All along 
the inside of this our gunsmen and pikemen were placed. 
On the left hand side of the road, there was an immense 
ditch with swampy ground, which few horses could be 
found to leap. In this advantageous situation for our 
men the battle began ; the gunsmen, half -covered, firing 
from behind the wall, whilst the English cavalry, though 
well mounted, could only make use of their carbines and 
pistols, for with their sabres they were unable to ward 
off the thrusts of our pikemen, who sallied out on them 
in the most determined manner. 

Thus in less than an hour this infamous regiment, 
which had been the horror of the country, was slain to 
the last man, as well as the few yeomen cavalry who had 
the courage to take part in the action. For all those who 
quit their horses and got into the fields were followed 
and piked on the marshy ground The greater part of 
the numerous cavalry corps which accompanied the 
Ancient Britons, kept on a rising ground to the right 
side of the road at some distance during the battle, and 
as soon as the result of it was known, they fled in the 
most cowardly way in every direction, both dismayed 
and disappointed that they had no opportunity on this 
memorable day of murdering the stragglers, as was their 
custom on such occasions. I say " memorable," for, 
during the war, no action occurred which made so great 
a sensation in the country; as it proved to the enemy, 
that whenever our pikemen were well commanded and 



200 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

kept in close order, they were invulnerable. And, besides, 
it served to elate the courage and desire of our men to be 
led forthwith to new combats. 

The English troops that marched out from Carnew 
retreated back on the town in great haste when they 
heard of the defeat of the Ancient Britons at Ballyellis. 
The infantry finding that they were closely pursued by 
our men, barricaded themselves in a large malt-house 
belonging to Bob Blaney. This malt-house was spared 
at the time of the first attack on Carnew, when the 
greater part of the town was burned, on account of the 
upright and humane conduct of the owner, Mr. Blaney. 
Now it had become a formidable and well fortified bar- 
rack, capable of holding out a long time, particularly as 
our army had no cannon to bring to bear against it. 
However, it was instantly attacked, and great efforts 
made to dislodge the enemy, who kept up a continual fire 
from all the windows ; and, as at Hacketstown, every 
means were taken to approach the doors under the 
cover of beds, straw, etc., but without success, as the 
men were wounded through the beds and straw before 
they could reach the doors. So it became necessary to 
wait till night came on, when the garrison which occupied 
this malt-house would have had no other alternative left 
it but to surrender at discretion or be consumed to ashes. 

Edward Fitzgerald and the other chiefs deemed it 
more prudent, however, to raise the siege and to take a 
military position on Kilcavin Hill for the night, rather 
than remain before the barracks or malt-house ; knowing 
well that General Needham who commanded the English 
forces at Gorey, as also the English troops at Ferns and 
Newtownbarry, would make a forced march to relieve 
Carnew, and if possible endeavour to obtain some kind 
of revenge for the destruction of their favourite Ancient 
Britons, whom they so cowardly abandoned at Ballyellis 
to their dismal and well-earned doom. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 2OI 

The horses belonging to the Ancient Britons, which 
were taken during the action, were of little use, being 
mostly badly wounded ; but the ammunition, carbines, 
pistols and sabres which were procured by this victory 
roused and encouraged the men to wish for more com- 
bats and to be brought against the enemy in the open 
field, now that they had a better supply of powder and 
ball, of which they stood in such need 

Another and a still greater advantage was obtained by 
this victory; it made the prestige or illusion vanish 
respecting the pre-eminence or superiority of the English 
cavalry, in a country so hedged and fenced with all kinds 
of dikes and ditches as Ireland is, in almost every county. 
With these obstacles, the different chains of mountains 
would considerably add to the difficulty of cavalry acting 
against pikemen. Besides this^ the defeat of the Ancient 
Britons at this critical moment threw the slur of cowardice 
over the high and cruel ascendancy, as well as on all 
those of the Orange faction who had so shamefully 
abandoned those Ancient Britons in the hour of danger, 
with whom they so often assisted in perpetrating the 
cold-blooded murders, when there was no danger to be 
feared. As if to excuse their pusillanimity they asked 
Lord Cornwallis to consider the Irish who fought at the 
battle of Ballyellis as guilty of murder, and thereby to be 
excluded from the amnesty or pardon. As if that action 
were more criminal than the others during the war. 

At an early hour on the 3Oth of June the Irish division 
left its bivouac at Kilcavin Hill and marched in the 
direction of Shillelagh and took up a military position on 
Ballyraheen Hill, and encamped there for the night. The 
next morning, July the 1st, the English forces, both 
cavalry and infantry, were seen in rapid march coming to 
attack the Irish camp on this rising ground ; and no 
doubt, on account of this memorable anniversary of the 
1st of July, the enthusiasm of the Orange yeomanry 



202 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

corps was greatly augmented. They could be seen 
vicing with each other to see who would be first on the 
hill to exterminate the Irish. But the latter soon pre- 
pared for battle, and met them before they had time to 
reach the top of the hill, and began a most successful 
attack on the English line. Here both Irish pikemen 
and gunsmen carried all before them with unexampled 
impetuosity and bravery, so that in less than an hour 
some hundreds of the enemy lay dead and wounded on 
the field of battle. Amongst the dead were Captains 
Chamney and Nixon of the Coolattin and Coolkenna 
corps. Those of the enemy who escaped from the field of 
action fled with the greatest precipitation in all direc- 
tions ; their infantry, being closely pursued by our pike- 
men, was forced into Chamney's house at the foot of the 
hill, whilst the cowardly cavalry, being well mounted, 
disappeared beyond the hills in an instant 

Captain Chamney's mansion now became a fortress 
for the enemy who escaped, it being isolated and slated, 
the infantry from within kept up a galling fire on our 
men, who, however, attacked it with their usual intrepi- 
dity, endeavouring to approach and storm it under cover 
of feather beds, etc. Unfortunately, at this siege, as 
well as at all those hitherto attempted in the same way, 
numbers of our bravest men fell victims to their courage 
before the garrison could be dislodged or forced to sur- 
render, and it was deemed prudent to raise the siege on 
account of the want of artillery and the danger there 
might be in delaying too long, lest our men engaged in 
this attack might be surprised during the night by the 
English troops then presumed to be coming from Tullow, 
Carnew, Carlow, etc., to relieve their comrades besieged 
in Chamney's house. 

Fitzgerald, Garrett Byrne, and the other chiefs, after 
consulting with one another, ordered the division to 
assemble, and when all the men could be rallied, which 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 203 

was more difficult at night to be done, it marched off, 
greatly elated by that day's victory, in the direction of 
Wicklow Gap. No doubt another good supply of ammu- 
nition and fire-arms was obtained, and it was to be re- 
gretted that the siege of Chamney's house could not be 
continued, as there a better supply might have been 
gained. But night attacks being attended with so much 
risk and disorder, should be avoided if possible. 

As the enemy had so frequently escaped destruction 
by taking shelter in isolated, slated houses, when defeated 
in the open field by our pikemen, it became necessary 
to destroy such dwellings. It was a cruel alternative, 
but indispensable after the losses sustained before 
Chamney's house. It would prevent such abodes in 
future becoming strongholds for the English troops, who 
certainly never scrupled burning and destroying all the 
thatched houses of the poor Irish, though they offered no 
means of defence to our forces, who always preferred 
coming to close quarters with the enemy in the open field, 
where our pikemen could be advantageously brought 
into action, as they were on Ballyraheen Hill, when the 
English line could not resist a moment the first charge 
of those intrepid pikemen. 

In consequence of this victory, as well as that of Bally- 
ellis, it was to be expected that General Lake, when 
apprised of those victories, would order all the English 
forces he commanded in the counties of Wexford and 
Carlow to march to the barony of Shillelagh to attack 
our army there. The Irish generals, to avoid a 
general battle as long as possible, ordered a 
rapid march towards Wicklow Gap and the White 
Heaps, where the division arrived and bivouacked 
on the 2nd of July, having had very little skir- 
mishing with the enemy during the march, as their 
cavalry was keeping at a great distance and escaping 
whenever our mounted men approached them. 



204 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Early on the morning of the 3rd of July the Irish army 
marched to the Gold Mines, and after burning the 
English camp which had been formed there in 1795, and 
which was mostly composed of wooden barracks, it re- 
turned by the White Heaps and bivouacked near Ford's 
mansion of Ballyfad, the home of Anthony Perry's 
father-in-law. Inch, the residence of poor Perry, being 
close by, he could visit there for the last time all that 
was dear to him, and take a melancholy view of his own 
handsome place. 

Our camp at Ballyfad being in the proximity of 
Arklow, Gorey, and other towns, where the English 
forces were concentrated, it was expected soon to meet 
them in battle, for which our men were now better 
prepared, on account of the supply of arms and ammu- 
nition procured by our late victories. Besides, numbers 
of the brave men who had been fighting at Castlecomer, 
Scollagh Gap, etc., belonging to the division which was 
commanded by Father John Murphy, rejoined their com- 
rades here ; and Father Moses Kearns, at the head of 
vast numbers coming from the woods of Killaughram 
arrived, so that our Irish army mustered again pretty 
strong, and notwithstanding the irreparable loss of the 
many fine leaders killed in the different actions, such as 
Ned Fennell, Johnny Doyle, Michael Redmond, Dan 
Kervin, etc., and all those also who abandoned their men 
and remained in Wexford county, on the amnesty to be 
obtained through the interference of the vile Lord 
Kingsborough. Yet intrepid chiefs were not wanting. 
We had still at our head, Garrett Byrne, Edward Fitz- 
gerald, Anthony Perry, Esmond Kyan, Edward Roche, 
etc 

I have mentioned in the preceding chapter how I met 
and joined the Irish division on its way back from the 
Gold Mines, and that I was accompanied by my brother 
Hugh and many other brave fellows, who never left me 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 205. 

during our long and perilous march from Scollagh Gap. 
I will now relate what took place at our bivouac the 
same night near Ballyfad, where I met poor Nick 
Murphy, suffering from an accident ; he had his foot 
sprained by a fall he got, which obliged him to ride 
behind a man on a woman's pillion. In this state he 
could not be expected to exert himself much, and the 
Monaseed corps, to which we both belonged, having^ 
lost so many of its best officers, the command of it was 
entrusted to me, which flattered me not a little, as I was 
well known from my infancy to all those brave fellows 
who composed it. 



BATTLE OF BALLYGULLEN ON THE 4TH OF JULY. 

At the dawn of day, after our reconnoitring parties 
returned, our army was roused from its slumber, and 
left its bivouac to go and take a military position on an 
eminence just near and over Ballyfad. I was at the head 
of our column with Esmond Kyan and other officers who 
were going to choose out the situation, when all at once 
reaching this rising ground, we found ourselves en- 
veloped in a thick fog, which, as we advanced, became so 
dense, that it was impossible to distinguish any object 
at twenty feet distance, and after marching some time in 
this obscurity, we at length heard a discharge, or volley 
of musketry, the balls of which came whistling over our 
heads and through our ranks. We knew, of course, that 
this discharge came from the enemy's advanced guard, 
frightened, no doubt, hearing the noise of our approach. 
This discharge was made to give the alarm to their troops 
who were following, for they must have feared falling 
into an ambuscade on account of the fog. But be that as 
it might, we returned back immediately to Ballyfad and 
took another direction until the fog should disappear 



206 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

and the day become brighter, in order to distinguish the 
force of the enemy we should have to encounter. 

In returning, or wheeling about, after we had heard 
the volley of musketry, Esmond Kyan's horse stumbled 
and fell to the ground, whether from a wound or accident 
we could not see, on account of the darkness, but he 
leaped from the saddle, and on one of our men offering 
him his horse, he refused, but bade him keep his foot 
stiff in the stirrup and to turn it out a little ; he then put 
his foot on the horseman's foot and jumped behind him 
in the most dexterous manner, notwithstanding the want 
of his arm. 

In retracing our way back down the hill, we met 
numbers of our men going astray from the main body, 
on account of the fog. However, all soon fell into their 
ranks, and the division moved on in perfect order on the 
high road leading to Gorey, and after marching about a 
mile in this direction, the fog began to disappear rmd the 
morning became bright, when all at once we perceived a 
large division of the English army, horse, foot, and artil- 
lery following our column, and at about two musket shots 
distant from our rear guard. General Sir James Duff 
commanded this English division, and it appeared evident 
that as he did not accelerate his march to attack our 
column, he expected General Needham's and other 
divisions to come up to his assistance before he risked 
battle. Besides, our division marching in such perfect 
order, must have shown him how formidable it was : the 
men perfectly calm, anxious for the order to be given 
to halt and begin. They were continually looking 
behind them at the mass of red coats, glittering arms and 
banners which were following on the same road we were 
passing over. They were flanked by a numerous cavalry 
which never attempted to charge our men in the rear. 
All this proved to our generals that Sir James Duff was 
only waiting for reinforcements, consequently they at 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 207 

once decided to risk a general action, and after our 
column had made more than two miles on the Gorey 
road, it turned to the rigit by a narrow cross road Vadin^ 
to the townland of Ballvgullen and then -oioceedrng for 
about a mile in this direction, and seeing the English 
army still following and at the same distance, our gene- 
rals ordered the column to halt and to form the line of 
battle the best way we could, which was instantly 
executed with great skill ; our gunsmen taking position 
and placing themselves behind fences on both sides of 
the road, whilst a part of our pikemen, with some well 
mounted men at their head, had the appearance of con- 
tinuing the march in the usual way, which induced the 
English cavalry to advance and follow as they had been 
doing all the morning, without further precaution. 

Our men who were placed behind the fences, allowed 
this body of cavalry to approach very near their line, 
and it was intended even to let them pass on, and to get 
them between two fires, but the impatience of our marks- 
men could not be restrained any longer, and they com- 
menced a well-directed fire on the cavalry, which was 
soon thrown into great disorder and fled away, after 
having great numbers killed and wounded. 

General Duff seeing his advanced guard of cavalry 
attacked and dispersed so suddenly, marched rapidly 
forward with all his forces and deployed his column ; and 
then commenced the battle of Ballygullen, the last 
regular one we fought in the county of Wexford, and 
where the greatest bravery and generalship was dis- 
played. Our gunsmen boldly kept their position under 
the heaviest fire ; and as they were good marksmen, 
every shot either killed or wounded some of the enemy, 
and they continued this fire until their last cartridge was 
spent. It was only then that the want of the pikemen 
was felt; they should have been placed in the first 
instance with the gunsmen behind the fences, so as to 



2o8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

have had but a short way to sally out and charge the 
enemy. However, to remedy this omission, a large body 
of pikemen, headed by Perry, Garrett Byrne, Fitzgerald, 
and indeed by almost all the chiefs, were marched to 
turn the left flank of General Duff's army and to inter- 
cept his communication with Gorey, from which place he 
expected reinforcements. To avoid being turned, he had 
to fall back on the Gorey road. 

Thus so far our generals by this prompt manoeuvre of 
the pikemen succeeded in making the enemy quit the 
field. But knowing that other English divisions would 
soon arrive to General Duff's assistance, they were 
prevented availing themselves of the advantage obtained, 
which they otherwise might easily have done, had they 
not been obliged to rally our men, and prepare to meet 
the enemy coming from Caraew, Ferns, and other 
directions. 

We had vast numbers killed and wounded, no doubt, 
in this battle, which lasted two hours, fought with equal 
bravery on both sides. 

General Duff's infantry availed themselves also of the 
hedges and fences, and they did not want ammunition 
as our gunsmen did ; but finally, though our pikemen 
did not do all they might have done in this battle, they 
powerfully contributed to the success of the day by the 
imposing, formidable, close order they observed during 
the action, and General Duff knew well his troops could 
not resist a charge from those intrepid pikemen. He 
therefore fell back on the Gorey road, whilst our 
generals, after getting the wounded carried away, gave 
orders to rally and make a halt on a rising ground, about 
half a mile from the field of battle, to afford time to our 
men who were in the rear to arrive and rejoin their 
respective corps, which they did at their ease, not being 
followed by the enemy's cavalry, who had been so badly 
treated in the commencement of the action that they 
completely disappeared out of our view. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 209 

On crossing the field of battle, and whilst endeavouring 
to get the wounded men carried off, Ned Doyle, a very 
brave man, who had for many years been a servant at 
our house, and who had been wounded by my side at 
the battle of Tubberneering on the 4th of June, being 
now recovered from his wound, and remaining with me 
as usual, all at once perceived his father lying amongst 
the dead, holding his pike in his hand. The unfortunate 
man, having a wen or tumour as large as a cannon ball 
under his ear, could be distinguished at a great distance. 
Upon this sight the son became frantic and half mad, 
and afterwards we had often the greatest trouble to 
prevent him killing any prisoner he could approach. 
We endeavoured to make him feel that as his father was 
killed in battle, and not murdered in cold blood, he should 
not retaliate his death on the prisoners. His mind was 
quite unhinged, and it became useless to remonstrate 
with him. He escaped, however, and I met him the, 
year after in Dublin. When I come to relate what 
occurred to myself in that city, I shall have to mention 
other incidents respecting this unfortunate man, who, 
I understand, will figure one day as the hero of a romance. 
It is on account of this that I here relate these facts con- 
cerning him, in order that the readers of the romance 
may know how to appreciate the merits of the production. 

It was during the short repose our army took after the 
battle, that I had the last conversation with the ever-to- 
be-lamented Anthony Perry. He was lying on the 
ground when I came up, holding his horse by the bridle ; 
I sat down beside him, holding mine in the same manner. 
He seemed much exhausted and fatigued. We spoke of 
poor Ned Fennell's death at Hacketstown. It was this 
brave man who first introduced me to Mr. Perry the year 
before, during the organization of the United Irishmen, 
in which they both took such a lively interest. 

In consequence of being suspected on this head, Perry 



210 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

became one of the first victims of the cruel torture in- 
vented by Lord Kingsborough of the North Cork Militia. 
He was still suffering from the effects of the application 
of the terrible pitch-cap which had carried off both the 
hair and the skin from his head; and though it was 
more than a month since this intolerable torture had 
been applied, his head remained scalded, and the hair 
not yet grown. 

I asked him what plan we should now follow. To 
which he answered, that Edward Fitzgerald, Garrett 
Byrne, and indeed all the leaders, were of opinion that 
it would be madness to remain longer in the county of 
Wexford, overrun as it was then with the English troops, 
and where General Lake had at his disposal not only 
his own army, but the forces of the adjacent towns of 
Carlow, Tullow, Newtownbarry, Carnew, etc. Conse- 
quently, it was resolved on to march to the Wicklow 
mountains and there manoeuvre and gain time until 
something in the way of supplies of arms and ammuni- 
tion came from France, or some other quarter 

When our men were rested and rallied, we marched off 
on the Ferns road, as if to attack that town, then occu- 
pied by an English division, which had been marching 
to attack us, but retrograded as soon as the news of 
General Duff's defeat reached it. It is curious to remark, 
we neither saw their scouting parties the remainder of 
the day, either in front, rear, or on our flanks ; they 
were, however, certainly prepared to receive us in their 
garrison strongholds had we proceeded to attack them ; 
but we continued our march on the Ferns road until we 
passed Craneford ; then we turned to the right, leaving 
Carnew on our left hand, passing by Buckstown House, 
where I saw my dear mother and sister for an instant 
only. They were there with the Fennell family and 
many other females who had to take refuge in this 
mansion, which belonged to Ralph Blayney of Carnew. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 211 

By this time it was getting dark, and as I was marching 
with the rearguard, I had to take a sudden and painful 
farewell of my dear mother and sister. They told me 
that my brother Hugh had just marched by with the 
main body ; this was indeed agreeable news to me, for 
I had not seen him since the battle. 

It being now resolved on to make a night march, in 
order to baffle the enemy, our column marched on to 
Wingfield, leaving Hillbrook to the left, and Connahill 
to the right, proceeding thus on the road to Kilpipe and 
Aughrim, the straight way to Glenmalure and the 
Wicklow mountains. I wish to be particular about 
tracing this route, as it was said by some of the histo- 
rians of the insurrection, that our division after the battle 
of Ballygullen marched to Carrigrew and there dispersed 
itself. Such false information could not have been 
furnished by any of the brave fellows who fought at that 
battle ; it could only have been obtained from some of 
those who remained hiding, waiting the result of Lord 
Kingsborough's negotiations with General Lake in their 
favour. Or perhaps it was surmised by the fanciful 
writer himself, who, in the page following, has this same 
division of our army marching under the command of 
Garrett Byrne, Fitzgerald, and the other generals, to 
join William Aylmer in the county of Kildare. 

So far from thinking of dispersing, our men were 
flushed with the hope that something good was still in 
store for them, and I never saw them march and keep 
together better than they did all this day, both before 
the battle and after it And as this was the last pitched 
battle we fought against the British army in the county 
of Wexford, I feel it but justice to say that I never saw 
more bravery displayed than was shown on this occasion 
by our leaders and men, nor greater cowardice than was 
exhibited the whole day by the English cavalry, which 
kept continually away out of the danger. It is true 



212 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

General Duff's infantry fought well ; but General Need- 
ham and the numerous corps of yeomanry cavalry which 
he commanded, showed the white feather on this occa- 
sion, fortunately for us ; for our march was not in the 
least obstructed by those staunch supporters of the cruel 
ascendancy which then misgoverned poor Ireland. 

I have endeavoured in this chapter, as well as in the 
preceding ones, to relate in the simplest way I could, all 
our proceedings throughout this campaign, from its 
commencement on Whit-Saturday, the 26th of May, 
1798, up to this day, the 4th of July, 1798, which nearly 
comprises all the principal battles and combats that took 
place during that period, with the exception, however, 
of those of Ross, Longraig, and the attack on Kava- 
nagh's house at Borris. I was not present at those 
battles, but I passed over the battlefield at Longraig, the 
second day after the action, the 22nd of June, and I 
conversed with many of the brave fellows who had 
fought both there and at Ross; and from all I could 
ever learn since on the subject, the best and truest 
account of those battles is contained in the courageous 
Thomas Cloney's short personal narrative ; he being one 
of the leaders, and much beloved by the brave men who 
followed him, and telling modestly, as he does, all the 
transactions in which he took such an active share in 
that part of the county of Wexford bordering on the 
town of Ross, his version may be relied on. 

As the next chapter will contain my campaign in the 
Wicklow mountains^ I must conclude this by again and 
again repeating, that if our brave county of Wexford 
marksmen had been supplied with sufficient war muni- 
tion, they would have manoeuvred in those mountains 
and have mustered still very strong when the French 
landed in August, in spite of General Lake and all the 
forces he could bring against us ; but the want of ammu- 
nition was our misfortune ; it was seeking for it which 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 213 

induced us to attack so many towns, where we suffered 
such severe losses, all of which would have been avoided 
had we had plenty of powder and ball. Alas! we had 
no friendly foreign countries to furnish us with those 
treasures so necessary for carrying on a war of inde- 
pendence, and such as the Greeks received in their 
struggle, from every country in Europe as well as from 
America. 

Before I conclude, I must mention my interview with 
poor Ned Fennell's father ; it was indeed very painful 
He and his two daughters were standing on the road- 
side, with my dear mother and sister, when we were 
marching by Buckstown House ; this worthy man had 
brought them there, as the surest place of refuge. It 
was the first time I had seen him since his son Ned's 
death ; he seemed to be bearing up against this 
last misfortune better than could be expected. 
He said to me : " My son Ned has died the death of 
the brave on the battlefield, whilst poor Garrett, my 
eldest son, and the father of three children, was murdered 
in cold blood by that monster Hunter Gowan and his 
Orange yeomanry, previous to the rising." 

Poor Mr. Fennell's great anxiety was to find out some 
one who could point out the spot where his son was in- 
terred at Hacketstown the day of the battle, as he wished 
to have him brought and buried beside his mother and 
brother in the family burying ground. Two months 
later when there was less danger, a young lady, Miss 
Doyle of Knockbrandon, volunteered to accompany Mr. 
Fennell on this melancholy mission, and pointed out to 
him the grave where his splendid son was buried during 
the action. This young lady was his cousin and loved 
him like a brother. 

When we consider the immense preparations the 
British Government had to makCj and the vast number 
of troops employed to reduce a single county, it must be 



214 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

allowed that our little United army in the Wexford cam- 
paigri could only be reduced by an overwhelming force ; 
and what would have been the consequence to England 
had ten other counties raised the standard of indepen- 
dence at the same time, and had succeeded as the 
county of Wexford had done? 

I have been frequently asked if our failure was not in 
a great measure to be attributed to the want of officers 
who had seen service. Certainly, experienced, brave 
military officers are the soul of every army, and no one 
can esteem or appreciate their great worth more than I 
do. But it was a depot of military stores which we 
wanted most, for we had a host of leaders who displayed 
talents of the first order for the field. 



CHAPTER VII. 

I HAVE endeavoured to show in the preceding chapter 
how the scarcity of ammunition and the utter despair of 
obtaining fresh supplies of any kind was one of the 
principal causes for marching after the battle of Bally- 
gullen to the Wicklow mountains, there to wait and 
defend ourselves the best way we could, until something 
might occur to better our situation. I must here add. 
that the next great cause was the privations which began 
to be sorely felt in the county of Wexford, already 
ravaged in all directions, the old provisions being wholly 
consumed, and the new crops far from fit for use at this 
season of the year, the 4th of July. As to cattle, though 
we could procure some, we seldom could halt and wait 
a sufficient time to have them killed and the meat cooked 
for eating. When I look back, I am really astonished 
how we bore up against hunger and fatigue ; particularly 
so on the day of the battle of Ballygullen, which began 
at daylight, and with marching, counter-marching, and 
fighting, only terminated with a weary night march, the 
worst of all, and which should be avoided as much as 
possible, as the men from fatigue throw themselves on 
the ground, and there sleep until they are surprised by 
the enemy ; or, when they awake, often take wrong 
directions to rejoin their columns. Although our march 
was not impeded by the enemy following us, yet our long 
fast caused numbers to go right and left seeking for 
something to eat And here I will mention what 
occurred to myself. A very brave, fine young fellow of 
the name of Tom Woodburn, who was well mounted, 
rode up to me on the road after we had passed Kilpipe, 
and proposed to me to go to my step-sister's at Bally- 



2l6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

temple, a mile off ; he was acquainted with her father- 
in-law Mr. Doyle, and he said he would stop at this 
gentleman's house whilst I could go to my sister's, which 
was only at two fields' distance, and that we could meet 
in the morning. I reluctantly consented I feared that 
my brother-in-law, who had taken no part in the insur- 
rection, might be injured by my visit. He was the father 
of six children, the eldest of them only ten years old. 
How cruel it would have been had these poor innocent 
creatures been left fatherless on my account. Certainly 
their father ran the chance of being either shot or trans- 
ported, had I been found in his house. I cannot help 
adding that it is one of the acts of my life which frets 
me most, when I look back and think how I agreed to 
accompany Woodburn. As he proposed, he stopped at 
Mr. Doyle's, and I went to my sister's house. She and 
her husband were preparing to go to bed, and how they 
were terrified when they saw me is beyond description. 
They told me that scarcely a day had passed since the 
battle of Arklow without their place being visited by the 
yeomen cavalry from that town, and that they were quite 
sure to see them next day. 

After eating something, which indeed I much needed, 
I retired to one of the outhouses ; not the stable, for that 
would be the first place which the cavalry would enter, 
to see if there were any horses that would answer them. 
I soon fell sound asleep, unconscious of my dangerous 
situation. At the dawn of day my poor sister (who had 
passed the night watching and listening whilst I slept), 
awoke me and brought me to a little distance from the 
house to look at some object which was on a hill opposite 
I saw at once a horseman or "vedette," quite plainly, 
and at the same time we heard the noise of cavalry 
coming up from the valley to the house. My sister, with 
great presence of mind, pointed out to me the way to 
escape ; one minute later I was shot, or a prisoner. I 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 217 

crossed a field and got over a high fence, which divided 
my brother-in-law's land from that of Mr. Graham of 
Ballycoog. I there remained concealed, till my dear 
sister came in about an hour after and called me and told 
me that the danger was over for the moment, that the 
Orange cavalry had visited every part of their dwelling, 
out-houses, etc., and that poor Thomas Woodburn was 
taken prisoner at her father-in-law's house, that he was 
tied neck and heels and carried off to Arklow, or perhaps 
shot on the way. All this was very sad tidings to me, 
but there was no help for such misfortunes. I begged 
her to send and tell a young man, a tailor of the name 
of Larry Lorgan who had been wounded at the battle 
of Arklow, and remained sick, hiding in the woods ever 
since, that I wished to see him. He came immediately 
to me, and we agreed that he should, in the course of the 
day, apprize all those who were hiding and who wished 
to join our army to assemble late in the evening, and that 
J would undertake to conduct them to our camp, which 
should be on the way to Glenmalure. At dusk he 
brought to the rendezvous ten or twelve poor fellows 
badly armed, but determined to fight their way. Not 
being provided with any kind of provisions for the road, 
it was thought right that four or five of them, previous 
tc setting off, should call at Mr. Graham's house at Bally- 
coog, and endeavour to get some bread or other provi- 
sions. Fearing that they might exact, or ask for 
unnecessary things, or that any harm should be done to 
Mr. William Graham's house, I accompanied them there. 
His cousin John gave these poor fellows a loaf of bread 
and half a bottle of whiskey, for which they were very 
thankful. He very ungraciously complained next day 
to my sister of my having headed these men to the 
house. He ought to have been grateful to me for accom- 
panying them there, which I did that they might do no 
injury to the place, or take away what was useless. 



2l8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE 

When speaking to me he seemed quite penetrated with 
the goodness of my motives. But such were the times, 
he feared the very fact of the house not having been 
burned would be enough to compromise him and his 
cousin Willie Graham, who was absent at Dublin, with 
the English party. I took leave of my poor sister, and 
set out with my small detachment ; all of them seemed 
delighted to get away from the misery they had under- 
gone in hiding, and cheered with the prospect of again 
joining the main body. They almost all knew the 
country we had to march through, so we were in no need 
of guides. We were joined on the way by many of our 
men who had remained behind from fatigue ; and par- 
ticularly at Aughrim several fine fellows came from their 
hiding-places and marched with us, but still we could 
not learn positively what direction our main body, com- 
manded by Garrett Byrne, Perry, Fitzgerald, etc., had 
taken, so we resolved at once to fight our way to Glen- 
malure. The night was advanced, and when daylight 
came we perceived at some distance a large body of the 
enemy's cavalry in the valley which we had begun to 
cross. We instantly returned and took a position on an 
eminence or high ground some hundred steps in the rear 
and with a good fence in front There we formed our 
little line of battle, and though we had few fire-arms fit 
for use, still our pikemen, showing their terrible weapon 
to advantage, the cowardly cavalry feared to approach 
us. Three or four of them rode into a corn-field in fron; 
of where we were drawn up, there discharged their car- 
bines and then galloped back and regained their corps 
which soon completely disappeared from the plain. Oi 
seeing the cavalry ride away, we left our position on the 
roadside and went to the corn-field to find out at what 
object the three shots were fired. There, to our sad 
surprise, we found poor Larry Lorgan lying on his 
back dead, with three balls through his body. It would 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 219 

appear that his strength failed him, and that he threw 
himself flat into the corn-field thinking thereby to escape ; 
but he was perceived by the enemy as he threw himself 
down, and they gloried in murdering this poor sickly 
man, instead of carrying him away as a prisoner. Such 
trophies and deeds as this were the continual boast ot 
the English cavalry, it wab indeed worthy of them. 

We all regretted Lorgan very much. As none of his 
comrades had missed him from the ranks, they were the 
more shocked to see him lying murdered in the corn-field. 
After this unfortunate incident, we resumed our march, 
and we arrived early in the day at Glenmalure, where I 
met vast numbers of the county of Wexford men, all of 
whom, like myself, were at a loss to know what direction 
the main body of our small army had taken. As no one 
could give us any intelligence on the subject, we resolved 
to organize ourselves the best way we could, and to 
remain in Glenmalure until we could learn where Garrett 
Byrne and the other chiefs had pitched their camp. 

The place afforded some resource as to food, for vast 
flocks of sheep were still on the mountains around, but 
the want of salt and vegetables was sorely felt. As to 
bread, none could be had for any money, and the pota- 
toes were unripe and unfit for use. In consequence, it 
became urgent to organize night expeditions to go far 
away, to endeavour to procure oatmeal and salt. I saw 
the brave and intrepid Dwyer here for the first time. 
He had already acquired a great reputation in those 
mountainous districts ; for every time that the cavalry 
attempted to reconnoitre the position near the entrance 
of the glen, he was sure to be on their flank, or in an 
ambuscade before daylight, waiting their arrival ; and 
as both he and the men who generally accompanied him 
were of this country, and good marksmen, they took 
delight in terrifying the cavalry, who instantly wheeled 
about and fled the moment a shot was fired at them. So 



22O MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

by Dwyer's bravery and exertion in this kind of skir- 
mishing with the enemy, we were in perfect safety during 
the night, to repose and recover from our fatigues of the 
county of Wexford campaign. 

Glenmalure is nearly three miles long, with the little 
river Avonbeg coming down from the high mountains. 
There were several houses on each side of it, where our 
men got the means of cooking the mutton which they 
had in abundance, as the hills, as I naid before, were 
covered with flocks of sheep. They also got timber to 
make pike handles in the rafters of the smelting house 
belonging to the lead mines, to replace those that were 
broken or lost during the night marches; so 
that in a few days we were tolerably well armed 
with pikes, but badly provided with fire-arms and ammu- 
nition. A night expedition was now decided on to go 
into the country villages at some distance, to bring salt 
and any dry provisions we could get back to our camp 
in Glenmalure, where it was resolved the intrepid Dwyer 
should remain with the men he commanded to defend 
the entrance of the glen during our absence. The famous 
Holt, who had just arrived, was to have the command 
of the night expedition, and at dusk when we had all our 
men assembled near the smelting-house and ready to 
march, some county Wicklow men who knew Holt, 
came to tell us that his wife had come to join him, and 
that she had been making terms for him with the enemy 
at Rathdrum, in which town Holt was well known to all 
the authorities, having been employed to put the seals on 
the flannels at the fairs, having been Bumbailiff, etc. ; 
and as her own family, the Mannings, were notorious 
Orangemen, they feared it might be dangerous to confide 
in Holt ; that he would lead us perhaps into some ambus- 
cade from whence we might not be able to escape, etc. 
To all this we listened with great attention, and as we, 
the county Wexford men, were the majority, we 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 221 

decided to send to Holt who was at Pierce Hartley's 
house, with his wife, at the very head of the glen, to let 
him know that we were ready to march, resolving at the 
same time not to follow his plan. When he arrived, we 
asked him in what direction he intended to march ; he 
replied to the Seven Churches ; we objected, saying that 
neighbourhood was too poor, that it would be better to 
take another direction into a richer country, to which 
he at once agreed most cheerfully ; no doubt to prove 
to us that he had not any interested motive for going to 
the Seven Churches, though it was the country of his 
wife's family. Or, perhaps, what weighed most with 
him, was a desire to comply with the wishes of the 
county Wexford men, whom he perceived formed the 
majority of the detachment then under arms and ready 
to march. It was at once decided to march on the 
Rathdrum road as far as Greenan bridge, and from 
thence to turn into the country parts which had not 
suffered by the war. 

We mustered for this expedition two or three hundred 
of our men, who were best able to bear up with great 
fatigue, leaving the weak, sickly and wounded under the 
care of Dwyer, who acted as governor of Glenmalure, 
our citadel or stronghold in the Wicklow mountains. 
We set off in good marching order and in high spirits. 
Holt and a friend of mine, John Doyle of Aughrim, and 
myself being mounted. We rode at the head of our little 
column, with a few men on foot who preceded us, as an 
" avant-garde " about fifty yards. As the night was very 
dark, we recommended our men to observe the 
greatest silence but the noise made by our own 
horses could not be avoided and might be heard 
at some considerable distance. Doyle and I were 
riding on each side of Holt, who was telling 
us his plans, and the great things he thought we 
should perform before returning to Glenmalure. In the 



222 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

first place he observed that he thought all the isolated 
houses, which might serve as places of refuge to the 
enemy, particularly if they were covered with slates, 
ought to be burned. This sentence was scarcely pro- 
nounced when we perceived flashes of light like so many 
stars from the pans of the enemy's fire-locks, within 
pistol shot of us, and instantly the whizzing of balls 
through our ranks and over our heads. This discharge 
came from the English army which had marched from 
Rathdrum to reconnoitre our position and had only time 
to reach the bridge of Greenan, when on hearing the 
noise of our column advancing, they halted in silence 
and waited our approach. 

I shall never forget Holt's presence of mind and 
extraordinary exertion on this dangerous occasion. He 
cried out with the voice of a Stentor, to our pikemen to 
march en masse and cross the bridge, and he gave orders 
to our gunsmen at the same time, and in the same loud 
voice, to wade the river, and to get on the enemy's flank, 
so that not one of them might escape, etc. Many of 
the Rathdrum yeomen who accompanied the English 
army in this night expedition, became terrified when 
they heard Holt's voice, with which they were well 
acquainted, and this no doubt added to the disorder 
which already prevailed in their ranks : for they suddenly 
retreated back to Rathdrum ; whilst we on our side 
had the greatest trouble to rally our men and keep them 
from disbanding themselves, as they feared they had got 
into an ambuscade. A pistol shot heard in the rear 
gave rise to this apprehension ; consequently, instead of 
marching in a mass to the bridge, as Holt had ordered, 
they quitted the road and got into a marshy field on the 
left side. After some time, finding the enemy's fire had 
ceased, the panic began to subside, though we did not 
know at the time that the enemy had retreated How- 
ever, we rallied again on the road, when it was thought 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 223 

more prudent to return to Glenmalure, fearing that we 
might meet other moving columns of the enemy if we 
continued our night march. Having only three men who 
had received slight wounds from the first volley fired, we 
thought ourselves very fortunate to have escaped so well. 
The darkness of the night, with the noise of our horses in 
front contributed to this; the enemy taking too high 
aim, thinking we were all mounted. When we returned 
to the glen we met Dwyer, who told us we might repose 
ourselves during the night in perfect safety, that he 
would take care that the pass should be well guarded. 

Holt went to Pierce Harney's house at the head of 
the glen, where his wife still remained, and strange 
enough, notwithstanding his recent brilliant conduct, 
several of those men who knew him well, thought he 
would go away with his wife, and in consequence, they 
kept a close watch round the house all night to prevent 
him. Holt, however, sent his wife away next day, and 
thereby removed the cause of suspicion. How fortunate 
it was for him that it was not at his suggestion that we 
marched on the Rathdrum road ; for if it had been his 
plan, he would have been accused of bringing us into the 
enemy's ambuscade, whereas he had now all the merit 
of getting us safely out of it, and justly does he deserve 
this praise. 

I went with a small reconnoitring party next day, to 
view our field of action of the night before. We found 
several pikes in the marshy swamp beside the road, and 
at the other side of the bridge we got several foraging 
caps and bayonets, which the enemy lost in their hurry 
to escape. Before returning with these trophies, we saw 
the Rathdrum cavalry at a distance, halted on the road ; 
but they did not advance, so we reached the glen this 
time without any skirmishing with the enemy. 

The chiefs and men of influence held a meeting at 
which it was resolved that we should now defend the 



224 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

glen more carefully than ever, in consequence of the sad 
tidings just arrived, of the disasters and complete dis- 
persion of our main body, commanded by Fitzgerald, 
Garrett Byrne, Kearns, Esmond Kyan, etc., which had 
marched into the counties of Meath, Louth and Dublin. 
This news unfortunately was soon ascertained to be but 
too true. 

Amongst the brave fellows who escaped and arrived 
from the Boyne was my poor brother Hugh. Of course 
through him I became immediately acquainted with all 
the particulars of this woful incursion into Meath and 
Louth, and also of the gallant resistance made to the 
enemy's cavalry, after they had passed the Boyne at 
Duleek and near the town of Ardee, where my poor 
uncle John Byrne was killed in a charge of cavalry, by 
my brother Hugh's side, who thought he was knocked 
down, Hugh recovered himself and had time to cross a 
ditch before the cavalry could draw up to make another 
charge. 

My dear uncle was the youngest of my father's family ; 
he was not married. There never was a more affec- 
tionate, nor a braver being on the face of the earth. He 
feared no danger, and indeed it was wonderful, as was 
often remarked, how he escaped so long. My brother 
Hugh told me also of the extraordinary bravery dis- 
played on the same occasion by the two Finns, Laurence 
and Luke : the latter, being knocked down in the charge 
and ridden over and tiampled down by all the cavalry, 
kept his musket notwithstanding, close by his side ; when 
two of these cavalry men returning perceived he was 
not dead, they rode up to finish him. Luke sat up, let 
them approach, deliberately took aim and shot one of 
them, whilst his brother Laurence, who was looking on 
from behind the hedge, shot the other, and thus relieved 
Luke, who, now completely recovered from the trance 
he had been in, got up, and escaped over the ditch to his 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 225 

brother and the other gunsmen. Those two Finns dis- 
tinguished themselves in every battle and combat that 
was fought against the English in the county of Wexford. 
They made part of Sir Jarvis White's corps of yeomen 
infantry of Ballyellis, which corps was one of the first 
organized in the country and as White boasted, was one 
of the first ready to march against General Hoche, when 
he came to Bantry Bay in the month of December, 1796. 
It was also one of the first corps of yeomen which the 
Government ordered to be disbanded and disarmed, 
fearing that it was composed of United Irishmen wishing 
for the independence of Ireland 

My brother's wound was nearly healed, but still he 
required great care and repose for some days to bring 
him about, and Glenmalure proved on that account a 
blessing, which I shall always remember with the greatest 
pleasure. It afforded a temporary and sure resting place 
to those brave men returning after their defeat and 
dispersion at the Boyne. 

Poor Esmond Kyan, who arrived about the same time, 
could not be prevailed upon to stop with us ; he would 
return to Wexford, where he said he was sure to get a 
safe hiding place to remain in, until he recovered his 
health, which was much impaired by the fatigues he had 
undergone. With only one arm, and the stump of the 
other not yet healed, he feared he would not be equal to 
the task of crossing the mountains, which he knew he 
would frequently have to do. Had he consented to pass 
a few days in those mountains he might have escaped the 
wrath of the cruel High Church ascendancy monsters of 
Wexford, who longed to have him hanged and gibbetted 
with the other patriots whose heads already decorated 
the public buildings there. He was of all the chiefs of 
our little Irish army the one who merited the most good 
terms from the English. Throughout the war, he had 
shown the greatest humanity, and made unceasing exer- 

Q 



2J6 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

tions to save the lives of the prisoners, even of those 
whose hands were steeped in the blood of the inhabi- 
tants of the county of Wexford. But fate decided other- 
wise. 

It was a great pity that Father Kearns and Anthony 
Perry did not reach Glenmalure ; they would have had 
strength enough to wait and to avail themselves of the 
great advantages these Wicklow mountains afforded at 
this moment against the enemy's cavalry, and even 
against their infantry. But alas ! they were not doomed 
to die the death of soldiers. They were both hanged 
at Edenderry. 

One day about the I4th of July, 1798, a countryman 
came as a messenger from the English camp of the glen 
of Imaal ; he was the bearer of a letter addressed to 
Murtough Byrne of Little Aughrim. This honourable 
man before opening the letter, wished to have as many 
of us present as could be assembled ; when we met and 
formed a circle, he took the letter from the peasant, 
entered the circle, saying that he well knew the hand- 
writing of the direction, that it was Garrett Byrne's. He 
then opened the letter and read the following contents : 



MY DEAR MURTOUGH, 

I have this day surrendered myself to General Sir John 
Moore, who has engaged to obtain my pardon, and per- 
mission to quit Ireland and go to reside in a foreign 
country. It is at the General's request I now write ; he 
promises to obtain the same terms for you or any of the 
other chiefs who will immediately avail themselves of 
this opportunity. Yours, 

GARRETT BYRNE. 

As soon as the letter was read, the countryman or 
messenger was brought into the circle where we were 
assembled in a field near the smelting house. He was 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 227 

asked if the person who gave him the letter in the pre- 
sence of the English general was a prisoner. He replied 
he was, and that he thought he was Mr. Garrett Byrne 
of Ballymanus, though he added, he never saw that 
gentleman before. " Well then," we replied, " you will 
never see him again, for he was shot before you were half 
a mile from the English camp ; they forced the unhappy 
man to write that letter of which you were the bearer, 
before they put him to death. You can now return and 
receive your wages." He was then escorted some dis- 
tance on the way, and before quitting the glen, he could 
see Antrim John, the sergeant, marching and drilling 
platoons of our men in the meadows on the river side. 
The messenger could thereby make out news of his own 
to add to our answer respecting our disbelief of English 
magnanimity. 

It was now only eight or ten days since the battle of 
Ballygullen, the last pitched battle we fought in the 
county of Wexford, and already all those brave leaders 
who displayed so much talent and generalship there had, 
from one cause or another, disappeared from the scene 
of action. The brave and beloved of the county of 
Wexford people, Edward Fitzgerald of New Park, he 
also, fearing that there was no further chance of 
making head against the English army, surrendered on 
the 1 2th of July to General Dundas. I never could 
learn the real motive which induced these leaders to 
quit the Wicklow mountains and march with the Wexford 
division, which had fought so gallantly and in so many 
battles, into an open country (without cavalry), like Kil- 
dare, Meath, Louth, etc., and in which counties the 
enemy's cavalry enjoyed every possible advantage ; 
whilst neither their artillery nor cavalry could be brought 
to bear against us in the Wicklow mountains. Had our 
forces remained there, we might have mustered 
easily from fifteen to twenty thousand resolute, fine 



228 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

fellows, a force quite adequate to have defended these 
defiles and passes for months ; and then General Hum- 
bert's army, such as it was, arriving in the month of 
August, might have found but trifling obstacles in the 
parts of Ireland which it would have had to pass through 
on its way to the capital. 

I shall not descant more on this melancholy subject, 
which, however, I could never cease thinking of ; but had 
we persevered a little longer, and not undertaken that 
unfortunate and foolish march to the Boyne, we should 
have succeeded. It is well known that had we been 
assembled in an imposing force in the Wicklow moun- 
tains, as we might have been at the time the French 
landed in the West, the greater part of the Irish militia 
regiments would have joined us. The fine young 
sergeant whom we called Antrim John, and who brought 
away with him a section of his company, assured us 
that his regiment only waited to ascertain if we could 
rally a sufficient force to receive them, so that they 
should not be under the necessity of disguising them- 
selves, but fight in the militia uniform for the indepen- 
dence of Ireland and against her real enemies the 
English. Whereas at present z from our not having an 
army strong enough to take the field, those brave militia 
men who joined us were obliged to change their uniforms 
for coloured clothes. 

When Antrim John was asked why he did not come to 

our standard at Arklow when we were in great force, 
he replied that according to a prophecy they had in the 
North, Ireland could not be free before the autumn of 
'98, when the French were to land, and then the English 
yoke was to be shook off for ever, and Ireland once more 
become a nation, governing herself, and trading with all 
the world as a free country is entitled to do. This con- 
versation about the prophecy with the sergeant, Antrim 
John, took place a few days before we heard of the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 22Q 

landing of General Humbert, with his eleven hundred 
French soldiers at Killaloe. But, unfortunately, we 
heard of the surrender of the French army to Lord Corn- 
wallis nearly at the same time, so our joy was of short 
duration. 

To make up for this misfortune we learned from those 
Antrim militia men who came to join us at Glenmalure, 
that it was not true, as was generally believed, that the 
militia regiments were composed either of Roman Catho- 
lics or Orangemen. No doubt the propagation of the 
Orange lodges was encouraged in every militia regiment 
both by the colonels and the Government ; but still in 
spite of their exertions and persecutions, the majority 
of the northern counties militia, though not Catholics, 
were United Irishmen, and consequently ready to join 
our standard whenever we could muster sufficiently 
strong to make a stand for any time in a military position 
to receive them. 

Mr. Paul Murray, from near the town of Wicklow, 
arrived here one night accompanied by a number of men 
from his neighbourhood I had to wait on him in the 
morning respecting prisoners who were escorted to the 
glen by his party. I found him at Pierce Harney's ; he 
was lying on a bed in his clotheSj well dressed, with new 
topped boots, etc., all which formed a singular con- 
trast with our tattered, worn-out coats, but, poor fellow, 
he was just escaping from his hiding-place, to take 
the field for the first time I never saw Paul Murray 
before this morning. I little thought that we should 
become afterwards so well acquainted in a foreign land. 
One day, in 1803, coming out of the London coffee 
house, Rue Jacob, at Paris, I saw a man dressed in a 
snuff-coloured ccat and top boots ; on coming near I 
said to the person who was with me, ' How like that 
man is to poor Paul Murray whom I met in the Wicklow 
mountains in '98! But Murray was arrested in Dublin 



23O MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

by Major Sirr, and of course was transported, so it 
cannot be him." But it was the very same Paul Murray, 
and we soon recognized each other and spoke of 
our adventures in the Wicklow mountains. I in- 
troduced him next day to Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet, 
who obtained a commission for him in the Irish 
legion at its formation, and we made several campaigns 
in Spain and Portugal in the same battalions He retired 
afterwards on a pension and died at Dunkirk at an 
advanced age. There never was a truer or better friend 
and comrade than Paul Murray of Kilmurry, near 
Wicklow. 

We were now threatened to be driven from Glenma- 
lure, which we had defended so long, and which had been 
an asylum for some time to many families escaping the 
tortures and other abominations not to be mentioned, 
of the cruel Orange yeomanry. According to 
the information received we were to be surrounded 
in every direction by Highlanders, Hessians, and 
all the other foreign troops that England could dis- 
pose of. We expected this attack, and we resolved to 
fight our way in one direction at least against whatever 
forces we should meet. 

Whilst preparing for this event, I was not a little sur- 
prised to be sent for to go and see a lady who had 
arrived in the night with her three children, the eldest 
of them eight years of age : Mrs. Betty Mulloy, whose 
husband was killed at the battle of Vinegar Hill, and 
whose sister was married to my first cousin, Pat Bruslaun, 
who was murdered in his bed by that monster Hunter 
Gowan. This poor woman entered into all the details 
of her escape from her home, and said, she was sure that 
by that time, all she had in the world, except her children, 
was burnt and destroyed, and hearing that I had a com- 
mand in these mountains, she had come to put herself 
under my protection. Instead of being able to afford her 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 23! 

any protection I could only entreat her to quit the glen 
and return home with her children ; that by the time she 
arrived there, things might probably be changed for the 
better ; that at the moment I was speaking to her, the 
enemy could be seen in great force on the tops of the 
mountains, where they had been encamped for the night 
and ready to march down upon us. It was not only this 
poor woman and her children, but the sick and wounded 
that were now obliged to seek a place of refuge, and 
shelter, or places to hide in, in the neighbouring villages ; 
for none but the most vigorous and robust men would be 
equal to undergo the fatigue of continually crossing 
these high mountains. Poor Mrs. Mulloy resolved to re 
turn home, and many brave men from the county of 
Wexford, whose health was impaired to such a degree as 
to render them scarcely able to walk, asked me what tRey 
should do. Of course, as we had no means of carrying 
our sick and wounded, I could only tell them to endea- 
vour to escape and hide, the best way they could for the 
present, until the enemy had marched away. My poor 
brother Hugh, though far from being recovered, would 
not consent to remain behind and be separated from me 
again. 

We were under arms and on the alert all night, ex- 
pecting to be attacked. However, it was only at day- 
light next morning that the division of the Highlanders 
began their march, and to descend from the mountain 
leading from the Seven Churches, whilst the English 
forces from Rathdrum entered by the mouth of the glen. 

On seeing these different movements of the enemy, we 
assembled all our men and marched up the opposite 
mountain, leading to the Glen of Imaal, and after getting 
some distance up the mountain, we formed our line of 
battle and halted there for some time. But the enemy did 
not choose to follow us, which was indeed very extraor- 
dinary, for instead of the thousands we were so often 



232 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

reported to muster in Glenmalure, they might now see 
plainly, and, no doubt, with astonishment, the small- 
ness of our body, which had caused so much terror in all 
their garrison towns. Though we were so reduced, they 
did not march to attack us ; they seemed for the present 
to confine their operations to burning the houses in the 
glen, and driving the unfortunate women with their chil- 
dren to perish in the fields from cold and hunger. As we 
went up the hills, on the opposite side, we could see the 
flames from the dwellings of these unhappy creatures, 
where also so many of our sick and wounded, returning 
from the disastrous campaign of the Boyne, had stopped 
to recover. The brave Dwyer was now obliged to aban- 
don this stronghold, which he had so long defended, and 
to march with us. As he, and most of the men he com- 
manded, were natives of these mountains and glens, we 
were sure to be safely guided through them. After re- 
posing for some time, finding that we were not followed 
by the enemy, Holt proposed crossing the mountain and 
marching to the Glen of Imaal, to ascertain whether or 
not General Sir J. Moore was still encamped there with 
his division. When we arrived on the mountain in sight of 
the glen, we could perceive only one tent, which imme- 
diately disappeared on seeing our forces drawing up on 
the adjacent hill. But General Moore and his army had 
left the Glen of Imaal some time before, and we could 
not learn where he had marched to ; but our plan now 
became imperative, to avoid as much as possible any 
engagement with the enemy, except small detachments 
which we could easily defeat, and from whom we could 
procure arms and ammunition, without which we could 
not even make head against those small detachments. 

We resolved not to stop long in any one place, and by 
our continual marching and counter-marching, to show 
the enemy by this kind of manoeuvreing how difficult it 
would be to come in contact with us in those mountains, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 233 

where we were so well guided by the brave Dwyer and 
his followers. But, unfortunately, this intrepid chief left 
us again, on hearing that we intended to march towards 
the county of Wexford. He could never be brought to 
consent to march us any distance from his native moun- 
tains ; whilst Holt, though he might perceive that he was 
not always consulted about our excursions in quest of 
provisions, was ever ready to march with us, and even to 
assume to himself the responsibility of the expedition ; 
and he did all with such good humour that we were de- 
lighted, and now cheerfully marched with him from the 
Glen of Imaal to Aughavanagh, and from thence to 
Croaghan mountain, to try to get some news of what 
was going on in the counties of Carlow and Wexford ; 
and when we came in sight of the high road leading 
from Shillelagh to Arklow, we perceived a number of 
military waggons escorted by cavalry, on their way to 
the latter town. Holt instantly ordered our little 
column to march down rapidly in an oblique direction, 
and to get out on the road, and to stop and attack the 
convoy. The escort composed of dragoons, seeing this 
manosuvre, escaped in great speed, leaving the waggons 
and their drivers to get out of the fight the best way 
they could. The drivers or conductors were soon cap- 
tured, and unluckily some of them were killed in the 
fray. Holt ordered a great pile to be made of the wag- 
gons and the provisions of corn, forage, etc., and fire to 
be put to this pile on evry side, so in a short time the 
flames from it could be seen at a great distance, as the 
day was very bright. As we knew that the garrison 
towns on seeing these flames, or on hearing of the 
disasters of their convoy, would immediately despatch 
great forces of foot and horse against us, we hastened 
to repair to Croaghan mountain to avoid meeting the 
enemy, as we did not muster very strong ; and here we 
learned for the first time that a relaxation of the cruel, 



234 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

cold-blooded murders was taking place in many of the 
county of Wexford districts. Lord Cornwallis issued a 
proclamation there inviting all those who had taken 
part in the war, " except the chiefs," to return to their 
homes, where they should receive his formal protection. 
Whether this was on account of the landing of the 
French at Killala, and the marching of the English 
troops out of the country, or for any other reason, a stop 
seemed to be put for the present to the murderous 
career of the monster magistrates, James Boyd, Hawtry 
White, Hunter Gowan, Archibald Hamilton, Jacob, and 
their cruel Orange associates. Besides, the corn being 
now ripe, thousands ventured to return home, hoping 
to save it for their famishing families. In consequence 
of this, our small corps was reduced to a mere band. 
Still we resolved to keep our position in the Wicklow 
mountains. For though vast numbers left us to return 
to their dwellings, others, after having remained con- 
cealed some days in their houses, had to escape and 
come back to us. The protection they obtained was of 
no use to them, if it was ascertained that they had ever 
been present when houses were burned or if they had 
assisted at the battle of Ballyellis, where the Ancient 
Britons were killed. No protection under these circum- 
stances could save them. Such rigorous requisites and 
formalities or conditions brought back to our standard 
many fine fellows who had intended to remain at their 
homes quietly with their families. 

About this time I received a letter from Nick Murphy 
of Monaseed, who had escaped from the Boyne and got 
into Dublin, where he was hiding, as well as hundreds 
of our comrades. Their escape, as well as his, seemed 
miraculous. 

When the news of the landing of the French army 
was known in the capital, Murphy was commissioned 
to find out some sure means of conveying intelligence 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 235 

to me of this fortunate event. A poor woman, the 
daughter of one of our tenants, a Mrs. Keogh, volunteered 
to be the bearer of this letter, which she sewed in the 
hf m of her petticoat. She was returning to her home, 
after taking farewell of her unfortunate husband, who 
was condemned to transportation for life, and just put 
aboard a vessel in the river waiting to sail. When I 
thanked this worthy creature, and observed what a 
dangerous mission she had undertaken, she replied, 
" that it was a great consolation to her in her misfortune 
to be entrusted with such a commission, and to be the 
bearer of such good news as that of the French landing, 
though she was doomed never to see her dear husHand 
more." 

Though Nick Murphy's letter was very short and cir- 
cumspect, still it was cheering and delightful to us. He 
said it was expected that there would be a general rising 
in Dublin of the people, if the French were in sufficient 
force to make head against the English army. That 
many persons came forward now, who had remained in 
the background before, and said they were ready to 
act. Besides, such was the enthusiasm prevailing all 
through the city at seeing the troops march away, that 
the Orange yeomen could not help observing it, and 
trembled for their own safety. That at all events, our 
forces in the mountains would be the rallying point, and 
from all he could learn and see himself, there was now 
every hope of success from the aid of the French army. 
He added, likewise, how very anxious our friends in 
Dublin were that we should be able to keep ourselves 
in anything like a respectable force in the Wicklow 
mountains for some time. 

Though we had heard of the landing of the French, 
previous to Murphy's letter, yet it afforded us great 
satisfaction to see by it that our friends approved of 
our conduct and our perseverance in keeping our ground. 



236 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

We did persevere and kept our ground the best way 
we could, crossing from one mountain to another, defy- 
ing the enemy to follow us, and this for weeks, until we 
heard of the surrender of General Humbert and his 
small army of eight hundred men, to Lord Cornwallis, 
who, it was said, was at the head of thirty thousand 
English troops. Under such melancholy circumstances, 
could it be expected that Holt could have had sufficient 
influence to persuade any to remain with him who could 
escape to their homes, and hiding there in the most 
wretched manner? In fact, he never took any trouble 
one way or another about them, but said, all those who 
could not remain at their houses might return to us, 
where they would meet a kind reception. In the worst 
times he appeared gay, never desponding. I have 
marched with him, when on setting out we were not able 
to muster a hundred men, and not twenty amongst them 
ever had their fire-arms fit for use ; yet Holt would have 
his plans for some great undertaking as if he were at 
the head of thousands of the best disciplined troops. 
In short, he had qualities which quite fitted him for the 
kind of warfare we were obliged to make in the Wicklow 
mountains; and often did he boast that we were the 
only troops under arms in all Ireland fighting for its 
independence at the time the French landed at Killala. 
I think it but justice to say so much of Holt, from the 
many strange stories that have been told of him. 

My brother Hugh and I not having heard from home 
for a long time, began to be very anxious about our 
dear mother and sister, whom we saw for the last time 
at Buckstown House, the night of the battle of Bally- 
gullen. We resolved, therefore, at all hazard, to go and 
see them, and to learn also the state of the country 
there. To accomplish this, we had two or three night 
marches before us to make, ere we could reach our 
place, for we were obliged to remain concealed during 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 237 

the day. The last night's march was from the Gold 
Mines, and by the White Heaps, a country I knew well, 
and through which, of course, we needed no guide. The 
distance was more than eight miles ; besides we followed 
the high road as little as possible, in order to avoid 
meeting with the enemy's patrols. All this made the 
march long and fatiguing ; however we arrived before 
daylight at the house of one of our tenants, at the Fox 
Cover farm. I knocked at the door and poor Maguire, 
knowing my voice, opened it immediately. He told me 
that my mother and sister, with their faithful servant 
Biddy Cosker, had returned to our house and had been 
residing there for some time, but that it would not be 
safe for us to go and see them. That his wife would 
go in the morning and let them know we were arrived. 
This worthy couple kept watching whilst we reposed 
ourselves. Next day my mother and sister came to see 
us. They had already arranged with Mr. Fennell that 
we should go and join his son Matt at his hiding-place 
on a hay loft at Buckstown House belonging to Ralph 
Blaney of Carnew. After remaining there some days, 
we were obliged to leave it. An English infantry regi- 
ment came and encamped on the lawn, and the general 
and staff officers lodged in the dwelling-house. A 
married captain of the regiment took lodging for him- 
self and his wife at Mr. Fennell's house, which the 
latter regarded as a fortunate circumstance, as through' 
the influence of this captain, he expected protection for 
himself and his family. Mr. Fennell was not deceived ; 
this captain proved himself a kind friend to the family 
when they stood in need of it afterwards. 

My brother Hugh got an opportunity to return to 
Dublin, with some carmen or carriers of the neighbour- 
hood ; most fortunately he arrived there safely. My 
poor mother and sister were in some measure reconciled 
to his quitting them, as they hoped I should be able to 



238 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

remain at home (when the country became more settled), 
and that I should continue to manage the land, etc., as 
I had been accustomed to do before the war broke out. 
Unhappily they soon found this could not be. 

Mr. Fennell having given up a part of his house to the 
English captain and his lady, had beds put up in his 
barn, where his young sons slept, and where a bed had 
been placed for me ; of this I availed myself with infinite 
pleasure. 

My mother and sister, wishing me to spend an hour 
or two with them on All-Hallows eve, I set off from 
Mr. Fennell's house as soon as the night became dark. 
I had been sitting with them about ten minutes, when 
one of Mr. Fennell's sons, a lad of ten or twelve years 
old, came running in out of breath to tell me that 
his brother Mat was taken prisoner by the Orangemen, 
and that they were searching every place for me. My 
dear sister, who had shown a great deal of self-posses- 
sion and good sense all through those terrible times, 
thanked young Fennell and bid him return quickly 
through the fields to avoid meeting the yeomen. She 
did not wish the poor young boy to be in the secret of 
the place where I was to take refuge, lest, if he were met 
and tortured by these monsters, he might be forced to 
tell all he knew about me. As soon as he was gone 
away, she told me that Ned Cane, a worthy man who 
lived a few fields distance, at the other side of the road 
from our house, told her some days before that if I 
should be at any time in danger, to come to his house, 
where he had made a cave or cavern in which I could 
remain for days in perfect safety without the least 
danger of being discovered. Of course I went instantly 
and took up my new abode at this worthy man's house. 
The entrance into his cave was behind the fire-place on 
the ground floor, and so contrived that if the house 
was burned, the persons hiding there had the means of 
escaping by another issue leading into the fields. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 239 

My sister, though satisfied that I was in no danger for 
the moment, knew well there was no time to be lost to 
find out some means or other to get me out of the reach 
of the cruel Orangemen, whose thirst for blood seemed 
to be daily increasing. She therefore exerted herself 
beyond measure till at length she had the good fortune 
to meet with a worthy lady who entered into all her 
views and sympathized with her in all her sorrows. Mrs. 
Ricards of Coolafancy, kindly volunteered to assist my 
sister in every way to get me safely out of the country. 
She proposed to go to Dublin under pretext of taking 
one of her children, a boy of ten years of age, to place at 
school there, and that I should drive the car for her ; 
but she feared that none of her horses were in a state 
to make the journey in one day (40 miles), and that it 
would be unsafe for me to stop on the way. My sister 
told her she should have one of ours, quite equal to the 
task, and accordingly the horse was sent to Mrs. Ricards, 
who had everything ready, and only waited my arrival 
to set out on our journey. On learning these arrange- 
ments I left my cave, where I had been concealed for 
about seven or eight days, and took leave of Cane. I 
thanked him with gratitude for his kind hospitality, and 
I then went for an instant to take a parting farewell of 
my dear mother and sister, and from thence I hurried 
to Mrs. Ricards, a distance of two or three miles, and 
this lady having everything prepared, we set off on our 
journey at daylight, and we nearly reached the town of 
Bray without meeting with any impediment, when all at 
once we saw numbers of carmen escaping in every 
direction out of the town from the English soldiers, who 
were pressing horses and cars to transport their baggage, 
being under orders to march to the North of Ireland. 

Mrs. Ricards at once decided to turn off the road, and 
to go as quickly as possible to Enniskerry, where she 
hoped we could pass the night, at the house of a lady 



240 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

who had been her school-fellow and friend before they 
were married, and with whom she still kept up an inti- 
macy. Fortunately the husband was absent with his 
corps of yeomen cavalry, for he was not only a Tory, 
but a bitter Orangeman. 

When we arrived, Mrs. Ricards and her little son John 
received the kindest welcome from this lady, who 
thought she could never do half enough for her former 
school-fellow and playmate, Miss Slater, whilst I did 
not fare badly in the kitchen. Little Ricards thought I 
was slighted, and cried out, " Mamma, won't Mr. Byrne 
come to tea?" This exclamation was rather awkward, 
as his mother had said my name was Doyle. However, 
the lady of the house was too well bred to take notice of 
what the child had said. The next morning we set out 
at daylight, and arrived in Dublin on the ,ioth of 
November, 1798, at an early hour, and put up at a car- 
man's inn in Kevin Street, where my step-brother Ned 
Kennedy came and brought me away with him to a 
hiding-place; for arrests of those coming from the 
counties of Wexford and Wicklow were every instant 
taking place throughout the city. 

Before I conclude this chapter, I must express my 
lasting gratitude to Mrs. Ricards for her generous and 
spirited conduct in thus getting me away from the im- 
pending danger ; indeed I feel I can never be sufficiently 
grateful towards her. 

The next chapter will contain the account of the way 
I escaped in Dublin ; my acquaintance with poor Robert 
Emmet, and the part I took in his unlucky attempt; 
my escape from Dublin, and my arrival in Paris, etc. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

IN concluding the last chapter, I mentioned that my 
step-brother, Edward Kennedy, met me at the carman's 
inn in Kevin Street, on my arrival in Dublin. He has- 
tened to bring me home with him, and to have me 
metamorphosed from appearing a car-driver into a 
respectable Dublin citizen. Although he was rather 
larger and taller than me, yet all his clothes fitted me 
tolerably well, particularly a long brown great coat with 
a black velvet cape, so that in a few minutes I was 
completely disguised and ready to walk the streets arm- 
in-arm with him to my new abode. On our way I was 
saluted as Mr. Kennedy; no doubt on account of the 
long great coat which he generally wore at that season 
when going out on business. He thought his house 
might be suspected on account of the great number of 
those who escaped to Dublin coming to it, not only to 
(Une with him, but sometimes to remain many days at a 
time. My brother was very generous, and thought he 
could never do half enough for the brave men who 
escaped the English tyrants. Unfortunately, his means 
were inadequate to keep open house for all those who 
frequented it, he being a county Wexford man. I 
should not mention these circumstances, which possibly 
may not interest the general reader, but on account of 
those lamented sufferers in the sacred cause whom my 
brother was in the habit of entertaining. 

Poor Billy Byrne of Ballymanus dined with him in 
New Street the day before he was arrested. I sat beside 
him at dinner. Alas ! it was the last time we ever met. 
Of course we talked over our misfortunes, and the sad 
result of our campaign. He had not the most distant 

R 



242 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

idea that any danger awaited him, having General 
Lake's protection, which Brigade Major Fitzgerald so 
kindly obtained for him at Wexford, and in virtue of 
which, and on its guarantee, he had for months walked 
about the streets of Dublin almost daily, without the 
least apprehension that any charge could be brought 
against him, so conscious was he of the rectitude of his 
conduct and the magnanimity of his exertions to save 
the lives of prisoners, in every instance where he 
possessed influence during the insurrection, and very 
often at the risk of his own life ; for it was no easy 
matter to persuade those unfortunate men who had had 
their nearest and dearest relations murdered in cold 
blood by the Orangemen, that retaliation could not 
serve their cause. Still poor Billy Byrne would perse- 
vere in his humane task, and succeeded in saving many 
Orange prisoners. Some of these very men were 
brought to Wicklow to swear his life away. It sufficed 
that he had enjoyed sufficient influence to save these 
Orange prisoners, to show that he must have been a 
chief. So according to the " justice of England " which 
then prevailed in Ireland, poor Byrne was tried and 
condemned to death, and executed forthwith ; whilst his 
brother Garrett Byrne, who was a real and distinguished 
chief all through the insurrection, escaped, because he 
applied to a man of honour and high reputation, General 
Sir John Moore, and not to Lake, or to that old hypo- 
crite Lord Cornwallis. 

After poor Billy Byrne's arrest, my brother thought it 
advisable that I should leave the city for some time, and 
go and hide in the country or in the vicinity of Dublin. 
A worthy clergyman, a Catholic priest, the Reverend 
John Barret, who had set up a little academy at Lucan, 
after he got out of prison, kindly invited me to his 
house ; there I passed several days very agreeably with 
him and the little boys his pupils. It was during my 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 243 

stay with Mr. Barret that he told me of many strange 
and melancholy occurrences which took place almost 
daily amongst the State prisoners, with all of whom he 
was on the most intimate footing such as Emmet, 
Bond, MacNeven, Sampson, O'Connor, etc., but particu- 
larly the brave and unfortunate William Michael Byrne, 
whom he accompanied in his last moments. This 
heroic martyr to his country's cause was one of the first 
to be sacrificed for the efforts he made for its liberty and 
redemption. With the rope about his neck, going to 
the place of execution from his cell, knowing he should 
pass by the window where Mrs. Bond was with her 
husband, and lest she should see him, and be over- 
whelmed by the sight, as it was her husband's turn next 
to be executed, he stooped so low under the window, 
going nearly on his hands and feet, as not to be seen by 
her. The presence of mind of this truly great man, an 
instant before being launched into eternity, is extra- 
ordinary indeed, and worthy of being recorded in a his- 
tory of the sufferings of Ireland. 

Being informed that the searching for the men of the 
counties of Wexford and Wicklow, supposed to be hid- 
ing in Dublin, had ceased, I took my leave of the worthy 
priest, Mr. Barret, thanking him for his kind hospitality, 
and returned to the city; but when I arrived at my 
brother's in New Street, I was told that Hunter Gowan, 
with several of his yeomen, were in town, and that he 
had already caused many men to be arrested in Kevin 
Street. The poor fellows having left their hiding places 
and gone to the carmen's inn, there to endeavour to get 
news from their homes and families, thus met their most 
cruel foes, before they had an opportunity of seeing those 
county of Wexford carriers, who arrived in Dublin on 
Sunday, to be in time for the markets which were held 
on Mondays. 

As soon as I learned this news, and that a general 



244 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

search was likely to be made throughout those districts 
or houses frequented by the county of Wexford people, 
I made haste again to leave the town. Mr. George Now- 
lan, who kept a hotel at Maynooth, invited me to spend 
a few days there ; I had also an invitation to the lay 
college, but I did not think it right to avail myself ol it, 
fearing a student might be expelled for harbouring me 
there ; so after passing a few days at Maynooth, I re- 
turned to my brother's, resolved to run any risk rather 
than quit the city, which offered a better chance for 
escaping than I could expect in the country, or near 
Dublin. But I had to remain concealed on Sundays and 
Mondays, and not to sleep at my brother's house, in 
order to avoid meeting the county Wexford and 
Wicklow Orangemen, who were generally seen parading 
the streets during those days. After passing a month in 
this melancholy, uncertain way, my health unfortunately 
failed, though my courage never did. I fell sick, and Ead 
so severe an illness that it was thought I could not re- 
cover. But my dear brother had every care taken of me, 
and as soon as I became convalescent, being ordered 
change of air, he took lodgings for me at Booterstown 
Lane, near a place where he was going to build two 
houses. I was to be the overseer or superintendent, and 
to book down the materials, the bricks, the lime, sand, 
etc., and to give receipts for them when delivered, and to 
pay all the workmen on the Saturday evenings. I felt 
the greatest pleasure in being thus employed ; it afforded 
me an opportunity of making myself in some way useful 
to him who had already been at such expense and taken 
so much trouble to prevent my falling into the hands of 
those relentless villains, whom nothing could satisfy but 
blood. 

This occupation, besides being useful to my brother, 
was conducive to my recovery. I generally went to 
town late on Saturday evening, and returned late on 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 245 

Sunday evening, to be at my post early on Monday 
morning, to see that the workmen were arrived and had 
resumed their labour. This regular occupation, and the 
sea air and tolerably good living, restored my health, 
which had been so much injured, to its natural state. 
My spirits also got better. The war with France was 
going on, and I hoped consequently that there was still 
something good in store for poor Ireland. The worthy 
Father Connelly, who had suffered imprisonment in the 
cause, was the parish priest at Booterstown Lane. I 
spent many instructive evenings with him, talking over 
the state of the country after the Union. He was an 
extremely well-informed, enlightened man, and I listened 
to his conversation with delight, and I must say I felt not 
a little vain of the confidence he seemed to place in me. 
He wished me to be acquainted with his friend, Coun- 
sellor MacCanna, who, he said, would soon publish a 
narrative of the cold-blooded murders perpetrated at 
Carnew and other places, previous to the insurrection. 
This work never appeared. -The Counsellor having got 
a pension, thought it would answer no purpose to pub- 
lish such things. Very likely Father Connelly never 
knew the reason why the work did not come out. 

I have already mentioned in this memoir the result of 
my interview with this gentleman, Mr. MacCanna ; he 
being a Roman Catholic, and considered a good lawyer, 
was expected to expose to the world the foul deeds of 
the cruel ascendancy of that period, having collected the 
necessary documents for such a publication. 

Many of the brave county of Wexford men who 
escaped from the disasters of the Boyne, took refuge in 
Booterstown Lane, and were living in wretched little 
cabins in the back allies, with their female relations, 
mothers, sisters, wives, etc., all having abandoned their 
homes. Amongst them were Stephen and Pat Murray, 
of Croom ; the latter was our standard-bearer of the 



246 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Monaseed corps. He was a determined, fine fellow, who 
guarded our beautiful green colours throughout all the 
battles of the counties of Wexford and Wicklow. 
There was also John Purcell, the son of a respectable 
mill owner near Craneford, an intrepid, fine young 
man, whom I had occasion to see in the most perilous 
situations, and who distinguished himself to the ad- 
miration of all who shared the same danger. I 
felt the greatest satisfaction at having it in my power 
to render some service to these unfortunate and 
brave men. My brother allowed me to employ them at 
any work they were capable of performing; so they 
riddled sand, mixed mortar, etc., etc., and were paid like 
the others, and this occupation kept them out of harm's 
way, and enabled them to support their families until 
something better offered. 

I boarded and lodged with an honest, blunt man, of 
the name of Burnet ; he was from the north of Ireland. 
He kept a huckster's shop, and sold all kinds of groceries. 
Of course, the men employed at the buildings dealt 
with him, and they found it convenient to have such 
good things so near, and credit to the end of the week. 

My punctuality in returning on Sunday night im- 
pressed Burnet for some time with the idea that creditors 
might contribute to my exactness, and I was not sorry 
he should think so. 

I had frequently visits from my friends during the 
week, viz., the Reverend Father Barret, who had given 
up his school at Lucan, and returned to Francis Street 
Chapel ; Neddy Byrne, of Ballymanus, and many others. 
I accompanied Neddy Byrne one day to call on a rich 
merchant at his counting house, of the name of Maguire, 
who traded with Hamburg, and had just returned from 
that city, where he had seen Garrett Byrne. Wishing to 
let the family hear of their relative, Mr. Maguire sent 
word to Neddy Byrne to call on him. The latter, of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 247 

course, expected to have some agreeable conversation 
about his brother, with this wealthy hemp and flax mer- 
chant ; but, on the contrary Maguire told him at once, 
that it would be necessary for him and his two sisters, 
Nellie and Fanny Byrne, to sign a deed giving up all 
claim to the Ballymanus estate, before anything could 
be done for their brother Garrett, then an exile at Ham- 
burg and in great want of money. I cannot forget 
Byrne's exclamation when he came out to join me : 
" How could I have expected anything good from a 
fellow covered with borrough !" the Irish term for tow. 

My time passed on at Booterstown Lane well enough, 
till the news came of the peace of Amiens in March, 
1802, which to me were sad tidings indeed. I had an in- 
vitation to dine that same day with a very worthy couple, 
a Mr. and Mrs. Byrne of Townsend Street. After dinner 
Mrs. Byrne asked me to accompany a young lady, Miss 
Lawless, a cousin of hers (and whom I believe, she and 
her husband had adopted, having no children of their 
own), to see the illuminations through the city of Dublin. 
Of course, I could not refuse. Although Miss Lawless 
was a nice sprightly young girl, who took every pains 
to show me all the magnificent public buildings, blazing 
with lights, and quite surpassing anything of the land 
I had ever witnessed, I felt completely cast down and 
dull. My spirits sunk, my hopes vanished. I felt quite 
ashamed of being in this state reconducting Miss Law- 
less home, but I could not help it. Mrs. Byrne rallied me 
and said she was sorry to see that the rejoicings did not 
seem to amuse me much. After taking some refresh- 
ments, I took my leave of them. The next time I called 
I was finely joked for being such a dull company to a 
young lady! 

I felt unnerved and disappointed at the news of the 
peace. I had been living in hopes that ere the war ter- 
minated, something good would be done for poor Ireland 



248 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

But now, alas ! all that ceased, and, for the first time, I 
began to think seriously about my own situation. Having 
no possession by which I could make a livelihood except 
farming or agriculture, in which I had acquired some 
knowledge on our own land, previous to the insurrection, 
I often thought of going to America. But what could I 
do there without capital ? And I was not master of any. 

A very worthy man, a Mr. Daniel Keogh, a school 
master, from whom I had learned the little I knew of 
arithmetic, mensuration, etc., being obliged to reside in 
Dublin, and being an excellent professor of book-keep- 
ing, cheerfully came to give me lessons in that branch 
of learning. My step-brother now thought that with the 
instructions he could himself give me, I might replace 
the clerk who kept his books, who sold and measured 
the timber, etc. In a very short time I was quite equal 
to the business, which afforded great pleasure to my 
dear brother, and gave me rather an agreeable occupa- 
tion. Though often busily employed in the timber yard, 
I could see my friends, and know something of what was 
going on in the public world, during this short peace, 
which I trusted would not last long ; and indeed I was 
not deceived, for in the spring of 1803, the hostilities re- 
commenced between England and France. 

It was about this time that I became acquainted with 
a Mr. Norris, a young man of very pleasing manners, who 
had been set up in a tannery concern at Dolphin's Barn, 
by Mr. John Patten, the brother-in-law of Thomas Addis 
Emmet. Of course, Mr. Norris and I had many conver- 
sations about that truly patriotic Irish family; I telling 
him the kind and disinterested part Mr. T. A. Emmet 
took to obtain justice for the Ballyellis yeomanry, dis- 
banded and disarmed by their chief, Sir John Jervis 
White, previous to the insurrection on the pretext and 
suspicion of their being United Irishmen. On this Mr. 
Norris asked me if I should not like to know the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 249 

youngest brother, Robert Emmet, who had just re- 
turned from France, having parted with his brother 
Thomas at Paris. I need not say how delighted I was 
at the prospect of being introduced to a young patriot, 
of whom I had heard already so much that I was quite 
prepossessed in his favour and longed much to see him. 
Next day we met at Mr. Norris's, who after introducing 
us to each other, left us and went away on his own 
business. Mr. Emmet soon told me his plans. He said 
he wished to be acquainted with all those who had 
escaped in the war of '98, and who continued still to 
enjoy the confidence of the people ; that he had been 
enquiring since his return, and even at Paris. He was 
pleased to add that he had heard my name mentioned 
amongst them, etc. He entered into many details of 
what Ireland had to expect from France in the way of 
assistance, now that that country was so energetically 
governed by the first Consul Buonaparte ; but Buona- 
parte feared that the Irish people might be changed, 
and careless about their independence, in consequence 
of the union with England. It became obvious, there- 
fore, that this impression should be removed as soon as 
possible. Mr. R. Emmet told me the station his brother 
held in Paris, and that the different members of the 
Government there frequently consulted him. All of 
them were of opinion that a demonstration should be 
made by the Irish patriots to prove that they were as 
ready as ever to shake off the English yoke. To 
which Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet replied : it would be 
cruel to commit the poor Irish people again, and to drive 
them into another rebellion before they received assist- 
ance from France ; but at the same time he could assure 
the French Government that a secret organisation was 
then going on throughout Ireland, but more particularly 
in the city of Dublin, where large depots of arms, and of 
every kind of ammunition, were preparing with the 



250 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

greatest secrecy, as none but the tried men of 1798 were 
entrusted with the management of those stores and 
depots. 

After giving me this explanation, Mr. Robert Emmet 
added : " If the brave and unfortunate Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald and his associates felt themselves justified in 
seeking to redress Ireland's grievances by taking the 
field, what must not be our justification, now that not a 
vestige of self-government exists, in consequence of the 
accursed Union. Until this most barbarous act or trans- 
action took place, from time to time, in spite of corruption, 
useful local laws were enacted for Ireland. Now seven- 
eighths of the population have no right to send a mem- 
ber of their body to represent them, even in a foreign 
Parliament, and the other eighth-part of the population 
are the tools and task-masters, acting for the cruel Eng- 
lish Government and its Irish ascendancy a monster 
still worse, if possible, than foreign tyranny." 

Mr. Emmet mentioned again the promises obtained 
from the chief of the French Government, given to him- 
self, his brother, and other leaders, that in the event of a 
French army landing in Ireland, it should be considered 
as an auxiliary one, and received on the same principle 
as General Rochambeau and his army were received by 
the American people, when fighting for their indepen- 
dence. He added : " That though no one could abhor 
more than he did the means by which the First Consul 
came to be at the head of the French nation, still he was 
convinced, that this great military chief would find it his 
interest to deal fairly by the Irish nation, as the best 
and surest way to obtain his ends with England : he 
therefore thought the country should be organized and 
prepared for those great events, which were now inevi- 
table. That, as for himself, he was resolved to risk his 
life, and to stake the little fortune he possessed, for the 
accomplishment of those preparations so necessary for 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 251 

the redemption of our unfortunate country from the 
hands of a cruel enemy. 

Mr. Emmet's powerful, persuasive language, and 
sound reason, all coming from the heart, left it impos- 
sible for any Irishman, impressed with a desire for his 
country's independence, to make any objection to his 
plans (particularly as Ireland's great opportunity seemed 
now to have arrived for her freedom), save to bide the 
proper time, and wait for French aid. For my own part, 
I had no objections to make. I merely observed that I 
trusted the poor county of Wexford, and the other parts 
which suffered in 1798, would be spared until Dublin was 
ready to begin and take the lead in the struggle ; that 
for the accomplishment of this enterprise there were 
more than three hundred brave county of Wexford 
fellows who escaped in '98 and who took refuge in 
Dublin and the environs, on whom we could count when 
the time for action arrived, and that with the aid of 
those tried men, and with the brave Kildare men and 
Dublin citizens, I trusted success was certain. 

We settled in this first interview how we were to meet, 
without inconvenience to me, as I was a good deal 
occupied in the office and timber-yard. At the bottom 
of this yard there was a small garden, and instead of 
enquiring for me at the office, Mr. Emmet, when he 
called, walked into this garden, where I immediately 
joined him. If I happened to be out on business, he 
went to Mr. John Palmer's New Road, on the Pottle, 
where he left any message he might have for me with 
Miss Biddy Palmer, in whom he placed implicit confi- 
dence ; and indeed no one was ever more worthy of 
such trust than this young lady, who had suffered 
severely in 1798 by her father's imprisonment and the 
ruin of his affairs, her brother's exile, and death on the 
Continent. Still she bore up under all her misfortunes 
like a heroine of the olden times, and was a comfort and 



252 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

a consolation to her family and friends. I did not 
introduce my brother to Mr. Emmet, but he knew who 
he was, and when he called in my absence Mr. Kennedy 
merely told him that I was out, and the time when I 
should be returned. Nothing more was to pass between 
them. When I came back and heard that Mr. Emmet 
had called, I went to Miss Palmer's where I either met 
him, or got the message he left for me with this young 
lady. As to the secrecy to be observed on the vast 
preparations now making, Mr. Emmet said he was 
satisfied we had nothing to dread, as none but those who 
were already well known to have suffered in the cause 
of Ireland would be employed, and consequently every 
confidence was placed in them. For this reason, no test, 
no oath was taken by any one during those prepara- 
tions and organization, which was to extend throughout 
the country. 

At our next meeting Mr. Emmet told me of the house 
he had taken in the lane near Thomas Street, where he 
intended to establish a large depot of ammunition, fire- 
arms of every description, pikes, etc., from which 
the Kildare men would be armed to take the city. He 
also told me of his intention to take a house in Patrick 
Street, as a depot, where war stores of various kinds 
would be prepared, and from which stores the counties 
of Wexford and Wicklow men would be supplied when 
the time for action arrived Mr. Emmet wished to 
know, on account of the experience I must nave had in 
the insurrection of '98, my opinion about pike bandies. 
I advised him to have them made of red dea 1 , as it 
would be tedious and difficult to procure the quantity 
necessary of ash wood I told him that by choosing 
boards three inches thick, without knots, and eight or 
nine feet long, a deep cut in the centre and five flat 
cuts in each board would produce twelve handles. He, 
being satisfied with this explanation, gave me an order 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 253, 

to have seven or eight thousand got ready as soon as 
possible. A trustworthy man of the name of Ned 
Condon, to whom he introduced me, came regularly to 
the timber-yard, dressed as a carman, and took away 
those boards to the depot in the lane in Thomas Street. 

Mr. Emmet then devised what were called the hollow 
beams, for the purpose of conveying with safety the 
pikes when mounted at the Thomas Street depot, to 
the smaller one through the town. A piece of timber 
eighteen inches square, ten feet long, had its outside 
slabs sawed off about an inch and a half thick ; then 
one foot long of each end of this beam was cut off, and 
on those two blocks three of the slabs were nailed or 
spiked firmly, whilst the fourth slab, serving as the lid, 
was screwed on. When mud was carelessly spattered 
on the joints, no one could think that the beam was 
hollow, though eight feet long of it was a complete 
case in which the mounted pikes were packed. 

After we had settled all things respecting the pike 
handles, Mr. Emmet told me he should want a number 
of pocket pistols, the barrels of which must only be four 
inches long, and the calibre to admit a soldier's musket 
cartridge. He also said he would want a vast number of 
short blunderbusses ; he asked me if I knew a gunsmith 
to whom we could apply with safety to furnish those 
articles; I answered that I happened to know one in 
whom I could place the greatest confidence, and whose 
curiosity would never lead him to inquire whether the 
fire-arms were destined for smugglers or privateers. We 

then agreed that I should get Mr. M , the gunsmith, 

to make a pair of pistols and a blunderbuss of the kind 
we described, and when finished he was to leave them 
with me. As I kept the key of the oat-bin in the stable, 
I locked these arms there till Mr. Emmet called. When 
he examined them and heard the low price, he was 
delighted to know that such articles could be made sa 



254 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

cheap with locks and barrels perfect, and though the 
workmanship might have been better, and the polish 
higher, still they were all that could be required for the 
use to which they were destined. 

Mr. Emmet being quite satisfied, desired me to order 
one hundred pair of the pocket pistols, and three hun- 
dred of the blunderbusses ; the barrels of the latter to 
be of the same iron or metal as the pistols, which would 
cost less than brass ones ; and seeing the promptitude 
with which those first fire-arms were made and delivered, 

he bid me tell Mr. M the gunsmith, to continue 

getting the blunderbusses made, and to say that any 
money he wanted should be advanced to him ; but this 
worthy man would accept none till his merchandise was 
safely delivered. These details may not interest the 
reader, but they will show, that when one individual out 
of the many engaged in this enterprise, could contribute 
as I did, that the plan was extensive and carefully carried 
on, so as to offer every chance of success. 

As Mr. Emmet on coming to town from Harold's 
Cross, passed by our house, we met almost every day, 
and every day he had something new to tell me about 
the preparations, which, he said, were progressing 
rapidly, thanks, he added, to the exertions of those true 
patriots who did not fear to identify themselves with 
him, if they could redeem their country and throw off 
the foreign yoke. 

One morning he called earlier than usual, to tell me 
that there was then a house to let in Patrick Street, 
which was sufficiently extensive for the depot and 
military stores which we wanted; that he was going 
into town to try to get a person to go at once and 
secure it, but lest he should fail, he bid me be on the 
look out for some one; that a married man would be 
preferable. In a few minutes after he left me, Mr. 
Macintosh, a worthy Scotch patriot, who had been 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 255 

settled in Dublin for some years, and who was married 
to an Irishwoman, a Miss Keenan, called to buy timber. 
I told him that Mr. Emmet wanted some one of our 
friends to take a lease of a house in Patrick Street. He 
immediately volunteered to go about it. 

A short explanation is necessary to show why Scotch- 
men were concerned in our preparations. Previous to 
his leaving France, Mr. Robert Emmet became 
acquainted with a young Scotchman, of the name of 
Campbell, who resided in a town of Normandy on the 
sea coast ; this young man had it in his power not only 
to render a service to Mr. Emmet in getting him a 
passage, but he gave him introductions and a clew to the 
Scotch patriots of the Muir standing, and consequently 
lo all of them residing in Ireland. Macintosh being 
amongst the latter, rejoiced to have it in his power to 
contribute to the freedom of Ireland. But alas ! his fate 
differed widely from that of young Campbell ; the latter, 
by the interest of Thomas Addis Emmet with the first 
Consul and the French Government, got the rank of 
officer in the Irish legion on its formation in 1803. 
Though these grades were to be exclusively for Irish- 
men, or their sons born in France, recompensing 
Campbell in this manner showed the respect paid to the 
memory of poor Robert Emmet, and the high considera- 
tion his brother enjoyed in France. 

Mr. Emmet gave the money necessary to Macintosh, 
who went immediately and took the house in Patrick 
Street, paid six months in advance, got the lease in his 
own name, and then set to work to make the changes 
in the house according to Mr. Emmet's instructions. 
About this time Michael Quigley, who had gone to 
France after the peace of Amiens, returned to Dublin : 
he being a skilful bricklayer, and Macintosh an in- 
genious carpenter, they contrived and made secret 
closets from the ground floor to the garret, which could 



256 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

never be suspected or discovered, except by those who 
were in the secret. These secret closets were large 
enough to hold pikes, fire-arms and ammunition for ten 
thousand men. 

Mr. Emmet prayed me to get six hundred jointed 
pike handles prepared by a turner, one half to be three 
feet long, the other half two feet and a-half long ; on 
the end of this last was to be placed a small carbine 
bayonet, or a small pike head, not exceeding six inches 
in length. This handle extended and stretched out was 
six feet long ; when doubled up, it was only three feet 
long, which made it easy to be carried and concea^d 
under a great coat These handles were on the prin- 
ciple of a parasol handle that doubled up, joined together 
by a small hinge. A tube six inches long covered the 
joint, pressed forward three inches and then was stopped 
by a pin. A small spring started up behind to keep it 
on the joint equal on both sides. Thus it became quite 
solid, and easier managed than a soldier's musket and 
bayonet. With this weapon and a blunderbuss slung 
with a belt from a man's shoulder, he had great advan- 
tage in close quarters with the enemy, as it was much 
easier to charge the blunderbuss than the musket. 

Mr. Emmet had several square beams^ twelve feet 
long, sent to the depot at Thomas Street, which he 
intended to have got bored with a small pump auger, 
not in the centre, but nearer one side, and the hole was 
to be perforated to within one foot of the end, and then 
filled with powder till it came to a foot from the mouth. 
The hole was then stopped with a plug a foot long, of 
the same diameter, well spiked to prevent it from 
coming out. A touch-hole was to be perforated in the 
middle of the beam on the side which the bore ap- 
proached the nearest, and a pivot set on each end on 
which common car wheels were placed and turned. Two 
cases five feet long each, filled with small stones and 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 257 

combustibles were to be placed at the top of the beam. 
The explosion of this machine placed as an obstacle 
before the enemy must have a terrible effect. 

Scientific experiments of various kinds were to be tried 
at the depot at Patrick Street. In consequence of the 
continual passage there, it was thought advisable not to 
employ too many at this depot, lest their going in and 
out from so populous a street might cause suspicions. 
The two Keenans, Macintosh's brothers-in-law, were to 
be among those who were to be employed and entrusted 
with the secret. A man of the name of Darby Byrne, 
who had been condemned to be shot after the insur- 
rection of the county of Wexford, saved himself by 
enlisting into the English service. He was discharged 
after the peace of Amiens, and being afraid to return to 
his own home amongst the Orangemen of his neigh- 
bourhood, he applied to me to see if I could get him 
anything to do. He had no trade ; he said he had some- 
times been employed making ball cartridges. He was 
sober and well behaved, and as a proof that the contact 
with the mercenary soldiers did not affect his morals, 
he had money which he had saved in the service. Mr. 
Emmet was quite pleased to have such a worthy person 
placed as an inmate at the depot 

There was a man who went by the name of Johnstone, 
who had spent several years in the East India service, 
where he had frequently been employed in preparing 
fire- works. Perhaps this man with Robert Emmet were 
the real inventors of those rockets, latterly universally 
known under the appellation of Congreve rockets be 
that as it may, I think it only right to relate here all I 
know of the matter. At Mr. Emmet's request I called 

on Mr. M the gunsmith, and showed him a strong 

piece of paper shaped in a certain way, which was to 
serve as a model to have tubes twenty inches long, two 
and a-half inches diameter, cut out of strong sheet iron ; 

S 



258 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

as soldering would be liable to melt with the fire, they 
were to be clasped and well hammered on the joints, 
which would render them quite solid. The sloped shape 
at one end formed a point like an arrow. The gunsmith 
soon brought me a tube made after the model with 
which both Mr. Emmet and Johnstone were well 
pleased Consequently I had to tell him to have several 
hundreds of the same description made as soon as 
possible. 

Johnstone set to work mixing the ingredients to fill 
those tubes, composed of powder, nitre, sulphur, etc., 
and when this stuff was prepared, it had the appearance 
of wet mortar. But everything was done according to 
Mr. Emmet's instructions ; he consulted a scientific 
work respecting the way such materials should be pre- 
pared, and even the way the tubes were to be filled, the 
size of each portion to be put in at a time, the weight of 
the hammer, the plug to drive it down, the number of 
strokes to be given before another portion was put 
in. 

An iron needle was placed in the centre of the tube 
around which the mortar was tempered, and when the 
needle was drawn out, the hole was then filled with 
powder. Thus prepared, they were to be fastened with 
strong wire to a slight pole about eight feet long at one 
end ; and from the other end a card prepared as a fuse 
would convey the fire to the mouth of the tube. A small 
trestle four feet high was provided on which the pole was 
to rest to be poised and sent off in the direction of the 
enemy. Hand grenades and other such missiles were 
getting ready as rapidly as could be expected, as well as 
the pikes, at the Thomas Street depot. Besides the two 
depots, four houses were procured in different parts of 
the town, the most convenient to have pikes and arms 
deposited safely in them. It may be seen by these 
arrangements, that ample means could be counted on 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 259 

for arming the citizens who intended taking a part in 
the struggle. It is necessary also to mention the 
manner they were organized for this event. I shall en- 
deavour to explain here as briefly as possible. In the 
first place, chiefs who could mix with the people without 
causing suspicion were generally chosen in preference to 
men holding a higher station, though the latter were 
equally devoted and ready to risk their lives and fortunes. 
A man of the name of James Hope, who had been 
advantageously known to Sam Neilson, and many other 
Northern patriots of 1798, by trade a linen weaver, took 
a ground floor on the Coombe ; his loom and the web 
which was mounted on it could be seen from the street. 
This man was without exception the best person that 
could be entrusted with the organization of his own 
class in the Liberty of Dublin, from which class the 
fighting men were expected to come. Hope was sober, 
prudent and unassuming ; he spoke and reasoned justly. 
He soon made acquaintance with the persons of his own 
trade who had acquired reputation as good, honest 
patriots, and to them he communicated the general plan. 
He promised them nothing which he could not prove to 
them would be realized when the time for action arrived. 
Those brave fellows set to work to assist him, and in 
less than two months after, James Hope reported that 
five thousand were organized and ready. Another man 
whose brilliant conduct during the insurrection I have 
already mentioned in the beginning of these memoirs, 
was Matthew Doyle, who lived near Arklow. After the 
battle of Vinegar Hill he had the misfortune to be taken 
prisoner by the English. He had no alternative between 
enlisting as a mercenary soldier or being shot. He was 
in the prime of life and was very intelligent. His 
regiment made part of Sir Ralph Abercrombie's army 
in Egypt. Though quitting his wife, and all that was 
dear to him, Doyle did not despond, nor relinquish the 



260 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

hope of being one day able to serve again his own 
country. He therefore began to study military tactics 
in the most assiduous manner, and he soon succeeded in 
acquiring great knowledge of the subject. This, with 
his gentlemanlike conduct could not fail to attract the 
notice of the officers of his regiment. They had him 
named sergeant ; it was all they could obtain for an 
Irish rebel chief, though he had displayed both skill and 
bravery fighting against the French in Egypt. 

The regiment Doyle belonged to being disbanded at 
the peace of Amiens, he was discharged ; but as he 
could not venture to return to his home, amongst the 
vindictive Orangemen of Arklow, he stopped in Dublin, 
in hopes of finding some honourable occupation. I 
mentioned Doyle's situation to Mr. Emmet and all the 
particulars about the active way he had been employed 
by some of the principal heads of the United Irishmen 
in organizing that system in the years 1797 and 1798. 
" Oh ! he is just the man we want," he replied ; " let me 
be introduced to him immediately." Doyle soon became 
what he had been formerly, a safe agent and an inde- 
fatigable organizer, preparing his countrymen residing 
in Dublin and its vicinity, as well as the citizens, to hold 
themselves in readiness to take arms when called on. 
His military experience added weight to the influence 
he had amongst the men of '98, who recollected him as 
an intrepid leader. Mr. Emmet considered Doyle a 
great acquisition, and he received him most kindly and 
frankly, taking pains to initiate him into the prepara- 
tions then going on, and telling him all his hopes and 
plans ; all in such powerful and eloquent language, that 
poor Doyle felt highly honoured and flattered; but he 
could not conceive how so young a man could possess 
such uncommon intellect. 

He was not the only one who admired Robert 
Emmet's extraordinary persuasive talent. I shall relate 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 261 

another instance of it. A Mr. Butler, a county of 
Wexford gentleman residing in Dublin, invited me one 
Sunday to a dinner party he was giving at George 
Nowlan's Hotel, at Maynooth, in honour of the brave 
Thomas Cloney, who had just returned from England, 
where he had been exiled after his trial and imprison- 
ment in 1798. Mr. Cloney and I took a walk after 
dinner. Of course our first conversation turned on the 
failure of the insurrection and its disastrous conse- 
quences in the county of Wexford, his own long 
sufferings, etc. After which he asked me if I had 
heard that young Emmet, the brother of Thomas 
Addis Emmet was then organizing the country, to 
be ready to rise when a French army should land. I 
replied that I had; he then asked me if I knew 
anyone who was acquainted with young Emmet. I 
told him I did. He then expressed a desire to be intro- 
duced to Mr. Emmet, in order to dissuade him from his 
rash scheme. I promised to let him know next day, 
when he could have the interview he desired. Being 
joined by the rest of the company, we all returned to 
Dublin by the canal boat. 

Mr. Cloney, not wishing to be committed to people he 
did not know, called on me early in the morning to 
ascertain the name of the person through whose means 
an interview with Robert Emmet was to be procured 
to him. I told him, that on that head he need have no 
apprehension, for I was that person; that I had seen 
Mr. Emmet the night before, after I had come to town ; 
and that he seemed delighted at the prospect of be- 
coming acquainted with so true a patriot as Mr. Cloney. 
He fixed with me to have a rendezvous at Harold's 
Cross Green, about dusk. Mr. Cloney returned in the 
evening, and we walked out to the Green at Harold's 
Cross. I soon perceived at some distance Robert 
Emmet, walking along and musing, and tapping the 



262 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

ground with his little cane in his accustomed way. 
After I introduced them, I retired to a distance and 
walked up and down, as they did, for three-quarters of 
an hour. 

I can never forget the impression this meeting made 
on me at the time to see two heroic patriots, equally 
devoted to poor Ireland, discussing the best means of 
obtaining her freedom. The contrast in the appear- 
ance of the two was very great. Emmet, slight and 
under the middle size; Cloney, almost gigantic, being 
six feet three or four inches high and well proportioned. 
When their long conversation was ended, they came 
and joined me. On taking leave of us, Mr. Emmet 
said in a familiar manner to me, "Miles, I shall call on 
you in the morning." He then left us and went to his 
lodgings, and we returned to town. On the way, Mr. 
Cloney asked me why I did not tell him the day before 
at Maynooth, that I was personally acquainted with 
Mr. Emmet, and on such intimate terms with him. I 
answered: "I could not tell you more than I did, until 
I had his permission to do so." "It is very true," he 
replied, "you would have been wrong to have acted 
otherwise." He then exclaimed, " I have heard a great 
deal about that young man's talents, but certainly he 
far surpasses anything one can imagine. His powers of 
reasoning and persuasion are such that an objection can 
scarcely be made to any of his plans ; which, indeed, if 
judiciously carried on, and put into execution by deter- 
mined, honest and devoted patriots, must succeed, as 
soon as a French army is landed in any part of the 
country. As soon as the English garrison is ordered 
off to meet the French, Dublin will be easily taken, if 
the citizens show bravery, and do their duty, as it may 
be expected they will, from the organization which Mr. 
Emmet tells me is in progress through the city. As to 
the counties, though it is pretty certain they will rise, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 263 

when it is known that the metropolis is in the hands of 
the people, still he told me, a judicious organization is 
going on in nineteen counties of Ireland, and which I 
was very glad to learn." Arriving in town, Mr. Cloney 
and I separated, well pleased with the way we had 
spent the evening, and agreeing to meet often on the 
same important business. 

Mr. Emmet's plan for the organization of the counties 
was simple, and easily executed. It consisted in pro- 
curing the names and places of abode of those brave 
fellows in each district who had acquired the reputation 
of being good patriots in 1798, and who still enjoyed 
the confidence of the people. As numbers of this class 
came frequently to Dublin on business, where I met 
those to whom I was personally known, and through 
them got introduced to many others, in a short time I 
was enabled to make out a list of them for three 
counties, viz : Carlo w, Wicklow, and Wexford. Mr. 
Emmet saw these men individually, fixed with them 
the manner they were to hear from him without any 
risk. He defrayed the expenses of those who could 
not afford to stop in town ; he told them of all things 
to advise the people not to pretend to be occupied 
about the war, and never on any account to allow them 
to plunder fire-arms from the enemy, which would only 
serve to have martial law proclaimed in the country. 

Previous to the departure of these countrymen, Mr. 
Emmet gave to each of them three small ivory counters. 
On one side of one were three peculiar marks engraved, 
or rather branded, for it was with red hot iron they 
had been marked. Another of the counters had two 
marks, and the third had but one. They were recom- 
mended never to show these counters, except to per- 
sons who could produce similar ones. A messenger 
would be sent from the provisional government to 
report on the situation of the counties, and would get 



264 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the counter with one mark, and when he showed it to 
the men who he was told held the counterpart, they 
showed him theirs, and would then give him all the 
information in their power about men and things. The 
messenger or bearer of the counter with the two marks 
was to have more extensive instructions than the 
others ; he, in conjunction with the patriots of the dis- 
tricts were to devise the safest and best means of 
procuring arms, and he was to be entrusted with the 
monev necessary to defray all the expenses. The 
person who presented the ivory counter bearing the 
three brands, would come directly from the provisional 
government, with final instructions and orders to begin 
the fight, and for the general rising en masse of the 
districts organized for that purpose. Thus it may be 
seen that Mr. Emmet's plans were going on quietly and 
progressively in many of the counties, as well as in the 
city of Dublin. The brave and gallant Thomas Russell 
found the preparations in this forward state when he 
arrived from France, accompanied by his niece's hus- 
band Mr. Hamilton. Some persons thought it was very 
injudicious to bring over these gentlemen so soon. 
First, on account of the large sum of money that had to 
be sent to Paris to defray their expenses there, and the 
exorbitant price which had to be paid for a vessel to 
bring them, and this at a time when money was so 
much required to purchase fire-arms ; in the next place, 
from the great difficulty and danger which would occur 
in preparing them a safe dwelling to reside in, both 
being proscribed men. But Russell's name and great 
reputation in the North of Ireland out-weighed all other 
considerations. Therefore Robert Emmet had to take 
a house in Butterfield Lane, to change completely his 
simple mode of living, and to go and reside in that 
house with Russell, Hamilton and Dowdall. The latter 
got his liberty at the peace of Amiens, when his fellow- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 265 

prisoners at Fort George in Scotland, had to expatriate 
themselves for ever. This new establishment became 
very expensive, though the inmates slept on mattresses 
laid on the floors, and though they lived very plainly. 
The trusty attendants of the family of Michael Dwyer, 
the brave Wicklow mountain chief, added not a little 
to the expense. Still they were honest and frugal and 
their service was considered a safeguard and an acquisi- 
tion, on account of their connection with the famous 
Dwyer. Mr. John Palmer, who had all the provisions 
bought in Dublin, and sent to the country, often com- 
plained of the enormous waste and extravagance going 
on at " The Palace," as he called the house in Butter- 
field Lane. But the inconvenience and danger of 
having such numbers of persons frequently assembled 
there, was still worse. One day I am sure we were 
thirty at dinner. The fact was, we were all anxious to 
meet Mr. Russell, and to hear from him, who had left 
Paris so recently, what was to be expected from the 
French Government. His explanation on this point did 
not afford much satisfaction. Russell however ex- 
pressed his own decided opinion that the Irish people 
should begin at once and free themselves. He added 
that he was sure the North would rise to a man ; and 
he dwelt so long on this subject, and appeared so enthu- 
siastic and serious in his belief about what he advanced 
respecting the rising of the North of Ireland, that 
several of those present, particularly Cloney, Phil Long, 
Gray, Allan, Hughes, etc., consulted Mr. Emmet about 
the necessity of ascertaining how far the citizens of the 
northern districts could be relied on in the present situa- 
tion of the country ; as it had often been said of them 
that their politics had greatly changed since 1798. After 
some discussion they decided that a county of Wexford 
man of intelligence should be got to accompany James 
Hope in a tour through the North of Ireland, and they 



266 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

also decided that the man should be chosen by me. I 
knew many amongst the brave fellows who fought 
beside me in the insurrection, in whom I could place 
every confidence, but a mission of this nature required 
an observing man of discretion and sound judgment 
who would be able to report on all he saw and learned 
in his tour when he returned. Michael Berney, who 
resided in Dublin after his escape from the county of 
Wexford, consented to accompany Hope. I presented 
him to Mr. Emmet and Russell. They seemed quite 
pleased with him, and gave him the necessary instruc- 
tions how he was to act at the night meetings, where he 
would have to attend during his mission to the North. 
Mr. Berney had a large connection and many relatives 
in Dublin ; he was first cousin to the unfortunate Denis 
Redmond, of whom I shall have to speak hereafter. 
Hope and Berney spent fifteen days going through the 
different districts of the North; and their report on 
returning to Dublin, was certainly more favourable than 
was expected. At every meeting the greatest venera- 
tion and admiration was expressed for the honourable 
part that Thomas Russell had acted in the years '97 
and '98, and those present seemed proud to have him 
once more at their head to lead them to victory ; and 
when they were told by Berney and Hope that Dublin 
should be taken z which would be the signal for all 
Ireland to rise, "Oh! then," they cried, "we pledge 
ourselves not to be the last." Indeed this was the 
general feeling and opinion manifested in the other 
provinces, as well as in the North. Let the capital once 
be in possession of the citizens, then the counties would 
soon rise, and disarm the few English soldiers dispersed 
through the country. It was in consequence of the 
certainty of this general belief respecting the metropolis, 
that Robert Emmet employed all the resources in his 
power for the preparations and organization of the city 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 267 

of Dublin. Unfortunately, one of the most active 
agents, Matthew Doyle, fell sick at this time, the begin- 
ning of July; he was seized with rheumatic gout and 
lost the use of his limbs. I often called on him, and it 
made me melancholy to see so fine a fellow rendered 
useless. He however kept up his spirits, and he bid 
me tell Mr. Emmet that he hoped to be recovered ere 
we should be obliged to take the field. 

A determined man, whose eagerness to forward and 
serve the sacred cause of freedom and the independence 
of his country, and whose daring, resolute designs for 
this purpose could not be surpassed, was Mr. Brangan 
of Irishtown : he possessed all these qualities. He had 
a wife and several children whom he tenderly loved, 
yet no consideration could prevent him from sharing 
the dangers of our struggle. He requested me to intro- 
duce to him some of the counties of Wexford and 
Wicklow men who resided in his neighbourhood ; he 
wished particularly to know those who were employed 
at Mr. Haig's distillery. In a short time he had those 
intrepid refugees organized and ready for action. In 
consequence, he made a proposal to Mr. Emmet to sur- 
prise and take the Pigeon House, when the signal from 
the city should be given. Mr. Emmet cheerfully 
accepted Mr. Brangan's bold offer, and promised him to 
have small depots of arms placed at his disposition as 
soon as possible. 

Mr. Brangan's conduct and services as an officer of the 
Irish legion could often be cited to prove that he was 
ever ready to undertake the most perilous missions ; I 
could mention many instances myself where he was 
unhappy because it was the turn of the other officers 
and not his, to be ordered to attack a strong position or 
mount a breach. Though all this could only be known 
subsequently to Brangan's volunteering to take the 
Pigeon House, it suffices to show that at that period he 



268 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

had the love of distinction as well as the love of country 
at heart. When Robert Emmet appointed him to the 
command, he immediately bought general's epaulets, 
fully determined to prove that he was worthy of wearing 
them. Such men are precious and wanted at the com- 
mencement of every dangerous enterprise. 

Third of July. Our preparations progressing rapidly 
in every part of the city; with the greatest caution, 
however, and circumspection ; no one meddling with the 
concerns of others, solely occupied with his own part 
The Kildare men working day and night at the depot 
in the lane off Thomas Street, mounting pikes, and pre- 
paring other war implements ; houses getting ready to 
serve as small depots to receive them. 

An incident which took place about this time, the 
beginning of July, will show how much the honest James 
Hope was thought of both by the leaders and others. 
One day several county of Wexford men came to tell 
me, with sorrow, that they had met James Hope, who 
told them that he was going to the North with Mr. 
Russell. I saw Mr. Emmet next day at Butterfield 
Lane when I mentioned to him in Mr. Russell's presence 
how sorry the Wexford men were to learn that Hope 
would not remain to act with them in Dublin. I had 
scarcely uttered the last word when Mr. Russell said, 
" You may keep him ; you certainly take off my right 
arm, but I shall march myself with an imposing force 
from the North on Dublin." Mr. Emmet smiled, and 
we began to speak of other matters : of those concerning 
the tubes and rockets getting ready at the depot at 
Patrick Street ; he said he wished to try one of them, 
and he appointed me to come out next evening that we 
might go into the country a little distance, that this 
experiment might not attract any notice. 

Johnstone, who was making the rockets, brought one 
of them ready prepared, so we all went into the fields ; 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 269 

that is, Mr. Emmet, Russell, Dowdell, Hamilton, etc. 
The rocket was made fast to a pole with wire, and 
rested on a trestle ; the match being put to it, it went off 
like a thunderbolt, carrying the pole along with it, and 
throwing flames and fire behind, as it advanced, and 
when it fell, it went on tearing up the ground till the 
last of the matter with which it was filled was com- 
pletely consumed Mr. Emmet and Johnstone were 
quite satisfied with the effect it produced, and they 
decided that all the rockets or tubes should be prepared 
and filled in the same manner ; the card which was 
placed along the pole to serve as a train or match did 
not communicate the fire quick enough, but that was. 
easily remedied at the depot by preparing others with 
stronger liquid, etc. 

Though Mr. Cloney and others, whose experience in 
the insurrection of 1798 had taught them to appreciate 
the best and cheapest way of arming the people, in the 
event of a general rising, could not entirely approve 
Robert Emmet's learned and scientific experiments, 
solely on account of the expense incurred at a moment 
when money was so much wanted to buy fire-arms and 
ammunition, yet they little thought how the preparations 
of these tubes and rockets would cause the accident and 
explosion in the depot at Patrick Street, which brought 
on the prematue and untimely rising, and thus frustrated 
all Mr. Emmet's vast and well combined plans. Alas? 
fate decided against him. 

From the time the depot was established in Patrick 
Street, I made it a point whenever I went out on busi- 
ness, to return that way, to see that all was right there. 
On Saturday, the i6th of July, I had been at a funeral 
in Bishop Street, and in coming back by the depot, I 
saw a number of people assembled before the house. 
The first person I addressed told me that an explosion 
of some kind of combustible ingredients had taken- 



270 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

place inside, and three men were desperately wounded 
and carried off to the hospital. Poor Macintosh coming 
out of the house confirmed all I had heard. His brother- 
in-law, young Keenan, Darby Byrne, and Johnstone 
were taken to the hospital before he arrived. The men 
who escaped and remained in the depot told us that 
what they thought caused the explosion was, Johnstone 
had been trying a fusee or match, in an inner room, and 
came out into the one where the composition matter for 
filling the rocket tubes was placed in a corner, and that 
a spark of fire must have been brought on his shoe, 
which communicated with the pile in the corner. That 
the explosion took place the instant he entered the 
room ; the windows were broken, the poor men thrown 
through them into the street, etc. ; this was all they were 
able to tell us. 

Our situation can be more easily imagined than 
described. It was dreadful to think of three of our men 
being in the hospital, at the disposition of the Govern- 
ment, whose agents, by torture and other means, could 
extort from them all our plans and secrets. Macintosh 
had the window and the other things deranged by the 
explosion, put in the best order possible, to prevent 
suspicion. Both he and I wondered that the police had 
not taken possession of the depot, and we feared that 
they were only waiting for the purpose of seeing the 
persons who would frequent the house, in order to have 
them arrested. 

Mr. Emmet on being apprised of this unfortunate 
explosion naturally enough conjectured that all his plans 
and preparations would soon become known to the 
Government. He resolved, in consequence, to hold a 
council of the principal leaders then in Dublin, at which 
council it was decided, if not forced to act sooner, that 
Saturday evening following, the 23rd July, should be 
finally fixed for the general attack on the city and Castle ; 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 271 

and that every means should be taken to apprise the 
counties to follow the example of Dublin. 

Mr. Russell and Hamilton set off for the North, and 
unluckily James Hope accompanied them. His pre- 
sence at this critical moment in Dublin would have been 
invaluable; he was so devoted to the cause, so active, 
and so well known to all those employed in the different 
depots. He would have been useful beyond measure, 
carrying the despatches and giving the verbal orders of 
the chiefs; besides, there was no one appointed to 
replace him with the Liberty people, whom he had 
organized for action. However, the other leaders who 
remained in town had still seven days more before them 
to prepare for this immediate struggle to shake off for 
ever the yoke of England. 

Mr. Emmet confiding in me to procure a house to 
replace the depot in Patrick Street, from which the arms 
and ammunition should be instantly removed, if the 
Government did not take possession of it, I consulted 
Michael Berney, who told me he was sure his cousin 
Denis Redmond would lend a house he was getting 
repaired, and where he intended to reside when he got 
married ; it was on the Coal Quay, and not far from the 
Castle. The situation was the one Mr. Emmet desired 
so much on account of its proximity to the seat of the 
Government. Young Redmond at once consented^ and 
gave the keys of his house to his cousin, and seemed 
highly flattered at the confidence put in him, and bid 
us tell Mr. Emmet that he might reckon on his aid in 
every way to forward the cause of freedom. It was the 
more meritorious on the part of this brave fine young 
fellow, who only heard for the first time of Mr. Emmet's 
plans, when asked to lend his house ; his cousin did not 
like he should be initiated sooner, lest he should neglect 
his business, and particularly his marriage. 

Mr. Emmet was quite conscious of the perilous situa- 



272 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

tion of those who would be employed in removing the 
arms and ammunition from the depot to the Coal Quay ; 
in short, he considered it a forlorn hope ; he feared that 
ere then all was discovered to the agents of the Govern- 
ment. I promised him, that notwithstanding all the 
risk, I would undertake the task, and we then agreed 
on the safest way of carrying it into effect. I engaged 
a sufficient number of men in whom I could confide, to 
meet me at dusk, dressed in their great coats, under 
which they could easily carry concealed, blunderbusses, 
jointed pikes, ammunition, etc ; we walked two and two, 
and at a certain distance from one another, so as to 
attract no notice, and after making many journeys in 
this way during the night without meeting any serious 
obstacle, at the point of day we had every article fit for 
use removed to Redmond's house on the Coal Quay, and 
those not finished put into the secret closets. One 
barrel or cask of ball cartridges and flints however still 
remained, but it was to be brought to Mr. Palmer's on 
the Poddle, who was to have it sent to the country for 
Dwyer's use in the Wicklow mountains. I desired two 
men to carry the cask between them, but finding it not 
too heavy, one of them, a stout young man of the 
name of Murphy, preferred taking it on his shoulder. 
Just as he knocked at Mr. Palmer's hall door t he was 
surrounded by several watchmen who seized the barrel 
and carried it off with them. I only stopped an instant 
behind to send one of the men to the depot at Thomas 
Street to tell them there how we had succeeded, and 
when I resumed my march, I met poor Murphy coming 
back to tell me what had happened. Fortunately all 
the men were not gone away ; six or eight of them lodged 
close by and were still with me, so we instantly pursued 
the watchmen and overtook them near Coulan's brewery, 
in New Row. Here a regular combat ensued ; two of 
the watchmen were carrying the cask, and the others 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 273 

guarding them. I told our men by no means to use 
their fire-arms, so the poor watchmen were knocked 
down with paving stones and the cask retaken and 
carried off this time by two men. But we now had to 
show the other watchmen, who attempted to follow us, 
that we were well armed and determined to defend our 
property, calling them robbers, and telling them on 
their peril to advance a step. The fact was, they took 
us for smugglers. Let that be as it may, it was for- 
tunate no shot was fired, as the Coombe Guard House 
was hard by, and the sentry was walking before the 
door in the broad daylight. Whilst we were keeping 
back the watchmen, Michael Berney had the barrel 
safely deposited with a dairy man whom he knew in 
New Street, and in the course of the day Arthur 
Develin, Dwyer's cousin, took it to the country. The 
messenger whom I sent to report our success in getting 
the stores removed to the Coal Quay, learned on his way 
about the cask of ammunition having been seized: 
so Mr. Emmet heard the good and the bad report at the 
same time. He instantly sallied out from the depot at 
Thomas Street (where he had spent the night), at the 
head of several men well armed, to come to my assist- 
ance, and he had advanced as far as Francis Street 
when he was told that we had retaken the ammunition 
cask, and that all was right again. He then returned 
with his men to the depot ; fortunately they attracted 
no notice, it was so early in the day, and they were 
enchanted with his decision and courage on this 
occasion. 

Having spent the whole of Saturday night in the most 
agitated state that ever human being could experience, I 
stood in the greatest need of repose and sleep, but I 
found it impossible to have either. It being Sunday, 
and the last Sunday that would intervene before the 
rising, I had to go through the town and endeavour to 

T 



274 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

see the men on whom I counted, at their respective 
lodgings, to tell them to hold themselves in readiness 
and well prepared; that the die was cast, the day 
and the hour fixed for the general attack on the city. 
Had all the leaders who promised to be at the posts 
assigned them, been exact and done their duty, or even 
had they come to the depot to assist Mr. Emmet in the 
first bustle, their presence then would have caused more 
discipline, and in spite of mistakes and accidents, we 
should have taken the Castle ; and once in possession of 
it, the English had not sufficient forces to retake it, and 
make head against the thousand armed citizens who 
would meet in the morning, and the thousands of 
armed men pouring in from all parts of the country. 
Alas! fate decided it otherwise. The ever-to-be- 
tamented Robert Emmet desired that his epitaph 
should remain uninscribed till better times. His will in 
that respect should be adhered to. by every true Irish 
patriot; and, were I not finishing my notes, which 
commence with the memorable epoch of 1798 in the 
county of Wexford and finish in Ireland at Dublin, 1803, 
I might omit making any allusion to Mr. Emmet ; but 
as I glory in my participation with him, I cannot here 
avoid giving a short, simple, accurate sketch of Mr. 
Emmet's extensive plan for the independence of Ireland, 
and mentioning at the same time the part I took to 
forward all his views in short, from the day I became 
acquainted with him until I sailed from Dublin and 
arrived in PariSj to terminate my mission from him to 
his brother, Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet 

On Monday, the 1 8th of July, I went to all the public 
houses usually frequented by the working classes that 
day ; there I met many of those I wanted to see, and 
fixed with them the rendezvous for Saturday evening, 
the 23rd of July ; going through the city in every direc- 
tion, I often met my acquaintances who were employed 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 275 

on the same business, such as John Allen, Felix Rourke, 
etc. ; the latter dined sometimes at my brother's in New 
Street. I considered him a very discreet, safe man. 
He seemed to have great influence amongst the Kildare 
men. Of those Kildare men I only was in the habit of 
seeing on business Quigley, Ned Conden, and one or two 
others, but I was well satisfied with regard to their 
experience and devotion to the cause we were engaged 
in. Poor Matthew Doyle, of whom I have already 
spoken, was still sick, and his absence was much felt ; 
however, all those whom he knew in Dublin and its 
environs, promised to come and join me at the Coal 
Quay or in Ship Street, and they kept their word like 
undaunted men. 

A man of the name of MacCabe kept a public house 
in Francis Street. He had gained a certain reputation 
for patriotism and bravery in the insurrection of 1798. 
This sufficed to make his house be much frequented by 
many who had escaped to Dublin at that period. One 
day in the beginning of July, I met MacCabe ; he told 
me, knowing as he did so many of the brave county of 
Wexford men, whenever the rising took place, he would 
like to act with us. Of course I replied how happy we 
should be to have such distinguished patriots as him in 
our ranks. When the day was fixed, I reminded 
MacCabe of our previous conversation, to which he 
answered, that by a subsequent arrangement, he was to 
act with John Allen of College Green, and other Dublin 
leaders of his acquaintance ; he hoped, however, that 
we should often meet, once our sacred enterprise was 
crowned with success. MacCabe was rather well- 
looking ; he had a frankness of manner, an earnestness 
about our cause, which prepossessed one in his favour, 
For my own part I had .every confidence in him, and ; f 
he had not had the misfortune to be arrested at his own 
door, armed with a blunderbuss, endeavouring to get 



276 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

into his house, at the dawn of day, the morning after 
the sad failure in Thomas Street, the Government 
never would have had his services as a vile informer at 
the castle of Dublin. 

The hollow beams I have already described were now 
invaluable ; as in them the long mounted pikes were 
conveyed every day through the city to different houses, 
where they were safely deposited. Ammunition and 
fire-arms were brought by confidential persons, concealed 
under their great coats, late in the evening ; in short, 
all that was possible to be done in so short a time, was 
eagerly executed; so that the leaders on Saturday 
morning were satisfied that they could arm the men who 
promised to meet them in the evening with pikes and 
fire-arms. 

Now the final plan to be executed consisted princi- 
pally in taking the Castle, whilst the Pigeon House, 
Island Bridge, the Royal Barracks, and the old Custom 
House barracks were to be attacked ; and if not sur- 
prised and taken, they were to be blockaded, and en- 
trenchments thrown up before them. Obstacles of every 
kind were to be created through streets, to prevent the 
English cavalry from charging. The Castle once taken, 
undaunted men, materials, implements of every descrip- 
tion would be easily found in all the streets in the city, 
not only to impede the cavalry, but to prevent infantry 
from passing through them. 

As I was to be one of those persons designed to co- 
operate with Robert Emmet in taking the Castle of 
Dublin, I shall here relate precisely the part which was 
allotted to me in this daring enterprise. I was to have 
assembled early in the evening of Saturday the 23rd 
of July, 1803, at the house of Denis Lambert Redmond 
on the Coal Quay, the Wexford and Wicklow men, to 
whom I was to distribute pikes, arms and ammunition ; 
and then a little before dusk I was to send one of the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 277 

men well known to Mr. Emmet, to tell him that we were 
at our post, armed and ready to follow him ; that men 
were placed in the house in Ship Street ready to seize 
on the entrance to the Castle on that side, at the same 
moment the principal gate would be taken. 

Mr. Emmet was to leave the depot at Thomas Street 
at dusk, with six hackney coaches, in each of which 
six men were to be placed, armed with jointed pikes 
and blunderbusses concealed under their coats. The 
moment the last of these coaches had passed Redmond's 
house, where we were to be assembled, we were to 
sally forth and follow them quickly into the Castle 
court yard, and there to seize and disarm all the sentries 
and to replace them instantly with our own men, etc. 

Now, having had a perfect understanding with Robert 
Emmet on the different points entrusted to my care, I 
waited with patience and fortitude the moment agreed 
on between us for the attack on the Castle, and so early 
as seven o'clock, the brave men who promised me began 
to arrive at Redmond's house, Coal Quay, and before 
eight o'clock they numbered more than I counted on, 
because William Darcy and many Dublin citizens came 
to join us here ; and I must say that this brave young 
man was of infinite service and comfort to me on this 
momentous occasion. 

It was now the time to send the confidential person to 
the depot at Thomas Street ; I chose Pat Ford, a county 
of Wexford man, who had distinguished himself very 
much in the insurrection of '98, and he being acquainted 
with Mr. Emmet and knowing many of the men em- 
ployed at the depot, I could not have made a better 
choice. Ford had for instructions, the moment he saw 
Mr. Emmet and his men in the hackney coaches, to 
precede them as quickly as he could, to let us know 
that they were coming, and as they were to drive in 
their slow ordinary way, so as not to attract notice, he 



278 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

would thus have easily had time to rejoin us at the 
Coal Quay ; and the distance from thence to the Castle 
being so short, we hoped we should be in possession of 
the seat of government in a very few minutes after- 
wards. Pat Ford must have told Mr. Emmet how we 
were ready, anxiously waiting his arrival. 

Great silence and quietness prevailed on the quays 
on both sides of the river, and not the least movement 
of troops was to be perceived at either the old Custom 
House barracks or the Castle. I had three of our men 
continually passing before those places and returning 
to tell us what they saw, and one of them passed 
through the Castle Yard from Ship Street at a quarter 
before nine o'clock. 

Our situation became every moment more distressing 
and perilous. The time passed that Mr. Emmet was to 
have joined us. We naturally conjectured that some- 
thing extraordinary had occurred which prevented him 
apprising us of the cause of the delay, and as to Pat 
Ford, we feared he was arrested, for otherwise he 
would have come back to us. Under these afflicting 
surmises I hastened to send another trustworthy person 
who knew also about the depot in the lane off Thomas 
Street ; Mr. Terence Kavanagh, of Anagh, county of 
Wexford, was my messenger this time. He soon 
returned with the sad intelligence of the disasters. He 
went first to the depot, and there, outside the door, saw 
pikes strewed about the street, and from thence he went 
to the market house at Thomas Street, where he saw 
other proofs of the failure, and of the unfortunate 
events which took place there. By the time Kavanagh 
got back to us we could hear the patrol on the Quay 
at the other side, which an instant before was so silent, 
And now the gates of the Castle were closed and artil- 
lery was brought to defend them. We decided on 
quitting the house l which poor Redmond locked up. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 279 

We then marched through Nicholas Street, Patrick 
Street, New Street, etc., meeting nothing to impede our 
march except the watchmen who were easily put aside. 
We were in hopes every moment to meet Mr. Emmet 
and the Kildare men who left the depot with him ; but 
getting no intelligence whatever about the place he had 
retired to, after marching and countermarching nearly 
the whole night about the streets of the Liberty, we 
agreed to separate, each to go to his home, or to some 
friend's house, so as not to be seen in the streets when 
the day appeared. Fearing it might compromise my 
step-brother Edward Kennedy, I did not go to his house 

in New Street I recollected a worthy man, Mr. M 

who kept limekilns in the Liberty, and who furnished 
lime to my brother. He opened his door when I 
knocked and told him how I did not wish to be seen in 
the street at so early an hour in the morning. Michael 
Berney, my steady companion, was with me, and we 
were shown up to a garret loft, from which we could get 
out on the roofs of the neighbouring houses, and thereby 
have a chance of escaping if the premises were searched 
We spent all Sunday, the 24th of July, on this loft ; not 
wishing further to endanger our hospitable host, when 
it became dark we quit our retreat and went along the 
Circular Road to a lane off Sackville Street, to a Mrs. 
Toole's lodgings. She was a widow, and a county of 
Wexford woman ; she had her nephew John Sheridan, 
and his comrade Sawyers boarding and lodging with 
her. This good woman readily consented to let Berney 
and me pass the night in her house. A small closet, 
with a bed belonging to her nephew, was given up to 
us, whilst he and his comrade slept on a mattress in the 
outer room. Berney and I lay on the bed inside in our 
clothes. Between ten and eleven o'clock, Sheriff Cash, 
at the head of several armed yeomen, came to Mrs. 
Toole's to know from her if she had not strangers 



3 8o MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

lodging in her house; she with great composure 
answered: "You see, Mr. Sheriff, I have only my 
nephew and his comrade, both you know work for your 
honour," pointing at the same time to where they were 
lying. Sheriff Cash kept a timber yard, and fortunately 
he knew Mrs. Toole, and seemed satisfied that she told 
him the truth ; for going away he bid her a very good 
night, calling her by her name in a friendly manner. I 
must say that Berney and I heard the last words of the 
Sheriff with delight; our situation being so perilous, 
having no means left us for escape, had a search been 
made by the Orange yeomen ; we were only armed with 
the short pocket pistols which I have already described, 
of musket calibre i four inch barrels. Indeed it is only 
justice to say that Sheriff Cash was really "gallant" 
on this occasion ; he left his guards at the door, and did 
not allow them to enter the lady's apartment whilst he 
was questioning her about the persons she lodged, etc. 

Good Mrs. Toole went early in the morning to apprise 
my brother of our situation ; she returned quickly to 
tell me that the timber yard was as usual open, and 
business seemingly going on as before, which delighted 
me, as I feared my brother might be arrested and thrown 
into prison on account of his place being so much fre- 
quented by the persons now involved in our unlucky 
attempt. Berney and I spent Monday, the 25th of July, 
in our closet, anxiously v/aiting my brother's arrival. 
When he came at dusk, we both walked out with him ; 
Michael Berney leaving us to go to his sister Mrs. 
Murphy's, whom Mr. Kennedy had had the precaution 
to inform that she might expect her brother that 
evening. 

As the names of all persons lodging in each house 
was ordered by the municipal authorities to be pasted up 
en the outside door, no alternative was left but to 
remain at our dwellings, or be liable to be outlawed. I 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 281 

chose the former, and on Tuesday morning, the 26th, 
I had the yard opened, and I endeavoured to assume a 
business-like air, as if nothing had happened. God 
only knew my afflicted state, at every moment expecting 
to be arrested, and then not hearing anything of what 
had become of dear Robert Emmet augmented the sad- 
ness of my situation beyond description. Fortunately, 
in the midst of my perplexities, the truest and most 
generous of our associates, Mr. Phil Long, sent word to 
me to meet him at Stephen's Green, and after we 
had spoken over the failure and disaster at Thomas 
Street, he nobly told me that as long as he had the 
means (and he was then rich), that the brave men who 
should have the misfortune to be arrested and committed 
to prison, should not be abandoned; that the best 
lawyers should be retained to defend them, etc., and he 
begged me to be the bearer of his intentions on the 
matter to the respective families when any of their 
members had the misfortune to be imprisoned ; but his 
name was not to be mentioned in those transactions. 
As one could not be too cautious to avoid being com- 
mitted unnecessarily in those dangerous times, Mr. 
Long arranged with me to meet him every morning at 
a certain hour at Stephen's Green ; he did not like to 
call on me, lest he might be followed by a spy, and for 
the same reason he did not wish me to call on him at 
his house in Crow Street. 

Mr. Phil Long thought it would be advisable and 
politic to give some money to Mrs. MacCabe, the wife 
of the unfortunate man who had been arrested on 
Sunday morning, the 24th, at nis own door, armed with 
a blunderbuss, and brought from thence to the Castle, 
where, no doubt, he had been put to the torture in order 
to extort from him all he knew respecting our organ- 
ization. I called on Mrs. MacCabe ; her house in Francis 
Street being shut up, she was lodging with a friend m 



282 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the same street. When I gave her the ten pound note 
and told her that the gentleman who sent her the 
money bid me tell her that neither she nor her husband 
should ever want as long as he lived, the unfortunate 
woman burst into a flood of tears, and it was some time 
before she could answer me, apparently conscious that 
her husband did not merit such kindness. She told aie 
she was not allowed to speak to him, but in the pre- 
sence of two keepers of the Castle ; but she thought 
that even in their presence she could say to him that 
she had kind friends who promised not to neglect her. 
I told Mrs. MacCabe to be careful never to mention 
any names, and I promised to return again to see her. 

Every time Mr. Long and I met, we had to commu- 
nicate to each other something sad respecting persons 
arrested. Still we hoped that there would be no infor- 
mers, as the men in the secret were sober and prudent, 
and being now put on their guard against the spies 
which no doubt would be sent amongst them hereafter, 
there was less to be dreaded on that score ; and it 
must be said to the honour of all those concerned, that 
up to the breaking out at Thomas Street, the Govern- 
ment spies were completely baffled in the city as well 
as in the country. As to the arrest of poor Macintosh, 
it could only be attributed to his having taken out the 
lease in his own name of the house in Patrick Street, 
which served as the depot, and where the unfortunate 
explosion took place on Saturday, the i6th of July, and 
which was the cause of the premature rising, and all 
the misfortunes which followed Thomas Keenan, 
Macintosh's brother-in-law, was arrested at the same 
time and committed to prison. Poor Denis Redmond 
might have had a chance of escaping only for his own 
imprudence ; indeed his cousin Michael Berney always 
feared he would do something flighty. When we were 
walking outside Black Pits, on Saturday, the 23rd of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 283 

July, he discharged his blunderbuss across a hedge 
where a horse made some noise. He however got safe 
back to his house on the Coal Quay, and there instead 
of endeavouring to hide the pikes in his own premises, 
he began to throw them over a wall into a court yard 
belonging to another house ; by this act of folly all was 
discovered in the morning. Notwithstanding all this, 
he escaped to Newry, and was on the point of getting 
a passage on board a vessel, when he was arrested and 
brought back a prisoner to Dublin. In the various 
other houses where pikes and fire-arms had been depo- 
sited, they were so carefully concealed, that they were 
never discovered ; consequently no one suffered. Had 
poor Redmond concealed in like manner in his own 
house the pikes left there, he might be alive and well to 
this day, for he was not otherwise implicated than by 
lending his house on the occasion. 

Mr. Phil Long, hearing of those arrests, bid me go at 
once and retain Counsellor Bennet and tell him at the 
same time to be good enough to point out, or name 
other lawyers who should be retained immediately to 
assist him in defending the unfortunate prisoners. Mr. 
Bennet promised to get everything possible ready by 
the time the trials came on. It was now necessary to 
apprise the poor fellows immured in their dungeons, 
through their families, that everything was doing that 
could be done for their defence. I being charged with 
this commission felt much indeed that I was not at 
liberty to mention the name of the worthy man who 
came forward at this awful moment to render such 
services. In my mind, Phil Long was, of all the leaders, 
the one who was most entitled to the praise and grati- 
tude of the people. Other leaders might, perhaps, excel 
him in the field, but could never surpass him in gene- 
rosity and true patriotism and in his exertions for the 
independence of Ireland. 



284 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Several days elapsed after the disasters of Thomas 
Street, before Robert Emmet came back to his former 
lodgings at Mrs. Palmer's outside the canal at Harold's 
Cross. Both Mr. John Patten and Mr. Phil Long en- 
deavoured to persuade him of the urgent necessity of 
his going at once to France, to which he replied, that it 
should never be said of him that he had abandoned the 
brave people implicated through his means. He wished 
much, however, that some fit person were sent imme- 
diately to Paris, to communicate to the French Govern- 
ment, through his brother, the situation of things in 
Ireland. 

The second day after dear Robert Emmet returned 
from the mountains, I had my last melancholy interview 
with him. He seemed much affected and cast down ; 
he however began at once to explain to me the causes 
which prevented him from coming to join me at the 
Coal Quay on Saturday night, the 23rd of July, as had 
been agreed upon between us. "The trustworthy Ned 
Condon," he said, " was coming with six hackney 
coaches to the depot ; walking beside the first coach, an 
officer rode up to him and asked him where he was going 
with so many coaches. Ned Condon replied, ' Sir, I am 
hard of hearing ' getting at the same time nearer to him. 
The officer then repeated the question in a menacing 
tone ; on which Condon discharged his pistol at him. 
The coachmen witnessing this act, escaped with their 
coaches, and Condon seeing them drive off, returned to 
tell me what had happened to him. I then decided that 
the men who were to be conveyed in the coaches should 
go on foot to the Castle, and whilst preparing for this 
march, a false alarm was given that troops were sur- 
rounding the depot and in consequence our men there 
began to rush out, too hurriedly no doubt, to fight in 
the open street, and by the time they got to Thomas 
Street, disorder and confusion got amongst them. You 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 285 

heard, of course, what occurred there, after which an 
attack on the Castle could not be thought of ; conse- 
quently the signal rockets were not made use of." 

I could see plainly how he was overwhelmed with 
sorrow whilst speaking on this sad subject. He 
thought the person to be sent to Paris should be one ,of 
those who had a perfect knowledge of the organization, 
and the vast preparations which had been so success- 
fully carried on until the fatal explosion took place at 
the Patrick Street depot. " As you are " he added,, 
"fully in possession of all the circumstances, it will be 
agreeably felt, when it is known that you are the mes- 
senger to my brother." I could only promise that I 
should do my utmost to execute the commission en- 
trusted to my care. On which I took my last farewell 
of this magnanimous young man, who during this inter- 
view never uttered a word of blame against any of 
those leaders who were assembled at Mr. John Hevey's 
and whose presence with him might have preserved dis- 
cipline and prevented the disasters and false alarm 
which produced such bad effects on the men in Thomas 
Street. One of these leaders at least was blameable : 
William Dowdall should have come at once to Robert 
Emmet's assistance at this critical moment, he being 
his confidant and inmate all the time they were at 
Butterfield Lane. He could have no excuse to offer for 
his conduct on this occasion. I cannot give any opinion 
as to the others who were at Mr. Hevey's, not knowing 
their engagements with Mr. Emmet, but their absence 
was a cruel loss, for amongst them were the bravest of 
the brave, who would have made the men observe order 
in their march to the Castle, which would have been- 
surprised and taken, the Government being then com- 
pletely off its guard. Once in possession of it, the 
citizens en masse would have flocked to the standard of 
independence hoisted on this monument, the embem of 



286 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Ireland's degradation for centuries and the eminent 
statesmen alluded to in Robert Emmet's speech, would 
have been hastening to the Castle, there to take their 
seat in the provisional government. A few hours would 
have sufficed to dislodge the English garrison of Dublin, 
which mustered weaker than at any other time, and by 
threatening to set fire to those quarters where resistance 
was made, the troops defending them would have been 
soon forced to capitulate. Not for centuries had Ireland 
so favourable an opportunity of getting rid of the cruel 
English yoke ; everyone in the country disaffected or 
discontented except the contemptible place-hunters and 
the Orangemen ; and France, the most powerful military 
nation in the world, then at war with England, anxiously 
waiting for an occasion to attack her in her weak and 
most vulnerable part, Ireland. Under all these con- 
siderations, was it to be wondered at, that the men of 
1798, as well as the Irish patriots in general thought it 
both wise and prudent to be prepared with arms and 
ammunition for those events hourly expected, the land- 
ing of a French army on the coast of Ireland ? Not- 
withstanding all this, there are many who think it would 
be ridiculous for the Irish under any contingency to be 
looking for their independence. To such lukewarm 
patriots I would say, it would be more ridiculous and 
absurd to think, that the inhabitants of Ireland will ever 
cease declaring that they have a right to govern them- 
selves, and that they will ever be ready to embrace any 
favourable occasion to get rid of their task masters ; and 
more, that the memory of the ever-to-be-lamented 
Robert Emmet will never cease to be revered, down to 
the latest posterity, and his plans will ever be considered 
and consulted by all those wishing for the independence 
of poor Ireland. 

I was daily waiting in the most cruel anxiety to hear 
of some means of getting to France, thinking my pre- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 287 

sencc at Paris with Thomas Addis Emmet might be of 
use in obtaining relief from the French Government, 
when one evening the good Phil Long sent his nephew, 
a young lad, Davie Fitzgerald, to tell me that an 
American vessel would be sailing from Dublin direct to 
Bordeaux in two or three days at furthest. He gave me 
at the same time forty pounds to pay the preparatory 
expenses ; the remainder of one hundred pounds, the 
sum considered absolutely necessary for the journey, 
I was to receive later. Next day I met Captain 
O'Connor by appointment. It was this worthy country- 
man who arranged with the Yankee captain to take me 
as a passenger on board his vessel, where I was to act 
in the capacity of steward, Mr. O'Connor's own vessel 
was lying also in the Custom House Dock at the time. 
He traded between New York (his home) and Dublin ; 
he was originally from Wexford, but now a citizen of 
the United States. The doctor of his vessel, a nice 
young man of the name of Horner, from the county of 
Wicklow, was with him. 

Captain O'Connor advised me to go at once and buy 
my sailor's dress and a mattress. He sent Doctor Horner 
with me to make purchases, whilst he went to endeavour 
to procure for me a passport. We then separated 
Horner and I after buying my jacket, trousers, bedding, 
etc., and paying for those articles which were to be sent 
in the evening to Captain O'Connor's vessel, were re- 
turning, when we met Captain O'Connor coming in haste 
to look for us. He said, " I have just quit the Yankee 
captain, who told me as the wind had changed and 
become favourable, he was determined to sail imme- 
diately ; you must therefore come at once to my vessel, 
there is no time to be lost." On which Dr. Horner and 
I went to High Street to get guineas for my bank notes, 
at a watchmaker's where I was known, having some- 
times brought customers to the house. I asked the 



288 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

young man in the shop if he could get me the gold. He 
replied, no, but said when his brother came back he 
could give me the guineas I wanted. "But if you are 
in a hurry and cannot wait till my brother returns, I 
will pick the lock of his desk." No sooner was this 
said than it was done. He, no doubt, saw I was in a 
hurry. I paid him at the rate of two shillings and six- 
pence for each guinea, and when I got them, Doctor 
Horner and I returned quickly to the vessel, where 
Captain O'Connor was anxiously waiting for us. This 
excellent man, to whom I could never be grateful enough 
for his exertions to aid me at this critical moment told 
me he had succeeded in persuading one of his sailors 
to sell me his passport for twenty dollars. This man 
was the only one of his crew whose size and age corres- 
ponded with mine ; his name was Ephraim Brownall, 
from the State of Mississippi. 

I asked Captain O'Connor what I should have to pay 
for my passage. He replied, " I don't like to have the 
appearance of making a bargain with the fellow; he 
might refuse at once to take you, but when you are out 
at sea to-night, pay him whatever he demands. You 
know he can render you great service, which I am con- 
fident he will on my account ; he knows nothing about 
your mission, and of course you will have no conversa- 
tion with him on that subject." 

It was getting late, the Yankee vessel was preparing 
to be off, the anchor was raised, and as yet none of the 
articles which Doctor Horner and I had purchased were 
sent ; to remedy this neglect of the slop merchant, as 
there was no time to be lost, the excellent Captain 
O'Connor gave me his own jacket and trousers, neck 
handkerchief, etc. and everything necessary, all fitting 
me tolerably well. When attired in my sailor's dress, 
he accompanied me on board the American vessel and 
introduced me to the captain. He then took leave of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 289 

me, and in an instant we sailed out of the Custom House 
Dock. I perceived my dear brother on the quay : we 
could only take our last farewell with salutes of the 
hands. 

My sorrow at this moment, quitting all that was dear 
to me, was great indeed. How much more would it not 
have been, but for the hope I entertained of soon coming 
back and making part of an army destined to render my 
beloved country happy and independent ! But alas ! 
poor Ireland was doomed to be again disappointed. The 
plans of the great captain then at the head of the 
French Government were deranged and frustrated, by 
the powerful effect of the English subsidies lavished in 
such profusion on the mercenary soldiers and govern- 
ments of the Continent 

In counting my money I found I had still thirty-nine 
pounds and some shillings, besides three French pieces 
in silver of five shillings value each ; these Miss Biddy 
Palmer gave me the night before, when taking leave of 
her and her respected father. 

After I had reckoned my money, I went down to the 
captain's cabin, and told him I wished to pay him for 
my passage, and asked the amount. " Well " he replied, 
"it is only about nineteen guineas and a-half." On 
which, I handed him that sum. He seemed in great 
good humour and high spirits ; he showed me his small 
provision stores, telling me, as steward of the vessel I 
ought to know about all these matters. He assured me 
that if the wind continued as it was then, we should be 
in Bordeaux in less than four days ; this indeed was 
cheering for me to hear, in my melancholy situation. 
The mate of the ship was a very nice young man, and 
I was glad to see his hair cut short like my own ; but 
his face being sunburnt, he had the appearance of a 
sailor who had seen service, whilst I had to follow 
Captain O'Connor's advice, and make up for my want 

U 



2QO MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

of browning ; before I left his ship he made me rub my 
hands on the deck, and then my face several times, so 
that with not washing it, I soon got the weather-beaten 
hue. The crew of the vessel was composed of the 
captain, a cabin boy, the mate and six sailors ; rather 
few for a long voyage. Three of the sailors had been 
lately inoculated, and the pock appeared on their faces 
as if it were the natural small-pox which they had. Our 
first day passed on very cheerfully, as we were making 
five or six knots an hour, but early in the morning of 
the second day, we were hailed by an English cruiser. 
We had to reef our sail and lie to, whilst an officer from 
this cruiser came to question our captain and inspect his 
little ship. Fortunately the English ship was returning 
from some distant voyage, and consequently had no 
knowledge of what had taken place recently at Dublin. 
The Yankee captain however seemed much alarmed 
no doubt on my account, for he could have nothing to 
dread for himself or his crew; still he acted with great 
circumspection and ordered the three sailors who had 
the pretended small-pox to go to their beds or ham- 
mocks, and there to remain, feigning to be suffering, 
till the inspection finished. The English officer from 
the cruiser passing through the different parts of the 
vessel, remarked those men in the small-pox, and asked 
the Yankee captain how he could have thought of 
sailing with such a crew. To which he replied, that a 
doctor whom he consulted told him that his men would 
have a better chance of recovering at sea than in re- 
maining longer in the Custom House Docks at Dublin, 
where contagion of some kind seemed to reign at this 
moment ; besides, the climate of Lisbon, to which port 
he was bound, would be more favourable for that dis- 
ease. He then asked the English officer to have the 
goodness to let the doctor of his ship come and visit his 
sick sailors. The officer answered drily A that their doctor 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 2QI 

had other things to mind than waiting on Americans. 
He being invited to accept a glass of good Dublin porter, 
and I beckoned to bring a bottle, he declined, in an 
equally ungracious manner; evidently he was in a 
hurry to get away from a vessel where sickness so pre- 
vailed. To my great delight, I soon saw him step into 
his boat to regain his ship, for certainly I was far from 
being at my ease whilst he remained in our vessel. 

After his departure, I could not help expressing my 
surprise to the Yankee captain, that he should wish the 
English doctor to come and visit his sailors, as it would 
then be soon discovered they were not sick, only inocu- 
lated. " Well," he said, " it was because I made that re- 
quest, which I knew would not be complied with, that the 
officer placed confidence in me and believed everything 
I told him to be true." Of course after this I was satis- 
fied, and began to think that he had more cleverness 
than I suspected at first. I asked him if he thought we 
should be often visited before we arrived ; he said, that 
as long as we were sailing in the direct line to Lisbon, 
he did not mind, but once quitting that direction to get 
to the mouth of the river Gironde, we might expect to 
be visited again by English cruisers, and certainly on 
the third day we could perceive several, but they were 
a good distance off, and fortunately we got on tolerably 
well all that day and night. The next morning early, 
the fourth day, the captain took a French pilot on board 
his vessel to steer her up the river to Bordeaux. The 
wind failing, the day was far advanced before we 
reached the station where the French squadron lay at 
anchor, guarding the mouth of the river. Here our 
Yankee captain was signalled to go on board the com- 
modore's frigate. He went there in haste, without letting 
me know he was going, which displeased me much, for 
I should have accompanied him and put myself at once 
at the disposition of the French officer in command 



2Q2 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

there, whom I should have prayed, as a favour, to have 
me sent in custody to Bordeaux, and from thence to 
Paris, where Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet would explain 
to the French Government the nature of my mission. 
I was grievously disappointed and annoyed when I saw 
the captain return with a serjeant and eight marine 
soldiers in his little boat; they had come to guard the 
vessel during the night, and to prevent any communi- 
cation with the shore, as the vessel was not allowed to 
proceed further. The captain returning on board, saw 
I was not satisfied, because he had not mentioned to 
the French commodore anything about me. He said, 
" How could I have thought that an American ship 
would have been prevented sailing up the river to Bor- 
deaux ? It is a damned new regulation, which says that 
vessels coming from a country in war with France won't 
be admitted. But, never mind, don't be uneasy ; I shall 
sail in the morning for Lisbon, and it being a neutral 
port, clearing out there, and returning here immediately, 
we will then land at Bordeaux without any hindrance." 
To all this I made no reply ; I was vexed, and began to 
think very badly of him, for had he mentioned to the 
French commodore, as he should have done, that he had 
a passenger on board who wished to land at Bordeaux, I 
should have been brought forthwith to the French 
frigate to be examined. Fortunately for me, he was 
allowed to pass the night at anchor in the bay, other- 
wise I should have run the risk of being taken by the 
English cruisers, had he been ordered to sail away 
without stopping. I knew the guard of marine soldiers 
would return to their ship in the morning, and I resolved 
to go with them at the risk of my life. The cabin boy 
understanding a little French, came to tell me that the 
French pilot promised to land me safely next night on 
the French coast, and that I had no occasion to try any 
other means. I gave no answer to this proposal, deter- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 293 

mined to act on my own plan in the morning 1 . As soon 
as it was day, I dressed ; I put on my black coat, black 
pantaloons, a white waistcoat and Hessian boots. I 
then began to walk up and down the deck, in hopes that 
I might attract the notice of the guard-ships, but a kind 
of mist or fog prevailed, which no doubt prevented them 
seeing me for some time. However, the fog soon 
cleared up, and the Yankee vessel was signalled to be 
off. Her anchor was raised, and she under weigh, when 
to my great joy, I saw the boat coming from the 
French squadron to take back the marine soldiers to 
their ship. I made a small bundle of good Captain 
O'Connor's jacket and trousers, the only luggage I 
possessed, and the moment I saw the last of those 
soldiers and the sergeant who commanded them, get 
into the boat, I threw my bundle down into it ; then 
taking hold of a rope, I leapt after it, not liking to go 
the regular way by the ladder, fearing the brute of a 
captain might be capable of stopping me. I was so 
disgusted, that I left the vessel without speaking to him, 
or even to the mate whom I had rather thought well of. 
When I got into the boat, looking back to the deck, I 
could perceive that the French pilot was holding some 
conversation with the soldiers, and one of them had the 
audacity to take hold of me, and as I thought, wanted 
to force me back to the vessel. However, I soon 
loosened his hand from my collar, and threw him on his 
back, when I went and placed myself beside the ser- 
geant, making signs to him, the best way I could, that 
I was under his care till we reached the commodore's 
vessel. Seeing a person in coloured clothes in the boat 
with the soldiers coming from the American ship, made 
the officers of the French squadron curious to see what 
kind of being he was ; I could perceive their telescopes 
all pointed to the boat, as we approached the frigate ; 
but I was soon relieved from their curiosity. The officer 



294 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

in command met me on the stairs, took me by the hand, 
conducted me to his cabin, and made me sit down beside 
him. 

When his interpreter came, I explained briefly the 
object of my mission to Paris, told him it was imma- 
terial to me how I was sent, provided I went there 
quickly; he promised me I should be sent off to Bor- 
deaux immediately, and that once there, I should be at 
the disposition of the marine prefect, who he was sure 
would comply with my request, and have me sent with- 
out delay to Paris. He then asked me some questions 
about the Yankee captain, and the sum I paid him for my 
passage. I had scarcely time to answer, when I saw 
the fellow ushered into the cabin, where we were sitting. 
He was not asked to sit down, but received instantly a 
severe reprimand from the commander, in the following 
terms: "You told me nothing about this gentleman 
yesterday, though you knew he wanted to go in haste 
to Bordeaux, I don't say you are in the pay of England 
but your conduct on this occasion shows you are not 
friendly to France. Your God is traffic, you intended 
to make nineteen guineas and a-half more of your pas- 
senger, before you put him at liberty. You know well 
that the fare from Dublin to Bordeaux is only five 
pounds at most ; therefore, refund the balance at once." 
On which the poor Yankee laid the nineteen guineas 
and a-half on the table. The commander bid him keep 
five, and hand the remainder to me. Then ensued a 
scene I can never forget I thought that if I took back 
this money, it would be acting unhandsomely towards 
a man, who, three days previous, by his manoeuvring 
with his pretended sick sailors, when we were boarded 
by the English cruiser, had probably saved my life. I 
felt overcome with emotion in mentioning the circum- 
stances to the French commander, and I told him, at the 
same time, that I could not on any account think of 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 2p5 

taking back the money. "That is your own affair," he 
replied, I thought rather dryly ; he then pointed to the 
Yankee captain to take up his money, when he dis- 
missed him. The poor fellow came with tears in his 
eyes to bid me farewell ; so we parted this time better 
friends than when I was leaving his vessel an hour 
before. 

A nice decked boat was getting ready to take me up 
to Bordeaux as soon as the crew should have break- 
fasted ; I took a walk on the deck, waiting the break- 
fast hour, and there I met the interpreter. I was anxious 
to know from him if I had displeased the commodore by 
not taking back from the Yankee captain the money he 
over-charged for my passage. " On the contrary," he 
said, " the whole transaction did you great honour : it 
showed you were disinterested and forgiving at the 
same time " ; and not having mentioned anything about 
the conduct of the marine soldiers, the sergeant who 
commanded them bid him thank me for it, as he would 
have been blamed had I made complaint against the 
soldier who wanted to force me back to the vessel. 

I was satisfied that all I wished to have explained 
would be well translated by the sailor interpreter, who 
was an Irishman, of the name of Brown, from Baggot 
Street, Dublin. He spoke French fluently ; having 
been several years in the service. I thought it augured 
well to meet a countryman under such circumstances ; and 
though Brown was only a simple sailor, he knew a great 
deal then about the state of France. " You must know," 
he said to me, " it is no more a Republic, and that is the 
reason, when you mentioned a merchant, I translated 
negotiant en grand." He told me that the officers were 
very kind to him ; and he seemed quite contented with 
his situation. I left him my jacket and trousers, and I 
gave him one of the six livres pieces I got from Miss 
Biddy Palmer previous to my leaving Dublin. The 



296 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

commodore coming to invite me down to breakfast, I 
took my leave of poor Brown and followed the officer 
who soon placed me beside him at the breakfast table, 
which was most splendidly served with all kinds of 
viands, fruits, etc., everything the season could afford. 
It was the first French repast I had seen, and I cannot 
forget the favourable impression it made on me respect- 
ing the French living and manners. We were eight at 
table ; six officers were invited, some of them were from 
the two war brigs at anchor beside the frigate. I was 
agreeably surprised when the commander began to 
speak to me in English, and I could not help saying 
that he had no need of an interpreter. " Oh ! you flatter 
me ; I am quite at a loss sometimes for words ; besides, 
it is a good lesson for me to hear your countryman, 
Brown, translating into English what I tell him in 
French. I have great confidence in him ; he is well- 
behaved, and much liked on board this vessel." I was 
very glad to hear this good account of Brown. 

The commodore told me he had been a prisoner of 
war in England, and he seemed well versed in politics. 
and knew a great deal about the history of English 
statesmen, particularly that of Fox, Sheridan and Pitt. 
I spent a most agreeable hour at this breakfast table, 
and after the coffee and liqueurs were served, the com- 
modore conducted me to the little vessel which was 
ready to sail for Bordeaux; he introduced me to the 
officer who had the command of it, and then took his 
leave of me in an affectionate manner, as if we had been 
old friends. The wind being favourable, the little vessel 
was under full sail and steered off. In a very short 
time we lost sight of the squadron. However, we had 
to pass the night on the river, and only reached Bor- 
deaux in the morning at half past eight o'clock, when 
the officer conducted me in a coach to the prison. There 
I got a messenger and sent a note by him to Mr. Hugh 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 297 

Wilson, the intimate friend of the Messieurs Emmet, 
praying him to come and see me immediately. Mr. 
Wilson being engaged in business in a mercantile house 
and very busy at the time, sent me his great friend and 
fellow prisoner in Dublin, Mr. Thomas Markey, by 
whom he wrote in answer to my note, to say that he 
could not be with me before two o'clock, but that I 
might place every confidence in his friend Markey, who 
would do everything for me till he could come himself. 
After I read Mr. Wilson's answer to me, Mr. Markey and 
I shook hands most cordially; but he was extremely 
displeased to see in my room a county of Cork man of 
the name of O'Finn who resided in Bordeaux, and said 
at once : " O'Finn, you are very wrong to intrude your- 
self on this gentleman to whom you have no introduc- 
tion ; you may see he has no want of your services." 
On which O'Finn went away. Markey was anxious to 
know what O'Finn had been telling me, to which I 
readily replied, that he had only been a few minutes 
with me, that he told me he was on the quay when I 
landed, and seeing that I had no luggage he came to 
offer me his services, that he would send me shirts and 
everything else I stood in need of; remarking at the 
same time, he was sure they would fit me, as we were 
about the same size. He was very well dressed in 
black, with crape on his hat. And he observed to me 
that he was the only Irishman at Bordeaux who had had 
the spirit to go in mourning for General Napper Tandy, 
who died a short time before in that town. Markey 
merely remarked that O'Finn should not have boasted 
of his intimacy with poor Tandy, the Irish refugees not 
regarding him (O'Finn) as one of themselves ; for he 
had not left Ireland on account of politics. 

Mr. Markey left me, after ordering the jailer to get me 
some breakfast. He soon returned to tell me, that Mr. 
Hugh Wilson had been to wait on the commissary 



298 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

general of police, M. Berriere, who was a great friend 
to the Irish patriots, to beg of him to have me sent off 
forthwith to Paris. This gentleman had a large dinner 
party at his villa, or country house, just near the town, 
and to which several Irish were invited. He told Mr. 
Wilson he would send his carriage for me to the prison 
at three o'clock to bring me out to dinner. Both Markey 
and Wilson were with me in the prison when the order 
and the carriage came to the door. They availed them- 
selves of the carriage and accompanied me to the com- 
missary general's house, where I met other worthy Irish 
patriots, such as Mr. Pat MacCann, Hugh Kelleher, 
young Hampden Evans, etc. I spent a delightful day 
with them at the commissary general's villa. As this 
gentleman only invited me out to dinner, he wrote to 
the maritime prefect to know if I should be sent back 
to prison. He got an answer to his letter whilst we 
were still at table, the purport of which was, that I was 
not to be sent back, that I was at his, the commissary's 
disposition, who, he hoped, would have me sent to Paris 
without delay, as he had reported to the Government 
all the circumstances concerning me, from the time I was 
received on board the French squadron at the mouth of 
the river. Mr. MacCann had a room prepared for me at 
his house on the quay, where I slept in a clean bed, for 
the first time since I left Dublin. 

I intended to set off in the morning for Paris, but 
young Evans, who was to accompany me, had friends 
engaged for dinner on that day, Saturday. So I had to 
pass another cheerful day with the true Irish patriots, 
Hugh Wilson, Thomas Markey, etc. 

Next morning, Sunday, I started for Paris. The 
coach in which I went, set out from the opposite side of 
the river. Hampden Evans' guests of the day before, 
crossed the river, and we breakfasted together and they 
saw us into the coach and bade us farewell. I might 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 299 

have travelled at the expense of the Government, but it 
was considered more respectable for me to pay my own 
place and expenses, than for Government to be answer- 
able for them. 

Mr. Wilson told me that he wrote to Mr. Thomas 
Addis Emmet the morning I landed in Bordeaux, and 
that he should now write to him again, to let him know 
the day and hour I should arrive in Paris. Mr. Evans, 
speaking French well, made the journey very pleasant ; 
otherwise it might have been dull enough to be shut up 
for four nights and five days in a coach before we 
reached Paris. It would have been particularly so to 
me, who thought every minute an hour till my mission 
was terminated, thinking then that assistance would be 
obtained from the French Government by Mr. Emmet. 

We arrived at the coach-office, Rue Montmartre, at 
three o'clock, p.m., where we met Doctor MacNeven and 
Adjutant-General Dalton ; this officer belonged to the 
staff of the minister-of-war, General Berthier, who sent 
him to receive me at the diligence office. His coach 
being ready, he made the conductor of the diligence get 
into it, with himself, Doctor MacNeven and me. 
Hampden Evans remained to look after his luggage, and 
as I had none, General Dalton ordered his coachman to 
drive to the Grand Judge Regnier's Hotel, Place Ven- 
dome, in whose study Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet was 
waiting our arrival. On being asked by the minister 
if he knew me, Mr. Emmet replied, he had never seen 
me before. The grand judge then handed to him a 
paper containing the impression of the seal-ring which 
I had been the bearer of from his brother Robert Emmet, 
and which the commodore commanding the squadron 
at the mouth of the river at Bordeaux thought proper 
to take from me, and have forwarded to his Government, 
after I had written my name on the back of the paper 
on which the impression was made. 



300 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

As soon as Mr. Emmet had compared this impression 
with his own seal-ring, he crossed the room, took me in 
his arms and embraced me with affection. The Grand 
Judge witnessing this, seemed quite satisfied. He then 
told Mr. Emmet that the First Consul required from 
him, as soon as possible, a detailed report on the present 
state of Ireland, and that it would be well if this docu- 
ment were furnished next morning early. A carte de 
sArete being then handed to me, we all retired from the 
Grand Judge's hotel. I, a freeman, going with Mr. 
Emmet to his lodgings, Rue du Cherche-Midi, where he 
presented me to his lady and children. We then went 
and hired a small cheap room for me, Petite Rue du 
Bac, quite near his house. Doctor MacNeven was to 
dine with us, and immediately after dinner we 
three retired to Mr. Emmet's study, to com- 
mence the report required by the First Consul : 
Doctor MacNeven writing with great facility, and I 
explaining and answering the best way I could, all their 
queries about men and things in Ireland. A rough 
draft was soon drawn up : Mr. Emmet having been 
lately chosen by the Irish refugees in France to repre- 
sent them with the First Consul, he was the more 
anxious to have this document carefully made out, and 
as it was to be copied in the morning we retired each to 
bed late at night 

And now this account of my mission being ended, I 
must say before concluding this chapter, that I shall ever 
feel proud of the part I took with the lamented Robert 
Emmet. I have often asked myself, how could I have 
acted otherwise, seeing all his views and plans for the 
independence of my country so much superior to any- 
thing ever imagined before on the subject ? They were 
only frustrated by accident and the explosion of a depot, 
and as I have always said, whenever Irishmen think of 
obtaining freedom, Robert Emmet's plans will be their 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 30! 

best guide. First, take the capital, and then the pro- 
vinces will burst out and raise the same standard 
immediately. 

The consciousness that I had executed to the best of 
my abilities everything I undertook to perform, and the 
hope that I should soon be returning to my unfortunate 
country served to cheer my spirits ; otherwise I should 
have been sad indeed 



CHAPTER IX. 

I MENTIONED in the first volume 1 that Mr. Emmet had 
hired a room for me in the Petite Rue du Bac. It was a 
mere closet, but it was all I wanted : as it was near his 
house, I felt it a great consolation that I could be with 
him every day, and continue to furnish him with still 
further particulars about unhappy Ireland ; hoping too, 
that from his influence with the French Government, we 
should ere long obtain assistance for my beloved coun- 
try. In consequence of this, I was happier than might 
have been expected under such circumstances ; but, 
alas! this happiness was of short duration, for Mr. 
Emmet, on learning the final and fatal news about his 
lamented brother Robert, left Paris with his family, 
and went to reside at Saint Germaine-en-Laye, that is, 
in a country house he took in that neighbourhood. 
Then my miserable closet became irksome to me and 
had no further attraction, Mr. Emmet being out of 
Paris. 

The same newspapers which brought the afflicting 
intelligence of the trial and execution of the ever-to-be- 
lamented Robert Emmet, contained a long list of 
" State " prisoners, waiting their turn to be tried and 
executed; amongst them were the names of my dear 

1 The Memoirs originally appeared as three volumes, of which 
the first has been reprinted in the foregoing pages. Miles Byrne 
considered it wise to defer the narration of his first experiences 
in Paris to the third volume, making the second purely an account 
of the formation and campaigns of the Irish Legion in the service 
of France. I have departed from this arrangement so far as to 
transfer to this place a few pages which make the story of Byrne's 
life continuous, by telling how he passed his time from August 
till December, 1803, when he started for Morlaix to join the Legion. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 303 

brother, Edward Kennedy, and my valued friend, Philip 
Long. These sad tidings were overwhelming indeed, as 
from a merciless judge, thirsting for blood, like Norbury, 
and a packed jury, no justice could be expected. I 
therefore considered my dear brother and Phil Long as 
already sacrificed. The execution of Felix Rourke, 
Denis Redmond, Macintosh, and his brother-in-law, 
young Keernan, appeared in the newspapers also. 
Shortly afterwards I heard of the trial and execution of 
the brave and virtuous patriot Thomas Russell. This 
heroic martyr to his country's freedom, left his niece, 
Mrs. Hamilton, at Paris, when he set out for Ireland. 
I went to see this unhappy lady in her cruel distress ; 
she feared every moment she should hear of the arrest 
and execution of her husband, Mr. W. Hamilton, also, 
he having accompanied her uncle from Paris to Dublin, 
and from thence to the north of Ireland. 

I was sitting one day in my lonely closet, reflecting on 
all these sorrowful tidings from Ireland, and of my own 
melancholy prospects, when I received the kind visit of 
Valentine Derry, brother of the Catholic Bishop of 
Down, in Ireland, and the friend of the unfortunate 
Father O'Coigly. He stood by him at his trial at Maid- 
stone, and in his last moments on the scaffold, and for 
this he had to fly his country and escape to France, 
where he obtained the situation of Professor of English 
at the Military College of La Fleche. It being vacation 
time, Mr. Derry came to spend it amongst his friends 
and acquaintances at Paris, fortunately for me, as he 
soon put me in a way to live in the cheapest manner 
possible. That same day we went to dine together at a 
" traiteur's " in the Rue de la Harpe ; the traiteur was 
a Mr. Moreau and he and his wife kept a restaurant, 
much frequented by the young students. Our dinner 
consisted of two dishes : mouton an, navet, six sous ; a 
small beefsteak, seven sous; a quarter of a bottle of 

x 



304 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

wine, two sous and a half ; plenty of bread, two sous ; 
water at discretion. The meat was tolerably good, and 
as M. Moreau was a capital cook, everything was well 
prepared, and the dinner varied each day. I took a 
room on the second storey, with two windows looking 
out on the street, for twelve francs a month, the price I 
gave for the miserable closet I had left in the Petite Rue 
du Bac. Mr. Derry having lodged with M. et Madame 
Moreau before he got his appointment at the college of 
La Fleche, they were well disposed to be obliging and 
to follow his instructions respecting the way I wished to 
live. Every morning at nine o'clock, two sous' worth of 
boiled milk was brought to my room, with a three sous 
loaf of bread. This loaf sufficed for breakfast and 
dinner, so my two meals cost about eleven pence per 
day, or twenty-two sous ; I dined between four and five 
o'clock, the student's hour. I only paid my bill at the 
end of the week, when Madame Moreau furnished me 
with a short note, signed " pour acquit, femme Moreau." 
As I dined often with friends in town, this note seldom 
amounted to more than six francs. Mr. Derry told me 
the Irish refugees, with few exceptions, were living in 
this frugal way, endeavouring to make their money last, 
as I was doing, and thus conforming myself to follow 
the example of those brave Irish patriots, who enjoyed 
opulence and happiness, before they had to fly their 
country to take refuge in France. It was not a difficult 
matter for me, I having known the starvation suffered in 
the mountains of the County of Wicklow in 1/98. Be- 
sides, those of my friends from whom I might have ex- 
pected a remittance, were now closely lodged in the 
Dublin jails, so I had no alternative left but to live 11 
the cheapest manner possible. 

Mr. Deny was also very useful to me in assisting me 
to learn French. He introduced me to a French gentle- 
man of the name of Lesage, who had spent twenty 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 305 

years in England as Professor of French, and he was 
now teaching English in Paris ; he had so much to do 
that I could only get two lessons from him in the week, 
and at night ; his brother was one of the Professors at 
the College of La Fleche. Good Mr. Deny had to return 
to this College, vacation being over ; I felt sorry enough 
at his departure from Paris, he was such an obliging, 
kind-hearted man; but we soon met again at Morlaix, 
in the Irish legion, in which he had first the rank of 
lieutenant and afterwards he received the brevet of 
captain. Finding there was no great likelihood of 
an expedition to Ireland, he resigned his commission 
and went to America in 1806. He established an 
academy at New York, and I have heard he succeeded, 
which afforded me great pleasure to learn. Mr. Deny 
was learned, and a good French scholar, and well fitted 
to be at the head of such an institution. He was 
amiable and kind, and made friends wherever he went. 

It was now the first of October, 1803, and I found I 
could go on for two or three months still, with the little 
money I had remaining, but this was all I thought that 
I could accomplish in the way of living cheap, except by 
too much privation. I hoped and trusted that in the in- 
terval some happy change might take place. I therefore 
kept up my spirits and went about seeing sights. That 
in which I took the greatest interest then was the rapid 
construction of the flat-bottomed boats destined to be 
employed in invading England. The quay, from the 
bridge at the Place de la Concorde, down the river, for 
more than a mile long, was a complete dock-yard and 
arsenal, and every day I could see some of these small 
vessels launched, and the keels of others put on the 
stocks to replace them. The quickness with which these 
vessels were constructed and got ready for sailing from 
Paris, was not surprising, as the First Consul himself 
frequently inspected the dock-yards and works. I saw 



306 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

him one day on board of one of those flat-bottomed 
vessels, getting her rowed up and down the river by 
some thirty or forty sailors. He was accompanied by 
his staff officers and aides-de-camp. The vessel was 
rigged with little masts and sails. I could not well dis- 
tinguish his features, being too far off. A few days be- 
fore, I saw him at the balcony of the Tuileries, but also 
imperfectly, as the crowd was too dense in the gardens, 
it being the fete of the Republican new year, the first of 
Vendemiaire, or the 2ist of September. However, I was 
more fortunate some time after. One Sunday morning, 
I met on the Pont-Royal, Mr. Moriarty, a Cork gentle- 
man, a friend of Mr. Emmet ; he told me the First Con- 
sul Buonaparte had just passed the review of the guards 
and returned to the palace, accompanied by the Second 
and Third Consuls, Cambaceres and Le Brun, and that 
he would see these gentlemen downstairs to their car- 
riages when going away. Mr. Moriarty had the kindness 
to return with me to the palace, and to speak to the 
officer commanding the guard at the bottom of the great 
stairs. After I had shown my "carte de surete," he 
placed me in the best manner to have a good view, and 
I had only to wait about ten minutes when I 
saw the conquering hero descending the great stair, 
slowly and in deep conversation with the two other 
Consuls; and as I had seen those gentlemen often be- 
fore, particularly Cambaceres, my attention was entirely 
drawn to gaze alone on the young officer of whose 
military exploits I had been so accustomed to hear, and 
his presence brought to my recollection the happy days 
when we used to read at the chapel the newspapers 
giving an account of his brilliant campaigns from 1795 
down to the peace of Campo Formic, October 1797. 
(After the insurrection of '98, I could not attend these 
chapels.) After seeing his two colleagues to their car- 
riages, the First Consul returned quickly; he bade the 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 307 

officer make the men of the guard, who remained with 
presented arms, carry them, after which he ran up-stairs 
like a young school-boy. What struck me was that 
though he was sallow and pale, he was stout and well- 
proportioned, resembling much the portraits given of 
him at that time. I was pleased to have seen him so 
well, and went away satisfied and convinced that ere long 
some assistance would be obtained for Ireland, Mr. 
Emmet having recently got encouraging promises on the 
subject. 

When I arrived at Paris, I should immediately have 
waited on Mr. Arthur O'Connor, had I not heard that he 
and Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet were on the worst terms ; 
circumstanced as I was with the latter, I could not think 
of becoming acquainted with his enemy. No one, how- 
ever, regretted more than I did to learn that two such 
men should not be on speaking terms with each other 
they, whom my countrymen at home looked upon as 
their most strenuous agents with the French Govern- 
ment, and as consulting with one another at every 
moment to see what was best to be done. I enquired of 
my friend, Hugh Ware, who had spent a long time in 
prison with Messrs. O'Connor and Emmet, to know the 
cause of their dispute. He told me he could never ascer- 
tain it, but that he believed it was nothing political ; that 
he himself had endeavoured to reconcile these gentle- 
men, but found it impossible. Their misunderstanding 
must, indeed, have been of a very serious nature, for 
Hugh Ware was a real peacemaker, and no officer I ever 
knew prevented more duels than he did. 

This unfortunate misunderstanding between two of 
the principal Irish leaders produced at this important 
moment the worst effect, as it showed clearly to the 
French Government that already the Irish refugees 
could not agree amongst themselves abroad ; conse- 
quently it might be still worse when in their own country. 



308 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

The French Government wished to arrange this 
matter through the medium of General Augereau, whom 
the Irish expected would have the command of the 
French army destined to set them free. Even this great 
soldier failed to make Messrs. Emmet and O'Connor 
forget their differences, for the good of their common 
country; probably they thought it of no consequence, 
but many of us exiles felt grieved at the bad result 
which this protracted misunderstanding would create ; 
every day I could hear something on the subject dis- 
cussed at the London coffee-house in the Rue Jacob, 
then much frequented by the Irish on account of the 
Argus newspaper being taken there, which paper was 
published in English by the famous Goldsmith. 1 It was 
in that newspaper that I read all the sad tidings of my 
dear friends in Ireland. 

During the months of September, October, and 
November, in 1803, my daily occupation was learning 
French. I thought I was not making much progress ; 
however, Dr. MacNeven encouraged me, and bade me 
persevere. He advised me never to go out to walk with- 
out my grammar or vocabulary, and to take care that 
before I returned, I should have learned some new 
words. I followed his advice, and it was excellent. 
No matter what direction I intended to walk in, before 
setting out, I wished always to call at the London coffee- 
house, in the Rue Jacob, where I was sure to learn some 
news about Ireland 

One morning, passing early there, I saw Madame 
Lecomte behind her counter and only one man in the 
coffee-house, and this gentleman had a pile of old news- 
papers on the table before him. Madame Lecomte told 
me that the Argus English newspaper had not arrived. 
At the same time, addressing the gentleman who was 

1 Not, of course, Oliver. (Ed.) 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 309 

busy reading, she said : " Mr Sweeny, this is the Mr. 
Byrne I was telling you of." On which he came and 
shook hands with me, saying : " I have just arrived after 
a long journey ; Mr. Gallagher, whom I have just seen, 
gave me your address." We then left the coffee-house 
together, bidding Madame Lecomte good morning. He 
going a few doors further off to the Hotel d'Espagne, I 
accompanied him, when he began to tell me all about 
his fortunate escape from Ireland. He had gone to Cork 
for the purpose of co-operating in the intended rising 
organized by Robert Emmet, but hearing of its failure 
at Dublin, he had to conceal himself the best way he 
could, and wait for some opportunity to get back to 
France. At length a fishing smack was procured at vast 
expense, and it landed him on the coast of France, when 
he immediately posted to Paris. He had not shaved 
himself from the time he left Ireland, and of course his 
beard was very long, and being very black, he had quite 
a martial air. He was a very fine-looking man, about 
thirty-two years of age, and he had the most beautiful 
teeth I ever saw in a man. John Sweeny was the great 
friend of Thomas Addis Emmet. They were fellow 
prisoners at Dublin and at Fort George in ScotlanB. 
He was one of those Irish patriots who had to exile 
themselves for ever from the land of their birth, in order 
to get out of confinement, at the peace of Amiens. 

Mr. Sweeny went afterwards to lodge in the Rue de la 
Loi (now Rue Richelieu) along with William Lawless. 
We met frequently, and I felt great pleasure in talking 
with him on Irish matters. Our feelings and opinions 
perfectly coincided on them. He was a captain after- 
wards in the Irish legion, but his military career was 
short, for he resigned his commission after his unfortu- 
nate dispute and duel with Captain Thomas Corbet, in 
1804. In that duel they were both wounded, but Corbet 
only survived his wound a few hours. Sweeny went to 



310 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

live at Morlaix. He married there a lady who was re- 
lated to the family of General Moreau's wife. 

With Hugh Ware I was at once on the most intimate 
terms. In our long walks we had always much to say 
about the fighting in 1798. Our sympathies on that 
score, as indeed on almost everything else, were alike, 
and a friendship commenced between us in Paris, whicn 
augmented in campaign, and on the battle-field, and 
never ceased afterwards. Ware's first cousin, Joseph 
Parrott, who accompanied him to France, and who had 
shared with him in all the dangers of the insurrection, 
was without exception one of the most brave and honour- 
able officers that could be. Their means of living, like 
my own, being limited, we easily agreed on the way to 
spend our evenings. We generally met and walked in 
the Galerie de Bois in the Palais-Royal, where we met 
ofher exiles and heard all the news of the day. 

I frequently met William Lawless, but had scracely 
ever any conversation with him ; his manner appeared 
to me rather cold and distant. Of course, I was the more 
surprised one day when he called on me at my lodgings 
in the Rue de la Harpe, and said to me : " Mr. Byrne, 
you must not be displeased if I speak to you on a very 
serious subject. I understand you are not living as you 
should. I have therefore called on you to say that I can 
lend you money, because I know where to apply to get 
more when my stock is finished, which probably you may 
not." I, of course, thanked him in the most grateful 
manner, and told him I had still sufficient for another 
month. " Yes," he replied, " but you must not starve 
yourself." We then took a long walk together and met 
Ur. MacNeven in the evening by appointment. We 
dined together and went to the play to see Brunet at 
the Varietes. 

It was the first time I had been in a French theatre, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 31 1 

and indeed, I felt quite proud at being able to understand 
this wonderful comic actor in Jocrisse. When he 
stumbled in crossing the stage, carrying the buffet, and 
broke the plates, etc., I got into a great tit of laughter, 
which pleased both Lawless and MacNeven, as they 
thought I was too melancholy, and they were glad to 
see me so much delighted with the play. I felt very 
grateful to these worthy patriots for their attention to 
me at that time. It was doubly agreeable to me when 
Mr. Emmet was in the country, away from Paris. I 
then could see how wrong it is to judge of men too 
hastily and on a short acquaintance. William Lawless, 
instead of being cold and distant, was the most agree- 
able, kind, companionable man possible ; highly edu- 
cated, well versed in almost every branch of science, 
speaking fluently and well both French and English; 
in short, had his country obtained her freedom, he would 
have shone in her Senate as a first-rate orator. I had 
no introduction to Mr. Lawless, though I knew his 
nephew, John Lawless, from whom I might have had 
one before I left Dublin, had I not been hurried away. 
I therefore felt his generous offer to lend me money in 
a foreign country the more warmly. Our friendship 
ceased not but with death, and I must ever remember 
him with gratitude and affection for his conduct on that 
occasion. As to my advancement in the French army, 
it so happened that General Lawless did not do any- 
thing to promote it when he was colonel of the Irish 
regiment in 1813. In 1 808 I was a captain, and William 
Lawless was still a captain. He, however, regretted 
much that I did not get my brevet as superior officer at 
the same time John Allen and Terence O'Reilly got 
theirs, viz. in 1814, previous to JNapoleon's abdication. 

Colonel Lawless lost his leg on the 2ist of August, 
1813, when Commandant Ware took the command of 
the regiment as senior officer. After the battle of Gold- 



312 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

berg, two days later, on the 23rd of August, Ware was 
ordered by our General of Division, Puthod, to propose, 
or make a memoir of propositions to obtain promotion 
for those officers whom he said had distinguished them- 
selves under his command during the campaign. Several 
officers and non-commissioned officers were carried on 
the proposition for the decoration of the Legion of 
Honour. We were four captains, proposed for the rank 
of field officer (chef de bataillon), equivalent to lieu- 
tenant-colonel : Saint Leger, Allen, O'Reilly, and I. 

After William Lawless's friendly offer and kind atten- 
tion to me, I frequently called on him, and always found 
him good humoured and agreeable, and generally occu- 
pied answering letters. He sometimes would give me 
one to read, which perhaps he had just received, from 
Lord Cloncurry or some other valued patriot ; and from 
the tenor of those letters and his answers to them, I 
could see that the warmest friendship subsisted between 
him and his correspondents. 

In my visits to Mr. Lawless, or to Sweeny, who had 
an apartment in the same hotel, I was sure to meet some 
of the Irish exiles, who had had to fly from home. Pat 
Gallagher was one of them. His name will never be 
forgotten in Dublin, as the brave and faithful body- 
guard to the ever-to-be-lamented Lord Edward Fitz- 
gerald, who had been obliged to change frequently his 
hiding place, from house to house in the Liberty, in 
order to escape the police of the Castle hacks. Gallagher 
was always one of the most determined of Lord 
Edward's escort when changing his abode. What a 
misfortune that half-a-dozen of such resolute men as 
Gallagher were not placed at once at Murphy's house in 
Thomas-street ? They would have saved the darling of 
their heart and Ireland's glory, and would have escaped 
with him to the Wicklow mountains. Then the insur- 
rection would not have been deprived of the enter- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 313 

prising experience of this valiant soldier, whose presence 
at our camp in the commencement would have been 
equal to a great army, and would certainly have caused 
a general rising of the patriots throughout Ireland, and 
the citizens of Dublin would have been saved the eternal 
disgrace of having allowed this Irish chieftain to be 
sacrificed, without making the least effort in his favour. 
But, indeed, the only excuse for them is that they were 
taken by surprise and not prepared for the event, 
though I am sorry to say that I met in Paris, after the 
restoration of the Bourbons, Dublin Catholic citizens, 
passing themselves off as patriots, who were not ashamed 
to say that they thought the infamous Reynolds' infor- 
mation a fortunate circumstance. These gentlemen to 
be sure made part of the merchants and lawyers corps 
of yeomanry, and perhaps prided themselves that they 
escorted Lord Edward to prison. 

Our conversation being a private one, I shall not men- 
tion their names ; but an Irish Catholic historian was 
not ashamed to give his own opinion in 1846 on Robert 
Emmet's unsuccessful attempt to free his country and 
get rid of the insolent Protestant ascendancy, viz. : " I 
neither attempt to justify his plans in 1803, nor do i 
regret their failure ; far from it. I believe their accom- 
plishment would have been a calamity." 1 Surely, if 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald and his brave companions, the 
patriots of 1798, were justifiable in seeking aid from the 
French Directory to shake off the English yoke, Robert 
Emmet must have been doubly justified in 1803, sur- 
rounded as he was by the tried patriots of the time, all 
of whom agreed with him that the moment was pro- 
pitious, when the Irish Catholic serfs had their chains 
closer riveted than ever since the detested union with 
Great Britain, and the loss even of the corrupt Protestant 

1 See The United Irishmen, their lives and times, by R. R. 
Madden, M.D., Vol. iii., p. 287. 



314 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Parliament, which left them no hopes of redress. Cer- 
tainly Robert Emmet had every reasonable hope of 
obtaining assistance from the First Consul Buonaparte, 
who was at that time so much exasperated against Eng- 
land, on account of her recent bad faith and perfidious 
conduct in seizing and capturing French merchant ves- 
sels before any declaration of war after the Peace of 
Amiens. The First Consul knew well that Ireland was 
the weak and vulnerable part where England might be 
overthrown, and that the Irish were ready to rise en 
masse as soon as an army of ten thousand French 
troops were landed ; the number which had been stipu- 
lated for between him and the Irish chiefs. How then 
could any Irish Catholic acquainted with these circum- 
stances say at any time since that he was glad that 
Robert Emmet did not succeed, all Catholic Ireland 
being at that period ready to rise the moment a rallying 
point offered with perhaps the exception of some time- 
serving lord, who would prefer to be a valet at the Eng- 
lish Court to being an independent senator in his native 
land ; or those timid mercenary would-be historians or 
book-makers, to enable them to be mean place-beggars. 
They numbered, however, very few in Robert Emmet's 
time, because as Catholics they were not apt to fill 
situations at the Castle of Dublin, or in the provinces. 

I have frequently spoken of all those matters already 
in my narrative ; but I must be excused now if I repeat 
them again, in writing of Lord Edward's steady friend, 
Pat Gallagher, who, at the formation of the Irish Legion 
in 1 803, entered it at the same time I did, with the rank 
of lieutenant. He soon after was promoted to that of 
captain, but in 1805, seeing no prospect of an expedition 
to Ireland, and having an highly accomplished wife and 
two fine children to provide for, he resigned his commis- 
sion of captain and retired to Bordeaux, where he set up 
as a ship broker, and soon began an extensive business 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 315 

with the neutral maritime countries, but particularly with 
the Americans of the United States. 

Another of the Irish exiles of '98, whom I was sure to 
meet with when I called on Mr. Lawless, was John Ten- 
nant, brother to that high-minded patriot, William Ten- 
nant, of Belfast, the friend and fellow-prisoner of Arthur 
O'Connor and Thomas Addis Emmet. John Tennant, 
in escaping from Ireland, was fortunate enough to have 
had a sum of money in hand, which he placed advan- 
tageously in the French funds, and the interest of that 
money quite sufficed for all his expenses at Paris. He 
might have resigned his rank of captain also, having the 
means of living independently, but he preferred remain- 
ing in the French service, in order to perfect himself in 
the military profession, that he might be the better able 
one day to render service to his native country ; and 
having made the memorable campaign of 1799 i n Hol- 
land, attached to the staff of the French General-in- 
Chief, Brune, who so completely defeated the Anglo- 
Russian army (commanded by that bigoted, drunken sot, 
of " so help me God " notoriety, the Duke of York). 
Tennant acquired a real liking and taste for the military 
profession, and his bosom friend, Lawless, who had made 
the campaign in Holland with him, was equally desirous 
of seeing real military campaigning under that renowned 
warrior. 

The military career of those two distinguished Irish 
patriots began and ended at the same time. They were 
named captains the same day in 1803 at the organiza- 
tion of the Irish Legion. In 1813, at Lowenberg, in 
Silesia, where Lawless was colonel, corrmanding the 
Irish regiment, Tennant was chef de bataillon (or lieu- 
tenant-colonel commanding the first battalion of the 
regiment. On the igih of August, 1813, Tennant was 
killed in our hollow squarCj literally cut in two by a 
cannon ball, and on the 2 1st of August, the second day 



316 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

after, Colonel Lawless, at the passage of the Bober, at 
the town of Lowenberg, and in the presence of Napo- 
leon, had his leg shot off by a cannon ball. It was my 
painful and melancholy duty to get the grenadiers to dig 
a grave for poor Tennant, after we had retaken our 
position and beaten the enemy off the field of battle, on 
the igth of August, 1813. Whilst the men were pre- 
paring the grave, Colonel Lawless never ceased weeping, 
and indeed both the officers and men who were present 
were much affected, and shed tears of sorrow over poor 
Tennant's grave. On the 2ist I had the affliction to see 
poor Lawless fall off his horse, and to get six grenadiers 
to carry him on a door, into the town of Lowenberg, 
where the baron Larrey performed the amputation of 
his; leg. When the boot was cut away, and that he saw 
plainly the desperate wound, he exclaimed : " Ah ! my 
poor wife and children!" It was at least soothing to 
him at the moment to be told by the Emperor's aide- 
de-camp, when he came by order to see him, that he 
would be General of Brigade, and Baron of the Empire. 
Lawless was named General after some time, but he 
never got the title of baron the Restoration of the 
Bourbons put a stop to Napoleon's promotions. 

Previous to going into campaign, John Tennant willed 
the little property he had to his daughter. Richard 
MacCormick, being his executor, had the little girl edu- 
cated with great care in a convent at Paris, and when he 
was allowed to return from exile, he took his lamented 
friend Tennant's daughter with him to Dublin, where 
she married a gentleman of the name of Murray. 

There was great excitement and joy among the Irish 
exiles in November, 1803, when they heard of the march 
of General Augereau's corps of army from the frontiers 
of Spain, Bayonne, to be encamped near Brest, to be 
ready to embark for Ireland. Mr. Thomas Markey, who 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 317 

was following the staff of General Augereau's army, 
apprised his friends of its rapid march from the Spanish 
frontiers to the coast at Brest, where twenty-five sail 
of the line, with transport vessels sufficient to embark 
thirty thousand troops, were lying in harbour. Captain 
Murphy, who had the rank of grand pilot to the French 
Fleet at Brest, received orders to repair there without 
delay, to be at the disposition of the admiral command- 
ing the Fleet. 

All this indicated to us that an expedition on a great 
scale would soon sail for Ireland, and at the same time 
we knew that Thomas Addis Emmet and Arthur O'Con- 
nor had stipulated with the First Consul many things 
respecting Ireland, when a French army should be landed 
there. First, it was to be considered as an auxiliary one, 
as the French army in the United States under General 
Rochambeau was. Then it should be guaranteed that 
in any treaty of Peace between France and England, the 
independence of Ireland should be maintained, etc. Ten 
thousand troops, with twenty thousand stand of arms, 
was all that the Irish chiefs required to be landed to 
accomplish their ends, and one day at Saint Cloud, the 
First Consul said to Augereau, in the presence of 
Arthur O'Connor : " General, remember you are to be 
with your army in Ireland, as General Rochambeau was 
in America. You will receive and execute the orders of 
the Irish Government, etc." 1 

1 M. Thiers, though not very impartial or explicit about the 
negotiations carried on between the French Government and the 
Irish independent leaders, still allows that they obtained terms 
from the French Ministers, which the First Consul confirmed. 
In his History of the Consulate and Empire, Vol. iv., p. 467, M. 
Thiers says: "The minister D6cres had conferred with the Irish 
refugees, who had already tried to separate their country from 
England. They promised a general rising, in the event of 18,000 
French troops landing, with the materials of war complete, and 
a great quantity of arms. They stipulated also, as the price of 
their efforts, that France should make no peace without exacting 
the independence of Ireland. The First Consul consented to all 
these demands, on condition that a body of twenty thousand 



3l8 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

At the end of November, 1803, our excitement was 
greater than ever, thinking of scarcely anything except 
the study of military tactics, and expecting hourly to 
receive our brevets. I had bought, when I arrived at 
Paris, the reglement or ordonnance on the exercise and 
manoeuvres of infantry, and I began to know tolerably 
well the theory; and as I had some practice in Ireland 
in fighting against regular troops, I felt satisfied I could 
make my way like other officers. 

At length the First Consul's decree appeared to have 
an Irish Legion in the service of France organized, to 
be composed of infantry regiments, with artillery and 
cavalry attached to it This Legion was to be completed 
on landing in Ireland, to twenty-five thousand men. 
Our commissions or brevets of officers in the service of 
France, were dated the /th of December, 1803, and on 
receiving them, we had orders to march to Morlaix. We 
were to go by regular etapes, or day's marches, or if we 



Irish at least, should have joined the French army, and fought along 
with it during the expedition. The Irish were confident and full 
of promises, like all emigrants. However, there were some amongst 
them who gave no great hopes, who even promised no effective 
aid from the people." 

As I thought M. Thiers could not produce any proof of his asser- 
tion against the willingness of the Irish patriots to embrace every 
opportunity to shake off the Englisb yoke, I wrote the following 
note to General O'Connor on the subject, in order that he might 
remonstrate with M. Thiers on his false appreciation of the Irish 
refugees in France. 

"PARIS, 25th July, 1845. 

" DEAR GENERAL, I have just been reading the fourth volume 
of Thiers' History of the Consulate, and I find a couple of pages 
respecting our intended expedition to Ireland hi 1803, which in 
case you may not yet have received the book, I have copied off 
for your perusal." 

The answer I got was very long the principal points were as 
follows : 

" I thank you for the extract you have sent me. I am just be- 
ginning my memoirs ; you may rest assured I will do my utmost 
to vindicate the men of 1796, 1797, 1798, and 1804, from all their 
detractors in France and in Ireland." 

The above few lines from General O'Connor, will suffice to show 
how keenly he felt on Thiers' misstatement concerning the Irish 
exiles in France. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 319 

wished we might take the coaches, and the distance 
being 148 leagues, we had twenty-one days to make the 
journey. Hugh Ware and I decided to make it on foot, 
as we should be the better prepared for campaigning 
after such a long march in winter. Those officers who 
had money to pay their places in the coach, could spend 
fifteen days more with their friends at Paris, and arrive 
at Morlaix the day fixed by the " feuille de route," or 
military order of march. 

One day Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet read me a letter 
he had just received (at J^aris) from William Dowdall, 
stating that he and John Allen, and a young man of the 
name of Sandy Devereux, had escaped safely to Cadiz, 
after many risks and perils. He asked me questions 
about Devereux. "As to Allen and Dowdall," he said, 
" I know them sufficiently myself to answer for them." 
I told him that Devereux was one of our hurling asso- 
ciates at Donnybrook Green, that he was from the 
County of Wexford, and employed in the mercantile 
firm of Cornelius O'Loughlan and Company in Dublin, 
that I did not think he was committed in our unfortunate 
affairs. " No, but you see by this letter that he has acted 
a noble part." Young Devereux took out a passport 
for himself to go to transact business at Cadiz for his 
employers. He went and left this passport with Allen 
and Dowdall where they were hiding, that they might 
endeavour to make out others for themselves, and to 
imitate it as nearly as possible. He requested them to 
have a similar one to theirs made for him, as he would 
destroy the original passport, lest it might be the means 
of discovering the false ones, and that he would take his 
chance with them through thick and thin. 

A Mr. Cummings, who had been one of the State 
prisoners in Dublin, when he was allowed to expatriate 
himself, went to Cadiz to practise there as a physician. 
He wrote to Mr. Emmet to pray him to obtain for him a 

Y 



32O MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

commission in the Irish regiment in order that he might 
be of the expedition destined for Ireland. 

A Mr. O'Kelly, an officer of one of the Irish regiments 
in the Spanish service, being at Cadiz when Allen and 
Dowdall arrived there, wrote also to Mr. Emmet that he 
wished to make part of the French army to be sent to 
obtain the independence of his native country. 

Mr. Emmet gave the names of these five gentlemen to 
the Minister of War, recommending them as true Irish 
patriots, and immediately commissions of sub-lieutenants 
were sent to Cadiz for John Allen, William Dowdall, 
Sandy Devereux, Dr. Cummings and O'Kelly, with 
orders for them to repair forthwith to Morlaix, where the 
Irish Legion was assembled. 

It being remarked that whilst many of the distin- 
guished and meritorious Irish patriots got only the rank 
of ensigns and lieutenants, others with very inferior 
claims, got that of captain, the highest then given ; Mr. 
Emmet remonstrated with the Minist'er of War, Berthier, 
who promised him that Adjutant-General MacSheehy, 
charged with the organization of the Legion, should have 
precise instructions at Morlaix, to report to the War 
Office on the subject, and that he might rest satisfied 
the injustice should be repaired, as soon as MacSheehy's 
report was received. Some of the injustice was remedied, 
though not for a month or two later. William Barker, 
Pat MacCanna, Pat Gallagher, Valentine Deny, Augus- 
tm O'Meally, John Sweeny, Hugh Ware, and William 
Dowdall received their commissions as captains, and 
several sous-lieutenants received theirs of lieutenants at 
the same time. 

Previous to our leaving Paris for the coast, a young 
man arrived from Dublin, Terence O'Reilly ; he was the 
bearer of a letter of introduction from a Dr. Sheridan to 
Dr. MacNeven ; the latter had just time to present him 
to General Dalton, before quitting Paris for Morlaix, 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 32! 

and as O'Reilly spoke French well, he got on better than 
others at the War Office. He got his commission of 
lieutenant in the month of January, 1 804, and joined tEe 
Irish Legion at Morlaix. I am persuaded that he did 
not consider it a triumph to have obtained a higher rank, 
and to be placed over so many of his countrymen, such 
as the following: Paul Murray, Edmond Saint-Leger, 
Joseph Parrott, William Dowdall, John Allen, and many 
others, who had only the rank of sous-lieutenants at the 
time. However, O'Reilly's advancement afterwards was 
slow indeed. It was only after the siege of Flushing in 
1809, where he distinguished himself in the Irish bat- 
talion there, fighting against the English, that he was 
recompensed with the cross of the Legion of Honour, 
and later he was named captain in the first battalion of 
the Irish regiment, then in garrison at Landau, near the 
Rhine, in 1810. In the campaigns of 1813 and 1814, 
O'Reilly served with distinction, and he had the good 
fortune to get his brevet of chef de bataillon before 
Napoleon's abdication in 1814. After the Restoration of 
the Bourbons, and the battle of Waterloo, Commandant 
O'Reilly retired to Evreux, where he finished his days. 
I have often had to mention him in my notes on our 
campaigns, and I trust I may be excused now for this 
anticipation. I esteemed O'Reilly as a brave and an 
honourable officer, and I liked him as an obliging, good 
comrade, and I cannot forget that he was one of those 
that expressed regret that I had not obtained my 
commission of Napoleon of superior officer before the 
downfall of Napoleon. 

Not being encumbered with much luggage, my effects 
were soon packed up, and I had nothing to buy, for 
every article for the equipment of the officers had been 
sent to the depot of the Irish Legion at Morlaix. 
Amongst them was a quantity of superfine dark green 



322 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

cloth, sufficient for the uniforms of 1 50 officers, and as our 
master tailor had at his disposition all the tailors of 
Augereau's army, a short time would suffice to have 
then made up. The officers were advised to have small 
portmanteaus, not weighing more than fourteen pounds, 
which they could easily carry under their arm, going on 
board the Fleet at Brest, and also on landing on the 
coast of Ireland, when they would answer as pillows at 
the bivouac. I had one of this description already, which 
held my two shirts, stockings, slippers, etc., so I had not 
to buy a portmanteau. Having now all things settled 
ready to set out on my march, save to pay my farewell 
visits to those dear friends whom I soon expected to 
have the happiness of meeting in Ireland. Alas ! my 
expectations were not realised. 

My first visit was to Mr. Thomas Addis Emmet and 
his amiable lady, his son Robert, with his two little sis- 
ters, one of them born in the prison of Dublin, 
and the other in that of Fort George in Scotland. 
Mr. Emmet kindly enquired of me about my money 
matters, saying that he had received another remittance 
of sixty pounds from that generous, worthy Irish patriot, 
Lord Cloncurry, to be distributed amongst the Irish 
refugees who might stand in need of money. I had to 
show him a few half-guineas I had still remaining, to 
convince him that I had sufficient with my feuille de 
route money, to make the journey to Morlaix, and I told 
him I owed nothing, etc. He opened a trunk to show 
me two bags of silver, containing Lord Cloncurry's re- 
mittance, which he had just brought from the bankers. 
Mr. Emmet paid me some compliments on the saving 
way I had lived, and then we embraced and separated, 
alas ! for ever. His son Robert, about nine or ten years 
old was waiting in the outer room. He took the small 
cord or chain from his watch, and asked me to keep it 
for his sake, which I did carefully until 1813, when my 
baggage fell into the hands of the enemy on the Bober. 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 323 

Amongst the wives and daughters of the other Irish 
exiles of whom I had to take leave before starting for the 
coast in December, 1803, was Mrs. Tone, with her three 
children, two boys and a girl. The latter was a fine 
grown girl of twelve or fourteen ; she had the misfortune 
to lose her and one of her sons at Paris some time after. 
Fortunately, her other son lived to publish his heroic 
father's admirable Memoirs, which prove to the world 
that Ireland would have been a free country, governing 
herself, had the General-in-Chief, Hoche, been on 
board the same vessel as Theobald Wolfe Tone, 
in the Bay of Bantry, on Christmas Day, 1796. 
Mrs. Tone was in every respect worthy of being the 
companion of her lamented husband She was very well 
mannered and very obliging to her friends. I recollect 
in 1806, when our regiment was on march to Mayence, 
that Captain Barker had to leave his son Arthur, then 
nine years of age, with Mrs. Tone, who kindly kept him 
nearly a month with her own children, till he was placed 
in the Irish College, where he finished his education in 
1815. Mr. and Mrs. Barker were ever grateful to Mrs. 
Tone for her kindness on this occasion ; and indeed their 
son, Mr. Arthur Barker, though so young then, remem- 
bers being the playmate of Tone's children as an event 
not to be forgotten. 

Though Mrs. Jackson, the widow of the Reverend W. 
Jackson, one of the first martyrs to the independence of 
his native land, had but a small pension to live on, still 
she had her son and daughter very well educated. Mrs. 
Jackson was clever and well-informed, and her children 
availed themselves of this advantage. They were clever 
and sprightly. Miss Jackson was married to a merchant 
at Havre. In 1820, Mr. Warden and I signed a paper 
for her to obtain a passport for Italy, where she went to 
visit her mother and brother, who were residing at 
Leghorn. 



324 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

Of all the exiled Irish ladies in Paris in 1803, poor 
Mrs. Hamilton was the most to be pitied ; she had heard 
of the melancholy end, the trial and execution, of her 
beloved uncle, Thomas Russell, on whom she doated, 
and every hour she feared she would hear that her hus- 
band had shared the same fate, a reward being offered 
for his apprehension. It appeared impossible for him to 
procure a safe hiding-place, or the means of escaping 
from a country where terror of every description was 
reigning, with martial law and all its horrors. However, 
William Hamilton was not sold and betrayed into the 
hands of his enemies, as was the unfortunate Russell. 

To finish my visits, I had still to call on Messrs. John 
Sweetman, Mat Bowling, Richard MacCormick, Edward 
Lewins, Delany, Dr. MacMahon, etc. These patriots 
were stopping at Paris, hoping they might soon be called 
on to co-operate in their civil capacity with us, once we 
were landed in Ireland. Poor Arthur MacMahon had an 
attack of paralysis the day before I left Paris. My friend 
and former comrade, Paul Murray, not feeling the same 
activity and power of marching that he had when we 
were together in the Wicklow mountains in 1798, set 
off for Morlaix on foot, the day after he received his 
commission, intending to take the coach occasionally, 
when tired with walking. 

Hugh Ware and I agreed to set out on fwOt and to 
march the whole way to Morlaix, without incurring the 
expense of either horse or coach-hire. He came to sleep 
at my lodgings in the Rue de la Harpe, the night before 
we set off : he having had to give up the hired furniture 
he had at his own lodgings. At break of day we took 
our little portmanteaus under onr arms and brought 
them to Mr. William Lawless's apartment in the Rue de 
la Loi (Rue de Richelieu) ; he kindly promised to bring 
them, with his own baggage, by the coach to Morlaix. 
He told us that he, MacNeven, Sweeny, Tennant, Gal- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 325 

lagher, and Lacy had retained the six inside places of 
the diligence, or stage coach, leaving Paris for Morlaix 
ten days after, and we might be sure of our portmanteaus 
on arriving there. 

We then took leave of Captain Lawless, who was still 
in bed, and we marched off to Versailles, where Ware 
had given a rendezvous to his cousin Joseph Parrott, 
Captain Maguire, Lambert, John Reilly, Fitzpatrick, and 
James MacEgan, a lad of fourteen years of age. After 
we had breakfasted and visited the chateau, waited to 
see the famous clock strike, and the cock turn out and 
flutter its wings the only remaining fixture in this once 
renowned palace, the scene of intrigue, debauchery and 
artificial greatness we set out again, to make another 
etape (or day's march and halt) on the road to Ram- 
bouillet, where we got billets of lodging and passed 
the night. 

Hugh Ware being an admirer of country scenery, a 
judge of land and of architecture, 1 well read and versed 
in history, it was a great advantage to me to have him 
as my fellow-traveller. He would wish to examine every 
mansion or chateau near the road, and tell us something 
of their antiquity or renown. That part of Normandy 
through which we passed to Alen^on, was rich and well 
cultivated. One night it blew a terrible storm. Next 
morning we found on our march the road in many places 
strewed with fine trees, torn from their roots by this 
whirlwind We said, what a pity that the expedition was 
not ready at Brest, as the English Fleet must now be off 
to Torbay, from its blockading station before Brest 
It was after such a storm that General Hoche's Fleet 
sailed with his expedition in 1796 for Ireland, and pas- 
sing at Rennes, it brought to our recollection that he had 



1 It appears from the State Papers that Ware was a land 
surveyor by profession. (Ed.) 



326 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

his headquarters in that town previous to embarking, 
and that it was there that he got the proclamation trans- 
lated and printed in the Portuguese language, by a priest 
of that nation, in order to baffle the English spies, who 
thought in consequence that Hoche's expedition was 
destined for Portugal. 

This part of Brittany through which we were passing 
reminded us of our own country ; the climate nearly the 
same, fine pasturage to be seen on every side, the cattle 
generally of an inferior race, cultivation much neglected, 
and the poor people only beginning to recover from the 
bad effects of their civil wars. However, our journey 
continued to the end to be agreeable, indeed ; marching 
four or five leagues before breakfast, and six or seven 
again before we reached the town where we passed tne 
night ; and though in the month of December, we had 
time to take a view of the churches, or anything curious, 
before going to dinner. We remarked that the country 
people returning from their fairs and markets, generally 
had taken a hearty glass of cider brandy, and their 
dresses were quite different as we approached Morlaix. 
We arrived at this town after a long day's march, late at 
night, and next morning paid our visits. 

We had the satisfaction of again meeting many of our 
friends. Lawless, MacNeven, and the other officers who 
travelled by the coach, only arrived the day before us. 
We got billets of lodging. Mine was with a Mr. Prem- 
cour, a receiver of contributions, by whom I was most 
graciously received. I had invitations from this gentle- 
man and his lady to evening parties, which was a great 
advantage to me in learning French. 

My valued friend Val Derry had arranged for our 
mess at the Hotel de France, where we had an excellent 
table, and in the best part of the town, near the bridge, 
on the quay. Mr. and Mrs. Barker lived next door, and 
Thomas Markey was just arrived from Bordeaux. He 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 327 

gave us a splendid account of General Augereau's army, 
with which he had been on the frontiers of Spain. It 
was now assembled in the neighbourhood of Brest, ready 
to embark for Ireland. The adjutant-general, 
MacSheehy, who was charged with the organization of 
the Legion, accompanied us to the magazine, where we 
received our swords, epaulettes, etc., and he gave orders 
to the master tailor and bootmaker respecting our uni- 
forms. Five days after, I had mine, and I was completely 
equipped and ready to embark. General MacSheehy 
was exceedingly busy receiving the officers who were 
arriving every day and by every stage coach from all 
parts of France, and giving his orders to have them 
equipped forthwith, ready to embark. We were truly 
glad to see Allen, Dowdall, Sandy Devereux, Cummings 
and O'Kelly arriving after their long journey from 
Cadiz. Allen and Dowdall's escape was fortunate in- 
deed, for the state of Ireland was such at the time they 
were hiding in the neighbourhood of Dublin, that it was 
thought impossible for them to procure means of getting 
away. 

Morlaix was the rendezvous of the Irish exiles in 
January, 1804. Mr. and Mrs. Barker met amongst them 
many of their former friends, and I recollect spending a 
most agreeable day at their house, when they enter- 
tained at dinner a number of the officers, such as Adju- 
tant-General MacSheehy, MacNeven, Lawless, William 
O'Meara, Mandeville, Masterson, O'Gorman, Deny, 
Fitzhenry, etc. Captain Barker seemed quite happy to 
have at his table that day officers who had been in the 
Irish Brigade before 1792, and others who were by his 
side at the battle of Vinegar Hill on the 2 1st of June, 
1798, where he lost his arm fighting for Ireland's rights. 
Our evenings were spent agreeably enough, and our 
morning occupations were highly amusing ; learning the 
positions of a soldier without arms, marching in quick 



328 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

and ordinary time ; learning the manual exercise with the 
musket, etc. We had the best French instructors, who 
told us we should in a short time be capable of becom- 
vig instructors ourselves to teach others. 

Unfortunately, Adjutant-General MacSheehy, not- 
withstanding his great activity and talents as a staff- 
officer, was not equal to the task of organizing a political 
corps like the Irish Legion, composed of patriots, all of 
whom had suffered in their country's cause, but differing 
on many points as to the best way of redressing her 
grievances. He was young, and wanted experience in 
Irish matters. The narrative in the following volume, 
which I wrote from notes that I kept on the service of 
the Irish Legion, will show in a great measure why 
MacSeehy failed in his mission. 

My friend, Colonel O'Neill, being engaged collecting 
materials for writing the history of the Irish Brigades in 
the service of France, until they ceased in 1792, asked 
me, in 1837, to furnish him with notes on the organiza- 
tion, services, and campaigns of the Irish Legion, and 
particularly about the first regiment of this Legion which 
had been so much distinguished in Spain and in Ger- 
many, at Flushing, Astorga, Lowenberg on the Bober, 
Antwerp, etc., down to the month of September, 1815, 
when it was disbanded at Montreuil-sur-Mer. Nearly a 
year after I had given my notes to Colonel O'Neill, I 
was not a little surprised when he told me one day that 
he was going to get them published along with a small 
manuscript he got from Mr. Warden, on the affairs of 
Ireland in 1797 and 1798, extremely well written, as in- 
deed everything Mr. Warden wrote was ; it was relating 
to the period he was concerned in till he escaped to 
America, I observed to Colonel O'Neill that my notes 
were not prepared for the press, to which he replied that 
competent judges to whom he had shown them told him 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 329- 

they might be published in the shape they were, and he 
then read to me part of the introduction he was preparing 
for) his first volume, at the head of which was to be Mr. 
Warden's work, consisting of about twenty pages. A 
few days after this, poor O'Neill had a slight attack of 
apoplexy, and in consequence his physicians ordered 
him to refrain from the application of either reading or 
writing. He, however, had his friend Colonel MacSheehy 
going as usual to the archives at the War Office taking 
notes and collecting materials for the history of the Irish 
Brigades, and he employed my friend Mr. Rafferty to 
translate all these notes, for he intended to have his 
work published both in English and French at the same- 
time. He could not have chosen a more fit person than 
Mr. Rafferty, for he entered quite into the spirit of the 
undertaking, like a true Irish patriot as he was, and 
though he had a situation which kept him very busy, 
he contrived to find time for the translation, and O'Neill 
was sure it would be well done, as Mr. Rafferty was a. 
good French scholar, and he wrote the English lan- 
guage in a pure, bold style. He had to translate also 
many Latin inscriptions ; for Colonel O'Neill went down 
into the vaults of the churches where any Irish were 
buried, in order to copy from their tombstones, names, 
deeds, etc. 

Colonel O'Neill was at great expense getting notes 
from the archives of foreign countries, where Irish troops 
had served, as he intended his history to comprise those 
of Austria, Naples, Spain. From Spain particularly he 
had got some very valuable documents, through his cor- 
respondent at Madrid, about the three Irish regiments 
that had been in the Spanish service Ultona, Ireland, 
and Hibernia. A friend of mine, Captain Canton, who had 
served in one of those Irish regiments in Spain, being at 
Paris at the time, also furnished Colonel O'Neill with 
many notes and a great deal of information respecting 



330 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

the Spanish army, and the way the Irish were employed 
in it 

At the Royal Library in the Rue Richelieu, Colonel 
O'Neill got the gazettes or newpapers of the reign of 
Louis XIII., in which there was mention of the Irish 
then in the French army. From these, and the military 
annuaires, or army lists, he got many things he wanted 
to aid him to complete his biographical history of the 
Irish who had to fly from their own country and learn 
the military profession in a foreign land 

Although Colonel O'Neill was prohibited by his medi- 
cal adviser any serious application as to writing, still his 
work advanced under his direction, and he wished much 
to see it printed and published at Paris in English and 
French. 

About the middle of July, 1844, we had a most agree- 
able visit from Colonel O'Neill. Alas! it was the last. 
He came to invite Mrs. Byrne and me to dine with him 
and spend the evening at Madame de Beaulieu's, where 
we were sure to be well entertained. He was in high 
spirits and looking extremely well. He was very fond of 
music, played on the flute, guitar, clarionet, violin, etc. 
etc. Madame de Beaulieu had an exceHent piano. This 
very amiable lady was the daughter of one of Benjamin 
Franklin's intimate friends, when he resided at Paris as 
the representative of the United States of America. 
She used to show us with much pride a little wax figure 
which her father had got made of this great statesman 
in his simple dress of the Republican Minister, and some 
of his hair was carefully preserved and put on the head 
of the statuette. 

Poor O'Neill seemed very happy that evening. He 
not only played on various instruments, but sang well, 
and that evening sang several airs, Mrs. Byrne accom- 
panying him on the piano. A few days after, he was 
writing a letter, when he felt another attack of apo- 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 331 

plexy ; he had just time to ring for his servant, fall on 
the floor, and bid them send for a priest, the doctor, and 
his cousin, young O'Neill, professor of mathematics at 
the College of Sainte-Barbe. To the latter he gave the 
key of his desk, saying, " When I am no more, you will 
get my will there, have it executed" The doctor had 
everything applied which is usual in such cases. He 
then left him with his confessor. I was sent for ; when 
I arrived he was speechless. He died in the night after 
a long suffering. 

Young O'Neill, being his executor and heir, had the 
funeral service, and indeed everything else, honourably 
conducted. Some days after, poor O'Neill's savings, 
amounting to thirty-two thousand francs, was divided 
according to his will. To his man servant and his wife, 
he left six thousand francs, all his clothes, bed linen, 
^ind the greater part of his valuable furniture. To 
Madame de Beaulieu three thousand francs. To Colonel 
MacSheehy one thousand francs. To Mr. Barker, five 
hundred francs. After paying the physician, funeral, 
church service expenses, and a handsome monument in 
the cemetery of Mont-Parnasse, young O'Neill had the 
remainder, with his library, and his study furniture. To 
me he left his sword and General Foy's Memoirs in four 
volumes. To Mrs. Byrne a work she had read, but re- 
turned to him, which he knew she would like to have, 
as the author of it was an acquaintance of her lamented 
brother, Francis Horner, at Paris 1 in 1814, viz. : Travels 
in the East, by Monsieur Chevalier, Bibliothecaire en 
Chef, or Head Librarian to the Pantheon Library and 
the College of Henry the Fourth. M. Chevalier had 
been tutor to Sir Francis Burdett. He was the friend of 
Colonel O'Neill. Unfortunately, this work had been 

1 See a letter from Francis Horner to Mr. Dugald Stewart, in 
the Memoirs and Correspondence of Francis Horner, Vol. ii., p. 203, 
of the first or London edition ; and Vol. ii., p. 196, of the second 
or Boston edition. 



332 MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 

lent to some one, and young O'Neill could never learn 
to whom. He regretted much that he could not execute 
that part of his cousin's will, which deprived him of the 
pleasure of giving Mrs. Byrne this memorial of Colonel 
O'Neill. 

Young O'Neill brought me back my manuscript notes, 
and he kindly gave me poor O'Neill's portrait, copied 
from the original. I told him if he intended to go on 
with the work his cousin had begun, I should be happy 
to give him all the assistance in my power. He replied 
that he had not time for such an undertaking then, but 
that the papers and materials collected should be care- 
fully preserved. He was highly educated, having finished 
his studies at the Polytechnique School. He was 
destined for the artillery, but in consequence of being 
short-sighted, he became a professor of mathematics, 
and he is considered one of the first, as the College of 
Sainte-Barbe, where he gives his lectures, prepares more 
young men for the Polytechnique School than any of 
the others in Paris. 

I was very glad to have got back my manuscript, and 
as it had been carefully read and revised by my lamen- 
ted friend, I was the more desirous to have it published 
one day along with my Memoirs of what I had witnessed 
in Ireland before coming to France. 

Colonel O'Neill, after reading my notes, asked me to 
make one change only, which was, to say that it was 
the Ministry, and not the Minister of War, Clark, the 
Duke of Feltre, who had in the most brutal manner 
given orders in 1815 to have several distinguished Irish 
officers arrested and sent out of the French territory, the 
land of their adoption, and after all their campaigns and 
honourable services. I was sorry I could not comply 
with his request, as it would have been inconsistent and 
ungrateful of me. For one of the Ministers, the Duke 
de Caze, who was then charged with the police of all 



MEMOIRS OF MILES BYRNE. 333 

France, allowed me to stop at Paris, in order that I 
might have time to remonstrate against the crying in- 
justice of the Duke of Feltre, the War Minister, who 
persevered in insisting that I should quit France, and so 
late as 1817, when it was expected at least the persecu- 
tion of the half-pay officers had abated. Alas ! that was 
not the case, as will be seen in the biographical notice 
on General Clark, Duke of Feltre. I repeated to Colonel 
O'Neill my regret that I could not make the change in 
my notes he desired. 

I feel it necessary to mention these circumstances now, 
because the second volume of my Memoirs commences 
with those notes on the organization of the Irish Legion 
in the service of France, under the Consulate, the Em- 
pire, and the Restoration of the Bourbons. 



END OF VOL. I. 



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