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The History of Ulster
Arrival of Schomberg


Battle of Newtown-Butler—The Jacobites defeated—Mountcashel wounded and taken Prisoner—The House of Commons receives the News of the Relief of Londonderry—An Irish Campaign determined on—Troops raised for Service in Ireland—Regiments commanded by La Melloniere and Cambon — The Army placed under the Command of Frederic, Count of Schomberg—He is created a Duke — Composition of his Army—The Expedition sails from the Port of Chester—It arrives in Carlingford Bay and disembarks at Bangor, County Down—Schomberg makes Belfast his Head-quarters.

The Inniskillings had no sooner resolved to advance than they heard that Mountcashel had taken up his position at Newtown-Butler, a little town a couple of miles beyond Donagh. As Wolseley approached, the Jacobites, to his great surprise, began to retire. "We had not marched above half a mile from Donagh", says our contemporary chronicler, "when our forlorn [advanced guard] came in view of the forlorn of the enemy, who immediately retreated before our men. We advanced after them till we came within about half a mile from Newtown-Butler, where there is a steep hill that the road leads through, and, before you come to the hill, there is a bog with a causeway through it, where only two men, at most, can ride in abreast. The enemy was drawn up in very good order upon the hill above the bog, and no other way had we to come at them but by the bog and causeway through it.

"When our men came near the place, our officers considered the ground, and how advantageously the enemy had posted themselves; and then Colonel Wolseley ordered Colonel Tiffin with his battalion of foot to take the bog on the right hand of the causeway, and Colonel Lloyd with his battalion to take the bog on the left, and Colonel Wynne to divide his dragoons, and the one-half to second Colonel Tiffin on foot, and the other to second Colonel Lloyd; and he ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Berry to advance with the horse upon the causeway as the foot on each hand advanced through the bog; and he himself brought up the main body in the rear to send recruits to those that went before, as he saw cause. And thus while we advanced in good order towards the enemy, they ordered the town of Newtown-Butler and the country-houses about to be all set on fire; and before our men came within musket-shot of them they began to fire at us; but by the time that we came within shot of them, and had fired two or three volleys at them, our men saw them begin to draw off and retreat towards Newtown-Butler; which our men misapprehending, believed them running away, and our officers had much ado to keep them from pursuing with all the speed they could. But Colonel Wolseley, and the officers with them, from a height opposite to the place where the enemy was posted, saw them go off in so good order, that they believed it was either to draw our men into an ambush, or bring them to some place of better advantage for the enemy, and therefore sent orders to Colonels Tiffin and Lloyd, that no man should go out of his rank, but pursue them in good order, until they were certain that they were flying.

"Our men having received this command, advanced after the enemy, keeping their ranks; and the enemy still faced about in their rear, firing at us till we went through the town of Newtown-Butler, and near a mile past it, and thus in very good order they retreated, and we advanced, till they came to a bog on the road near half an Irish mile over, with a narrow causeway through the middle of it, by which we must pass to them; and as soon as ever the front of our men came to the bogside, they saw the enemy all drawn up on the hill opposite to them, at the other side of the bog, having their cannon placed at the end of the causeway. Colonel Wolseley ordered our men to advance towards them as they had done before, the ground being much alike. And so Colonel Tiffin with his foot took the bog on the right, and Colonel Lloyd with his foot took it on the left hand, seconded by Colonel Wynne and his dragoons; and Lieutenant-Colonel Berry and Major Stone advanced with our horse towards the causeway. But as soon as our horse came to the side of the bog, and were beginning to come upon the causeway, the enemy fired their cannon at them, and plied them so hard, that our horse could not advance one step; but our foot and dragoons on both sides advanced by degrees upon them through the bog (the enemy still keeping their ground), till at last they came up and seized their cannons, killed all their cannoniers, and then advanced towards the body of their men, that were drawn up a little above them.

"As soon as our horse perceived that their cannons were seized by our foot, they advanced on the causeway; which the enemy's horse perceiving, they wheeled about with such dragoons as were on horseback, and fled towards Wattle-Bridge, deserting their foot. Their foot stood their ground till our men came among them; but then perceiving their own horse and dragoons fled, and ours coming up to them, they thought it no time to stay any longer, but turned their backs; and instead of going to the left hand, where they had an open country and might have made their escape, they (being strangers in the country) fled all to the right hand, through a great bog about a mile long, which leads towards Lough Erne, most of them all throwing away their arms into turf-pits. Now the country there is so full of bogs and standing pools and loughs, that there is no passing for horse but upon the road, which for the most part is all paved. Our horse followed theirs in a string, over the narrow ways from the place where the enemy had planted their cannon, to Wattle-Bridge, which is a bridge over a branch of Lough Erne, and left a good guard of horse on the bridge to secure that pass; and about a hundred foot, under the command of Captain George Coper, were ordered to guard the cannon that we had taken. Our horse kept all the road between the two places, that not one of their foot could pass them.

"Our foot in the meantime followed theirs through the bog into a wood near Lough Erne, and gave quarter that day to few or none that they met with, unless officers; which the enemy perceiving, and having no courage to fight for their lives, they desperately took the lough in several places, to the number (as was computed) of about five hundred, and not one of them that took the water escaped drowning, but one man, who got through after a great many shots made after him. All that night our foot were beating the bushes for them, and all that their officers could do could not bring them off from the pursuit till next day, about ten of the clock, by which time scarce a man of them that took towards the lough-side escaped, but was either killed, taken prisoner, or drowned."

Thus ended the battle of Newtown-Butler, which was long remembered with pride by the Inniskillings. They were about 2500, while the Jacobite army were more than double that number. The loss on either side was even more disproportionate; for of the Jacobites, in addition to the 500 drowned in Lough Erne, about 2000 were slain, and nearly 500 more, including a great number of officers, taken prisoners; while the Inniskillings lost only about twenty men killed and some forty or fifty "ill wounded". They took seven pieces of cannon, fourteen barrels of powder, a large quantity of ammunition, and all the Jacobite drums and colours. Their victory was crowned by the capture of Mountcashel.

In the confusion that followed the flight of the Jacobite horse, Mountcashel, with some of his officers, took refuge in a wood near the spot where the cannons were planted, and reappeared when the Inniskillings had disappeared in pursuit They were then surprised to find themselves confronted by the guards who had been left in charge of the captured cannon. Mountcashel rashly discharged his pistol at them; whereupon the guard, who had at first supposed him and those by whom he was accompanied to belong to their own party, and would therefore have let them pass unmolested, retaliated with a discharge of musketry, which brought Mountcashel to the ground dangerously wounded. In another moment his brains would have been knocked out with the butt-end of a musket, when he was recognized and saved.

The whole party were then made prisoners and carried into Newtown-Butler, from which they were conveyed the day following, the 1st of August, 1689, to Enniskillen. Mountcashel is said to have regretted that his life was spared, for he declared that he preferred death to seeing the cause of James ruined by the cowardice of the men under his command.

Elated by their victory, the Inniskillings determined to march against Sarsfield, who lay with his army at Bondrowes, near Ballyshannon. They started upon this new expedition on the 2nd, but on the way they were informed that Sarsfield, on hearing of Mountcashel's defeat, had fallen back upon Sligo. They returned to Enniskillen, and, hearing on their return of the raising of the siege of Londonderry, a party was dispatched to hang upon the rear of the Jacobite army in its march; but the retreat of the latter was too precipitate to allow of their doing it any injury.

The battle of Newtown-Butler was fought on the third day after the boom constructed across the Foyle was broken At Strabane the news met the Jacobite army on its retreat from Londonderry. All was terror and confusion, the tents were struck, the military stores were flung by wagon-loads into the waters of the Mourne, and the dismayed Jacobites, leaving many sick and wounded to the mercy of the victorious  Inniskillings, fled to Omagh, and then to Charlemont. Sars-field found it necessary to abandon Sligo, which was without delay occupied by a detachment of Kirke's troops.

The troops thus voluntarily raised formed the "first beginnings" of the celebrated regiment, the Inniskilling Fusiliers, whose achievements to-day are worthy of their great reputation. There can be little doubt that their activity, by dividing the attention of the Jacobite army in the north, materially contributed towards the preservation of Londonderry. They were now at leisure to complete their regiments, in accordance with the commissions they had received from Kirke, to enable them to take part in the campaign which William now proposed to commence in Ireland. On the 7th of August the author of the True Relation of the Actions of the Inniskilling Men was sent as the representative of Enniskillen to Londonderry to congratulate that city on the raising of the siege. A few days later, by Kirke's orders, a detachment of Enniskillen horse, with his own troops, proceeded to join the famous Schomberg at Coleraine.

While the House of Commons was sitting, on Saturday, the 3rd of August, a courier arrived and informed the House, greatly to the astonishment of the members, that the boom on the Foyle had been demolished. He was speedily followed by a second, who announced the raising of the siege of Londonderry; and by a third, who brought news of the victory at Newtown-Butler. The House exulted in the thought that Ulster was safe, and that with Ulster secure Ireland might yet be saved. The members had always professed an extraordinary interest in the cause of the Protestants of Ireland, and had passed several Acts for the relief of those who had arrived in England. The delay in relieving Londonderry had excited their indignation, and they had instituted an enquiry into the causes of it, and especially into the conduct of Lundy, who was now a prisoner in the Tower, and in an address to the King they had urged that he should

be sent to Londonderry to be brought to trial before a court martial. With regard to Ireland, it was determined to send over a force proportionate to the difficulties which the reduction of the country appeared to present.

In raising troops for service in Ireland, the conclusion arrived at was that it was not advisable to employ those which had formed the English army during the reign of James, lest under any circumstances they might be induced to desert to the Jacobite side; and therefore, in accordance with an order of the Privy Council, dated the 27th of June, twenty-three new regiments were raised and completed in six weeks. The bulk of the force destined for Ireland consisted of men just taken from the plough and the threshing-floor. To these were added an excellent brigade of Dutch troops under the command of an experienced officer, the Count of Solmes. Four regiments, one of cavalry and three of infantry, had been formed out of French refugees, many of whom had borne arms with credit; and they were joined in Ireland by the Inniskillings, and by a body of 6000 Danish mercenaries. One of the Huguenot regiments of foot was under the colonelcy of the younger of the two sons of the Marquess of Ruvigny. The other two regiments of foot were commanded by La Melloniere and Cambon, officers of high reputation. This army was placed under the command of Frederic, Count of Schomberg, who had raised a regiment of horse which bore his name, and who, in recognition of his many services as the King's Lieutenant and of his great reputation, was now created a Duke, and received a grant from Parliament of £100,000.

The training and provisioning of the new troops were attended with much greater delay than the raising of them. When Schomberg arrived, on the 20th of July, at the port of Chester, the place from which he was to take his departure, he found that, though the Dee was crowded with men-of-war and transports, nothing was in readiness for his expedition. The provisions had not been brought into the magazines; the transports and convoys were not ready; many of the regiments had not yet reached the place of rendezvous; the private soldiers were as yet unused to arms; and their officers, mostly younger sons of country gentlemen, were unaccustomed to command. After wasting a score of days in unavailing attempts to get his whole army together, the aged general determined to defer his departure no longer; and therefore, having secured 10,000 of his men, a few only of whom were cavalry, and a portion of his artillery, he set sail on the 12th of August, and next day entered Carrick-fergus Bay and landed his forces, without opposition, at Bangor, in County Down, from which he proceeded to Belfast, where he established his head-quarters.


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