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his eldest brother died, and he succeeded to the family estates. Later on, when the revolution came, he remained faithful to James, and accompanied that king first to France and afterwards to Ireland. He sat in the Irish parliament of 1689, and helped Tyrconnell to organise the Irish army. He was, however, never in favour with Tyrconnell or James, and received no command at the outbreak of the war, but after the defeat of Mountcashel at Newtown Butler, he was, at the instance of the French ambassador, made a brigadier-general and sent to Connaught with a handful of men to hold that province. Sarsfield did his work well, taking possession of Sligo, Athlone and Galway, and expelling the English troops from the province. The French ambassador held Sarsfield in high esteem. He wrote in 1689 to the French minister, Louvois, Sarsfield is a man distinguished by his merit, who has more influence in this kingdom than any man I know.

He has valour, but, above all, honour and probity which are proof against

Sarsfield will, I believe, be extremely useful, as he is a man who will always be at the head of his troops, and will take great care of them. ...

He is a good commander.'

On hearing of William's arrival, James held a council of war, and finally resolved to check William's advance on the banks of the Boyne. Hither Sarsfield was summoned in June 1690, and on ist July the first great pitched battle of the campaign was fought. The Irish

any assault.

1690]

THE BATTLE OF THE BOYNE

167

men

army, numbering some 30,000

(less than a third of which were French), was drawn up on the right bank of the river, under the command of a French general, Marshal Lauzun. William's forces, consisting of Dutch, French Huguenots and English, stood on a rising ground on the left. 'Beneath lay a valley, now so rich and so cheerful that the Englishman who gazes on it may imagine himself to be in one of the most highly favoured parts of his own highly favoured country. Fields of wheat, woodlands, meadows bright with daisies and clover, slope gently down to the edge of the Boyne. That bright and tranquil stream, the boundary of Louth and Meath, having flowed many miles between verdant banks crowned by modern palaces, and by the ruined keeps of old Norman barons of the Pale, is here about to mingle with the

Five miles to the west of the place from which William looked down on the river, now stands, on a verdant bank amidst noble woods, Slane Castle, the mansion of the Marquess of Conyngham. Two miles to the east a cloud of smoke from factories and steam vessels overhangs the busy town and port of Drogheda. On the Meath side of the Boyne, the ground, still all corn, grass, flowers and foliage, rises with a gentle swell to an eminence surmounted by a conspicuous tuft of ash trees which overshades the ruined church and desolate graveyard of Donore.'1

sea.

1 Macaulay.

The Irish commanded three chief positions Slane, some miles up the river, on the left; Oldbridge, lower down, on the right; and the hill of Donore behind Oldbridge. At Slane, the Boyne, winding southwards, intersects the County Meath, Slane itself being in Meath, but on the left bank of the river, nearer Louth, and joined to the right bank by a bridge. At Oldbridge (also in Meath, but on the right bank of the river), the Boyne was fordable. Donore covered Oldbridge, and was a strong position. There the French regiments and Sarsfield's horse (the picked forces in the Irish army) were posted immediately under the eye of Lauzun. William began the battle early in the morning by ordering his right wing, under young Schomberg, to seize the bridge of Slane, cross it, and turn the left flank of the Irish

army

admirable manoeuvre suggested by old Schomberg.

Lauzun, anticipating this move, had sent a regiment of Irish dragoons, under Sir Neil O'Neil, to defend the bridge. Young Schomberg dashed forward gallantly, but was met with equal gallantry by Sir Neil O'Neil. A sharp struggle ensued, but O'Neil was killed at the outset; his men were thrown into confusion, Schomberg seized the bridge and crossed it triumphantly. Lauzun, seeing this, immediately ordered the French regiments and Sarsfield's horse to advance in the direction of Slane, and hold Schomberg and the English right in check. This maneuvre was promptly carried out, and Schomberg was prevented from pushing forward

an

1690]

THE BATTLE OF THE BOYNE

169

beyond the Bridge of Slane. The left flank of the Irish army was saved : William's first move was checkmated.

The English king then (about 10 a.m.) ordered his left wing to move forward and cross the river at Oldbridge. Here they were confronted (1) by the Irish infantry under Tyrconnell—an utterly incompetent commander -(2) by the Irish horse under Hamilton-a gallant and skilful officer.

William's veterans-English, Dutch, Danes, French Huguenots-plunged into the stream, and reached the middle without any opposition; then the Irish infantry, ill-trained, illequipped, ill-led, rushed forward to meet them; but out-numbered, out-disciplined, out-generaled, they broke and filed under the heavy onset of some of the best troops in Europe. "Tyrconnell,' as Macaulay truly says, 'looked on in helpless despair. He did not want personal courage, but his military skill was so small that he hardly ever reviewed his regiment in the Phoenix Park without committing some blunder; and to rally his ranks which were breaking all round him was no task for a general who had survived the energy of his body and of his mind, and yet had still the rudiments of his profession to learn. But, happily for the military reputation of Ireland that day, Tyrconnell did not stand alone. As the infantry, demoralised by his commands, and confused by his orders, broke and fled in all directions, Hamilton placed himself at the head of the horse, and dashed into the river to dispute its

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passage with the enemy. Then came all the fighting that was done at the battle of the Boyne. The 'Irish horse,' says Macaulay, maintained a desperate fight in the bed of the river with Solmes' Blues. They drove the Danish brigade back into the stream. They fell impetuously on the Huguenot regiments, which, not being provided with pikes, then ordinarily used by foot to repel horse, began to give ground. Caillemot (their leader), while encouraging his fellow exiles, received a mortal wound in the thigh. . . . Schomberg, who had remained on the northern bank, and who had thence watched the progress of his troops with the eye of a general, now thought that the emergency required from him the personal exertion of a soldier. ... Without defensive armour, he rode through the river and rallied the [Huguenots] whom the fall of Caillemot had dismayed.' But in the midst of his gallant efforts he fell. The Huguenots rallied once more under the impetuous charge of the Irish, and the battle continued to rage fast and furious all around.

‘Old soldiers were heard to say that they had seldom seen sharper work in the Low Countries. At this juncture William came up with reinforcements, and his presence inspired his men to renewed efforts. Still Hamilton held his ground bravely. The Enniskillens were sent against him, but he swept them instantly from his path. William tried to rally them, but in vain—they turned and filed. Then the English king, placing himself at the

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