Military Recovery of Rathangan and Ballitore

By 29 May Rathangan and Ballitore had been recovered by the military and punishment applied to the rebels and those suspected of disaffection. Extremities were committed on both sides. Mary Leadbeater wondered at the ludicrousness of it all, when she had witnessed the innocent Dr. Johnson being hacked to death after a summary court martial and subsequently a soldier was tied to a cart and lashed, for shooting a pig - commanded to take the precious human life - punished for taking that of a brute.

The military were indeed frustrated. In Ballitore the initial column from Carlow, was ordered to fire at any man in coloured clothes. This was only revoked when evidence of a parley, with Colonel Campbell in Athy, was produced. Campbells men wreaked vengeance on Narraghmore and Ballitore. In Rathangan, Lieutenant Colonel Longfield reported between 50 and 60 dead, I took no prisoners though he complained, The troops are in want of everything the Rebels having destroyed everything in and near the town. Little did it matter to those caught up n the midst of it all, the title of those who plundered them.

When the towns were captured by the rebels barricades were erected to prevent a counter-attack. In Ballitore this consisted of carts and felled trees, in Rathangan carts, chains and even dead horses were used for cover during the fighting. Although the rebels in Ballitore fled with the appearance of the military the barricades proved successful in Rathangan when the rebels defeated the first two counter - attacks mainly by a sharp fire of small arms - of all kinds from the windows. Such tactics were successful under these conditions but Longfield simply bombarded the town from a distance, his battalion guns in front, supported by his infantry and both of these supported by his cavalry. Similar tactics were used to the same effect in recapturing Prosperous on 19 June by Castlereagh's brother. Without union the rebels were in a precarious position.


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