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Battle of Arklow (1798)
Part of the United Irishmen Rebellion
Arklowflag.svg
One of the flags carried by the rebels.
Date 9 June 1798
Location Arklow, County Wicklow
Result United Irishmen repulsed
Belligerents
Leinster United Irishmen United Kingdom British Army
Commanders
Billy Byrne
Anthony Perry
Edward Fitzgerald
Michael Murphy  (K.I.A.)
Francis Needham
Strength
10,000 1,700
Casualties and losses
1,000 dead 60 dead, 100 wounded

The second Battle of Arklow took place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 on June 9 when a force of United Irishmen from Wexford, estimated at 10,000 strong, launched an assault into County Wicklow, on the British-held town of Arklow, in an attempt to spread the rebellion into Wicklow and to threaten the capital of Dublin.

Contents

Background

The British Government’s first counter attack against the Irish had ended in failure following a heavy and demoralising defeat at Tuberneering on June 4. The rebel victory had punched a massive hole in the dragnet the military had attempted to throw around county Wexford and had also yielded them significant amounts of weapons, supplies and artillery. The town of Arklow had been evacuated in the ensuing panic but the rebels had contented themselves with taking the town of Gorey and stayed within the Wexford border. When the rebels finally moved against Arklow, the town had been reoccupied by a force of 1,700 men sent from Dublin under Francis Needham, who quickly fortified the town with barricades and had artillery positioned on all the approaches to the town.

The battle

The rebel army that formed for attack on the afternoon of 9 June was a combined force of Wexford and Wicklow rebels led by Billy Byrne, Anthony Perry, Conor McEvoy, Edward Fitzgerald and Fr. Michael Murphy. The area surrounding the town and the approaches was covered by scrub and the rebel strategy adopted was to advance under cover attacking the town simultaneously from several points. Before the action began, the rebels under Esmonde Kane opened fire upon the town with some of the artillery captured at Tuberneering and had some success by scoring a direct hit on a British artillery position, destroying the cannon and killing the attendant crew. The main assault was quickly launched but at all entry points the Irish were blown back by the musket fire, grapeshot and cannonade of the well trained and disciplined British regulars. An attempt by the British to turn the Irish failure into a rout was defeated when pikemen and sharpshooters drove a cavalry charge back across the Avoca River, but an attempt to force a way into the town through the outlying fishing port was bloodily repulsed.

As Irish casualties mounted, the lack of ammunition and proper leadership began to work against them, and after Fr. Murphy was killed leading a charge, their attacks started to peter out. As nightfall came, the rebels began to withdraw under cover of darkness and collect their wounded and were not pursued or molested by the garrison who were, unknown to the rebels, down to their last three or four rounds per man and were themselves at the brink of defeat. The Irish lft behind over 1,000 dead in and around the town with casualties to the garrison amounting to some 60 dead and 100 wounded.

Aftermath

The defeat at Arklow marked the third failure to extend the fight for Irish independence beyond the borders of Co. Wexford following the other bloody repulses at New Ross and Bunclody. The Irish strategy now changed to a policy of static defence against the encroaching British armies.

See also

Primary References

Myles Byrne (1780-1862) "Memoirs of Myles Byrne" (1863)

J.B Gordon "History of the Rebellion in Ireland in the year 1798" (1801)

Edward Hay (Co. Wexford), "History of the Insurrection of County Wexford" (1803)

H.F.B Wheeler & A.M Broadley "The war in Wexford: an account of the rebellion in the south of Ireland in 1798, told from original documents" (1910)

Richard Musgrave "Memoirs of the different rebellions in Ireland" (1801)

Secondary References

  • C. Dickson "The Wexford Rising in 1798: its causes and course" (1955) ISBN 0-09-478390-X
  • G.A Hayes-Mc Coy "Irish Battles" (1969) ISBN 0-86281-250-X

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Battle of Arklow (1798)
Part of the United Irishmen Rebellion
Date 9 June 1798
Location Arklow, County Wicklow
Result United Irishmen repulsed
Belligerents
United Irishmen File:Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg British Army
Commanders and leaders
Billy Byrne
Anthony Perry
Edward Fitzgerald
Michael Murphy  (K.I.A.)
Francis Needham
Strength
10,000 1,700
Casualties and losses
1,000 dead 60 dead
100 wounded
The second Battle of Arklow took place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 on 9 June when a force of United Irishmen from Wexford, estimated at 10,000 strong, launched an assault into County Wicklow, on the British-held town of Arklow, in an attempt to spread the rebellion into Wicklow and to threaten the capital of Dublin.

Contents

Background

The British Government’s first counter attack against the Irish had ended in failure following a heavy and demoralising defeat at Tuberneering on 4 June. The rebel victory had punched a massive hole in the dragnet the military had attempted to throw around county Wexford and had also yielded them significant amounts of weapons, supplies and artillery. The town of Arklow had been evacuated in the ensuing panic but the rebels had contented themselves with taking the town of Gorey and stayed within the Wexford border. When the rebels finally moved against Arklow, the town had been reoccupied by a force of 1,700 men sent from Dublin under Francis Needham, who quickly fortified the town with barricades and had artillery positioned on all the approaches to the town.

The battle

The rebel army that formed for attack on the afternoon of 9 June was a combined force of Wexford and Wicklow rebels led by Billy Byrne, Anthony Perry, Conor McEvoy, Edward Fitzgerald and Fr. Michael Murphy. The area surrounding the town and the approaches was covered by scrub and the rebel strategy adopted was to advance under cover attacking the town simultaneously from several points. Before the action began, the rebels under Esmonde Kane opened fire upon the town with some of the artillery captured at Tuberneering and had some success by scoring a direct hit on a British artillery position, destroying the cannon and killing the attendant crew. The main assault was quickly launched but at all entry points the Irish were blown back by the musket fire, grapeshot and cannonade of the well trained and disciplined British regulars. An attempt by the British to turn the Irish failure into a rout was defeated when pikemen and sharpshooters drove a cavalry charge back across the Avoca River, but an attempt to force a way into the town through the outlying fishing port was bloodily repulsed.

As Irish casualties mounted, the lack of ammunition and proper leadership began to work against them, and after Fr. Murphy was killed leading a charge, their attacks started to peter out. As nightfall came, the rebels began to withdraw under cover of darkness and collect their wounded and were not pursued or molested by the garrison who were, unknown to the rebels, down to their last three or four rounds per man and were themselves at the brink of defeat. The Irish left behind over 1,000 dead in and around the town with casualties to the garrison amounting to some 60 dead and 100 wounded.

Aftermath

The defeat at Arklow marked the third failure to extend the fight for Irish independence beyond the borders of Co. Wexford following the other bloody repulses at New Ross and Bunclody. The Irish strategy now changed to a policy of static defence against the encroaching British armies.

See also

Primary References

Myles Byrne (1780-1862) "Memoirs of Myles Byrne" (1863)

J.B Gordon "History of the Rebellion in Ireland in the year 1798" (1801)

Edward Hay (Co. Wexford), "History of the Insurrection of County Wexford" (1803)

H.F.B Wheeler & A.M Broadley "The war in Wexford: an account of the rebellion in the south of Ireland in 1798, told from original documents" (1910)

Richard Musgrave "Memoirs of the different rebellions in Ireland" (1801)

Secondary References


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