This is a work in progress but abandoned at present.


Original is in the Museum of Orange Heritage, Belfast

This first-hand account of the Battle of the Boyne was written by Edward Brabazon, Fourth Earl of Meath, to Lady Stephens, wife of Sir John Stephens, on 5 July 1690. The letter provides an interesting account events surrounding the Battle of the Boyne and the taking of Drogheda by Williamite forces.  Of particular note is his description of what would later become known as the fortunate escape of William III. On the night before the Battle, William and his commanders were on the northside of the river Boyne looking at the displacement of the Jacobite forces. Spotting this important target, Jacobite gunners fired cannons from a concealed position. William was injured in the shoulder but shrugged off the attack. As Meath writes, William was philosophical about the incident: “The enemy designed to prevent his fighting next day, but certainly I’ll be tomorrow against the thickest of them.”


“A Swiss Soldier in Ireland 1689-90” Pádraig Lenihan and Geraldine Sheridan in Irish studies Review Vol. 13, No. 4, 2005

Jean Francois de Morsier wrote an account in 1714 of his years soldiering in Ireland. De Morsier was born at Perroy in the Calvinist region of Switzerland. He studied in Geneva and later Lausanne. At the age of twenty four he joined the Huguenot regiment of the Comte de la Caillemotte. Morsier served with Schomberg in 1689 but left Ireland and joined the Dutch Foot Guard.  De Morsier was a gentleman by birth and education.

“We marched forward through the country for some days until we reached a ridge, half a league from Drogueda, on the near side of the river Boenne which rises with the sea tide. King James’s army was camped on the other side and dug in on the other bank among the village cottages. We formed up in battle line for a couple of hours, exposed to the enemy Cannon shooting at us all the time. Even the King, reconnoitring the ground with his generals, ran the risk of being killed, as it had already been rumoured abroad that he had been wounded. Eventually our bad position forced us to pull back and take cover until the next morning at nine o’clock. We were just starting to eat when the “stand to” sounded, followed immediately by the “march”, forcing us (that is the two Guards battalions) to drop everything and form up in battle order. Not knowing what was happening we marched off immediately, leaving our baggage behind and tents standing; only our little band was moving out while the rest of the army watched us march past.

We came to where we had been posted the day before and went down by a sunken road to the base of the hills by the river; I asked several times what was the meaning of our manoeuvre and if we were going to attack the enemy in this state. My Lieutenant replied that he knew nothing, and others responded likewise. At length we went on and the hautboys (oboe players) were called for but could not be found anywhere, and as we continued downhill we concluded that without doubt we were going to fight; as our twisting road straightened out, we found ourselves exposed to the enemy’s view. At this we double pace and fall into a big ditch half filled with mud, and had great trouble pulling ourselves out. We had a chance to wash ourselves when we jumped into the river to cross and force the enemy on the other side; they were blazing away at us with their muskets in a terrific fire. That did not stop our progress and we fell on them with musket fire and bayonets, and drove them off, as our French battalions and others followed close behind us, and all the while the King had cannons firing on the enemy army from a battery set up earlier. We also had to deal with King James’s Lifeguards who tried to fall on us. Musket fire so completely enveloped us with smoke that the King, who was positioned on a height, having lost us from view said – according to what sier Bolens de Collombier, a Swiss halberdier, assures me he heard – “My regiment is totally defeated!” And in an instant later, when the pall of smoke cleared, he said “Thank God, I see them again.

We sustained our attack so well that with God’s help we put the enemy to flight, but las, our good general, Monsieur de Schomberg, having crossed the river a short time after us, was cut down by a few stray cavalrymen. He died gloriously, mourned by the whole army who looked on him as a general in whom they could have complete trust.

His son, who was commanding the cavalry, forded the river further down to cut of the enemies’ line of retreat, and this manoeuvre thwarted many of them in their efforts to escape. We oursued them until sundown, while our soldiers, especially the English, perpetrated atrocities against several women they came across and against the peasants in their houses and one man was sent to the scaffold as punishment for this behaviour.

The king slept in his carriage in the middle of our two battalions at the place where we spent the night.


Published 1690 – London, Printed for R. Baldwin, near the Black Bull in the Old-Baily, 1690.

Richard Baldwin published anti-Stuart, anti-French, anti-Pope and anti-Papist pamphlets from 1681 to 1698. He welcomed with enthusiasm the resolute purpose of William of Orange. Baldwin was a 2true lover” of William III, and sought to blacken the name of James II and Louis of France. Baldwin regarded himself as a true Whig.

“An exact Account of the King’s March to Ardee and of his forcing the Irish to abandon the pass of the river Boyne and of what happened in the passage, as also of the Irish Army’s retreat towards Dublin and of our army’s pursuit of them, with an address presented to the King.

When the Irish were so easily forced from so strong a pass as that betwixt the Newry and Dundalk, which might have been maintained a long time by some hundreds of resolute men against some thousands, there was but little reason to believe they would have showed much courage or resolution in keeping their post at Ardee, where they gave it out they would stay and give the King battle; the late King James being then with about twenty thousand men. But no sooner did the advanced part of our army appear, but they immediately abandoned their camp there, and fled to the other side of the River Boyne, where our army was to pass about two miles above Drohedagh. There they were very advantageously encamped and seemed resolved to do their utmost to hinder the passage of our army. King James had drawn together the body of his men, which consisted of about fifteen thousand men to guard the pass, and went from regiment to regiment to harangue them into courage to oppose us.

The river at that place is not very broad, not above pistol shot over, nor deep, being fordable in several places; and besides the enemy had planted about twelve or fourteen field pieces to hinder our passage.

On Tuesday last, being the First of July, the King advanced with a detached body of horse to view the place, and the enemy played from their side with their cannon and small shot, three or four of ours happened to be killed, and a cannon bullet of about six punds weight, happened to graze on his Majesty’s right shoulder and it was so providentially ordered, that it carried away a piece of his coat, and touched only slightly on the skin, which his Majesty was so little concerned at, that he called for another coat, and continued some time on horseback. This was in the morning and after breakfast his Majesty having been on horseback from two o’clock that morning. When his Majesty came into his tent, he was presently dressed which he bore with great courage, without any appearance of vanity or affection. The same bullet killed the Prince of D’Armestad’s horse. The next morning he was on horseback again. Count Schomberg having passed the river in another place, with a considerable detachment of horse and dragoons, forced the enemy from their retrenchment and secured passage for the rest of the army, who immediately past it over. The enemy is retired towards Dublin; and that wing of our army that first past the river, is gone in pursuit of them. “


In the morning the King rode to the encampment at Atherdee where the enemy had been, and which they had since departed.

Sunday 9. Marched at four o’clock from the vicinity of Dundalck to Atherdee. King James had marched away from here on the morning of the preceding day. Wretched people, who had almost died of hunger and misery, were still lying about. Previously, this small town appears to have been in fairly good shape but now it was devoid of people, like the rest of the country. The enemy had chased them away and had abandoned the place in a miserable condition.

Sir Henry Hobbert saved a wench when an Inniskilly man wanted to run her through with his dagger because he wanted to steal her Irish cloak.

We ate in the field, it was very chaotic (at the start for a while we didn’t have any bread.)

The enemy had fled to Drogheda; but it is uncertain whether everyone had crossed the Boine (the river near Drogheda) or if part of his army remained on our side of the river.

The road was in fairly good condition and ran past a castle that had been destroyed. These houses have mostly been built to last, in a strange Irish fashion, with very few and very narrow windows. This part of the country was not as high or mountainous as where we were before.

Most of the people firmly believed that King James would continue on the next day, and not wait for us. The weather was beautiful again and it was warm, although chilly in the morning and at night.

Monday 10. We marched from Atherdee, or Ardee, until we were a mile and a half from Drogheda, over a distance of six miles. The country between both towns is hilly, but the hills are not as high as those we encountered when we first arrived in Ireland. Everywhere we saw farms that had also been destroyed.

Around one and a half miles from Drogheda we camped in two rows on high ground, where we could see Drogheda. From afar it seemed to be surrounded by a wall.

On the other side of the Boyne river the encampment of King James’ troops was distinctly visible; but based on the size of the camp it was not possible to determine if more than 20,000 men were present.

The baggage arrived very late.

There was quite a lot of doubt, as the forces of King James were disproportionate, about a continuation the following night.

The King, as he inspected the terrain, was hit by a bullet which removed his jerkin, undershirt and shirt, slightly singing and bruising his skin, and he allowed himself to be bandaged in a ravine. At first he did not mention that he was uncomfortable, but merely said “It was very close” and then addressed those who were with him “Gentlemen, why don’t we march?”

At Court it was arranged that on the morning of the next day an attempt would be made to cross the river in front of Drogheda, and to take the retrenchment that had been raised on King James’s side along same.

Went with Mr. Hop to view the army from the elevation, and on the side our Cavalry was on guard we came across Hompes, the Graef van Steenbock etc. The enemy had a battery of four field guns, which shot constantly at the guard which had been much more exposed at first, causing Steenbock, to lose three horses among others. Towards nightfall our artillery arrived, and Goor, who was in command, positioned four guns of about 12 pounds, and shots were fired back and forth until it was dark.

La Forest, who was with the Hertogh van Wurtenberg, commander of the Danish forces, and who supervised him, said that the next day they would find out what kind of men these Danish were, as they had been depicted to the King as traitors.

Tuesday 11. Got up early in the morning, not sure what the King was planning to do. It was discussed, undecidedly, whether to cross the river that day, when a little after nine, as the King left on horseback, having first told me to seal a letter to the Queen.

I went with Rooseboom to Danckelman in his tent, who gave us water with raspberry syrup to drink.

From there the three of us went on horseback to the ruins of a small church, directly opposite quarters, with a round tree in front. The Guard Regiment and various others were standing there, waiting for low water in the Boyne. When this was the case, the aforementioned Regiment marched down from the elevation and across the aforesaid river with the water well above their knees. King James’ men had taken position in some empty houses close by, and were shooting at our troops with quite a lot of force for about a quarter of an hour; but a our side approached them, shooting forcefully, we saw that they all walked away and made for the high ground where his troops were positioned.

Following this, the enemy pressed on strongly, advancing to the river, almost as if they intended to cross, but as soon as our side volleyed once or twice, they ran very quickly uphill, although they rallied time and again, and returned, only to disperse again, whereupon the soldiers that stood close to us would cheer loudly and wave their hats.

Our troops, gradually augmented by additional regiments, advanced constantly against the Irish, who had removed the field guns from their battery at the start, and finally begun to retreat completely from the King, who commanded the troops himself, exposing himself greatly.

After the enemy had been dealt with in this way, I crossed the river with Rooseboom and some others, towards the left, where dead people and horses were scattered everywhere. All of the people were naked as their clothes had been removed, mostly by the women and riff-raff of the army, who immediately set up a market on the field to sell their spoils.

Meanwhile, the King  pursued the enemy with our troops, but could not stop them as the Irish ran so  swiftly that our cavalry was not able to overtake them.

In the evening the King sent for his barouche, and for some food, which had been left at Belly Boughill.

Wednesday 12. Early that morning we marched from the camp at Drogheda to Duleck, where the king was, and along the length of the road we found many corpses, and it was said that hidden among the corn lay more dead bodies that were not visible. The King stayed in the tent of Graef van Solms, and wore his slippers all day.

Emerged from the tent around 11 o’clock, summoning all the Guard Officers that were on hand, and he told them in a few words that he thanked them heartily for the way they had served him the day before; that he would never forget this and would repay them. Shortly afterwards he ordered that the Captains should say the same to their soldiers.

My wife wrote that Borteel had restored his woman to favour.

It was said that Runnickhuysen had died of his wounds.


An Impartial History Of The Wars In Ireland by George Warter Story (1664?-1721) is an eye witness account of the Williamite War in Ireland covering the years 1690 and 1691. Story later wrote a sequel entitled Continuation which describes the Treaty of Limerick which brought the war officially to a close.

Story was appointed Dean of Connor and Dean of Limerick in the wake of the Williamite War. He published his account of the conflict in 1693. In 1714, he preached in support of the Hanoverian succession hoping it would draw a line under the violence of the 17th century.

George Warter Story was eldest son of Thomas Story of Justice Town, near Carlisle, Cumberland. In 1688 George Story was chaplain to the Countess-dowager of Carlisle at Castle Howard. He was in London when the army for Ireland was being raised in March and April 1689, and accompanied Meinhardt Schomberg, 3rd Duke of Schomberg in August, as chaplain to Sir Thomas Gower’s regiment of foot. Gower died early in 1690, and Henry Hamilton Moore, 3rd Earl of Drogheda succeeded him in the command. the survivors of two regiments being fused into one.

Story was at the Battle of the Boyne, and served with Lord Drogheda while the war lasted. A younger brother, who was ensign in the same regiment, was killed near Birr in June 1691. After the surrender of Limerick in November 1691, Story’s regiment marched to Ulster; and when the war was over they remained in the north as part of the standing army.

In December 1694 Story was appointed Dean of Connor. Subsequently he sometimes visited Carlisle, where he had a living, his curate being a deprived Scots episcopal clergyman whom Story’s father took into his home. On 7 April 1705 Story was instituted Dean of Limerick, and moved from Connor. Story was careful of the privileges of his church, and in 1715 established his right to swear in the vicars-choral, notwithstanding the usurpation of successive bishops. In June 1716 he entertained his brother Thomas at Limerick. Story died on 19 November 1721. He had inherited Justice Town, and left it to his widow, who sold it to Thomas Story in 1723.


The King was always upon Action, he observed the Countrey as he rid along, and said it was worth Fighting for; and ordered the manner of Encamping that day himself: After that, with a small Party, his Majesty before He eat or drank rid about four Miles further towards the Enemy. As the Army was Marching through Ardee, French Souldier hap’ned to be very Sick with drinking Water, and despairing to live, pluck’d out his Beads and fell to his Prayers, which one of the Danes seeing, shot the French Man dead, and took away his Musquet, without any further Ceremony. There were none of the Irish to be seen, but a few poor starved Creatures who had scraped up some of the Husks of Oats nigh a Mill, to eat instead of better Food. It’s a wonder to see how some of those Creatures live; I my self have seen them scratching like Hens amongst the Cindars for Victuals; which put me in mind of a Story that I have read in the Annals of Ireland where it is said, that in the Year 1317, the Ulster Irish roved up and down the Kingdom in in a Body whilst the Scots Army was down towards Limerick, and those People were so Hunger- starved at last, that in Church-yards they took the Bodies out of their Graves, and in their Skulls boild the flesh and fed thereupon, and Women did Eat their own Children for Hunger, so that of ten thousand, there remained at last only three hundred: the reason of this Plague the Superstition of those Times attributed to their eating of Flesh in Lent, for which this Curse came upon them.

By this time his Majesty understood that all the Irish Army was marched over the Boyne the Night before, except slying parties, so that on Monday Morning, the last of June very early our whole Army began to move in three Lines towards the Boyn which was but eight short Miles off. The Enemy being near, our advance Guards of Horse, commanded by Sir John Lanier made their Approaches very regularly, and by that time they had got within two Miles of Drogheda, his Majesty was in the Front of them: Some of our Dragoons went into an old House, where they found about 200 Scythes stretch’d out upon Beams, which the Irish either had forgot, or had no time to carry over, they brought one of them to the King who smiled, and said it was a desperate Weapon.

A little Way further there was an Hill, to the East of the Enemies Camp, and North from the Town, upon this his Majesty went, from whence he could see the Town, and all the Enemies Camp which lay to the West of the Town, all along the River side in two Lines, here his Majesty had a great deal of discourse with the Prince, Duke Schonberg Duke of Ormond, Count Solmes, Major General Scravemore, my Lord Sidney, and other great Officers, who were all curious in making their Observations upon the Enemy. Major General Scravemore called them une petet Armee (for we could not reckon above five or six and forty Regiments that lay Encamped:) His Majesty answered, that they might have a great many Men in Town, that there was also an Hill to the South- west, beyond which they might have Men Encamped, and that possibly they did not shew all their Numbers; however He said he was resolved to see very soon what they were. Such a great Prince knowing, that to be Warm in undertaking a great Design, and cool in justifying it, when it comes to a push, is seldom attended with Success or Reputation, his Majesty therefore went boldly on, and obtain’d both.

By this time our Horse were advancing a pace, and the Enemy we could discern were all in a hurry, to gee up their Horses, which were many of them at Grass, and to set all things in order, his Majesty sent out several parties of Horse some towards the Town of Drogheda and some towards the pass at Old Bridge, and then rid softly along Westward, viewing the Enemies Camp as he passed, he made a little stop towards some old Houses, and every one commended mightily the order of our Horse marching in. Here it was that the Enemy fired their first Guns, from a Battery of six Cannons, that they had a good way below, but they did no hurt, two of our Troopers, went to the very Ford, and took away an Horse, as also a Barrel of Ale that the Irish had been taking over.

His Majesty rid on to the pass at Old Bridge and stood up on the side of the Bank within Musquet shot of the Ford, there to make his Observations on the Enemies Camp and Posture, there stood a small party of the Enemies Horse in a little Island within the River, and on the other Bank there were several Hedges, and little Irish Houses almost Close to the River, there was one House likewise of Stone, that had a Court, and some little Works about it, this the Irish had filled with Souldiers, and all the Hedges, and little Houses we saw, were lined and filled with Musqueteers, there were also several Brestworks cast up to the Right, just at the Ford. However, this was the place thro’ which his Majesty resolved to force his Way, and therefore he and his great Officers spent some time in contriving the Methods of passing, and the Places where to plant our Batteries. After some time, his Majesty rid about 200 Yards further up the River, nigh the West of all the Enemies Camp, and whilst his Army was marching in, he alighted, and sate him down upon a rising Ground, where he refreshed himself: whilst his Majesty sate there, we observed five Gentlemen of the Irish Army, ride softly along the other side, and make their Remarks upon our Men as they marched in, those I heard afterwards, were the Duke of Berwick, my Lord Tyrconel, Sarcefield, Parker and some say Lauzan. Captain Pownel of Colonel Levisons Regiment was sent with a party of Horse and Dragoons towards the Bridge of Slane, and whilst his Majesty sate on the Grass (being about an Hour) there came some of the Irish with long Guns, and shot at our Dragoons, who went down to the River to Drink, and some of ours went down to return the Favour, than a party of about forty Horse, advanced very slowly, and this small party, (as I have heard from their own Officers since); brought two Field-pieces amongst them, dropping them by an Hedge on the plowed Land, undiscovered, they did not offer to fire them, till his Majesty was mounted, and then he and the rest riding softly the same Way back, their Gunner fires a Piece, which killed us two Horses and a Man about l00 Yards above where the King was, but immediately comes a second, which had almost been a fatal one, for it Grazed upon the Bank of the River, and in the rising slanted upon the King’s right Shoulder, took out a piece of his Coat, and tore the Skin and Flesh, and afterward broke the head of a Gentleman’s Pistol.

Mr. Coningsby (now one of the Lords Justices of Ireland) seeing his Majesty struck, rid up and put his Handkerchief upon the place, his Majesty took little notice of it, but rid on for about forty Yards further, where there was an high Bank on either side, but it being open below, we returned the very same way again, the Enemies Cannon firing. upon us all the while, they did some damage amongst our Horse that were drawing up just before them, killing two of the Guards, and about nine of Col. Coys Horses with three Troopers, and also some few more out of Col Bryerley’s and other Regiments, which made the King give orders for his Horse to draw a little backwards, to have the Advantage of a rising Ground between them and the Cannon.

When the Enemy saw their great Shot disturbed us, they set up a most prodigeous Shout all over the Camp, as if our whole Army had been undone, and several Squadrons of their Horse drew down upon a plain towards the River, but in such a Place as they knew it was impossible for us to come at them, the River being very deep, and a Bank of nigh ten Yards high on our side. I have often observed the Irish very fond of Shouting and Hallowing, before an Engagement, and there is a Tradition amongst them, that whosoever does not Shout and Huzzah as the rest do in Battel, he’s suddenly caught up from the Ground into the Air, and so into certain desart Vale in the County of Kerry where he eateth Grass and lappeth Water, hath some use of Reason, but not of Speech, but shall be caught at length by Hunters and their Hounds, and so brought Home. But this Story is a little too light for so grave an Author as Cambden tho’ he only relates it as a foolish Fancy.

The King went to change his Coat, and get his Shoulder dressed, and then rid about to fee his Army come in, which were all this while Marching, and encamping in two Lines. And here I cannot but take notice of a signal Piece of Providence in the preservation of the King’s Person, for whatever ill Effects it might have had for the Future, it would have been of fatal consequence to the Army at that time, if he had fallen, since instead of our going to them, the Irish would have been ready to have come to us next Morning, and how we would have received them, there’s none can tell. I have met with several that will not believe, that the King was touched with a Cannon Bullet at all, and if so, that it was impossible it should not Kill him, but I was present when the thing happened, and therefore can affirm the Truth of it. I have feen a great many odd Accidents in Wounds with Cannon Bullets, and yet the Parties live, particularly one of my Lord Drogheda’s Men, who had all the Flesh of his right Cheek shot from the Bone without breaking his Jaw, and he’s yet alive and very well. Tho it seems at the Court of France they could not believe any such thing, when they made Bone-fires for King William’s death.

But to go on with the Story, about three Clock the first of our Field-pieces came up, and we lost no time, but took two or three of them down towards the River, and planted them on a Furry-bank over against the Pass, the first Shot (made by one Nelson) we kill’d an Officer, that lay sick in the House beyond the River, and the second or third, we dismounted one of those Field-pieces that the Irish had been so brisk withal, and then their Horse that were drawn up towards the River made what haste they could into the Camp;  we continued all that Afternoon pelting at them, and they at us, their cannon did us little more harm, but our Gunners planted several Batteries, and threw a great many small Bombs into their Camp, which obliged them to remove some of their Tent, one Bullet (as we heard afterwards) fell very nigh a Crowd of great Officers, that were at the late King’s Tent, and killed a Horseman that stood Sentinel, they then removed their Counsel to some other Place, and were not admitted to crowd there any more. A French-man of ours, that Afternoon, ran through the River before our faces to the Enemy, when they saw him coming, a great many of them came down to receive him, and crowding about him to hear News, our Cannon threw a Bullet amongst the very thickest of them, which killed several, and as ’twas said the Fellow himself, however the rest made what haste they could back again. We had some Deserters also that came from them to us, but I heard of no more that left our Army, except that one Man. There was one Deserter that gave the King an account, that the Enemy were about 25000 Men, and that they had sent away part of their heavy Baggage towards Dublin.

About 8 or 9 a Clock at Night, the King called a Council of War, wherein he declared, that he was resolved to pass the River the next Day, which Duke Schonherg at first opposed, but seeing his Majesty positive in it, he advised to send part of our Army that Night at 1 2 a Clock, to pass the River at or near Slane-bridge, some three Miles above, and so to get between the Enemy and the Pass at Duleek which was about four Miles behind them, but this Advice was not taken. One thing under consideration was, where to get Guides that were trusty and good. Whilst this matter was in question, my Lord, George Hambilton was by, who immediately brought four or five of his Inniskillening Officers that knew the Fords very well, and took upon them to guide the Army next Day; and here it was concluded how the Army should march, and who should command at the different Polls, which was ordered thus, Lieutenant General Douglas was to command the Right Wing of the Foot, and Count Schonberg the Horse, who were to march early towards the Bridge of Slane, and other Fords above, to flank the enemy, or get between them and Duleek.: my Lord Portland, and my Lord Overkirk had their Posts here as Mareschals de Camp. The Left Wing of our Horse were to pass between the Enemies Camp and Drogheda, whilst in the mean time a Body of Foot forced their way at the Pass at Old Bridg.

The Enemy held likewise a Council of War, wherein Lieutenant General Hamelton advised to send a party of Dragoons to a Ford that was below the Town of Drogheda (which we either

knew not of, or else did not regard) and all the rest (being eight Regiments) with their whole left Line towards the Bridge of Slane. King James’s Answer was, that he would send fifty Dragoons up the River, which the other seemed to be amazed at, the Place to be defended being of such Importance; however they resolved to defend the Passes, and if it were possible to retreat with their Army towards Dublin, in order to which they drew off most of their Cannon in the Night. Towards the Close of the Evening, the Cannons ceased on both sides, and Orders were given out that every Soldier should be provided with a good stock of Ammunition, and all to be ready at the break of Day, to march at a Minutes warning, with every Man a green Bough or Sprig in his Hat, to distinguish him from the Enemy (who wore pieces of Paper in their Hats). All the Baggage, with the Soldiers great Coats, were to be left behind with a small Guard in every Regiment to look after them. The Word that Night was Westminster his Majesty was not idle, but about 12 a Clock at Night, rid with Torches quite through his Army: And then,

Tuesday the first of July 1690 The Day was very clear, as if the Sun itself had a Mind to see what would happen. About six a Clock Lieutenant General Douglas marched towards the Right with the Foot, and Count Schonberg with the Horse, which the Enemy perceiving, drew out their Horse and Foot towards their Left, in order to oppose us: The Right Wing at first were ordered to pass all at Slane, but being better informed, several Regiments were commanded to pass at other Fords between our Camp and that Place. As some of our Horse marched to the River, there stood a Regiment of the Enemies Dragoons (sent thither over-Night) nigh the Bank on the other side, who fired upon us, and then thought to have retreated to their main Body, but before they could do that, they were flanked in a Lane, and about seventy of them cut off; we met with little more Opposition in passing the River, but marching forward we found the Enemy drawn up in two Lines: We had then twenty four Squadrons of Horse and Dragoons, with six battalions of Foot : those being too few, Lieutenant General Douglas sent for more Foot, and in the mean time we drew up in two Lines also, my Lord Portland advising for the more Security to mix our Horse and Foot, Squadron with Battalion (this is no new way of managing, but was first practised by Caesar the Battel of Pharsalia against Pompey, for he there quite altered the manner of embattling amongst the Romans, covering one of his Flanks with a small River, and then placing several Battalions of his best Foot amongst his Squadrons in the other, by which he soon routed Pompey’s Horse, and then falling into the Flanks and Rear of his Enemy, obtained the Victory.) However more Foot coming up, our great Officers altered the first Figure, and drew all the Horse to the Right, by which they outflanked the Enemy considerably. But as our Men were advancing, they met with a great deal of Difficulty in the Ground, for there were large Corn Fields, with great Ditches, and those very hard to be got over, (especially for the Horse, who were obliged to advance in order, when they were in the face of an Enemy) and beyond all those, there was such a Bogg, as few of our Men ever saw before, the Horse tho’ went to the right of it, but the Foot being commanded to march through, found it as great an Hardship as Fighting itself, yet when the Enemy saw our Men take the Bog, instead of charging them in it, they retreated in haste towards Duleek, which Count Schonberg seeing, fell in amongst: their Foot with his Horse, and killed a great many.

The King did not know of this Disadvantage of Ground, but computed the time when he thought our right Wing was got well over, and then he ordered his Foot to attack the Pass at Old Bridge ; during all which a great part of the Enemies Horse and Foot were still marching towards Slane, (where everyone expected the main Battel would be) and in their March, our Cannon plaid continually upon them, yet though we killed several, it did not disorder their Troops. The Blew Dutch Guards Post being to the Right, they were the first that took the River at Old Bridge. The Irish had lined the Houses, Breastworks, and Hedges beyond the River, with my Lord Tyrconnel’s Regiment of Foot-Guard and some other Companies; they had posted also seven Regiments of Foot about 150 Yards backwards, who stood drawn up behind some little Hills, to shelter them from our Cannon, which played all this while: besides these, were 2 Troops of Guards, 4 Troops of my Lord Tyrconnl’s and 4 Troops of Parker’s Regiments of Horse, posted in the same manner) (tho if they had polled the French here instead of the Irish, it would have been more to their Advantage, but the reason of this was, the Irish Guards would not lose the Post of Honour.) The Dutch beat a March till they got to the Rivers side, and then the Drums ceasing, in they went, some eight or ten abreast, being presently almost; up to the middle in the Stream (for they stopped the Current by their sudden Motion, and this made it deeper than usual) the Enemy did not fire till our Men were towards the midst of the River, and then a whole peal of Shot came from the Hedges, Breast-works, Houses, and all about, yet we could not perceive any fall except one, and another staggered ; he that was formost was a Lieutenant of Granadeers, who as he got footing on the other fide, drew up two Files of Men, then stopped and they fired over him at the next Hedge, which was not fifteen Yards from them, at which Fire those in the Hedge quitted it, which the rest seeing, all left their Posts, and were followed with a Volley of Shot from our Men that were advancing. The Irish Foot run scattering into the next Field, and before the Dutch could get well over, and draw up, they were charged very bravely by a Squadron of theIrish Horse, who came down in  full Carreer, but were quickly beaten off again. One would have thought that Men and Horses had risen out of the Earth, for now there appeared, a great many Battalions and Squadrons of the Enemy, all on a sudden, who had stood behind the little Hills. We had two French Regiments, and Colonel St. John’s who passed the River near the fame time the Dutch did, but above 100 Yards below which Lieutenant General Hambleton perceiving, (who commanded at the Pass) he advanced with a Party of Foot to the very River, and himself with some others went into it, giving Orders at the same time, for my Lord Antrim’s Regiment, and some more, to go and flank Sir John Hanmer and Count Nassaw’s Regiments, who were passing about 200 Yards further down; but neither would his Men stand by him, nor could the other be perswaded to come near Hamner : however, as Hambleton retreated, a Squadron of their Horse charged our French so bravely, that about forty of them broke quite through Monsieur La Callmoit’s Regiment, and wounded himself mortally: those must go back the same way, or else pass through the Village and so wheel to the Left, to recover their own Men they chose the latter but were so paid off by some of the Dutch and Inniskilling Foot, that not above six or eight of them got beyond the Village, most of their Horses straggling up and down the Fields.

The Dutch and the rest of our Foot advanced all this while, and then the Irish Foot quitted a second Hedge that they were persuaded to rally to: another Body of Horse came down upon the Dutch, who neglected the Hedges, and met them in the open Field, but keeping so close that it was impossible to break them, but as the Irish came on, the Dutch began to fire by Platoons, and both flanked and fronted the Horse, by which they killed a great many (though not without some loss to themselves) before this Party drew off: By this time some of the French and Inniskilliners were got into the Field, from whence the Enemy disturbed us with their Cannon the Day before; and then a fresh Squadron of Horse coming down upon the Dutch, those two Regiments stopped them, and obliged them to retreat with considerable Loss. Much about this time there was nothing to be seen but Smoak and Duft, nor anything to bs heard but one continued Fire for nigh half an Hour: And whilst this Action lasted, another Party of the Irish Horse charged Sir John Hanmer as he passed the River, (nigh a Place where the Enemy the Day before had a Battery of six Guns, but now they were gone, as was most of their Artillery) It was the Duke of Berwick Troop of Guards, and as they advanced, one that had been formerly in Sir John Hanmer’s Regiment, came out singly and called one of the Captains by his Name, who stepping towards him, the other fired both his Pistols at him, but was taken Prisoner: this Troop was beat off again with the Loss of only three of Sir John Hanmer’s Men.

All our Horse went over to the Right and Left, except one Squadron of Danes who passed the River whilst our Foot were engaged, and advancing to the Front, Hambleton sent out sixty Horse, who charged the Danes so home that they came faster back again than they went, some of them never looking behind them till they had crossed the River again. The want of Horse was so apparent at this Place, that the very Country People cried out Horse, Horse ; which Word going towards the Right, and they mistaking it for Halt, stopped the Right Wing nigh half an Hour ; which time, well spent, might have done Service. This and the Irish breaking through the French Regiment happened much about a Time, which, I am apt to believe, was the occasion of Duke Schonberg’s going over so unreasonably, for in this hurry he was killed near killed in the little Village beyond the River: the Irish Troopers as they rid by, struck at him with their Swords and some say that our own Men firing too hastily, when the Duke was before them, shot him themselves, however it was,, his mortal Wound was through his Neck, and he had one or two Cuts in the Head besides, he fell down and did not speak one Word, and Captain Foubert was shot in the Arm as he was getting him off: Doctor Walker going, as some say, to look after the Duke, was shot a little beyond the River, and stripped immediately for the Scots-Irish that followed our Camp were got through already, and took off most of the Plunder.

This Action begun at a quarter past ten, and was so hot till past eleven, that a great many old Soldiers said, they never saw brisker Work: but then the Irish retreated to a rising Ground, and there drew up again in order, both Horse and Foot, designing to charge our Party again that had passed the River. Whilst this Action at the Pass lasted, the Left Wing of our Horse (consisting of Danes and Dutch with Colonel Woolsley’s Horse and some Dragoons) passed the River at a very difficult and unusual Place: And the Danish Foot, with Colonel Cutt’s and some others, went over a little above them. My Lord Sydney and Major-General Kirk went from one Place to another, as the Posture of Affairs required their Presence. His Majesty, during those Transactions, was almost everywhere, before the Action begun. He rid between our Army and theirs with only one Dragoon, and had ordered the Left Wing of His Horse, and that with as much Difficulty as anybody, for His Horse was bogged on the other side, and He was forced to alight till a Gentleman helped him to get His Horse out. As soon as the Men were got upon the other Bank, and put in order, His Majesty drew His Sword (which yet was troublesome to Him, His Arm being stiff with the Wound He received the Day before) and marched at the Head of them towards the Enemy, who were coming on again in good order upon our Foot that had got over the Pass, and were advancing towards them, though they were double our Number, but when these two Bodies were almost within Musquet-shot of one another, the Enemy espied the Left Wing of our Horse marching towards them, at which they made a sudden Halt, faced about, and so retreated up the Hill to a little Church and a Village called Donore, about half a Mile from the Pass. Our Men marched in order after them, and at this Village the Enemy faced about and charged, our Horse were forced to give Ground, though the King was with them: His Majesty then went to the Inniskilleners and asked what they would do for Him ? and advanced before them: their Officer told his Men who it was, and what Honour was done them: At .the Head of those Men the King received the Enemies Fire, and then Wheeling to the Left, that His own Men might have liberty to advance and fire, they all wheeled after Him, and retreated above a hundred Yards. The King then went to the Left, to put Himself at the Head of some Dutch that were advancing: and the Inniskilliners being sensible of their Mistake, came up again, doing good Service. Some of Duke Schonberg French Horse were here also, who behaved themselves well, and took one or two of King James’s Standards. Another Party, commanded by Lieutenant General Ginkle, charged in a Lane to the Left, but the Irish being too many for them, they retreated which a party of Sir Albert Cunnigham’s Dragoons, commanded by his Lieutenant-Colonel, and another of Collonel Levison commanded by Captain Brewerton perceiving, the Officers ordered their Men to alight and line an Hedge as also an old Houfe that flanked the Lane from whence they poured in their Shot upon the Enemy. Lieutenant-General Ginkel staid in the Rear of his Men, (being much vex’d at their retreating) and was in some Danger by our own Dragoons, for the Enemy being close upon him, they could not well distinguish, however the Dragoons did here a piece of good Service in stopping the Enemy, (who came up very boldly) and our Horse rallying both here and to the Right, after near half an Hours Dispute the Enemy were again beat, from this Place, and a great many of them killed. Lieutenant-General Hambleton finding his Foot not to answer his Expectation, he put himself at the Head of the Horse, and when they were defeated he was here taken Prisoner, having received a Wound on the Head. When he was brought to the King, His Majesty asked him, Whether the Irish would, fight any more? Yes, (said he) an’t please Your Majesty, upon My Honour I believe they will, for they, have a good Body of Horse still. The King looked a little aside at him when he named his Honour, and repeated it once or twice, Your Honour : Intimating (as He always says a great deal in few Words) that what the other affirmed upon his Honour was not to be believed, since he had forfeited that before in his siding with my Lord Tyrconnel, and this was all the Rebuke the King gave him for his Breach of Trust. There were several other Prisoners taken here also, but not many of Note.

Now, you must know, that whilst all this happened here. Our Men on the Right were making their way as well as they could over Hedges and Bogs towards Duleek and as they advanced, the Enemy drew off, till they heard what had happened at the Pass, and then they made greater haste, yet they could not retreat so fast but several of them were killed, especially of their Foot, amongst whom a Party of our Horse fell in; but they presently scattered amongst the Corn and Hedges till they got beyond a great Ditch, where our Horse could not follow. Colonel Levison with a party of his Dragoons, got between some of the Enemies Horse and Duleek and killed several, yet if they had not minded retreating more than fighting, he might have come off a Loser. When most of them were over the Pass, they drew up and fired their great Guns upon us, and we ours upon them, though we could not easily come at them with our small Shot, (for there are several boggy Fields with Ditches at Duleek and in the midst of these a deep strait Rivulet, very soft in the bottom, and high Banks on each side, there is only one Place to get over, and there not above fix can go abreast.)

Their Confusion, however, was so great, that they left a great many Arms, and a considerable Quantity of Ammunition in that Village of Duleek, and indeed all the Country over, but our Men were so foolish as to blow up the Powder where-ever they met with it, and few or none of the Men escaped that came in their Hands, for they shot them like Hares amongst the Corn, and in the Hedges as they found them in their March.

By that time therefore a Body of our Horse was got over the Pass that was sufficient to attack the Enemy, they were gone at least a Mile before, their Horse and Artillery in the Rear, and their Foot marching in great Haste and Confusion; we went after them for at least three Miles, but did not offer to attack them anymore, because of the Ground. Then Night coming on, the King, with some of the Horse, returned to the Foot that were encamping at Duleek but the greatest part of them remained at their Arms all Night, where they left off the Pursuit.

On the Irish side were killed my Lord Dugan, my Lord Carlingford, Sir Neal O Neal, with a great many more Officers, the dead. they lost at the Pass, at Dunore, Duleek and all the Fields adjoining, between 1000 and 1500, Men one thing was observable, that most of their Horse- men that charged so desperately were drunk with Brandy, each Man that Morning having received half a Pint to his share but it seems the Foot had not so large a Proportion, or at least they did not deserve it so well.

On our side were killed nigh four hundred. The Dutch Grenaders told me, before we got to the Church at Donore that they had loft seventeen, and the rest proportionably, the French also lost several, but all this was nothing in respect of Duke Schonberg who was more considerable than all that were lost on both sides whom his very Enemies always called a Brave Man, and a Great General. I have heard several Reasons given for the Duke’s passing the River at that Junctre: but, doubtless, his chief Design was to encourage the French, whom he had always loved, and to rectify some Mistakes that he might fee at a distance: However ’twas, this I’m certain of, that we never knew the Value of him till we really lost him, which often falls out in such cases, and since it was in our Quarrel that he lost his Life, we cannot too much honour his Memory, which will make a considerable Figure in History whilst: the World lasts. He was certainly a Man of the best Education in the World, and knew Men and Things beyond most of his time, being Courteous and Civil to every Body, and yet had something always that looked so Great in him, that he commanded Respect from Men of all Qualities and Stations. Nor did we know any Fault that he had, except we might be jealous he sometimes was too obliging to the French: As to his Person, he was of a middle Stature, well proportioned, fair complexioned, a very sound hardy Man of his Age, and sate an Horse the best of any Man;  he loved constantly to be neat in his Clothes, and in his Conversation he was always pleasant: he was fourscore and two when he died, and yet when he came to be unbowelled, his Heart, Intrails and Brains, were as fresh and as sound as if he had been but twenty, so that it’s probable he might have lived several Years, if Providence had not ordered it otherways. Monsieur Callimot an honest worthy Gentleman, died soon after him of his Wounds, having followed that great Man in all his Fortunes.

Some who pretend to more Skill than possibly they are really Masters of, will needs affirm that there were two Oversights committed at this time, one in not pursuing the Enemy closer after they were once broke, which had been left hazardous, considering all things, than what followed afterwards, my Lord of Oxford and my Lord Portland were for sending three thousand Horse, with each a Musqueteer behind him, to fall upon them in the Rear as they retreated, which might have done great Matters, for the Enemy were in such a Consternation that they marched all that Night in great Fear and Confusion, expecting us at their Heels every Minute. But those that have seen the Ground at Duleek, and thereabout, will say that it’s scarce possible to make an orderly Pursuit at such a Place, for whilst an Enemy continues in a Body, there’s no going after them as if Men were a Fox-hunting, since nothing encourages, even a flying Enemy more to rally and fight again than to see a disorderly Pursuit of them: The Passes therefore were so narrow and troublesome, that before we could get over a Body of Men, sufficient to attack the Enemy, they were got a Mile or two before us, and new Difficulties between us and them: nor was the Case the same with them, for they get over anywhere as well as they could, except the Rear, who kept their Order as far as we could see them. As for his Majesty himself, he chose the Field, drew up his Army, gave his General Orders to his Officers, and the best: Orders where ever he was in Person; but the greatest Captain that ever was or will be, is not, nor can be, of himself sufficient to redress all Disorders, or lay hold on all Advantages in an Instant, when Armies are once ingaged. And further, his Majesty having committed a considerable part of his Orders to the Care of his General, the Death of him must needs be a Disadvantage to the whole Army.

Another thing they pretend to find fault with, was, in not sending ten thousand Men immediately from the Boyn towards Athlone and Limerick since we were as nigh those Places here as at Dublin; and if we had gone behind them, Limerick and Galloway would certainly have yielded, for it was at least a Fortnight before any number of their Army got thither, and then (they say) the Irish Army must either have fought again in the Field, or else submitted, since Dublin is not to be kept by those that are not Masters of the Field. But there are very good Reasons why this was not done: for his Majesty knew at this time that the French Fleet was hovering nigh the English Coast, and therefore would not divide his Army, nor draw them from the Sea  nor did his Majesty know as yet whether the Irish would not stay for him between that and Dublin and so fight again. And before he was assured of it, the News of the French Fleets Success at Sea, altered both his and the Irish Peoples measures, for this put them into Heart again, especially when it came with a Report (spread abroad, I suppose, on purpose) that King William was dead, as well as Duke Schonberg and that the Dauphin of France was landed with an Army in England. But though there was little of Truth in these Reports, yet they animated the Irish (who of all Men living are the soonest discouraged, but up again with the least Hopes) and to work they went in making Provisions to defend their Towns, especially beyond the Shannon: but this I’m afraid will be thought impertinent, at least it’s out of order and therefore to return.

King James during part of the Action at the Boyn stood at the little old Church upon the Hill called Donore, but when he saw how things were like to go, he marched off to  Duleek and from thence towards Dublin: The first News that went to that Place, was, That K. James had got the day, our General killed, and the Prince of Orange (as they called him) taken Prisoner, this was very afflicting to the poor Protestants who were shut up in prisons all over the town: but towards night they observed several officers come to town in great confusion, some wounded, and others looking very dull upon the Matter, which they thought were no Signs of Victory, and then begun to hope better things. About nine O clock King James came to Dublin, with about two hundred horse with him, all in Disorder.


June the 27th our whole Army joined at Dundalk making in all about Thirty six thousand, though the World called us at least a third part more: The Irish at our approach hither, had removed to the Boyn;

And on Sunday the 29th, our Army marched beyond Ardee which the Enemy had fortified much after the in the same manner as they had done Dundalk ; and early next morning our whole Army moved toward the Boyne, making their Approaches very finely. After some time His Majesty sent down small Parties of Horse to discover the Ways, and then rid towards the Pass at Old Bridge, having a full view of the Enemy’s Camp as he went along; His Majesty stopt some time at Old Bridge to observe the Enemy’s Posture, and then going a little further, His Majesty alighted to refresh himself, and sate nigh an hour upon the Grass ; during which time the Enemy brought down two Fieldpieces under Covert of a small Party of Horse, and planted them at the Corner of a Hedge undiscovered; and when His Majesty, the Prince, and the rest were mounted again, and riding softly the same way back, their Cannonier let His Majesty’s fly, and at the second Shot was so near the killing His Majesty that the Bullet slanted upon his Right Shoulder, took away a piece of his Coat, and struck off the Skin, which might have been a fatal Blow to his Army, and Kingdoms too , if the Great Creator of the World, who orders and governs all things, had not been at his Right Hand, where he always is, and, I hope, will be, as well for the defence of His Majesty’s Sacred Person, as the good of those he has undertaken to protect.

The Enemy then fired those two Pieces as fast as they could charge and discharge, doing some damage amongst our Horse that were drawing up before them, which made the King give Orders for his Horse to rein a little backwards, and have the advantage of a Rising Ground between them and the Cannon.

About Three a Clock in the Afternoon some of our Field-pieces came up, which were immediately planted, and then played into the Enemy’s Camp, the rest of the day was spent in our Army’s Encamping, and in firing Great Guns one upon another from several Batteries, without any extraordinary loss.

Whether His Majesty had already an Account of what had happened to the Confederate Army at Flerus I am not able to give an Account ; but it’s probable he had some intimation of it; since in a Council of War held that night, His Majesty seemed positive in passing the River next day , and therefore give Orders for his Army to be ready accordingly.

The late King had likewise another Council of War on his side the River, wherein all the French and Irish Officers agreed, (which was the only time they ever did so before or after), Not to give us Battel, but to march off in the night, and then retreat towards Athlone and Limerick filling all their Towns that were tenable, as they went, with sufficient Garisons to defend them. And their reason was this; as soon as Sir Cloudslty Shovel with his Squadron of Men of War had seen the King safe in Ireland, he was ordered to fail immediately, and join my Lord Torrington then at Sea with the English Fleet ; which the French having notice of, and that all our Transport Ships with our Provisions and other Necessaries for War, were, left at Carigfergus-Bay with little or no Convoy, and would have Orders to coast along as the Army marched, they resolved to send Ten small Frigats and Twelve Privateers into the Channel, and burn all our Ships; which if it had been done then, our Communication from England had been in a manner cut off, and our Army forced to subsist upon the Countrey, or starve; at least we had been debarred those Necessaries, without which the War could not have been carried on: This Design of the French was not unknown to the King, and therefore he was the more earnest in going forward: It was advised therefore in the Irish Camp, That feeing we had a better Army by much in the Field than theirs (and might probably beat them if they engaged), to march away, and so protect the time till they saw what became of the Design about burning our Ships, which they were confident would take effect. But the late King himself was very much bent upon fighting, alledging, That if he retreated with his Army, and left Dublin and other places to the Enemy, the Irish , who are soon disheartened, and only judge according to appearance, would all desert him by degrees; and then himself and those that stood by him, would be delivered up to the Mercy of the Enemy: So that seeing him in this humour, they were in hopes that a vigorous fit of Valour had seized him, and that he would next day play the Hero, in either Conquering Valiantly, or Dying Gloriously ; and then having ordered the disposing of their Army, they concluded to stay and watch our motion Tuesday the first of July, early in the morning, his Majesty sent Lieut. Gen. Douglas, my Lord Portland, my Lord Overkirk, and Count Schonbergh, with above Ten thousand Horse and Foot up the River, to pass towards the Bridge of Slane; which the enemy perceiving, they drew out several Bodies of Horse and Foot towards their Left, in order to oppose us: our men however, marched over without any difficulty, being only charged by Sir Neal O’Neal’s Regiment of Dragoons , who were partly broke, and himself killed. As soon as Lieutenant-General Douglas and his Party were got over, he sent an Express to his Majesty to give him an Account of it, who then ordered the Dutch Guards, two French Regiments, two Inniskilleners Regiments, Sir John Hanmers, and several others that lay most convenient for that Ground, to pass the River, and Attack the Irish on the other side, which they did with a great deal of Bravery and Resolution, first beating the Irish from their Hedges and Breast-works at Old Bridge, and then routing the Duke of Berwick’s Troop of Guards , my Lord Tyrconnel’s, and Colonel Parker’s Horse, who all behaved themselves like men of English Extraction, as indeed most of them were ; during which time his Majesty passed the River below with the Left Wing of his Horse, and charged the Enemy several times at the Head of his own Troops , nigh a little Village called Donore , where they rallied again, and gave us two or three brisk Attacks; but in less than half an hour were broke, and forced to make the best: of their way towards Duleek where there was a considerable Pass, and whither the other part of Irish Army that faced Lieutenant General Douglass, had made what haste they could, when they heard how it had gone with their Friends at Old Bridge, our Army then pressed hard upon them, but meeting with a great many difficulties in the Ground, and being obliged to pursue in Order, our Horse had only the opportunity of cutting down some of their Foot, and most of the rest got over the Pass at Duleek; then night coming on , prevented us from making so entire a Victory of it as could have been wished for.

On the Irish side were killed my Lord Dungan, my Lord Carlingford, Sir Neil O’Neil with a great number of other Officers, and about Thirteen or Fourteen hundred Soldiers; and we lost on our side nigh Four hundred; but the loss of Duke Schonberg who was killed soon after the first of our Forces passed the River, near the little Village called Old-Bridge, was much more considerable than all that fell that day on both sides; whom his very Enemies always called a Brave Man, and a Great General; whose Name will make a considerable Figure in History, whilst there are such places as Germany, Flanders, France, England, and Ireland. Monsieur Callimot, a brave and worthy Gentleman, died soon after him, of his Wounds, having followed that great man in most of his Fortunes; whose elder Brother the Marquess Ruvigny had Duke Schonberg’s Regiment of French Horse bestowed upon him by the King. For the further Particulars of this Battel, and what happened during the preceding Campaign, and also the most material Circumstances of this, I refer the Reader to the First Part of this History, already printed.

Some will pretend to say, That his Majesty was a little too soon in the passing his Foot over the River, for the Left Wing of the Irish Army seemed resolved to fight Douglass ; but when they heard how things went at Old-Bridge, they retreated immediately towards Duleek, and so marched off untouched: But there was a very good reason for what his Majesty did in this cafe, for it was about a quarter past Ten when our Foot first entered the River; and if the King had deferred it an hour longer, then the Tide, which generally comes up above Old-Bridge, would certainly have prevented our men from passing either there or below; so that the Right Wing of our Army had been exposed to the hazard of fighting all theirs, and the rest not able to come to their relief, till possibly it had been too late; and this may serve to answer whatever can be objected in that case.

The late King at the beginning of this Battel stood by an old Church near the Village called Donore ; but as soon as he saw his men give way, he made haste to Duleek , and from thence to Dublin , whither he got that Evening by Nine a Clock, and early next 1690, morning sent for the Popish Lord-Mayor, with some other Officers of the City, and gave them a charge not to burn it ; and then going towards Bray , scarce looked behind him afterwards till he got to Waterford and so on Ship-board for France leaving his poor Teagues to fight it out, or do what they pleased for him; And what was more remarkable, finding some of the Frigats at Waterford that were to go upon the Project of Burning our Ships , he told them all was lost: , and that it was past time , and so took them along with him; which prevented any further Attempts upon our Ships. Whilst his  present Majesty King William gave his Armv other kind of Proofs both of his Courage and Conduct, having a Soul far above Fear, or anything that may look mean in so Great a Prince.- Nor ever had an Army a more entire Affection for their chief Commander, than his Majesty’s for him; his Resolution being always undaunted, and their only Fear being for his Majesty’s Person. And whatever difference happens hereafter between his Majesty and his Army, can only be this, That they desire to stand between his Person and all Danger, but he always has a mind to put himself between them and it. May we long therefore have such a General in a King; and he not only Soldiers but Subjects too of all other Possessions, that honour him to that degree.

Those of our English Forces that were engaged, and had opportunity to shew themselves, gave signal demonstrations of their Courage and Bravery; the Inniskilliners and French too, both Horse and Foot, did good service; and the Dutch Guards deserve no small Honour for their Conduct that day. After the Battel, our Army lay upon their Arms, all night at Duleek, having  left our Tents all standing beyond the Boyn. And next morning his Majesty sent Brigadier La Mellionere, with One thousand Horse and Dragoons, a Party of Foot, and Eight Pieces of Cannon, to summons Drogheda, wherein the Irish had a Garisson of about 1300 men, commanded by my Lord Iveagh, who surrendered the Town, upon Condition, That his Garison should have leave to march out without their Arms, and be conducted to Athlone: Tho their Barbarity in tying the Protestants in Town back to back, and placing them where they expected our Guns to play, ought not to be forgot. This is a Town of no great strength, only a Mount whereon are planted Ten Guns on the South-side of the River, seems capable of Defence.


Continuation of what occurred in Ireland during the campaign of 1690 VI

And in fact, the king left Belfast on 22 June, we left our quarters and set up camp close to Brikelay?, where the whole army was to rendezvous. The following day, we camped in fields near Newry; that same night M. de la Melonnière crossed the mountains with the French regiments, and the cavalry set off at daybreak, marching along the bank of the river, at the foot of the mountains; and since we were marching slowly on account of the constant defiles, the heat inconvenienced us greatly. Finally we arrived in Carlingford, where we halted to let our horse feed. We found the town totally burned down and deserted, without a soul there; it was with sadness that we saw this. After our horses had fed, we marched for Dundalk where we camped. The enemy had worked there throughout the winter and set up a garrison there, but they abandoned it and did not oppose us and did not appear at all during our march until we got to the River Boyne. We did not halt near Dundalk, which pleased everyone, as we remembered the ills we suffered there the previous year. We broke camp the following day, passed through the town and camped a mile further on in a very beautiful place; we stayed there; after which, we marched without any obstacle to the Boyne in seven days.

The Vanguard had barely arrived when the king decided that he wanted to approach the river to have a closer look at the enemy camp, which was only separated from us by this river which, at high tide, is not fordable at this point. The enemy, who had a battery of several cannons, fired on the king, and one shot came so close to him that it took away part of the sleeve of his overcoat, even tore his shirt and caused him a  slight contusion. This news alarmed the whole army but induced admiration for the effects of Providence and God’s greatness as demonstrated in the care that He took to so miraculously preserve the prince, who before dawn the following day, sent M. le Comte de Schomberg to cross the river with most of the cavalry at a ford two or three miles above our camp. Lord Portland and M. d’Auverquerques (Overkirk) were his lieutenants-general, with M. d’Espinguen, colonel of the king’s Flemish dragoons as brigadier.

King James, who was with his army in person, had doubtless been informed of the approach of M. le Comte; and afraid of being cut off, he ordered his infantry to march. In the meantime, we prepared to mount our horses; I found myself with a slight problem which embarrassed me. The saddle of the horse I was to ride had been removed while valets were pitching our tents. M. de Colombiers, a lieutenant in Montargis’ company, lent me a saddle belonging to one of his cavaliers; and at six in the morning, we marched towards Drogheda, under the command of M. d’Oye, a Flemish colonel and brigadier. Our regiment were separated; I was in Belcastel’s squadron, forming its left, with Hubac on the right. A fog came down and hid the enemy camp from us, at eight, it lifted and we saw the enemy was moving off. Because of the defiles, we marched slowly and M. d’Oye changed our battle order a number of times to give time for the tide to recede, I believe. We passed close to the position of M. de Casaubon, who had been on guard with his squadron fairly close to Drogheda. We arrived at the riverbank through a defile that we could only enter one by one. As the tide was very high, we swam across; the enemy had some cavalry on a hill, which was unable to take the fire from a Danish regiment, which crossing to our right and with the water up to their armpits, nevertheless fired such a terrible salvo of shots at them that they had to flee as fast as their legs could carry them. So without obstacle apart from the depth of the river and the height of the mountain, we crossed over to the side occupied by the enemy on 1 July 1690. The fine weather and heat easily consoled us for having got so wet; but our sadness was extreme when we learned of the death of M. le Duc de Schomberg, our general and our colonel. M. de La Caillemotte, the younger brother of the Marquis de Ruvigny, commanded the detachment of three French regiments, which had been sent across to chase away the enemy, who had troops in a small hamlet. There was a hard-fought bttle in which the above M. de La Caillemotte was wounded in the thigh and many officers were killed or injured. A relative eof mine called Dubuc, the son of my aunt Du Boisle, received a musket shot to the leg. The enemy was driven out of this position and the French regiments marched on. The enemy had cavalry behind the hill to support their infantry.  As M. de Melonnière was marching towards the enemy, three squadrons dislodged the French regiments, who defeated them. The Duke, not having any cavalry, got  a lieutenant from the Danish troops, who were on guard on the riverbank, to charge. This officer, who only had forty mâitres, was not strong enough to resist this cavalry; he did his duty, engaged twice with them, had two horses killed and acted as a brave man; but it was an unequal combat and, as our general was advancing too far, Montargis wanted to force him to take up arms or withdraw, seeing the enemy charging again like devils; moreover, they were nearly drunk as every four of them had been given a pot of brandy to drink between them to give them courage. M. le Duc did not want either to take up arms or withdraw first. However he was constrained to do so by the large number falling on them. His equerry, Montargis, was marching ahead of him and called out to him to go right, but he went left; and five or six enemy cavalier, having passed through the infantry, pushed forward after him and, recognising him by his blue sash, they wounded him by means of several sabre thrusts, which did not kill him, as we understand. But, as shots were fired at these cavaliers in passing, one shot pierced the throat of the great man, and he fell dead as a result. Thus died this hero at eighty years of age.

His death, which was concealed as far as possible, saddened us greatly but did not prevent us marching against the enemy, who had cavalry to cover their infantry which was retreating. No sooner had King James heard of the passage of our army than he retreated post haste; we found ourselves in the presence of three squadrons of his guards and those of Tyrconnell. The king, who had crossed the river, came to the head of our squadron and told Belcastel to charge, and ordered a squadron of inesquilliens (Enniskilleners) should give battle first and that we should support them. The commander of this squadron did proceed with haste and M. de Belcastel made us advance, but forbade us to fire; so sword sin hand, we marched towards the enemy, who had infiltrated thirty or forty grenadiers along a ditch and who fired at us; and as the king passed between them and us, he came under fire from them wihout quickening his step; and we admired his valour. There was a ditch preventing our passage and it was impossible to get at them without breaking our line. However, M. de Belcastel made us go through wherever we could. There was a passage to our left which M. de Moliens and I entered. I was greeted by two pistol shots which did not injure me at all; some Enniskilliners came in after us and I would have pierced one of them who was near me; if he had not shouted at me that he was an Enniskilliner. I recognised him by the green he was wearing in his hat, which was our sign for rallying and recognising one another. The enemy wore white in French style. Luckily two of those Enniskilleners got me out of this tight spot, by crossing between me and the two cavaliers who fired at me. We joined battle with the enemy and broke them; but with M. de Belcastel, the commander of our squadron, severely injured and Verenques overcome and with wind and dust against us, our squadron withdrew in disorder, without being able to hold back the cavaliers who fell on top of me; I crossed back over the ditch and saw that everyone was fleeing. I found myself on my own, far in advance, near a yard where there was still a squadron of the enemy who shot several rounds at me. One pierced the side of my doublet which clipped my horse’s croup without wounding him. I rejoined the squadron that had rallied behind the regiment of Chac, the Flamand. Moliens had organised the rally, neither Belcastel nor Varenques being there any longer; he did not consider it a good idea to go back again to attack the enemy, even though Baron de Neufville and I pressed him to do so. The king came over to us and blamed us for having charged badly; and sometime afterwards M. de Gatigny, his master of hounds said to me that we had been at the enemy like devils and that even though he called on us to halt, on the King’s orders, we had pushed on. The hot-headed, intemperate nature of said M. de Belcastel was cause of our disorder; but he suffered as a result of it, since he died of his wounds. Vervillon, my comrade, was killed here; Hubac and many others were killed or wounded. God protected me and I got off lightly with just my doublet pierced in two places, one of which I described above, and another on my cuff near my right elbow from a musket shot discharged by those grenadiers who fired at us.

Casaubon’s squadron charged at a different place and ended up in disorder. M. de Casaubon was wounded in the head; d’Avène, regimental commander of the camp, was killed, Bernaste and des Loires were injured; and Monault, who desired fame was likewise killed. The squadron of La Bastide did not yield and lost on one; but, of the first two squadrons, over twenty officers were killed or wounded.

The king marched us towards Drogheda, we found a great number of dead; the enmy had retreated in a terrible rush and abandoned all their baggage which was looted. We halted for a long time; and in the evening we got orders to go to Colonel d’Onep, a Dane, to take over night duty to guard the camp. We followed the enemy until nightfall; M. le Comte attacked them and killed many; but as he was awaiting orders to charge that never came, he had passed most of their troops before he seriously attacked them; he was unaware of the death of M. his father. We attributed the lack of ardour that the king showed for following up the enemy, whose retreat although rather precipitate was well managed, to this loss. This day has become famous throughout the world, as there is no shortage of writers to provide the details of it. We recrossed the river Boyne where the infantry had passed it; we found great numbers dead and lots of debris from the enemy camp. We spent the night at the said post; in the morning, we returned to camp. I went to see M. de Belcastel and Bernast, my friend wounded in the arm by a sword. Afterwards we got orders to strike camp, which we did; we had the same spectacle as the previous day as we were coming back, as the dead had not yet been buried.

We joined the army three miles from our camp; I recognised the place where we had charged and we went to look for the body of Vervillion, which we had difficulty finding. M. de la Melonnière took Drogheda, which offered no resistance; a quantity of munitions was found there as King James had used the town as a  magazine. The army took the road to Dublin.


St. Felix, Adjutant-General to M. le Comte

Source: Appendix to Biography of Marshal Schomberg

From St. Felix, Adjutant-General to M. le Comte to the wife of Graf Meinhart von Schomberg

From the camp three miles beyond the Drogheda River in Ireland 2nd July 1690

Madame! I am profoundly conscious of the honour I have in writing to You to give you news of M. le Comte, and an action so generous on his part that occurred yesterday. God, through his All-powerfulness, has continued to preserve him without injury despite his being exposed over long periods on occasions which made me fear the worst. M. le Comte would write to you himself at length if his condition permitted him to. But You will excuse him, I am sure, when I tell You that we have lost M. le Maréchal, who was unfortunately killed in the course of this action. Madame, this is how it came to pass. Two days ago, we arrived at the Town of Drogheda, where we found the enemy encamped beyond a fairly wide river. The King, inspecting the fords with M. le Duc, suffered a back injury caused by a cannon shot but, through good fortune, the wound did not prevent him taking action two hours later. In the evening, the King held a Council of War and it was decided that it was not practicable to cross the river at the place opposite our camp, besides which the enemy posts there were extremely well-manned. For this reason, the King, ordered M. le Comte to take two Cavalry Brigades & four Regiments of Dragoons, five Battalions, and five small cannon and go upriver towards a ford, which was five English miles from our Camp, and try to cross if possible. M. le Comte set out yesterday morning after arranging the best disposition (of forces) he could. We had scarcely come in view of the ford when we discovered it was guarded by 12 hundred horses. M. le Comte then said to Lord Portland, Overkirk and Major General Lanier, who were ordered with him, that he was going to try to make the crossing and since it was absolutely necessary to make the crossing, he would do it in a way that would succeed with the help of God. First of all, he detached a hundred grenadiers on horseback to go down to the ford, with orders to force the enemy to fire. At the same time, he marched with the Regiment of the King’s Dragoons, commanded by Eppinger (currently Dragoon-guards of Holland). It was necessary to make their way down. Since they were no sooner at the ford than the enemy started to fire on them, they threw themselves into the river. M. le Comte was on the bank, telling them they must cross now. The enemy, who numbered around 12 hundred horse, charged again but M. le Comte noticed that after this salvo, the enemy began to waver and told the Dragoons that they should force a passage through, while at the same time he threw himself into the river, sword in hand, at the head of the Dragoons. He charged the enemy so well and with so much valour that he toppled them over one on top of the other, and they were pushed back 2 miles towards the enemy in Battle order. Our Infantry had remained behind and crossed the river as best it could. As soon as we had put the enemy to flight and formed 7 or 8 Squadrons, M. le Comte ordered me to go to the King and report to him on the unexpected good fortune of our crossing. I believe that there are few people who have been so well received by the King, as I then was. He asked me if the situation was alright, I told him I had left M. leComte marching calmly towards the enemy, while awaiting his Infantry which had not yet been able to cross. The King forthwith ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas to march in support of M. le Comte with ten Battalions, and Lord Oxford with Major-General … with a Brigade of Cavalry. And the King told me to return as fast as I could and that he depending entirely on M. le Comte in this affair. All this time, I was extremely anxious, fearing that the whole army would fall on him, and that he would be completely defeated. But his fine bearing surprised the enemy, which was all in Battle order. I joined M. le Comte at this time and told him that the King was sending him ten Battalions and a Brigade of Cavalry, which would join him soon; I had met Lord Sidney en route, who had been given these orders and he had assured me that he would not lose a moment. I had forgotten, Madame, to tell You that the King had ordered me to say to M. le Comte that in the meantime the enemy should be attacked from the front at the place where all our army was camped. Monseigneur le Duc de Schomberg was very pleased and told me to tell him to watch himself, not to expose himself so often, since the whole affair depended absolutely on him and that he was going with the King to order the start of the charge. Which he did. But the Regiment of Dutch Guards and the three Regiments of French refugees, who crossed the river with water up to their waists, were wavering somewhat, not being supported by any Cavalry, because they had not been able to cross at the ford which had been shown to them. M. le Duc crossed the river in order to support them by his presence. But a Squadron of King James’s Guards surrounded M. Le Maréchal Duc, who received a musket shot to the neck and two or three sabre thrusts to the face. There were only a few officers of his Regiment with him, who had crossed the river and gave a very good account of themselves. The Cornet of the Bodyguard was killed by one of them, and the Standard taken. This is a death that affected the whole army. The soldiers wept for him as if for a father, with true feeling. The gratitude of the English cannot be admired enough. Every one of them feels he has suffered a loss with the death of M. le Duc, saying that he was the Father of the Nation. They were always very fond of M. le Comte and it seems since the death of M. le Duc, the army is showing him the same fondness that it had for his father. We pursued the enemy all night but this morning M. le Comte, on his return, went to report to the King, who stood apart with him for a moment afterwards and told him that he greatly regretted the loss of the M. le Maréchal, as he was truly fond of him. But he would never forget his services and at the same time he said to M. le Comte that it was to him he owed the day and would remember it all his life; that he had suffered a great loss through the death of his Father, but that he would act as a father to him, and to his children. M. le Comte was so touched by these words that he did not reply at all, and the King left him, starting to feel moved himself. This is a death which affects everyone but, Madame, it should be a consolation to You that he died a hero, fighting for our Religion and in as just a war as there ever has been. I join my prayers with Yours that God will preserve your dear Husband to you. I shall never abandon him, I assure You. May God answer the prayers that I offer for Your whole family. Nothing that I can say to You will ever, I assure You, be adequate to express my true feelings. Please, Madame, be convinced of this as I remain, with all respect, etc. St. Felix.


J. Hop Extraordinaris Envoyé

On the morning of 30th June or 8th July at the break of dawn, the King marched from the Encampment of Ardee to Drogeda, where he found the army of King James camped alongside the Beone River, above the town; and as the Infantry and the artillery arrived late, his Majesty could not accomplish anything that day, apart from an inspection of the situation of the Enemy Army and the shallows, or fords, through which he could reach same; something which he found to be very difficult and almost impossible; he ordered his Army to camp within reach of its Cannon, which would give us the most deadly impact in all the world, equally His Majesty was hit  by a mbullet on his back, which made his right shoulder swell and cause a wide injury, albeit no deeper than the Skin that was removed, which did not stop the King, after he had his wound dressed, from sitting on his horse for 4 hours at a stretch.

That same evening, His Majesty, ordered Grave van Schomberg with the right wing of Cavalry, two Regiments of Dragoons of the left wing, Trelauny’s Infantry Brigade, and five small Field guns to march on the morning of the next day 11th July (New Calendar), to two or three fords, as much as three miles upstream from our Encampment, in order to see whether he could cross them, so that he could attack the enemy on the flank or force them to make a movement. When they arrived there, they found 8 enemy Squadrons readied for the defence, but within a  brief time span, and without encountering any great resistance, they routed them, crossed the ford, pushed on very forcefully, and on the other side drew up in Battle array, in order to be able, on the first order of the King, to march towards the Enemy, who had given notice of this as the enemy also (sent) a large number of troops from their Encampment, who positioned in Battle array opposite our side. When the King learnt that the right wing had passed through the shallows, and had taken up position opposite the enemy, he ordered a simultaneous attack from three sectors in front of his Encampment. The first of these was a passable ford in front of a small Village, occupied by the enemy. At the second sector, the water came up to the Arms (of the soldiers), and at the third the Cavalry swum across the river. The Dutch Guard Infantry crossed the river at the first spot with water up to their waists, under fire from the enemy without shooting back, until they were on firm Ground, and immediately those who were in the retrenchment and in the Village took to their heels. But before the third Battalion of the Regiment in question had crossed, five enemy came within pike’s length in order to push back our side, but because of frequent firing they were forced to withdraw, having lost many troops, and one of their Standards; whereupon our troops advanced and left the Village, and were twice fiercely; but vainly, attacked by the Enemy Cavalry. Meanwhile , the Danes passed on the left, and the Brigades of Hanmore and la Meloniere on the right-hand side, but they were not attacked, except the first by Dragoons, and the other by the Cavalry, but these achieved nothing, as they did not have pikes.

Meanwhile, 30 Officers and Guardes du Corps passed through to our side together, where all of them together were killed bar five, who in order to save themselves pushed through the Village, , where unfortunately they met the Hartog (Duke) van Schomberg, whom they shot in the face with a pistol. Of the above-mentioned Guardes, who incurred the most heavy casualties, only one Captain, was killed, while four other Officers have been wounded.

As the Kind did not encounter any more resistance at this place, he marched with the Cavalry that was with him, supported by 17 Battalions of Infantry, in order to assist the troops who were doing Battle against the Enemy; which had, during the fight, not advanced much beyond the Right Wing. His Majesty reinforced this with 12 Infantry Battalions and nine Cavalry Squadrons, and thus they marched towards them, but they did not await the approach. From the start, they retreated badly enough and in a confused manner, but our side pushed on in order to meet them, even leaving the Infantry behind them, with five small Field pieces in front of them, which were used to fire upon them a little, and in addition the Dragoons, supported by the Cavalry, attacked her rearguard, and that same moment they saw the King and his Troops appear on the Hills, which led them to flee at once.

In the meantime, as the country is criss-crossed with narrow roads and swamps, and as the Irish are able to march well on foot, they found the retreat quite light-going; Our Infantry followed them to Duleek, four miles from where we had pushed them, where the King halted them, while he continued with the Cavalry in order to push on for another four miles, when night put a stop to the pursuit.

The King made his Cavalry return to the spot where he had ordered his Infantry to stay, and sent to the Encampment of Drogheda for the Tents and the Baggage, in order to camp there, and to allow his Troops, who were tired, and in some cases wet, to rest for a day, and then to continue his March and pursue his Enemies.

At that time it was not yet known in detail what the Enemy losses were but the victors had many prisoners whose names were not yet known, one of them is Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton, and he says that Mylord Carlingfort and Kolonel Parker are dead. Many Baggage Wagons, Tents, a lot of ammunition, cannon, and Weapons were captured, but have not yet been thoroughly apprised of the exact number or quantity. His Majesty had also ordered an assault on the Town of Drogeda, where 3,000 Men were garrisoned.


Gédéon Bonnivert’s Journey

Gédéon Bonnivert was the son of Paschall and Judith Bonnivert of Sedan, in Champagne. He was probably a Huguenot, and on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 he succeeded in coming to England. Some of his papers, in prose and verse, are preserved in the British Museum. It is evident that he was an enthusiastic scientist. Bonnivert was an eager botanist, as well as a lover of nature. As a soldier he marched from place to place; and in the course of his walks about Dorchester he found rare plants. Here he suffered from gout, ‘and the last blood that was taken away from me had no serum at all, and was in a manner burnt to ashes.’ Many of his letters are written to the famous Hans Sloane, and there is one letter, dated October 15th, 1696, from the latter to Bonnivert. Gideon Bonnivert wrote a series of letters to Sir Hans Sloane and these were preserved in the Sloane Manuscripts in the British Museum. It was discovered by Mr. Pinketon  who passed it on to G.S. who published it in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology in 1856.

SOURCE: G.S. ‘Two unpublished Diaries connected with the Battle of the Boyne’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1856, First Series. Vol.4 (1856) pp 77-95. British Library, Sloane MS 1033. First edited, without annotations and in in original spelling, in “The Ancestor”, No. 7 (October 1903) p 26–32. by Mrs Oswald Barron, but not mentioned by Murray. The edition used in the digital edition:Robert H. Murray, The Diary of Bonnivert, 1690 in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Ed. [Royal Irish Academy]. , Dublin , Royal Irish Academy (January 1913) volume 30 section C no 13 page 331–34. Bonnivert’s Journal (1033, Sloane MSS., Brit. Mus.) occupies only twelve written leaves, besides one leaf of drawings and two of medical receipts. It has no title. This diary was obviously kept in the pockets of its owner Bonnivert’s 5 7/8 x 3 1/2 inches.

Saturday, the 28th, we were taken fifteen men out of each squadron to go with a detachment of 1,200 to Ardagh, (Ardee) where we heard the late King’s army was; the rest of our army stayed behind till the Sunday following. Just as we came within sight of the town, we saw the dust rise like a cloud upon the highway beyond it. It was the enemy’s arrière garde scouring away with all speed. Some dragoons were detached to follow them, who brought back two or three prisoners and many heads of cattle. We encamped this side of the town the Saturday, and the Sunday after our army coming to us we marched on the other side of the river, where we encamped by a corn-field by a small ruined village. The town of Ardagh is seated in a very pleasant soil, and has been a fine and strong borough, as one may see by the great towers still extant. King James made there very strong works, as if he would have made it a place to withstand our army; and indeed it is a strong-seated town, being in a plain having a river of one side, and boggy of the other. Monday, the last of June, we marched towards Drogheda, where the enemy were, and we came within sight of the town at nine in the morning. There we drew up our horse in three lines, and came in order of battle upon the brow of a long hill. There we saw the enemy, and were so near them we could hear one another speak, there being nothing but the river between us. As we were drawn up we had order to dismount, and every man stand by his horse’s head. We had not been there long; but some of the King’s Regiment of Dragoons were detached, and sent to line the river side. So they began to shoot at the enemy, and those of King James’s army at ’em. They had not been long at that sport when the king, passing by the first troop of Guards, the enemy fired two small guns at him. One of the bullets greased the king’s coat; (The first shot struck one of the holsters of Prince George of Hesse, while the second tore William’s coat and grazed his shoulder.) then they played on till three of the clock upon us, and shot often men and horses. One Mr. William, of the Third Troop of Guard, had his arm shot. Some of the Dutch troop were killed and wounded. Indeed ’twas a madness to expose so many good men to the slaughter without need, for we had no artillery yet come to answer theirs, ours not commencing till three in the afternoon. We did retire confusedly behind the hill at the sight of the enemy, when it might have been better managed. King James made that day a review of his army. We had a great mind to force a passage through the river to go to them, but we left it till next morning. At three in the afternoon our artillery came up, an begun to play upon theirs stoutly. Then the enemy showed they had many other batteries besides the first. They played upon one another till night; then we retired about a mile sideways.

Next morning we were up at two of the clock, and we marched to gain a passage two miles of about five in the morning. The passage was a very steep hill, and a shallow river at the bottom that leaded into a very fine plain. (This was probably Rosnaree Ford.) As we came there we found a party of the enemy with four or five pieces of artillery ready to receive us; but that did not daunt our men; they went down briskly, notwithstanding their continual fire upon us. The Grenadiers and Dragoons were first of the other side, and we soon followed them; but the enemy made haste away with their cannon. We drew up in battle as we came in the plain, and marched directly towards the place appointed for the battle. (Bonnivert belonged to the British right wing detached.) After some hours we saw the enemy coming down a turning between two hills, which we knew by the rising of the dust; and by and by they shew themselves in their best colours, for they drew up upon a line only, and our army was upon three. We looked upon one another who should come first; but at last, we seeing that their foot and baggage was running away, and that the king had engaged their right way, we marched towards them over ditches and trenches. They presently retired upon a mountain behind a little town called Duleek, where they fired three or four pieces at us. We killed abundance of their men, and pursued the rest till nine of the clock, that we overtaking them, and having too hotly pursued them, were almost upon them, when they facing about made as if they had been willing to receive us; but we having left our foot and cannon behind, and considering how late it was, made halt. They fired for an hour and half small shot very thick upon us, for they had hid partly in bushes. At last our cannon came and played smartly upon them, till the night coming they retired, and so did we, we laying in the plow’d lands, and had no tents. That day we lost Duke Schomberg and Dr. Walker, Governor of Londonderry. They were killed in forcing the passage. The king himself passed that way. Next day we stayed encamped in that place, and there was a popish gentleman’s house plundered by us.

Thursday being the 3rd of July, we came near a fine house belonging to a papist where we encamped, and where I fell sick of a violent fever and an extreme fit of the gout in the same time. I was sent to Dublin, where I stayed till Saturday, the 12th, that I went in the company of the adjutant-general of the Danish forces to rejoin our army.


Rev. Rowland Davis was a commissioned captain in the army of King William. He travelled to Belfast and marched with William south to the Boyne. Davis crossed the fords at Rosnaree. In 1709 he was promoted to Dean of Cork.

SOURCE: G.S. ‘Two unpublished Diaries connected with the Battle of the Boyne’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1856, First Series. Vol.4 (1856) pp 77-95.

29 June – At 2 in the morning we decamped and marched to Ardee. By the way 2 men were
hanged, one for deserting, the other for betraying some of our men to the enemy. In the
afternoon I read prayers, and preached in the field on Psalm 118, 15. In the evening I received a message from H. Cross that he was seized and committed at the standard for suspicion of being a spy and inclined to desert us; whereupon I went to ye place and found him pininioned there under a guard of 3 persons, who would not permit me to speak to him, where upon I returned pensive, but unable to do him service.

30 June – At 2 in the morning we decamped again, and marched toward Drogheda, where we found K. J. encamped on the other side of the Boyne. We drew up all our horse, in a line opposite him, within a cannon shot; and as his Majesty passed our line they fired 6 shot at him,
one whereof fell and struck off the top of the Duke Wertemberg’s pistol and the wiskers of
his horse, and another tore the King’s coat on his shoulder. We stood open during at least
20 shots, until a man and 2 horses being killed among the Dutch guards, we all retired into
a trench behind us, where we lay safe, while much mischief was done to other regiments, and
in the evening drew off and encamped behind the hill.

July 1.- About 6 in the morning the Earl of Portland marched up the river almost to the bridge of
Slane with the right wing, consisting of 24 squadrons of horse and dragoons, and 6 regiments of
foot; and at 2 fords we passed the river, where there were 6 squadrons of the enemy to guard
the pass, but the first firing of our dragoons and 3 pieces of cannon yt marched with us, they
all ran away, killing nothing but one of our dragoon horses. As soon as we passed the river
we saw the enemy marching towards us, and that they drew up on the side of a hill in 2
lines, the river on their right, and all their horse on the left wing; their foot appeared very
numerous, but in horse we far exceeded. Whereupon the Earl of Portland drew us up also in
2 lines, intermixing the horse and foot by squadron and battalion, and sent away for more foot
to enforce us. And thus the armys stood a considerable time, an unpassable bog being be –
tween them. At length 6 regiments of foot more joyned, and we altered our line of battle,
drawing all our horse into the right wing, and so outflanking the enemy, we marched round
the bog and engaged them, rather pursuing than fighting them as far as Duleek. In the interim Count Solmes with the foot forced the pas under our camp, and marched over the river with the blue Dutch regt of guards. No sooner were they up the hill, but the enemy’s horse fell
on them, ours, with the King, being about half a mile lower, passing at another ford. At the
first push the first rank only fired, and then fell on their faces, loading their muskets again as
they lay on the ground. At the next charge they fired a volley of 3 ranks, then at the next
the first rank got up and fired again, which being received by a choice squadron of the
enemy, consisting most of officers, they immediately fell in upon the Dutch, as having spent
all their front fire, but the 2 rear ranks drew up in 2 platoons, and flanked the enemy across;
and the rest screwing their swords to the muskets, received the charge with all imaginable
bravery, and in a minute dismounted them all. The Derry regmt also sustained them bravely,
and as they drew off maintained the same ground with groans and laughter. His Majesty
then came up and charged at the head of the Iniskilling horse, who deserted him at the
first charge, and carried with them a Dutch regiment that sustained them, but the King’s
blue troop of guards soon supplied their place, and with them he charged in person, and
routed the enemy, and coming over the hill near Duleek appeared on our flank, and being not
known at first made all our forces halt and draw up again in order, which gave the enemy
time to rally also, and draw up on the side of the hill, a bog and river being between us, and
then they fired 2 pieces of cannon on us, but did no mischief; but, as soon as our foot and
cannon came up, they marched on and we after them; but our foot being unable to march as
they did, we could not come up to fight again, but the night coming on we were forced to let
them go; but had we engaged half an hour sooner, or the day held an hour longer, we had
certainly destroyed that army. However, we killed the Lord Dungane, Lord Carlingford,
Sir Neal Oneal, and about 3,000 others; and lost Duke Schomberg, Dr. Walker, Colonel
Callimot, and about 300 more; we took Lieut. General Hamilton, and several officers and
soldiers prisoners, and it being very dark were forced to be in the field all night with our
horses in our hands.

July 2.-In the morning, as soon as it was light, we returned to Duleek, where our foot was, and sent a detachment to bring up our baggage from the last camp. In the afternoon, 3 troops of
horse and 3 regiments of foot that came from Munster to join K. J., appeared on the flank,
and alarmed us, and sending two spies to discover who we were, we took and hanged them,
the rest marching back without any engagement. I rode out this afternoon to see the country,
and got some corn for my horse, but all other things were taken before, out of Sir Garet
Aylmor and the Lady Babe’s [Balfe?] houses. In the evening William Sanders came to us from
Dublin, and gave an acct that K. J. with all his army were gone forward toward Munster,
having released all his prisoners.


From Diary of Thomas Bellingham – An officer under William III.  Published 1908.

In 1659 Henry Bellingham held lands near Kilsara, Co. Louth, consisting of 619 acres in Gemonstown, 183 acres in Milestown, 80 acres in Williamstcnvn, 108 acres in Lynne, and 86 acres in Adamstown ; amounting to 1,077 acres of Plantation measure. 1,744 acres of English measure. Thomas Bellingham was bom about 1646, and in 1671 married Abigail, daughter of William Handcock, of Twyford, in Co. Westmeath. Thomas Bellingham was connected with the forces of William III. He was quartered with his regiment for some time in Lancashire — chiefly at Preston. In August, 1689, he left Preston with his regiment, and, joining the forces named, at Hoylake, sailed with them to Ireland. In November, 1689, he returned to Preston, and remained there till May, 1690, when he again left — embarking with soldiers, &c., at Hoylake — for Ireland. He acted as a guide or A.D.C. when William’s army marched from Dundalk to the Boyne, was consulted by both William and the Duke of Schomberg before the battle of the Boyne took place, was at that battle, ranked as Colonel then or shortly afterwards, and went with the King to Duleek. Later he withdrew from military life. On the 15th of September, 1721, he died, at the age of 75, and his remains were interred under the Protestant Episcopal Church at the village of Castlebellingham, in a vault which it is said he had ” caused to be made for himself and his parents.”

The period covered by the diary is a little over two years, namely, from August 1st, 1688, to September 12th, 1690. Whilst with his regiment, at Preston, Colonel Bellingham brought his wife and family to that town, in which he had some cousins of the Bellingham stock. He appears to have had a very lively, sociable time in Preston and neighbourhood, adhering closely to the modes and habits of life which were then fashionable. He moved amongst the higher and more influential sections of the community, including members of county families. The diary is, in size, something like an old-fashioned, stiff-backed, clasp pocket-book : it is about 65in. deep, 4^in. broad, and three-quarters of an inch thick (outside measurement). Bound richly and strongly, it is kept in a satchel of ruby velvet, gold embroidered, and, considering its age, it is in really excellent condition. AH the entries are in the Colonel’s own handwriting, very small and neat ; the phraseology is concise and direct ; and the spelling, though not infrequently of the phonetic order, is far less pronounced or defective in this respect than that met with in many contemporary manuscripts, &c.

30 June 1690  – the 30th [June] very hott. I called at Mr. Townley’s in our march towards Boyne. I was some time with ye King on ye hill of Tullaghescar, from where he viewed Drogheda, and then went towards Old Bridge. On ye S. side of Boyne lay ye enemy’s camp; which ye King going to view he was hit by cannon shot on ye shoulder, which put us into the greatest consternation imaginable, but blessed be God it proved but a slight hurt. He went round his own camp, and was received with ye greatest joy and acclamations imaginable, ye cannon fired at each [other] all ye afternoon. We drew a great body of our horse up ye hills in sight of ye enemy. We fired several bombs, some of which did execution, and our cannon dismounted 2 of ye enemy’s batteryes.

July 1st, 1690.-A joyful day, excessive hott: about 6 this morning the King got on horseback and gave ye necessary orders. Kirke ordered me to bring him some accounts from ye enemy. I brought him a youth, one Fyans, who came that morning from Drogheda. I carryed him to ye King who was then standing at the battery seeing his cannon play at ye house of Old Bridge. He had sent early a strong detachment of about 15,000 men with Douglass towards Slane, who
passed ye river without any opposition, and putt ye enemy to route who were on that wing. He sent another detachment of horse to ye left to go over at ye mill ford, but ye tide coming in, and ye ford bad, ye passage was very difficult, most of them being forced to swim, insomuch
yt they could not come up time enough to assist our foot, who went over ford at Old Bridge
about 11 of ye clock. Ye enemy had layed an ambush behind ye ditches and houses on ye other
side of ye water, who fir’d incessantly at our men as they were passing river, who, as soon as
arriv’d on land, immediately putt those musqueteirs to ye route, and advanc’d farther into ye field
in Battalia. Here ye brave old Duke Schomberg was killed, and Coll. Callemott mortally wounded. Ye enemy advanced towards us, and made a brisk effort upon us, but we soon repelld them with considerable loss in theyr side. They made two more attempts upon us, but were still bravely beaten back: and when our horse on ye left came up ye enemy quite quitted that field, having left several dead bodys behind them. ‘Twas there we took Lieut. Colonel Hamilton. The enemye’s horse of Tyrconnell’s regiment behav’d themselves well, but our Dutch like Angells. The K. chargd in person at ye head of ye Enniskilleners and expos’d himself wth undaunted bravery – he pursu’d almost as far as ye Naule and left them not till near 10 o’clock at night – I was his guide back to Duleeke – we killed about 2000 of theyr men besides Ld Carlingford, Dungan and several other officers of noate kill’d and taken prisoners. We lost not above 200 in ye whole action, many of which ere kill’d by our own men through mistake. I return’d to ye camp at Old Bridge, having left ye King in his couch at Duleek where he stayed that night. I was almost faint for want of drink and meat.

July 2nd – Very hot. Ye King sent Coll La Mellioniere to summons Drogheda with a strong body of men and a train of great gunns. Severall prisoners are brought in here. By one come from Dublin this morning we hear ye enemy have quitted Dublin, and left only some few of ye militia. We stayd all this day at Duleeke, where I saw Mr. French and conferr’d with him about correspondence and intelligence. I wrote to England.


Danish – Andreas Claudianus

Andreas Claudianus, The Irish Mars or A history of the war in Ireland for two years, from notes recorded by a fellow soldier. Edited and translated by Kjeld Hlad Galster and Rasmus Wichmann (Ontario, 2016)

Andreas Claudianus served  as an infantryman with the Danish Prince Frederick’s regiment during the war in Ireland, 1689-91. Claudianus was born in Trondhjem, Norway in 1672. He joined up aged 17 in 1689. After he returned to Denmark in 1696 he matriculated as a student of divinity, a study he never finished. Claudianus worked as a teacher in a primary school in the village of Stenstrup on the island of Funen. He finished his work in 17171, only three years before his death. The original document was published in Copenhagen in 1718. His work is  based on his own observations and information volunteered by his fellow soldiers and others.

“On 30 June we continued our march for 50 furlongs all the way to Drogheda, where King James had taken up a position on the River Boyne near the foot of the steep hill on the far side of the river, which king had crossed with a great number of horse and foot. However, with the hours of darkness approaching King William could not take the risk of giving battle that day. The enemy’s positions were close to the city and partially placed at the top of the mound (Donore Hill?). Thus, the King ordered the camp pitched in a straight line opposite the enemy.

While in the evening a reconnaissance party including the royals moved as far as the river bank to get an impression of the lie of the land, the enemy fired their cannon from two field fortifications thrown up near the river. The King suffered a superficial scratch, but the English did not return the fire. After sunset, when no more could be done, King William ordered that the soldiers stand to for battle and be on guard with intense caution, horses bridled and horsemen girded.

Thus, although the enemy had fired throughout the night at dawn the outcome of the battle was still to be awaited.

The river Boyne takes its name from the very rapidity of its current, for “boyne” is the Irish word for “swift”. From its spring it cuts through the landscape separating the central eastern part of the country from Ulster. It runs through various cities, leading water through the countryside and through many bends and turns and with much din many thousand paces to the city of Drogheda, whence it flows into the Irish sea.

On 1 July during sunrise the King decided that his army should cross the river, which flowed across the front line separating the two parties, and attack the Irish troops. Befor emoving closer, in order to solicit God’s help in the upcoming battle, religious services were held throughout the army.

While the infantry was organised in two wings, the cavalry protected each of the flanks. /When realising this, the enemy arrayed the bulk of his troops in a long row. Then, by a sign and to the sound of trumpets and flutes, the King moved his combat units to try a crossing of the river, though with a small reserve left behind for protection of the camp. Soon, the spectacle of the whole battle scene could be seen from various vantage points. The minds of the British and their allies were bewildered with anxiety as they fixed their eyes on the river, whose characteristics had so far been unknown to them. However, trusting in God, the commanding officers, contemptuous of the present danger and the number of enemies, drove the soldiers on. 

Moreover, once immersed in the river and in the heat of battle they steadied themselves, faced the danger and fought courageously and honourably. Given appropriate encouragement, everyone discarded their fears, and with the confidence that emenates from being part of a large, monolithic body, they rushed into the river, weapons raised above their heads. The commanders and the skirmishers up front, the infantry proceeded without hesitation imbued with zeal and eagerness.

From the enemy positions on the overhanging, opposite bank, the allied soldiers were pelted with musket balls. However rough, they reached the river bed and ploughed in.  While the depth where the left wing units went in was considerable and the water reached the neck of the foot soldiers, on the right it merely came up to the highest part of the knee. The crossing was risky business to many, and especially to those who slipped and fell. Many soldiers were in a deplorable condition, but some of those more modestly build were lucky to find help with their taller fellow soldiers, who supported them on their way to the far bank.

Those who did not succeed in crossing found their final resting place beneath the waves. Others’ though, who could move only slowly found support in the weight of their equipment, which prevented them from being carried off by the rapid whirls. No one retraced his steps. Since it is an ancient military virtue, rooted in the soldier’s mentality, to stand and fight rather than flee fearfully, they all either followed their comrades to the end or died in harness. Moreover the timid are not given a chance to retire, since the throng of fighting men precludes any leaving of the battle array.

The Jacobites, having witnessed the display of virtue by those crossing and the steadiness of the Danes and British, reckoned they were done for. Their spirit started wavering as they cried out to God Almighty to save them from falling into the hands of the gruesome Danes.

As we have seen, the mere notion of the Danes imbued the Jacobite soldiers on the river bank with profound terror.

So far the Danes had done without too much effort, but soon the sounds of the trumpets and drums the soldiers were instructed to fight without mercy, and with their fervour boosted by the shouting of generals as well as soldiers, they assaulted the enemy’s finest troops. The effects were like those of a tornado, which tears down withered trees hanging from the sides of a mountain, uproots them by repeated shaking, and hurls them into the void of the valley. Likewise the reverberations of this clash sounded like trunks and branches crashing to the ground, when the mountain is eventually stripped of its last tree.

Thus, the battle took place under horrifying noise as man encountered man, weapon rang against weapon, and courage faced courage. No wound and no killing stopped the soldiers, none but those who are adorned by the honour of a heroic death.

Little by little the fight developed into close combat, linking the fighters so narrowly that their swords became of limited use. Thus, thrusting in lieu of slashing and seeking revenge for their comrades, they killed each other one by one. As everyone was in a frenzy burning with wrath, the fighting went on until the earth was covered with dead bodies. The Danish commander, the Duke of Württemberg, while fighting courageously in the first line, proving both muscle and audacity, was captured by an Irish soldier, who very pleased with himself, believing he had caught the King, decided to bring him with him alive. The Duke however, who was accustomed to scorn all kinds of danger , not only by his fighting morale, but also by his fitness and weapons proficiency, defended himself energetically, until an officer commanding a company of the Queen’s regiment, Lützow, engaged the enemy ( Claudianus must have been mistaken as there was no such named officer in the Danish contingent. He may have meant Coronet Lüttich in the Danish 1st Cavalry Regiment. ) Surprisingly, this officer dashed towards the Irishman from behind and ran his sword through him right up to the hilt. In such a way even the most devloted soldier often misses an obvious opportunity along with losing his life. Thus thanks to Lützow and by divine support the Duke  escaped a very accomplished enemy and an incredible evil.

When the carnage was about to be over , few more Jacobite soldiers wished to die, and the majority chose to abscond. Therefore, taking no unnecessary risks, the Jacobite horse retired at the gallop, going wherever they could. They were scattered and none of then dared to look back at the enemy in oursuit; for they had been struck with such great fear that they forgot about fighting in closed formations, stirrup by stirrup.

The enemy foot made a similar hasty retreat, and since pikes, swords and muskets were now more of an encumbrance than a shield, they discarded all these impliments on their way. Enemy weaponry along with knapsacks, cadavers, wounded and dying covered the roads just as the trees’ leaves do in winter.

At the beginning of the battle, the enemy horse fought bravely and efficiently, but as soon as they were deserted by the foot, they, too, abandoned the battlefield. As soon as the opportunity of retreat arose, everyone dashed for the cities. It looked as when crops in the fields are being swept by the wind. Then it gives an impression of a wave-like movement until such point when the stalks are weakened and eventually broken, hanging towards the ground.

However, the Jacobite survivors raised their heads again. The Irish had been defeated in one battle, but they remained resolute in their determination. Among the alst to abandon the field was a coronet from the Irish horse, dignified by blood, valiant in combat, and more keen on glory than capable of victory. If I had known his name, I would have paid tribute to it. In his left hand he was holding his standard, I the right his sword. Not only was he undaunted, but alone and with a determined expression he attacked the close ranks of cavalrymen forming the English front. Whether he did so to prove his valour or simply to do what had to be done, he did it by recklessness rather than an assurance of the outcome. By the sound of a trumpet the others, who had already commenced their retreat, gave a sign to call him back. Nevertheless, unmindful of himself and his troop, preferring the glamour of a more distinguished name to the safety of flight, he fought until death. Desperately he sought victory, refusing to abort what he had begun. Thus exposed, he examined his body and standard, and took out some bullets from his breastplate while avoiding others by his manoeuvres. Cantering and jumping his exquisite steed, and by superb agility, crossing mounds and hedgerows, which reached above not only the heads of the foot soldiers but also horsemen, he occasionally rested, wearied from the exertion. But since the opposition was overwhelming, he sustained many wounds, of which the fatal one was to his heart. This appeased his sould’s desire and brought him peace. His head dropped, and with his spirit gone his dead body fell off his horse.

King William’s victory was in no way an assured matter. The enemy might just as well have destroyed the King’s army during its river crossing if he had either kept on going or kept back; but the inadequate intelligence, caused by divine intervention, turned the Jacobite army into a shipwreck on the shores of the dry land, and it was swept away from the bank by King William’s troops.

In this battle about six thousand Irishmen were killed and even fewer were captured. On the part of the King only few were missing, but among them was Marschal Frederick, Duke of Schomberg, a brave prince, adviser and close associate of the King and other English leaders and universally beloved by the soldiers.

It was incredible that the enemy was so easily checked then and there, and it is noteworthy that only through an extravaganza of the utmost audacity did King William succeed in crossing the river Boyne without a bridge.

Though among military men in battle compassion is not  what should be foremost on the mind, the King’s determination was now turned to consideration; for he believed the proper way to conquer was persuading the enemy by clemency into allegiance, rather than by coercion by military means. Trusting the leniency and mildness no less than the strength was worthy of heavenly reward, the King ordered his men, who were keen on routing their enemies, to abstain from killing. He therefore beat the retreat in order to call back those who roamed ubiquitously in the hope of pillaging slain soldiers. Re-establishing order after a successful battle, a considerable consignment of gold and silver were found, and the King arranged for the bodies of the fallen to be buried.”


Source: “Roger Morrice, Sir Henry Hobart, and a new eyewitness account of the Battle of the Boyne” by Jason McElligott in the Irish Sword (2004) pp 31-43

Roger Morrice’s Entering Book of the events between 1677 and 1691 pp housed in Dr. William’s Library, London.

Roger Morrice (1628-1702) was a puritan minister turned political journalist and agent for senior Whig politicians. He was well connected and well informed. Sir Henry Hobart wrote  a letter on 3 July 1690 concerning the Battle of the Boyne. It is unclear as to who the letter is addressed to. Hobart was present at the Boyne as an equerry to King William.

“Here followeth an account written by (Sir Henry Hobart) an eye and ear witness of the fight between King William and King James about the river Boyne, not far from Ardee in Ireland upon Monday and Tuesday, the last June and 1st July.

I hope I shall have time enough to give you a full account of what has past here within these two days. Sunday his Majesty and the Army marched to Ardee which the Enemy had pillaged and abandoned; there his Majesty received intelligence that King James and his army were certainly encamped on the other side of the Boyne near Drakeda. On Monday we marched betimes, the King being on horse-back by two in the morning and by 8 the King with the Vanguard could from the Hills easily discover all King James’s Camp, which as we could judge by the proportion of the Camp consisted of about 25,000 men, towards noon we came just over against them, and so near that we talked with some of the enemy, and some of our dragoons and theirs began to shoot at one another, but they were too strongly posted for us to go over to them, and I think they had no mind to come to us. I think I may take notice to you, that being upon a white horse, and staying a little still to eat a piece of bread, and drink , I had two field pieces fired at me, one of the bullets fell near me, these were the first shot, and the King was pleased laughing to tell me I now was cannon-fire. About one the king dined upon the side of the hill, where coming from dinner we could easily observe the enemy planting two or three great funs, and pressed him to shelter himself, his great courage would not give him leave to go a jot faster. I had scarce spoke when not from 250 yards distance they fired upon us and one of the bullets grazed upon the King’s shoulder, tore his coat and shirt, and made his skin black. How does God take a particular care to preserve him for the good of mankind and the support of our religion, never was there so miraculous and escape and never was there such consternation as amongst us. I was just by him and I saw the hurt. He only stopped a little and never changed countenance, or mended pace. We with a hankerchief covered his wound, and with much a do  stopped him in a narrow lane and had it dressed, the cannon firing furiously upon us all the while. The Prince of Hermanstade had his horse killed at the same time and my cousin Latten, the skirt of his waistcoat torn. Soon the King was on horseback again, and saw his army encamp, then our artillery coming up we soon dismounted one of their guns, and did them a great deal of mischief, especially with our bombs, which I could see fall in their camp and scatter their tents, men and horses, there was little skirmishing but no considerable action more that night.

On Tuesday morning betimes we could see the enemies tents down and their army marching to the right. Our right wing of horse was gone five miles to the right to get over a ford, our great guns playing all the while upon their march. We could see bullet some times clear whole ranks and now I having no command, was at every place and saw the whole fight and were I capable could give as good an account as any one. About 12 his Majesty commanded Duke Schomberg with two battalions of his Dutch foot guards to wade across over at a ford, there was a village, just on the other side of the Boyne,below the hill and the enemy had lined all the hedges, and filled the houses with foot and dragoons and yet ours marched over with unspeakable resolution for all their continual fireing, and some drove off the enemy out of the village, and then charged a battalion of Kiung James’s guards which they routed. But then a squadron of the enemies horse and we having no horse to shelter our foot, they gave way a little on one side, and then Duke Schomberg fell. I came over back to desire they would send some horse to sustain our foot and I met his Majesty and the Volunteers, and his guards which went over, some swimming, and at the same time all our left wing of horse got over and most of our foot. A squadron of the enemy endeavouring to break into an English battalion of foot they gave them such a salute that scarce ten of them remained on horseback. Even as our horse came over their foot gave back, and soon after broke and fled, and had not the horse sheltered them, and the enemies favoured their flight we had killed almost every man. We pursued them to the top of the hill where there was a small village; their dragoons made a vigerous stand, when the Danish Horse charging in on one side and the Innneskillen Horse on the other, they fell foul by mistake on each other. It was then the King escaped narrowly, for he charged at the head of the Inniskillen men, who finding such warm resistence from the enemy and friends, they gave back, and to speak plain English fled. It was then two or three squadron of the enemy charged upon our left wing, and were bravely received and our men rallying behind the foot, the enmy was wholly defeated. Lieutenant General Hamilton taken, and as we think Tirconnell killed, the enemy made no more reistence only retiring. Then came Count Maynard with the right wing of Horse , who had met with their left wing upon their retreat, and killed a great many, the number not certain. We pursued them till dark night. There is ten pieces of cannon taken, a great deal of rich baggage, led horse (pack horses needing to be led), above 4000, several wagons of powder and ammunition, few prisoner for our soldiers gave no quarter. I had the good fortune to take one Doddington, a Major of Horse, and he is now my prisoner but much wounded, few of our officers are killed and not above 200 soldiers, a great many wounded. It is just said now the Duke of Berwick is killed. I scarce see what I write having not slept these 48 hours nor ate but a crust of bread, but thank God am well else, and came off unhurt. I had a pass of a pike or a halberd in the village but it did not pierce my buss coat and my horse fell on me but only a little hurt my ribs. The King is very well and shows as much mercy and moderation as he did courage. July 3, 1690.”


Anon – A Full and True ACCOUNT Of all the Proceedings in IRELAND…

A Full and True ACCOUNT Of all the Proceedings in IRELAND, Since His Majesties first Embarking for that Kingdom, to His present March to Besiege Limerick. Being a particular Relation of all the Sieges, Battles, Skirmishes, and Towns Surrender’d; likewise the Number of Men Killed and Wounded on both sides; and also King James’s last Speech to the Lord Mayor of Dublin when he departed thence.

July 17. 1690.

Licensed according to Order.

LONDON, Printed for H. Jones, near Charing Cross.

On Saturday the 21st. We heard the Irish Army retreated, and the English were come towards Droghedah; we knew King James’s design was to avoid a Battel as much as he could, and to have walked the English Army along the Boine River, and so cross the Country to Limrick; but this day we were told from the Camp, That the Enemy seem’d to press towards Dublin, and King James was resolved to defend it, and that therefore they thought he could not be able to keep off a Battle above Ten days.

On Sunday the Irish came on this side the Boine; and King James, as it should seem, distrusting the issue, Sir Pat. Trant, First Commissioner of the Revenue, and another Gentleman, were ordered to go from hence on Monday Morning to Waterford to prepare Ships.

On Monday the last of June, The English Army having had very little Rest or Victuals, drew to the Boine; Lieutenant General Dowglas’s Horse were ordered to post themselves at a Ford near Droghedah, upon a rising Ground, over against a Bat∣tery of the Irish of 6 Guns, guarded by a Party of their Horse. Here the English stood the shot of the Enemy, every Man on foot by his Horse several Hours, while there passed 200 Shot, the King in the mean time having rid between them and the Ford, where he received his Hurt on his Shoulder by a Canon Shot, which disabled him the next day from holding his Sword. At last, when the King had said, Now I see my Men will stand, some Guns were sent to them, upon the first Discharge of which among the Irish Horse, they retarded from their Battery, and stood farther off. The next day General Dowglas was sent with 12000 Foot 5000 Horse to a Ford further up the River by Slane, where had been a Battery of the Irish, but that they were drawn off, and only 800 Dragoons guarded the Ford. The English were to go down a steep Hill to the Ford, and uneven way, yet the Irish Dragoons once fired and retreated to the Body of their Army, which lay towards Duleek; mean time the King, with the rest of the English Army came to the Ford where Dowglas was posted the day before, near Droghedah (which at this time had a Garison of 800 Irish.) Duke Schomberg headed the Dutch Foot Guards, and the Eniskillen Horse, the KING said, should be his Guards that day. Some of the Irish Horse oppos’d the Dutch Foot, who sought up to the middle in Water, and were almost born down, before some Horse (which they long called for) could come up to their relief: In passing this Ford Mr. Walker of Derry was killed. Being past this Ford, they may still a vigorous Opposition; and here Duke Schomberg advancing too far among the thickest of the Enemy was killed, and now lies in St. Patrick’s Church, in order to be carried to Westminster. The King with the Horse (himself engaging in the thickest) met the like Opposition. The Danish Horse once gave way, but the King went himself, and brought them up again. Of the Irish, King James’s Horse and Foot Guards principally maintained the Opposition, and suffer’d much; King James himself not engaging, but standing on a rising Ground. At last Dowglas received Orders to engage them at a place where he could come in only with his Horse, which alone put the whole Irish Army to flight, so that before the King’s Line could get up to ’em, they had little to do but pursue.

At 10 at Night K. James came to Dublin with about 200 Horse all in Disorder, an Hour or two after the whole Body of the Irish came in in very good Order.

At 5 this Morning, being Wednesday the 2d. of July, King James having sent for the Irish Lord Mayor, and some Principal persons to the Castle; told them, That he found all things against him; that in England he had an Army which would have Fought, but they proved false and deserted him; that here he had an Army which was Loyal enough, but would not stand by him: He was now necessitated to provide for his safety, and that they should make the best terms for themselves that they could. He told his menial Servants, that he should have now no further occasion to keep such a Court as he had done, and that therefore they were at liberty to dispose of themselves, and so with 2 or 3 in Company, he went to Bray, and along to the Sea to Waterford; having appointed his Carriages to meet him another way. We hear he did not sleep till he got on Ship board; and having been once driven in again, is since clear gone off.


Edward Jones was a publisher of pamphlets and also the London Gazette. He died 16 February 1706 aged 53.

A RELATION OF THE VICTORY Obtained by the KING in IRELAND, At the Passage of the BOYNE, On the First Day of this Instant July, 1690. AND OF THE Surrender of Drogheda.

Published by Authority.

HIS Majesty encamped on the 30th past in sight of the Enemy, the River Boyne being between Us and them; their Army was about 26000 strong, and very advantageously posted. They had raised a Battery on the side of the River, to hinder us from observing the Ford; and here it was that the King received a slight hurt by a Cannon Shot, notwithstanding which, His Majesty continued on Horseback the rest of the day, and visited the Places where he thought his Presence necessary. He gave Orders for the bringing several Pieces of Cannon to oppose those of the Enemy, and at the same time the Duke of Schomberg ordered 600 Foot of the French Regiment commanded by Monsieur de la Galimote, to support the Cannon, and to post themselves near the River, in order to employ the Enemy, who had possessed themselves of Village on the other side, to defend the Ford that was over against it.

The next day (the first of July) the King commanded the Count de Schomberg to march with all the Horse and Dragoons of the first and second Line of the right Wing, and the Brigade of Trelawney, and to pass the River about four miles from the Camp, in order to take the Enemy in slank, while the rest of our Army passed it nearer to Drogheda over against their Camp: Which the Enemy perceiving, they marched part of their Army to oppose the Count de Schomberg, (who had already broke some of their Squadrons of Horse and Dragoons that advanced to hinder his passing the River) and drew them up in Battalia, about a mile and an half from the place where he had palled the River. The King being informed of what had passed on that side, sent Lieutenant-General Douglas with two Brigades of Foot to reinforce the Count de Schomberg, who thereupon changed his Order of Battel, making a Wing of Horse on his right, and another on his left, and placing the Foot in the middle. In this Posture he marched towards the Enemy, whom he found drawn up in Battalia, and charging the Enemy, after some small resistance, put them into disorder, and followed them, sighting as far as the Village called Duleek. The Earl of Portland, and Monsieur Overkirke, had part in this Action as Mareschals de Camp.

In the mean time, the King caused the rest of the Foot of the first-line, consisting of the Brigades of la Meloniere, which was on the Right, of Hanmer and the Danes, to march. The three Battalions of the Dutch Guards were at the Head of them, and passed the Ford on the Right over against the Village aforementioned, from whence they beat the Enemy that were posted there. The Battalion of la Meloniere followed them on the Left, and these Four Battalions being the first that passed the River, suffered pretty much; of the latter there were Five Officers Killed, and Eight Wounded, and about Sixty Soldiers Killed and Wounded. Monsieur Calimote followed the Dutch Guards with his Detachement of Six hundred Men, whereof mention was made before, and after them the Regiment of Cambon; And here it was that Collonel Calimote received a Shot, of which he is since dead, and several of his Officers were killed upon the place. The Brigade of Hanmer passed next at another Ford, the Count de Nassow being at the Head of them as Major-General; and the Danes passed on their Left, Commanded by the Prince of Wirtemberg. After these, passed the Horse of the Left Wing; But in the mean time, some of the Enemies Squadrons Advanced and Attackt our Foot; and a Squadron of the Enemies Guard du Corps pierced with great Vigour as far as a little Village, where we lost our great General, who advanced thither to observe the Enemies Mo∣tion. Those that were about his Grace had before done all they could to perswade him to retire from thence, but they could not prevail with him; he was Killed with a Carbine Shot, and three Cuts over the Head, and one on his Face: By this time the King had passed the River, and at the Head of the Horse Charged the Enemy, who after some Resistance retired fighting, Commanded by Lieutenant General De la Hoquelle, and Lieutenant General Hamilton, the late King James and Monsieur de Lausun being with the Body that made Head against the Count de Schomberg. The Enemy retreated from Defilé to Defilé, our Horse pursuing them as far as Duleek, where the King, with the Forces he had with him, joyn’d those of the Count de Schomberg.

The Enemy retired about three Miles farther, and there posted themselves in a very advantagious place; and the King followed them with his Horse and Dragoons, and Orders were given to Attack them there; but it being very late, and the Fight having lasted from 10 in the Morning till Nine at Night, His Majesty did not think fit to engage the Troops any farther, but ordered the Horse and Dragoons to remain in Arms all Night; he returned to Duleek, where the Foot Encamp’d. But in the Night the Enemy retired in great confusion. We took their Baggage and Eight Pieces of Cannon, and many of their Soldiers are since come in, and we hear their Troops are quite broken.

On the Second of July, The King sent Monsieur de la Meloniere with a Detachement of 3 or 4000 Foot and 1000 Horse, and Eight Pieces of Cannon, and two Mortars, to Attack Drogheda. Being arrived there, he Summoned the Garison, and let them know, That if they forced him to fire a Cannon, he would not give them any Quarter. This so frightned the Governour, that after having kept the Trumpeter some time, he returned Monsieur De la Meloni•re this Answer, That he would Surrender the place upon an Honourable Capitulation, viz. To march out with Arms and Baggage, Colours flying, &c. but that otherwise he would Defend the place to the last Extremity. Monsieur De la Meloniere sent him word, That his Orders were only to suffer them to march away without Arms, and that he must quickly resolve whether he would accept of this Offer. In the mean time Monsieur De la Meloniere had caused two Batteries to be raised, which would be ready the next Morning by break of Day. But the Officers of the Garison, after having consulted together, resolved to yield, and the Capitulation being Signed, they delivered up a Gate, and marched out about an Hour after between 13 and 1400 Men, and were conducted to Athlone, the Officers being permitted to wear their Swords. After which, Monsieur De la Meloniere gave Protections to a great many Papists, who expected to have been Plundered, and marched to joyn the Army near Dublin.

Printed by Edward Jones in the Savoy, 1690.



From the Royal Camp before Greenock, Nine Miles from Dublin, July the 4th. 1690.

Dear Cousin,

I Desire all my Friends to join with me, in returning Thanks to God, for his Preservation of me in the greatest Danger. I thank God, I am come off without a Wound, only a little Bruise, which will be well immediately. Droghedah is surrendred upon Conditions of marching out without Baggage, only to have Life. King James is run away; Dublin is in our hands; We pursued them eight miles, they making a very handsom Retreat, till night kept us from killing them, and gave them leave to retreat. Next day we rested: To day we marched to Greenock, where came to us Hundreds from Dublin, addressing the King, telling him the Irish came by Sixes and Sevens to Dub∣lin; some without Hats, Boots Clocks, Horses, Legs, and Arms: It was a sore Conflict, and our Men spared none they could kill; the Artillery playing hard upon them. Upon which, the Irish leaving Dublin, the Protestants seized the Castle for us; which, in comparison, a Mouse might have done, God having so possessed them with fear, that the late King James and all fled by Five next morning. Having run from the place, we pursued them all night, which was Twelve Miles from Dublin. We have now Six of King James’s Trumpeters come in: He is quite run away, and designs for France: He told them, He was unfortunate; desires them to make the best Conditions they can for themselves, &c.

I am just going for Dublin, and the Army will march after. A Body of our Men marched for Munster. I question not being in France by the latter-end of Au∣gust. Our Men are fine Fellows now they are blood∣ed, and will out do Alexander’s Men: I never saw Men more boldly come on; and stand more stoutly to it than they did: They came on like Lions, and stood like Rocks. The French were very brisk at first.

We lost D. Schombergh, and some few Under-Officers, and about Fifty Men: We killed 2500 Men, and took 200 Prisoners, among whom was Lieutenant-General Hamilton, Lord Carlingford; Lord Dungan, dead; Lord Slaney, dead; Tyrconnel lost his Arm; with several other Officers mortally wounded, and lying in the Field, whose Names we cannot yet know.

I hope within this fortnight to send You and Cousin Norris good Encouragement. Munster will, I hope, not much trouble us; however we must see it.

Yours, T. P.

LONDON: Printed for W. Jones 1690.


Anonymous but possibly Nicholas Plunket of Dunsoghly, Dublin.

From J.G. Gilbert (ed.) A Jacobite Narrative of the War in Ireland 1688-1691 (Dublin 1892)

One copy originally in the hands of the Earl of Fingall and the other in the hands of Thomas Carte, biographer of the Duke of Ormonde. Its possible author was Nicholas Plunket of Dunsoghly, Co. Dublin (1629-1718).

King James “repassed the Boyne with his army, on Sunday, the twenty-ninth of June, the foot through Drogheda, and the horse though the ford of that river at Ouldbridge, before which ford he encamped that night, with his left towards the bridge of Slane, and his right to Rathmullin, where the king’s pavilion was; in which camp he remained all the next day, and till Tuesday morning, the first of July. In the interim, the prince of Orange marched close after the king from Newry, and came to Dundalk on the twenty-seventh of June. On the twenty-ninth he marched a little beyond Ardee and there encamped that night. On the 1st of June, a Monday morning, he arrived on the other bank of the Boyne, opposite to the king’s army, and there fixed his camp. That same day, in the afternoon, the prince of Orange, being accompanied by the prince of Denmark and other great officers, went to view the king’s camp from the contrary side to Ouldbridge. One of the royal cannoneers, perceiving a troop of horse to observe the Irish camp, fired that way a small piece, the ball of which slanted upon the right shoulder of the prince of Orange, and took away a piece of his coat, and struck off the skin. This was a thunderbolt to the saints of the rebellion, and it was like to put an end to their holy war.

Here we will consider thus: either the king resolved at his encampment on the banks of the river Boyne to fight the prince of Orange, in order to keep him beyond the river, the Old Rubicon of the Pale, and the frontier of the corn county, or he resolved not. If he resolved not, why did he not decamp on Monday morning, before the prince of Orange appeared on the other side of the river or on Monday night, because it is not safe to rise in the face of a more potent enemy? If the king resolved to stand his ground, why did he not use the common rules of art military for the strengthening of an inferior army against a superior? By which means the inferior doth often gain the point, as we see in the experience of wars. There was at that time but a few narrow passes to be fortified on the Boyne, which might have been done in the space of three hours by three hundred pioneers.

But you will say- if the king’s army had lain entrenched, the prince of Orange would have decamped, and marched up the river to Navan or higher and there have trajected. We answer first: the king might take the same course on his side and be there sooner, as having the more expeditious army, and might have entrenched there in a like manner. We answer, secondly, that the king by these obstructions given to the enemy’s passage could have called to his succor fifteen thousand resolute men of the Catholick militia and volunteers out of the adjacent counties of Meath, Dublin and Kildare, some armed with swords, some with half pikes, some with fire-arms, and some with scythes, which with skilful management would likely turn the balance to the king’s side, considering how propense the people wear at that time to fight against a most odious enemy, who came to devour their all. But unfortunately none of these courses was taken, which makes me fear that someone or more of the king’s counsellors were underhand intent upon the destruction of the nation. Otherwise, how is it possible that such gross errors would be committed in the government of the army, and in using right ways and means against the attempts of the enemy? The king tis true resolved in the evening, on Monday, to decamp that night, but unhappily, again, that resolution was not executed till Tuesday morning, the first of July, about eight of the clock, at which time the army was commanded to march upwards by the river, giving their right flank to the enemy, in order, ‘twas believed, to go to Dublin, to get a better opportunity of defence or of giving battle. Before the army began to move, you must know that two regiments of foot, the earl of Antrim’s and the earl of Clanrickarde’s, left at the ford of Ouldbridge, within some gardens of the poor inhabitants, without intrenchment or cannon, to stop the enemy a while from coming over, till the infantry got clear of the river. At the same time, Sir Neil Oneil, from the left, was placed with his regiment of dragoons at the ford of Rosnaree, a little beneath the bridge of Slane (the bridge being broken before), to guard that pass. This being so, the army began its march. The prince of Orange, seeing them in their motion of going off, ordered his army (and not before) to pass the river in two places, principally at the ford of Ouldbridge and at the ford of Rosnaree. He sent lieutenant-general Douglass, the earl of Portland, monsieur Overkirk, and count Schomberg, the marshal’s son, with above ten thousand horse and foot, to pass at Rossnaree, on his right. He sent a greater force under marshal Schomberg, the general to tranverse the ford at Oldbridge, he himself following with the rest. The king, observing the prince to attempt a trajection, commanded his army to halt and face to the enemy, which they did, and prepared themselves to fight upon the passage of the river. But alas! They were deceived in their expectation, for there was no battle, because they were not brought to combat. There was only a skirmish in passing the waters between a party of theirs and the whole army of Orange. And because this party did not keep all the hostile troops beyond the flood, the king’s host must march away, and leave the pass to the foe. If there was a settled resolution to fight, why was not the army led down in two wings to the river, with their field pieces, as they saw the enemy’s forces divided, and there to stand it out for two or three hours? The hostile cannon could not much annoy the Irish, as being mounted upon an over-looking ground, while the Irish artillery might play without obstruction in the faces and flanks of the enemies, as they were descending to the river and crossing it. I am confident by the knowledge I have of loyal troops, and of their eagerness for fighting that day, if they had been managed as aforesaid, the prince of Orange would not have persisted in traversing the water at such disadvantage, as violent as he was for approaching to Dublin. Marshal Schomberg better understood the point, when he made difficulty at that juncture to attempt the trajection, as he saw the Irish draw up for combat. But he was overruled by the temerariousness of Orange, which, notwithstanding did succeed through the non-resistance of the loyal host, which was occasioned by the ill conduct of their generals, as you shall observe. The two great wings of the prince of Orange’s army being come to the river, action was discovered to begin at four in the afternoon both at the ford of Rosnaree and at the ford of Ouldbridge. Whereupon it was ordered that five regiments of Irish foot should be in haste sent to reinforce the two above-mentioned regiments at Ouldbridge.

At this time the lord Dungan was commanded down from the right with his regiment of dragoons, to give check unto some advanced troops of the enemies that were ready to gain the bank at the upper end of the ford at Ouldbridge, in despite of the fire that was made on them, at something too great a distance, by the Irish foot, which were posted near said ford. The lord Dungan having repulsed those troops to the other side of the river, marched back to his station. But in his retreat upon a high ground, he was unfortunately slain by a cannon ball. At the same juncture sir Neil Oneil, on the left, with his dragoons, did wonders at Rossnaree, in stopping the above said ten thousand men near half-an-hour. But there was no care taken to sustain him, and so he was forced to retreat to his line. In this while, the king’s army was only spectator of this fierce conflict between a few regiments of their own and the whole hostile camp, which was an unequal match. Whence we may judge that it is easy for a host to gain victory where little or no opposition is given, and that a hundred thousand men signify nothing in the field, if they are not brought to combat. Immediately after Dungan’s dragoons retired, marshal Schomberg brought down to the ford at Ouldbridge the gross of his cavalry, with orders to push on and suffer no check. At this the seven regiments aforesaid of Irish foot, observing they would soon be overpowered, they cried to their own for horse to sustain them. In the meanwhile they made a smart fire at the enemies, and laid them in heaps, as they were entering the waters. But their crying for horse was in vain; for they received but one troop, which was as good as nothing. At this time the king remarking from his station, which was at the church of Dunore, that the enemy was gaining the passes both on the right and left, sent orders to his army to retreat, leaving the conduct to the duke of Tyrconnell, and the he himself took off to Dublin, being guarded by some troops of colonel Sarsfield’s horse, and by some troops of colonel Maxwell’s dragoons. As the king departed the army began their retreat towards the burg of Duleek. The left wing, with the centre, went off first, which left wing was posted over the ford at Rossnaree, the pass being first forced. The French brigade if foot marched in the rear of the centre, bringing along with them their cannon, by the help of which they covered the infantry, while the horse on the said left gave their assistance. The seven regiment sof Irish foot, which guarded the great ford at Ouldbridge, not being supported by horse, were also forced to retreat, but were in danger to be intercepted by such of the enemy as had traversed first the river before they joined the main army, which the duke of Tyrconnell, from the right, perceiving, flew with his regiment of horse to their rescue, as did the duke of Berwick with the two troops of guards, as did colonel Parker with his regiment of horse, and colonel Sutherland with his. It was Tyrconnell’s fortune to charge first the blue regiment of foot-guards to the prince of Orange, and he pierced through. He presently after engaged the Enniskillen horse, bold troopers. At the same time, the two troops of guards and the other  two regiments of Irish horse, signalized themselves, and were bravely opposed by their enemies. This gave opportunity to the king’s infantry to get off in safety. ‘Twas during these encounters that one master Bryen O’Tool, of the guards, discovering his former acquaintance, marshal Schomberg, near the village of Ouldbridge, resolved to sacrifice his life to the making him away, upon which he, with a few guards, and a few of Tyrconnell’s horse made up to him, and O’Tool with his pistol shot the marshal dead. But, soon after, fighting like a lion, he was slain.

By the time Schomberg was killed, the prince of Orange traversed the river with the rest of his army; who near the village of Dunore had some small engagement; for the Irish horse, especially the right wing, fought, retreating all along, in covering the main body, till they came to Duleek, two miles from the Boyne, where being pressed by the oursuit of the enemy, the Irish army halted, and face about with preparation for bloody combat is set upon. But the prince of Orange, observing the king’s army to make good such a countenance, thought it more prudent to halt and suffer them to march away. The heat of this action lasted not above an hour, where you see it was but a skirmish between ine regiments without cannon or entrenchement, and an army of thirty-six thousand choice men, for defending and gaining a few passes upon a shallow river; and after the passes gained, there happened a running fight between a few regiments of horse with the help of a brigade of foot, and all the said army of thirty six-thousand men, for two miles, which shows the retreat was admirable, considering the superiority of the enemy and the openness of the ground. The loss on either side was not considerable as to the numbers of men, though the king, by that little contention, lost the province of Leinster and part of Munster being open countries. There were slain of the loyalists about five hundred men, amongst whom the earl of Carlingford, a volunteer by whose death his honour and estate descended to his brother, count Taaffe, who was then in the emperor’s service; the lord (Walter) Dungan, as above said, the only son and child then living to William (Dungan), earl of Limerick, upon which account he was much regretted; colonel James Dempsey, major Frank Meara, captain Richard Plunkett. Sir Neil Oneil, a brave gentleman, was mortally wounded, of which he died eight days after, in the city of Waterford. Major Thomas Arthur of Hacketstown, was likewise wounded, and died in a few days. Several other officers were killed, amongst whom were some English gentlemen, Catholicks and Protestants, that had come out of England to serve his majesty in the Irish wars. Of these, coronet Kirk and captain Chaplain, Protestants, were killed, and captain James Gibbons, a Protestant, was made prisoner. Lieutenant-general (Richard) Hamilton was also made prisoner, and sent to the Tower of London. Of the enemies that were slain, as above said, marshal de Schomberg, a most expert general, as the marshals of France usually are, which was a sensible loss to his own side. This great commander having been dismissed by the most Christian king, because he would not conform to the Catholick religion, he came to Holland, where he engaged in the prince of Orange’s service, as that prince was preparing to invade England. His body was brought from the Boyne to Dublin, and interred in the cathedral church of that city.  Colonel de la Caillemotte, brother to the marquis of Ruvigny, alias earl of Galway, was mortally wounded and died a few days after. The minister doctor Walker, who had been one of the governors of Londonderry against the beleaguer of the Irish, as above mentioned, was here also slain, with some other officers and about a thousand private men. The tents and baggage of the Irish for the most part were taken. The army of Orang lay that night upon their arms at Duleek, having left their tents standing beyond the Boyne. The Irish army receiving orders from the duke of Tyrconnell to march unto the city of Limerick, in the province of Munster, they crossed the river Liffey that night at Leixlip, and at Chapelizod. The next day they marched forwards to Rathcool, to the Naas, to Castledermot, through Carlow, and through Kilkenny, till they arrived at said Limerick, in the march of fifteen days. There followed them a great number of gentlemen, who had no military employments, and of the clergy, of farmers and tradesmen, as also of ladies, and inferior women with their children, they having an aversion to stay at home under the arbitrary comportment of an heretical or infidel army. The enemy afterwards plundered their houses, took away what cattle they left behind, and seized on their estates and farms. The enemy also committed (‘tis a certain truth) some murders in the county of Westmeath and in the King’s county. The king arrived that evening of the skirmish at his castle in Dublin, where he passed the night, with a heavy heart, in consideration of his misfortune, which, I suppose, he reputed to be in the loss of the city of Dublin and province of Leinster, rather than any loss his army sustained. For this loss was nothing, as you have seen, and no fault could be attributed to the army, because the army was not tried, and such of it as were did marvels. In consequence, we are bound to believe that the rest would do as well if they were brought to the test, which they did actually show in their retreat, where their pursuers were ten thousand superior, yet could nto hurt them, though the ground was open. Hence we may probably infer that the king’s army would have obtained the victory if it had been brought to combat at the Boyne, considering the advantage they had by that river; which inference is confirmed by their behaviour in the first siege of Limerick and at the after battle of Aughrim, of which beneath. From the whole you may well be convinced that the army was staunch in the fighting part, and the miscarriage in gaining the end of the war proceeded from the ill management of some of those of the directive part. Wherefore, we must conclude that the king had no solid reason to quit  Ireland upon the loss he sustained at the Boyne in his troops. For the army was rather somewhat stronger at the end of this petty conflict than before, and at its arrival before Limerick it might have been re-inforced by ten thousand resolute men at least, and might have there given battle (as ‘twas expected) with the highest probability of victory. However the king resolved to go back to France; and so on the next morning of the Boyne, being Wednesday, the second of July, his majesty departed from Dublin, being accompanied only by a few gentlemen, and travelled through the county of Wicklow, into the county of Wexford and came to the extremity thereof, viz., the fort of Duncannon, where he took shipping for France, having found a French man-of-war in that harbour.  In his way the king called in at Kinsale, from whence he wrote a letter to the duke of Tyrconnell, whereby he empowered him to assume the administration of the civil and military affairs, and to use his discretion, either to make peace with the prince of Orange, or to continue the war. Within a few days after, his majesty landed safe at Brest, and from hence he arrived at St. Germain’s, being the messenger of what fortune happened unto him at the Boyne.


The journal of John Stevens, containing a brief account of the war in Ireland, 1689–1691

Manuscript source:London, British Library, Add. 36296; London, British Library, Lansdowne MSS. 828, ff. 10, 10 b, 11 (contains introduction)

Books by John Stevens:John Stevens, A Journal of my Travels since the Revolution containing a brief account of all the War in Ireland, ed. by R. H. Murray (Oxford 1912) [London: British Library, Add. Ms. 36,296]. The edition used in the digital edition:The journal of John Stevens, containing a brief account of the war in Ireland, 1689–1691. John Stevens Robert H. Murray (ed), First edition [lxiv+241 pages; appendix, index; bibliography; one map.] Clarendon Press Oxford (1912)

The Life of John Stevens

John Stevens served three years in the army in Portugal, he was in civil employment in England, and at the time of the Revolution he was collecting the excise and was stationed at Welshpool; he spent a year in Wales. He first saw Drogheda in 1685, and Limerick in 1686, and when he lived in Dublin he did so ‘in esteem and with splendour’. Twice in his journal he refers to a book of his travels in Ireland, but this has disappeared. He served the Earl of Clarendon as a gentlemen of his bedchamber. The Earl described Stevens as ‘an honest, sober, young fellow, and a pretty scholar. His father is a page of the back-stairs to the Queen Dowager, and has been so from her first landing: he waited on my father in Spain. He is a Roman Catholic. They are very good, quiet people. I would be glad to get a colours for him.’ The advent of Tyrconnel to power effectually stopped all favour for any friend of Clarendon.

Stevens was an ardent Jacobite, and therefore he fled to France on the nth of January, 1689. On the 2nd of May, 1689, he landed at Bantry, and took part in the war. The journal ceases in the middle of an account of the battle of Aughrim. He was not attainted until 1695: his death occurred on October 26, 1726.

His first publication was an abridged translation in three octavo volumes of Manoel de Faria e Sousa’s Europa Portugueza: it appeared in 1695. Three years afterwards he translated the same writer’s History of Portugal to 1640, which he continued to 1698: it was dedicated to Catherine, Queen Dowager of England, and daughter of King John of Portugal. His translation of Juan de Mariana’s History of Spain appeared in 1699: it must be regarded as meant for the general public.

A devout Roman Catholic, Stevens exhibited much interest in ecclesiastical matters. In 1718 he published, without putting the usual ‘Captain Stevens’ on the title-page, a folio translation and abridgement of Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum. In 1722–3 Stevens published The History of the Antient Abbeys, Monasteries, Hospitals, Cathedral and Collegiate Churches,… being two additional volumes to Sir William Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum. In 1722 he issued anonymously Monasticon Hibernicum; or the monastical History of Ireland. According to Stevens ‘the same is neither a translation nor his own compiling’. He uses Louis Alemand’s Histoire Monastique d’Irlande (Paris, 1690) extensively.

The Journal of John Stevens: His journal measures 8 x 4 3/4; inches and covers no less than 163 pages. The copy now edited lies in the British Museum. It was bought at the sale of the library of Sir F. A. F. Constable, of Tixall, in 1899. It belonged previously to John Warburton, Somerset Herald, being lot 326 in the sale-catalogue of his library in 1759. In the library of Burton Constable, there was a MS. (M. 266) with this title: A Journal of my Travels since the Revolution. Containing a brief account of all the War in Ireland impartially related, and what I was an eye-witness to and deliver upon my own knowledge distinguished from what I received from others.’ ‘John Stevens, a Roman Catholic, and before and at the Revolution, a Collector of the Excise in Wales: after which he followed the Fortunes of his Master, and became a Captain in the Army.


Friday the 27th: we decamped and leaving Ardee on the right marched about five miles and encamped. This place fared no better than Dundalk, being plundered by our own men and left almost desolate. Before the Rebellion it was an indifferent good town, but most of the inhabitants fled from their homes and allegiance, and the rest either dead or left worth nothing. Here we understood the enemy was advancing.

Saturday the 28th: we marched again about five miles and encamped within three of Drogheda, near a small village, along cornfields, gardens, and meadows, the river Boyne in the rear. This night no word was given, but about midnight in great hurry ammunition delivered out, then orders to take down all tents and send away the baggage. This done the whole army drew out without beat of drum and stood at their arms the whole night, expecting the approach of the enemy.

Sunday the 29th: about break of day no enemy appearing, the army began to march in two columns, the one through Drogheda, the other over the river at Oldbridge, and encamped again in two lines in very good order on the south side of the Boyne, between two and three miles from Drogheda, the river running along the whole front; the design being to make good the passes of it against the enemy, who were too strong to be engaged in plain field till we were reinforced or they obliged to fight at disadvantage,  it being very easy to keep the passes of the river, and the rebels being in some distress for want of provisions. But no human policies are sufficient to stop the course of fate.

Monday the 30th: early in the morning the enemy appeared on the tops of the hills beyond the river, some of the poor country people flying before them. They marched down and spread themselves along the sides of the hills where they encamped, but so as we could not discover them all, a great part being covered by the higher grounds. Part of our cannon was carried down and planted on the pass or ford, which from thence played upon some regiments of theirs, and did some but not considerable execution. After noon they began to play upon us with their cannon and some mortars, but no considerable damage was received on either side.

Tuesday the 1st of July: very early the tents were thrown down, the baggage sent away, but the soldiers ordered to carry their tents, some of which were afterwards together with their snapsacks laid in heaps in the fields with some few sentinels, the rest thrown about as they marched, but in conclusion, as the fortune of the day was, all lost. We had this morning received advice that the enemy marching by night had beaten off a regiment of our dragoons that guarded the bridge of Slane and possessed themselves of it, and now we saw them marching off from their right towards it. We on the other side marched from the left, the river being between both: for a considerable space we marched under the enemy’s cannon, which they played furiously without any intermission, yet did but little execution. We continued marching along the river till coming in sight of the enemy who had passed it and were drawing up, we marched off to the left as well to leave ground for them that followed to draw up, as to extend our line equal with theirs, and finding them still stretching out towards their right we held on our march to the left. Being thus in expectation of advancing to engage, news was brought us that the enemy, having endeavoured to gain the pass we had left behind, were repulsed with considerable loss on both sides, the Lord Dungan, a colonel of dragoons, and many brave men of ours being killed. This latter part was true, the former so far from it that they gained the ford, having done much execution on some of our foot that at first opposed them and quite broke such of our horse as came to rescue the foot, in which action the horse guards and Colonel Parker’s Regiment of Horse behaved themselves with unspeakable bravery, but not being seconded and overpowered by the enemy after having done what men could do they were forced to save their remains by flight, which proved fatal to the foot.

 The Lord Grand Prior’s wherein I served was then in Duleek Lane, enclosed with high banks, marching ten in rank. The horse came on so unexpected and with such speed, some firing their pistols, that we had no time to receive or shun them, but all supposing them to be the enemy (as indeed they were no better to us) took to their heels, no officer being able to stop the men even after they were broken, and the horse past, though at the same time no enemy was near us or them that fled in such haste to our destruction. This I can affirm, having stayed in the rear till all the horse were past, and looking about I wondered what madness possessed our men to run so violently nobody pursuing them. What few men I could see I called to, no commands being of force, begging them to stand together and repair to their colours, the danger being in dispersing; but all in vain, some throwing away their arms, others even their coats and shoes to run the lighter. The first cause I had to suspect the rout at the ford was that the DukeofBerwick, whose command was with the horse, came to us and discovering a party of horse at a distance, thinking they were the enemy, commanded our musketeers to line the side of the bank over which they appeared, till finding they were our own men we continued our march.

This first made me apprehend all was not well, and was soon confirmed, hearing it whispered among the field officers, but in conclusion what I have before related put us all beyond doubt. I shall not presume to write all the particulars of this unfortunate day’s transactions, the confusion being such that few can pretend to do it. I will therefore proceed to what followed as far as I can assert for truth. I thought the calamity had not been so general till viewing the hills about us I perceived them covered with soldiers of several regiments, all scattered like sheep flying before the wolf, but so thick they seemed to cover the sides and tops of the hills. The shame of our regiment’s dishonour only afflicted me before; but now all the horror of a routed army, just before so vigorous and desirous of battle and broke without scarce a stroke from the enemy, so perplexed my soul that I envied the few dead, and only grieved I lived to be a spectator of so dismal and lamentable a tragedy. Scarce a regiment was left but what was reduced to a very inconsiderable number by this, if possible, more than panic fear. Only the French can be said to have rallied, for only they made head against the enemy, and a most honourable retreat, bringing off their cannon, and marching in very good order after sustaining the shock of the enemy, who thereupon made a halt, not only to the honour of the French but the preservation of the rest of the scattered army. Nor ought any part of this glory to be attributed to the Count de Lauzun, or La Hoguette, who at first left their men, but only to the valour and conduct of M. Zurlauben, colonel of the Blue Regiment, who with unparalleled bravery headed and brought off his men, whereas the other two fled and more especially Hoguette was in such a consternation that the next day when he was above thirty miles from the enemy he caused a bridge to be broken for fear of pursuit, though at the same time the river was passable for foot both above and below the said bridge, so great is the infatuation of a coward when no danger is near but what his weak imagination suggests. The Lord Grand Prior’s Regiment, but a little before consisting of 1,000 men including all officers, now gathered to about 400, and the most part of those in such posture as promised rather the repeating their late shame than the revenging of it on their enemies. Some had lost their arms, others their coats, others their hats and shoes, and generally every one carried horror and consternation in his face. Many officers were not exempt from having their part of the disgrace with the soldiers, above half being missing when we endeavoured to rally, some were not heard of till we met in Limerick, and some stayed in Dublin till the coming of the enemy, who showed them no other favour than to make them all prisoners. Of those who appeared several had thrown away their leading staves, others their pistols they were before observed to carry in their girdles, and even some for lightness had left their swords behind them, and I can affirm it as a truth being an eyewitness I saw an ensign had cast off his hat, coat and shoes to make the better use of his heels, which he also did the second time at Limerick when the great assault was made the first siege. I could give a list of many of their names but that I think them too infamous to fill up any place here, yet I have since seen several of them and even that ensign above mentioned preferred and in esteem, when others have been put by their right for no other reason given but because they were wounded in the service, and those men have carried themselves with such insolence as if there had been no witnesses left of their cowardice. This, as well for number as goodness of men, was esteemed one of the best regiments of foot in the army, and being such may sufficiently declare what became of the rest. Brigadier Wauchope, who commanded our brigade, and whose greatest confidence was in our regiment, finding them in no disposition for service, commanded to march up the hill.

I, being the eldest lieutenant then present, led the second division of shot, and perceived, as we marched, the first to open to the right and left and begin to disperse, whereupon I commanded to close and keep their ranks, but they answered they had none to lead them, the brigadier and colonel being a little advanced to the top of the hill to view the enemy below, and the captains on what pretence I know not having all quitted their post. I soon reduced the men and for a while marched at the head of them till some captains returning I went back to my own post. What with the ill example of the officers and what with the terror that had seized the whole army, when we had reached the top of the hill in despite of all commands or persuasions the men instantly slunk away, so that within half an hour or little more we had scarce eighty left together. We held on our march all day our men dispersing in such manner that we could hardly keep twenty with the colours. The like small remains of many other regiments bore us company. By the way some few of the Lord Dungan’s dragoons joined us, who were in no less confusion than the foot.

This day’s flight was attended dangers, though ours through the providence of God and valour of the French had none to pursue or offend them. For the enemy finding the French stand and some of our horse to make head never pursued their victory or improved their advantage, which if they had done a small party might have cut us off, so that none had been left to make head again and but few of those present to lament the misfortune of the day. Drogheda, too, remained untaken.

Whether treason, cowardice, or ill conduct had the greatest share in the shame and losses of this day with many remains in dispute, nor can be decided by me not being privy to the counsels nor in a post to see all particulars,or be a competent judge of the actions of generals. The soldier blamed the officer, the officer the general, some were accused as traitors, others as unskilful of their duty, but the greatest imputation was of want of valour. But if it be lawful for me to give my sentiments on the matter in my opinion much may be laid upon mismanagement, but much more upon cowardice, and am apt to believe all the clamour of treason was raised by some who had given the most eminent signs of fear to cover theirs and the general disgrace. To prove there was treachery it was given out that the cannon which commanded the ford upon the enemy’s coming down to force that pass was first forbidden to be fired and then drawn off; that several regiments appointed by the king to make good the said ford were commanded away unknown by whom, and that when the enemy had possessed themselves of the ditches about it the horse were sent down to charge them, it being the duty of the foot, whereby many of those horse were lost and the remainder put to the rout. It is agreed on all hands the action at the ford was ill managed, but not having been present I will not speak to particulars, [or] only in general what is allowed by all. That there was not a sufficient number of foot left to maintain it, and even most of those that were came down too late, and as was said before the horse were put to repulse the enemy’s foot who had before possessed themselves of the ditches. As touching the cannon it was doubtless time to draw it off when, had it stayed but never so little, it must have fallen into the hands of the enemy. I cannot but think it was some oversight to march the most of the foot, who were to engage the enemy that came over at SlaneBridge, along the sides of the hills by the river under the enemy’s cannon, when there was a way above shorter and out of the reach of their shot. Having passed that and extending to make an equal line with the enemy towards the left we were again marched through lanes when there were plain open fields both in front and rear. No general officer above a brigadier was seen among us, and, which is very rare, no word given to us. Nor is it to be forgot that His Majesty, having appointed brandy to be distributed to each regiment so that each man might receive a small proportion, in order to cheer them for the fatigue of the day, it was never delivered till we were marching, when the soldiers, quitting their ranks for greediness of the liquor, not having time to stay, beat out the heads of the hogsheads and dipped into them the kettles they had to boil their meat, drinking so extravagantly that I am sure above 1,000 men were thereby rendered unfit for service, and many were left dead drunk scattered about the fields. But, to come to our last point, it was certainly an unparalleled fright that caused our own horse to ride over the greatest part of our first line of foot and break ten or twelve of our battalions, firing upon them as enemies, and yet I must confess some of these were the men that with great bravery had sustained the shock of the enemy’s horse, and were outdone by numbers not by valour, I mean Colonel Parker’s Regiment.

There is no place of excuse for the dragoons, especially the Earl of Clare’s, (commonly known by the name of Yellow Dragoons, being the colour of their clothes) who were the first that fled having scarce seen the enemy, and that with such recipitation that several of them carried the news the next day to Limerick, and some not thinking themselves safe there with the same speed into the remotest parts of the county of Clare, their native soil, being above 100 miles from the Boyne.

Neither does the baseness of the foot appear less notorious, for some regiments being broken by our own horse, others though untouched took the flight for company, and neither the one nor the other could ever be prevailed with to make head against the enemy and second the French (who were in danger to be cut off), nor so much as to form their battalions and march off with their colours in good order. To the contrary though the action was not till noon several foot soldiers made such haste that they were seen in Dublin before three of the clock, having in that short time run near twenty miles, which perhaps might have had some colour of excuse had the enemy  been at their heels, but there was none to hurt and it was only their own fear pursued them. The weight of our misfortunes made me forget many particulars, and yet methinks I have said too much and dwelt too long on a subject of so much shame, God of his goodness make all men sensible of their dishonour that they may resolve to live victorious or at least die honourably. In the condition I have before mentioned we marched or rather fled till it was quite dark, when the Duke of Berwick ordered to halt in a field about five miles from Dublin, there being now left together the colours of only five or six regiments and at first halting not above 100 men in all, though before morning we were much increased, sentinels being placed on the road to turn all soldiers in to the field. In this place we took some rest on the grass till break of day. As to my own particular I wonder I outlived the miseries of this dismal day, but that I have since found I was reserved to suffer many more and if possible much greater. Grief (though the greatest) was not my only burden, marching from three in the morning afoot till dark night, the excessive heat of the sun, and a burning thirst proceeding from the aforesaid causes, which was so vehement I could not quench it though drinking at every ditch and puddle, were all together sufficient to have conquered a much stronger body. But God who gave the cross gave me strength to carry it, that I might have part in the remainder of our chastisement and I hope in His mercy, when our sins by our sufferings shall be expiated and His anger appeased. He will also grant me the blessing of seeing my sovereign restored to his throne victorious.

Wednesday the 2nd: at break of day those few drums there were beat as formally as if we had been a considerable body, but it was only mere form and we scarce the shadows of regiments, the bodies being dispersed and gone. What was left in dismal manner marched as far as Dublin, where when each commanding officer came to view his strength, shame of marching in such case through the city we not long before had filled with expectation of our actions and hopes of gathering part of the scattered herd caused us to halt in the fields without the town. The colours of each regiment being fixed on eminences that all stragglers might know whither to repair, in the space of near three hours each regiment had gathered a small number, the Grand Prior’s as one of the most considerable being then 100 strong. Thus we marched through the skirts of the city, passing over the river at the BloodyBridge, which is the farthest off in the suburbs, being now only the remains of four regiments, the others being either quite dispersed or gone other ways, we halted again in a field at Kilmainham, a hamlet adjoining to the city. The general opinion was that we were to encamp in the park till such time as our men came up, and what forces had not been in the rout as also the militia should join us, and then either maintain the city, or, if it were judged expedient, give the enemy battle, which gave occasion to some of our small number to steal away into town thinking they might soon be back with us. But about noon we were all undeceived, the other three regiments having orders to march, and ours only left there without any or knowing whence to expect them. Being thus left by all our lieutenant-colonel marched us away, which we did not hold above a quarter of an hour when we were reduced to only twenty men with the colours. On the road we overtook the Lord Kilmallock’s Regiment, which was untouched, being quartered in Dublin when the defeat at the Boyne.


(68 & 69) Franco-Irish correspondence, December 1688-February 1692 Edited by Sheila Mulloy. Dublin 1983

French Artillery Commander, Mr. Laisne

Letter from Mr Laisne to Mr de Louvois

Limerick 29 July 1690


I had the honour of giving you an account by my letter of the 18, of the use that I made there of the artillery, over which you did the honour of granting me command in Ireland, in the business which occurred on the river of Drogheda against the enemies, and of the retreat I here made with all the artillery from France and that from England, after the rout that occurred among the troops of the King of England. I enclose with my letter, the written submission, Milord, of everything that happened in this action, in which I had some part, so that you are informed that this affair would have succeeded and we would have been victorious, if it had been well conducted, and if each had done his duty therein, as I assure you, Milord, the artillery did from start to finish, and until the retreat I made to here, where it now involves defending ourselves against the enemy who are coning to besiege us. I will make four batteries on the ramparts …..

Limerick 18 July 1690

On Saturday 8 July, the army of the King of England, withdrawing from Ardee, came to camp near Drogheda, over the river, facing the enemy who were following our march.

I posted the artillery to the left of the French vanguard. In the evening just before dark, one hour after the King had given the order, His Majesty sent me to search, and ordered me to give out all the ammunition and artillery equipage, for which I would have no need in order to start something across the river from Drogheda by the Oldbridge ford, which was behind my camp and to hold the cannon ready with ammunition, to march to the heights at the head of the camp that I had reconnoitered with His Majesty.

At daybreak instead of marching on these heights to go to the enemy, I had orders to cross the ford at Oldbridge with the ammunition and all the cannon I had placed at the vanguard of the French infantry alongside the Oldbridge ford that I had no my left and Drogheda to my right heading the river.

On the morning of the 10th the enemies appeared on my line beyond the river, occupying the heights of the camp we had abandoned the previous day.

At eight in the morning I had five cannons moved forward onto the heights facing those of the enemy.

First of all I fired into a troop detached from the line that was marching along the river, and that appeared to me to be that of the generals, which did not stop long in retreat in between the cavalry among which they received some setback, having stayed with people on the ground to apparently help someone injured. Since then the rumour has run round that Mr. de Schomberg had had an arm shot off. It is said he died from the injury in Dublin.

The cannonade lasted until near midday and worried the enemy so much, that all their squadrons withdrew behind the summits of the heights of their camp without daring to appear.

In the evening I had orders to make two batteries to defend the two fords of Oldbridge on which I worked and the cannon was placed before daylight, three cannons to the right and five cannons to the left.

The enemy made three batteries that overlooked these quays and our batteries, in which there were eleven pieces, mostly 17, 12 and 10 and one battery of mortars, from where they threw bombs into the camp and into the fleet of artillery.

On Tuesday 11th, these batteries started cannonading early in the morning. The ammunition had to be withdrawn from the fleet, where it was exposed to the enemy’s cannon fire and to their bombs. While I was moving around the King ordered me to send six cannons to the left, with carts filled with ammunition for the troops.

I took aside the commissaries and the other artillery officers of the King of England, with four cannons from his Majesty and two cannons from France. I joined Mr. Montgrizy, artillery commissioner, to take care of these two cannons, in which he had acquitted himself very well. All the commissioners and the artillery officers that I brought from France were used in the batteries opposite the Oldbridge fords.

While I was having these orders executed, our troops marched in columns by the left along the river, to go and face the enemy who were forming a line by crossing the ford at Slane. By this march, the French infantry that was to the left of the army, and in the time that I was having the two batteries made, on the Oldbridge ford was within reach to support them, left this post to the infantry of the King of England on the right, where the two Guards’ battalions and four other Irish battalions were, who were ordered to support a battalion that was posted in the hedges that overlooked the fords, and who were being forced by the enemy. The six battalions that were to support them withdrew in disorder after having fought for some time. A squadron of the King’s guards and two of Tyrconnel’s squadrons did not hold the fire of the enemy’s infantry for much longer, which was psoted in the hedges and in the many ditchesbeyond the fords. . The only resource was in the troops on the right in the second line, where there was some infantry, and two squadrons of dragoojns of Lord clare, which were not in a condition to win in a spot where the est of the King’s troops had been beaten,  and where the enemy was strengthening itself by the large number of their troops who were crossing the fords.

I had the King’s order that had been given to me from the outset of this action by Mr. Hamilton, lieutenant general, by an aide de camp of his Majesty, and by an officer of the artillery, who received it from his Majesty himself, to with draw the cannon from the two batteries, and to march to Dublin with all the artillery. I executed this order to have Mr Desvaux’s battery artillery withdraw, which was the furthest away and the one most at risk of being cut off by the enemy in its retreat, and during the time the dragoons were advancing, seeing there was no means of help, I had the cannon withdrawn from Mr. Dagincourt’s battery. While marching to get back to the camp less than a hundred paces away from the battery, the dragoons lost their footing, falling over onto my  equipage without the officers having time to be able to stop them however much I insisted. There seemed to me, to be total confusion among the troops on our right, which the enemy were not sufficiently aware of to take advantage of it, either because the heights that were between their posts and our camp had blocked their view, or because they did not have enough troops beyond the fords to guard the posts and to follow us, or because the generals were busy in Slane, where they had fierce fighting. What ever the reason, I had enough time to get away from them without having any troops whom I could call upon, except the single battalion of Bagunuenette which was of the second line, which I ordered to join me to form my rear guard, with some of the King’s Horse Guards and horsemen from the Tyrconnel regiment, which I formed into two squadrons to promote my retreat that I made to Dublin. I arrived there after several alarms, but without having been attacked, at one hour after midnight. I had the horses fed which had been drawing non-stop without being unharnessed for the rest of the night. …


(178) Franco-Irish correspondence, December 1688-February 1692 Edited by Sheila Mulloy. Dublin 1983

Girardin was a French cavalry officer.

Letter from Mr. Girardin to Mr. de Louvois 19 July 1690


The King of England having gathered almost all his army in Dundalk, on new that I gave to His Majesty of the landing of the Prince of Orange in the North of Ireland on the 24 of the month past, to consume the forage that is between this river and Newry, broke camp there on Monbday the third of this month and came and camped in Ardee, where several troops were still joining our army. The following Friday 8th of this month, the King of England, had his entire army cross again beyond Ardee, and in three days marching came and set itself up behind the river Boyne, the town of Drogheda to its right and the ford of Oldbridge to its left and the camp was noticed by Mr. de La Hoguette. The camp was good and the spot the most advantageous one to be taken between Dundalk and Dublin, to avoid giving battle.  The Prince of Orange, who was following us in broad daylight, appeared on the next day, the 10th of this month, at 8 in the morning, with his entire cavalry on the heights on the other side of the river, and came to put it in battle formation right up to the edge all along the ford of Oldbridge, while his infantry gradually entered his camp. But the King ordered Mr Laisne to bring his cannon here, which he used, to such advantage,  that this cavalry withdrew quick enough and even in a fairly disorderly fashion.

The Prince of Orange whose army was far superior in cavalry, in artillery and in numbers to ours, camped to the left of his infantry in relation to the ford of Oldbridge, and extended his right by going back up the river right up to two miles from the bridge of Slane, and two miles above our left. This camp of enemies made the King decide to take the decision to extend towards the left the next day, to set his right in opposition against the enemy’s left in relation to the Oldbridge crossing.

In the order of battle, I commanded the left wing of the cavalry of the first line. The King began to march with Mr de Lauzun. The enemy, who had made several batteries during the night, bombarded us heavily with cannon fire. Antoine Hamiltonwas leading the second line also by the left, on another column. And when we saw the enemy coming up on us to take the flank by the left, having passed their right below the bridge of Slane, this river at one mile above Oldbridge was fordable everywhere. The King, seeing the enemy in this position, called Mr. de Lauzun, Mr. de la Houguette, Famechon and me and some brigadiers. It was decided to put us into battle formation to go and attack them.

Straightaway we formed our first and second line, not without difficulty, our cavalry and our dragoons not being otherwise disciplined. The King also sent aides de camps to Mr. Tyrconnell to ask him for the cavalry on the right to close up our right wings, but the enemy who had forced their way through Oldbridge, from whence all our Irish had fled and thrown down their weapons at the first shot, had disbanded all this cavalry, even all the infantry of the right wing, and no more than one brigade remained of it. His Majesty was, however, resolved to do battle, and twice I made the whole line advance, but the confusion of our right had become known and as Sarsfield had come to report to the King that two ditches in the far end would hinder us from getting to the enemy, His Majesty at the cavalry left vanguard of the first line made his troops march on two columns straight to Dublin.

The enemy, who by then had crossed their entire army at the ford below Slane, were marching on another column and hacked the brigade of Wauchop to pieces which was the only one that I told you about Milord, not to have fled. Mr. de Lauzun, who was accompanning the King at the head of a squadron of dragoons, which was marching ahead of my cavalry, came to tell me then to go faster, upon which I told him that I would be putting his French infantry at risk of being hacked to pieces, but he told me that all we had to think about was saving the King’s person, and he ordered me not to leave him, for this purpose leaving with me  Sarsfield’s regiment. We were then 18 miles from Dublin. He next told me that he was going to do his duty, and took the Galway regiment to march with the French corps. He also had three squadrons of cavalry from the left wing of the second line.

The King entered Dublin at ten in the evening and ordered me to keep close by his person….

Finally we were posted behind the river of Drogheda, which was of all the posts between Dundalk and Dublin is the most sustainable, and we were not able to avoid a combat, which we would have won if the Irish had wanted to fight.

I will take up this post once I have landed to abide by the honour of your orders. The count of Hauquincourt was killed abandoned by his brigade……


(179) Franco-Irish correspondence, December 1688-February 1692 Edited by Sheila Mulloy. Dublin 1983

Letter from Mr. Zurlauben to Mr. de Louvois  Limerick 20 July 1690


In a bid to discharge my duty by giving you only an account of the most essential things, since an entire book would be needed to contain all the mistakes that were committed that they are the true subject of our misfortune, and that contributed wholly to the rout of the army. This must be beyond belief since our French corps not only had the advantage of firing a shot, and not 500 men of the Irish were killed. To know that after the Irish disbanded, and ran off through my two battalions in one defile notwithstanding that I had tem fired upon, as also the Forest regiment, even though from my brigade, I presented my regiment’s arms, and it was thus that I stopped the enemy dead. Thus was what gave our troops the time to rally ouside of the defile on a height, after which our corps withdrew in good order. As night drew on harassed by the enemy cavalry we positioned ourselves on high ground behind the ditches and hovels, where the enemy fired several rounds of cannon shots at us. Mr de Lauzun deeming it fit for us to withdraw under cover of darkness, as the number of enemy had increased considerably in a short time, we started marching to reach Dublin, which was 18 miles away…


(180) Franco-Irish correspondence, December 1688-February 1692 Edited by Sheila Mulloy. Dublin 1983

Letter from Mr. D’Esgrigny to Mr. de Louvois  Limerick 21 July 1690


One cannot conceive the rout that has just happened here because it is not natural to think that an army of twenty five thousand men which seemed to have the best will in the world and which at sight of the enemy shouted with delight, could be entirely defeated without having drawn sword and fired a single musket shot. This rout is in such proportions that it will be impossible to re gather a third of the Irish. The others fled at the first shot that was fired, and in order to do so with the greatest ease, there was one entire regiment which left behind its uniforms, its weapons and its flags on the field of battle and reached the mountains with its officers. Other regiments dismissed themselves, whose colonels had released the soldiers after having taken their weapons off them.

Part of this terror communicated itself to our French, among ourselves some appeared to have taken flight, officers and soldiers alike, to such a degree that the ports of Waterford, cork, Kinsale and Limerick, are full of runaways who fell over each other on the first ships that they found.   What remained of our French infantry in the enemy’s presence was led by Messieurs de la Hoguette and Zurlauben, who alone among the commandants with majors Famechon and La Marche, made the rear guard of everything, and escorted the cannon that Mr. Laisne had not abandoned, and did it so well that no artillery cart was left behind. Everyone is gathering here where officers and soldiers are seen to arrive daily. In the days ahead I will do a review for you to let you know Milord, the losses we sustained. I think it is small, because the enemy merely followed the troops without daring much to charge them.

There are several reasons for this rout. The first and strongest is the flight of the Irish, who are in truth people on whom one cannot rely at all. The second, is the bad actions that were taken, and to give you broader detail of this, I will tell you Milord that our army was camped on the river Boyne that passes at Drogheda, whose banks are steep in many places, and which is fordable in many others at low tide. Our right was on the Drogheda side and the left at the village of Oldbridge. The enemy came and camped on Monday 10th of this month on the other side, on the banks of this river. They first of all approached too close, and were forced by our cannon to move further back, extending their right much beyond our left on the Slane side, which was four miles away where there was a ford, half a league long.

On the morning of the next day someone came to warn the King at daybreak that the enemy was marching on this side, that they had even forced one regiment of dragoons who were guarding this post, which made him take the decision to march to his side to prevent this crossing, but as he took a long time to decide, we found more that half the enemy had got through and that the battle was well advanced on the plain. After the encampment order we were forced to defile past our left over a rough and very difficult ground, leaving our right wing far behind us to guard  this village of Oldbridge that our left was leaving as it marched.

The enemy who seemed to be very quiet and small in number on our right side, suddenly started to fight, forced through the village of Oldbridge that we fortified, crossed two fords lower down at the same time at our right vanguard that we had not reconnoitred, overturning it without it putting up much resistance. The Guards’ regiment collapsed the first. The dragoons of Clare that seemed the loveliest in the world, went off without a backward glance.

The rest of the Irish did nothing worthwhile. As not much of a fight was put up, very few people were killed, among which the marquis of Hoquincour. He is regretted by everyone. Mr Tryconnell, who did his best, commanded this right. Richard Hamilton was lieutenant general reporting to him. He has been accused in an underhand way of facilitating this passage of the enemy. He was a suspect man here. Since that day, he has disappeared. His brothers who are still with us say he is dead, but people are assured us that he was seen to enter Dublin with his weapons.

So that is the account I have the honour to give you makes sense Milord, I will tell you that as the river that we had before us formed a loop on the Slane side, and that the enemy having crossed it, were very advanced in the plain, our left could no longer be aligned on our right and formed a sort of extension to confront the enemy. That was the reason after they had forced our right they blindsided our left and we thus found ourselves between their two columns. It was there that many people lost their head. I can testify to several bad manoeuvres that were deplorable. I had seen other ones in the morning while making battle formation before the enemy, which must not have given them a very good opinion of us. In such a situation, people advised the King to withdraw and to take part of his cavalry from the left to escort him to Dublin. This ended by disconcerting our infantry who saw themselves abandoned by almost everyone. The enemy did not push them much, either because of their good countenance, or because on their side they were extremely tired. The King arrived in Dublin, at ten in the evening, and our troops only arrived there the next morning, up to then in fairly good order, but when we had let them go, it was with great difficulty that they could be contained. Fatigue and the little food they had left, made them disband apart from what Mr. Zurlauben could hold together. What also contributed to them disbanding apart from this was the flight of almost all officers, and the decision that some had taken to put the colours in their pockets after they had broken the lances.

Four very crude mistakes are to be noted on this occasion. The first is not having reconnoitred all the fords on the right; secondly having made the defile at Oldbridge keep along the entire right wing. Because by making our left file past to go to the enemy, we left a big gap between the right and the left and we came up on the enemy with no right wing. If instead of this we had had kept this defile by the reserve corps with a detachment of the entire army, and we had marched promptly to the enemy in columns filing past on the left as we had started to do, it is certain we would have entirely defeated all who crossed from the Slane side. I took the liberty to tell this to Mr de la Houguette, who answered me, that it was too late. I have been serving for twenty-three years. This is the sixth battle I have seen, but I have never seen such a rout.

The third fault is not having a rallying point short of Dublin, where they could have found sustenance, and could have still stopped the Prince of Orange, who had no provisions. There were eight thousand militia men in this spot who would have been in favour of our retreat, instead of which, after this business, the troops went wandering all over Ireland, without knowing what they should do nor where to find an officer, because no order had been given. I rallied as many of them as I was able, and in places where I could find flour I had bread made for them.

We are waiting  your news with impatience, Milord. We have no equipage left. Our caissons, our flour, and our hospital were looted in Drogheda and Dublin, so that we have not the least thing left. I cannot say what was looted of treasure. I am waiting for the treasurer and his clerks to count it. Mr de la Hoguette who arrived from Kinsale, told me just now that there was one cart that was looted three times, that one of the aides de camp, a gentleman and Mr de Lausun’s servant, gathered the remains of it, which they handed to the treasurer whom they found in Kinsale to where he had escaped. In my opinion there will be nothing lost in what I gathered.


(80, 81) Franco-Irish correspondence, December 1688-February 1692 Edited by Sheila Mulloy. Dublin 1983

Letter from Mr. de Famechon to Mr. de Louvois  Limerick 6 August 1690

I had to honour of writing to you to inform you about what happened at the routing of the army of the King of England, but I was told that my letters having been requested on the part of Mr de Lauzun to whom it was entrusted, and also those of Mr de la Hoguette, he had preferred to throw them into the sea than to give them. I write to you, Milord, that the army of the King of England being camped at Drogheda, the river ahead of it, the town to its right and the ford of Oldbridge to its left, the army of the Prince of Orange appeared on 10th July very early in the morning on the heights beside Ardee; that next it came down to come and camp in front of ours, the river between us.

Shortly after it had camped, I said to Mr de Lauzu that I thought we should change our camp, by putting the right where the left was, and extending the left as far as one could on the Slane side. , where there were fords where the Prince of Orange’s army could cross the river, but by laying it out in this way, it would be exposed to the enemy’s cannon, as there was nothing on this spot to afford cover for it, and we should put the camp beyond reach of said cannons. Mr de Lauzun answered me that it was not a good suggestion telling me that we could not go far from the water, to which I replied that it was not the tents that were guarding the water but the troops, that he could send as many of them there as he wished, that it was within reach of everything, and particularly to think about preventing the Prince of Orange from crossing the river at Slane.

However, having apparently reflected on my suggestions in the evening, it was decided that it would be acted on the next day, and the army had to march to execute it, but it was too late. As the enemy’s army was marching from very early in the morning to cross the river at Slane, ours marched to prevent it. When the left was on heights half a league from the crossing, we saw that the enemy had got past with a alrge body of cavalry. The King had the general officers assembled that were close to His Majesty. This was Messrs de Lauzun, Lery, La Hoguette, and I. He explained to us that it was of the utmost importance for him to prevent the enemy getting to Dublin, and asked us what should be done in this situation. Mr de la Hoguette, who spoke first, said that he thought the only means of stopping them was to beat this cavalry. This was everyone’s feeling apart from Mr de Lauzun who wanted to march to Dublin, as we could not do this without being beaten, the decision was taken to go at the enemy, but we lost an unseasonably long time on this, while waiting for the cavalry of the right wing, which gave them the time to attach to their cavalry all the infantry that they wished to have cross over at Slane.

As soon as their cavalry had arrived, their army went into battle formation on two well ordered lines and marched towards Dublin. Ours, which had carried out the most awkward  manoeuvres in the world in their presence, marched on the same side going alongside them at a distance of two cannon volleys. In this arrangement it passed unhindered a cavalcade in a small village named Duleek. I was in the vanguard of the French troops moving out of this cavalcade over ground that sloped upwards, when an officer came to me to tell me that the enemy had charged our rear guard. Turing around I saw the entire plain covered with runaways, the enemy having routed the entire right of our army, and the second line of infantry on the left. In that instant, having glanced round where I was, I made my regiment double back and others in my brigade, which I put into battle formation on the right of the path, having noted  a terrain on our left with Zurlauben’s who was preparing for to do battle with great care, despite some disorder that had occurred in the tail, caused by runaways who had jostled the left march of the Forest regiment. In the time that we were getting into battle formation Mr de la Hoguette joined us, and approved this manoeuvre, and had five cannons brought forward that he set up in the spaces of my brigade’s battalions. Mr de Lauzun came there next, and approved the arrangement of our troops, that was stopping the enemy’s entire army and gave the runaways the means of rallying on our wings and behind us, where they scarcely remained. All that was left was the Galway cavalry regiment from the left wing, the rest of this cavalry being very far from us, and part of which had gone to Dublin with the King.

The debris from the right wing of the cavalry was also left there, which had been busy defending the crossing of Oldbridge, where the enemy had crossed the river and beaten the troops opposing them there. These troops were three battalions of Guards, the Hoquincourt brigade, some other troops, and the cavalry of the right, that we had waited on so badly to fight those of the enemy who had crossed at Slane….