Battle of Foulksmills

The Battle of Foulksmills, known locally as the Battle of Horetown and also known as the Battle of Goff's Bridge, was a battle on 20 June 1798 between advancing British forces seeking to stamp out the rebellion in County Wexford during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and a rebel army assembled to oppose them.

Battle of Foulksmills
Part of the United Irishmen Rebellion
Date20 June 1798
Location
Result British victory
Belligerents
United Irishmen Kingdom of Great Britain British Army
Hesse Hessian mercenaries
Commanders and leaders
Philip Roche John Moore
Strength
~5,000 ~1,500
Casualties and losses
~500 dead ~100 dead

Background

By 19 June the threat of the United Irish rebellion spreading outside county Wexford had been largely contained and Crown forces were positioned to move against rebel held territory. A force of about 1,500 men under Sir John Moore moved out of New Ross towards Wexford as part of an overall encirclement operation in conjunction with General Gerard Lake's forces moving from the north.

Moore moves out

Moore's force was to link up and combine with the isolated garrison holding Duncannon before moving deeper into County Wexford, but after waiting several hours with no sign of their arrival, Moore decided to press ahead to the village of Taghmon alone. Upon nearing Goffs Bridge at Foulkesmill, his scouts reported a rapidly moving rebel force of some 5,000 moving quickly along the road with the intent to give battle. Moore despatched a force of riflemen from the 60th Regiment to hold the bridge until artillery could be brought up in support.

The battle

The rebels however, led by Father Philip Roche, spotted this move and moved away from the road to the high ground on the left intending to outflank Moore's force. The 60th were forced to engage the rebels on the roads, fields and forests of the area and the rebel flanking move briefly threatened to overturn Moore's left. Moore had to personally rally his fleeing troops to hold the line and led them in a successful counter-attack. As more troops began to arrive the rebels were flushed out of their concealed positions, allowing the artillery to be brought into play and the rebels' move was foiled. The rebels were gradually pushed back field by field but were able to withdraw the bulk of their force safely.

Results

The road to Wexford was opened and the town recaptured by the Crown next day but during this battle, followers of rebel captain Thomas Dixon massacred between 35-100 (estimates vary) loyalist prisoners at Wexford bridge.

Casualties are estimated at 500 on the rebel side and 100 of the military.

Sources

"The Peoples Rising -Wexford in 1798" (1995) - Daniel Gahan ISBN 0-7171-2323-5
"Ireland 1798: The Battles" - Art Kavanagh, ISBN 0-9524785-4-4

Battle of New Ross (1798)

The Battle of New Ross took place in County Wexford in south-eastern Ireland, during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It was fought between the Irish Republican insurgents called the United Irishmen and British Crown forces composed of regular soldiers, militia and yeomanry. The attack on the town of New Ross on the River Barrow, was an attempt by the recently victorious rebels to break out of county Wexford across the river Barrow and to spread the rebellion into county Kilkenny and the outlying province of Munster.

History of County Wexford

County Wexford (Irish: Contae Loch Garman) is a county located in the south-east of Republic of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. It takes its name from the principal town, Wexford, named 'Waesfjord' by the Vikings – meaning 'inlet (fjord) of the mud-flats' in the Old Norse language. In pre-Norman times it was part of the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnselaig, with its capital at Ferns.

The county was formed in Norman times. It was created in 1210 by King John during his visit to Ireland.

Irish Rebellion of 1798

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 (Irish: Éirí Amach 1798) was an uprising against British rule in Ireland. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organising force behind the rebellion, led by Presbyterians angry at being shut out of power by the Anglican establishment and joined by Catholics, who made up the majority of the population. Many Ulster Protestants sided with the British, resulting in the conflict taking on the appearance of a sectarian civil war in many areas, with atrocities on both sides. A French army which landed in County Mayo in support of the rebels was overwhelmed by British and loyalist forces. The uprising was suppressed by British Crown forces with a death toll of between 10,000 and 30,000.

John Moore (British Army officer)

Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, (13 November 1761 – 16 January 1809) was a British Army general, also known as Moore of Corunna. He is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which he repulsed a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War. After the war General Sarrazin wrote a French history of the battle, which nonetheless may have been written in light of subsequent events, stating that "Whatever Buonaparte may assert, Soult was most certainly repulsed at Corunna; and the British gained a defensive victory, though dearly purchased with the loss of their brave general Moore, who was alike distinguished for his private virtues, and his military talents."

Philip Roche

Philip Roche (died 1798) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and commander during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Sir James Steuart Denham, 8th Baronet

General Sir James Steuart Denham, 8th and 4th Baronet (August 1744 – 12 August 1839) was a Scottish soldier of the British Army.

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