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The 1798 Rebellion in Edenderry

Particulars of a late engagement with the Rebels, which have not before appeared
Extract of a letter from Edenderry,
July 13th, 1798
“Major Ormsby, on hearing of Clonard being attacked by the Rebels, about one o’clock on Wednesday the 11th inst. sent off an express to Colonel Gough, at Philipstown, who immediately marched for Edenderry, with forty of the Limerick regiment, and twenty of the 7th Dragoon Guards; they halted in Edenderry that night.
“Next morning, on Colonel Gough getting information that the Rebels slept at Carberry and were very numerous, he immediately marched with 60 infantry, 20 of the 7th Dragoon Guards, and 10 of the Cooleystown and Warrenstown cavalry. Col. Gough, with this little force, followed the Rebels upwards of twelve miles, to the hill of Nockderrig, within two miles of Johnstown, where they were strongly posted. On Colonel Gough’s getting sight of the Rebels, he immediately drew up his forces, and resolved to attack them, tho’ their numbers were above 5000. He ordered the cavalry, under the command of Cornet Miller, of the 7th Dragoon Guards, to take their post on a road leading to the hill, and charge the enemy when he had broke them. The Colonel then marched his men up a narrow lane leading to a hill, but finding that he might be annoyed from behind the hedges, he wheeled to the right, under the cover of a large ditch, which the Rebels perceiving, gave three cheers, and shewed their whole force. Colonel Gough then advanced briskly up the hill, under a heavy fire, which had but little effect, the enemy’s bullets flying over their heads, the Colonel with much difficulty preventing his men from firing ‘till they came within reach of them, when he commenced a steady, well-directed fire, which lasted above 20 minutes. The Rebels then fled in different directions, leaving behind them a great number dead, and all their provisions and live stock. Were it not that the country was so enclosed that the cavalry could not act, the defeat would have been much more decisive. On Col. Gough’s getting possession of the hill he found forty sheep and three bullocks half-skinned, a great number of pots boiling, also several car-loads of flour, groceries, wine, and spirits, with many other articles too numerous to mention. He also took a small swivel which he broke, two casks of powder, a vast quantity of lead, and some boxes of swan shot. Col. Gough with his little army brought into Edenderry one green sill Standard with a device of a cross, and the initials L. H. S., 161 black cattle, 53 horses, and seven thousand yards of sheeting.
The defeat of so numerous a body of Rebels is entirely owing to the alacrity with which Col. Gough led his men to the attack and to the coolness and intrepidity with which he conducted the whole of the business. The loss of the King’s troops was but two men killed and five slightly wounded.
(The Public Register or Freeman’s Journal 21 July 1798)
For a more indepth account of the 1798 rebellion in Edenderry see Ciaran Reilly's book, Edenderry, county Offaly and the Downshire estate 1790-1800 which can be purchased here at


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