13th November 1647
Taffe's forces consisted of approx.
8,500 infantry, and 1,200 Cavalry. Facing them was Inchiquin
with approx. 4,000 infantry, but with 3,500 Cavalry, and
approx. 24 Artillery pieces. The quality of his forces where
far superior to Taffe in everything except cavalry.
Taffe's forces where arranged in two
wings, but fatally split by the high ground out of sight
of each other.:
The Right wing was commanded by Taffee,
it consisted of 4,500 infantry, and four regiments of horse
His Left wing was commanded by MacColla,
this consisted of 3,500 infantry and 800 horse under the
dashing and brave Captain Purcell. Facing MacColla on the
opposite side was the bulk of Inchquin's infantry and all
of his artillery, they had taken up fortified defensive
positions. However it was Taffe who was in mortal danger,
Inchiquin had amassed all of his heavy cavalry which was
facing him behind a hill unseen to both Taffe and MacColla.
Inchquin's artillery opened up, this
was the signal for MacColla, 3,500 men launched a charge,
pulled up fired two volleys, Purcell's heavy dragoons swept
in onto the flank of Inchiquin's flank just at the moment
that MacColla's foote hit the fortifications Inchiquin's
troops seasoned veterans all broke in terror under the onslaught,
MacColla and Purcell's heavy dragoons continued there charge.
They smashed Inchiquins flank, and routed Inchiquin's infantry
for up to two miles due South, scattering or killing the
bulk of Inchiquin's infantry.
Inchiquin was completely unfrassled
(one can almost imagine him yawning)he simply launched his
cavalry in a thunderous charge, while the highland charge
may instil and incapacitate an opponent with fright, the
sight of 3,500 heavy dragoons bearing down on you was equally
terrifying, particularly as the make up of Taffee's infantry
was pathetic[no Gaelic Irish fighting man worth his salt
would fight under this man]. This charge caused Taffe's
right to not actually wait for Inchiquin's cavalry, they
simply ran faster than the horses. Taffe's forces where
hopelessly scattered, he and his cavalry did the contemporary
thing that most Lord's did and simply galloped away. However
this is probably a little unfair as it is recorded that
his cavalry killed 200 of his own men trying to get them
to stand, this action probably accounts for the [rightful]charge
of collusion with Inchiquin.
But.............. Inchiquin as much
as I am loathe to say it was a minor military genius, he
swung left and turned, following the path of no resistence,
and instead of indulging in pursuit, he fell on the unsuspecting
MacColla and the left wing. MacColla who was standing on
a cannon with a party of 14 desperately seeking news of
Taffe's whereabouts, he was with 14 scouts and about a mile
from his forces, who where gathering booty. An advance troop
of Inchiquin's cavalry, which MacColla mistook for Taffe's,
unarmed, he was defenceless.
MacColla for the first time in his
life pleaded and was granted quarter, however he was run
through with his own sword under quarter by a party of cavalry
(the officer was shot personally by Inchiquin as his reward,
it is possibly the only honourable thing that Inchiquin
did in his life).
MacColla's men immediately launched
themselves into the attack, it is said of MacColla's Scottish/Irish
regiment of 1,500 men only 70 surrendered. Purcell's cavalry
put up a brave rear guard action out-numbered 6 to1 they
repeatedly charged into the advancing Inchiquin, while Purcell
personally pleaded with the Scot's to extricate themselves[they
refused preferring death, utterly inconsolable over the
death of MacColla], as a result of Purcell and MacColla's
regiment's action many of the left wing escaped, Taffe's
right hardly even saw one of the enemy, indeed the only
casualties they suffered was when Taffe executed about 200.
Taffe incidentally fled to the Confederate Fortifications
around the City of Limerick, he promptly fled as the populace
and garrison was baying rightly for his blood. He subsequently
played little more military role in the next six years fighting.
Inchiquin's infantry troop was however
badly mauled, it could be said to be a physic victory for
Inchiquin as he probably lost in the region of 3,500 men.
It is said he had to leave the cannon where they where as
he did not have enough men or horse to pull them away.
Total casualties are very hard to ascertain
but it is in all probability around 5,000 most in Inchiquins
Note: Inchiquin was deep in hostile
country, Lord Muskerry and his Gaelige Kerry/Cork troops
remained aloof, neither did the forces of the Limerick/Tipperary
forces under Mount Garret commit themselves, this is I am
sure bewildering to most folk but I find this incredible
that a Papal excommunication on Taffe would prevent these
other more experienced troops from attacking Inchiquin.
Inchiquin with his battered forces returned crippled to
Cork. A month later he joined the Royalist side[bloody hell],
and indeed in Exile on the Continent in 1656 he became a