Military General Service, 2 clasps, Roleia, Vimiera
J. Campbell, Lieut. 91st. Foot
‘Major General James Campbell , K.H. Argyllshire Fencibles and 91st Foot
From Hart’s 1852 ‘served during part of the Rebellion in Ireland, in 1798 and 1799, and was present in the actions at Ballynamuck, Granard , and Wilson’s Hospital – wounded in the hand at the latter affair. Volunteered in the expedition to Hanover, in 1805-06, and resigned a Staff situation for that purpose; served with the expedition until the French Army was expelled from that country. Campaigns in 1808-9, expedition to Walcheren ; campaign of 1815, including the surrender of Cambray and Paris’
Major General James Campbell, K.H.
Ensign Agyllshire Fencibles, L.G. 11/6/1793, Lieutenant 12/11/1793, On recommendation Lieut. James Campbell of the Argyllshire Volunteers to Ensigncy without purchase 91st, 1803 Lieutenant 1804, Captain 1808, Major 79th, 1819, Lieut. Col. 1824,K.H. 1836, Colonel 95th. 1838, Major General, 1851.
Died 1853, buried Kensal Green.
Battle of Ballynamuck
Cornwallis divided his army in two, one half under General Lake to pursue the enemy and the other half, under his own personal command, to protect the line of the river Shannon. Meanwhile, the United Irishmen of Longford and Westmeath assembled. They capture Wilson’s Hospital near Mullingar but fail to take the town of Granard.
The French Commander, Humbert, on hearing of the midlands rising decides to link up with the insurgents there. and goes straight for Granard. He abandons some of the heavier guns so as to make more speed.
So far he has eluded the cordon closing in around him. With some luck he hopes to slip past the net, reach Granard and then strike for Dublin which is virtually unprotected as most of the garrison have been moved to Connacht.
The Franco-Irish army reaches Drumkeerin in the evening of September 6. An envoy from Lord Cornwallis offers terms for surrender but they are rejected.
On September 7, shortly before noon Humbert’s army crosses the Shannon at Ballintra Bridge just south of Loch Allen, but they fail in an attempt to demolish the bridge behind them. The race for Granard quickens. The Franco-Irish army reaches Cloone, in South Leitrim, while Cornwallis, with 15,000 men is at Mohill, five miles away. Humbert gets news that he is surrounded and outnumbered but decides to push on even if the best he can now do is to make a token resistance before surrender.
On September 8, 1798, near the small village of Ballinamuck, County Longford, Humbert drew up his 859 French troops in line of battle.
Behind Humbert was Cornwallis blocking Humbert’s way to Dublin. In front was Lake’s 6000 men.
The battle which lasted but half an hour commenced with Colonel Crawford’s dragoons cutting through the Irish rebels. When the British grand assault poured up the hill from three sides, in overwhelming numbers, Humbert gave the order to surrender.
The French officers followed their general’s signal and ordered their men to lay down their muskets. A second body of British cavalry had reined in seeing the signs of surrender, but Colonel Teeling, an Irish officer in the French army, had not signalled surrender so British infantry advanced on them. Crawford attacked a large contingent of Irishmen with his dragoons, their sabres sparing only those with officers insignia, hanging to be their fate.
Later testimonies reveal that on arresting Humbert, General Lake could not conceal his astonishment:
“Where is your army?” Lake demanded
“This is it all” Humbert replied, indicating his soldiers.
“And what were you planning to do with this lot?” Lake asked.
“We were going to Dublin to break the irons of a nation that suffers under your yoke” Humbert said.
“That is an idea that could only be born in a Frenchman’s brains!” Lake declared.
Humbert and the French prisoners were conducted to Dublin and treated with all the consideration that could be given to gallant prisoners after an honorable defeat.
Not so the Irish. Accounts vary, but it appears that many of the Irish were cut down where they stood, or driven into the bog south of the hill where they were hunted down and slaughtered.
Captured Irish officers, even those bearing legitimate commissions in the French army, were seized and hanged as traitors.
“After having obtained the greatest successes and made the arms of the French Republic triumph during my stay in Ireland, I have at length been obliged to submit to a superior force of 30,000 troops.”
General Humbert’s Report to the French Directory after Ballinamuck.
Action at Wilsons Hospital
Extracts from ‘An Impartial History of the Irish Rebellion, in the year 1798; Volume 2’
‘The strongest column of the rebels. Comprised of the inhabitants of Westmeath, directed their march, after they defeat to Wilson’s Hospital, six miles from Mullingar. This building had already been seized in the morning of the same day , by another body of rebels, who, on the arrival of the defeated column, were talking measures to put to death twenty eight loyalists, when they were prevented by the approach of a body of troops, about four in the afternoon. This was a force collected by. Lord Longford, composed of yeomen and the Argylle Fencibles, the whole stated to be six hundred. The fencibles commanded by Major Porter, who brought one field-piece for the attack.
A large body of the insurgents, of whom five hundred are said to have been armed with fire-arms, marched from the hospital to meet these troops near the village of Bunbrusna. After an abortive attempt to seize the field piece by an impetuous onset, in which, by a discharge of grape-shot, many of them suffered, the insurgents maintained the combat for some time and then retired..’ Loss to the insurgents was estimated to near two hundred killed or wounded; while that of the royal troops was but inconsiderable.’
A scarce medal for the 1798 and especially so to a casualty