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from the searches of the Royalists), were mounted. The rear of the rebel forces presented a very different scene. Booths similar to those erected at Irish fairs and patterns, were frequent. In these some were drinking, and others dancing to the music of the itinerant harpers and pipers, who had flocked in numbers to the camp. Cattle were plentifully slaughtered, and the profusion and hilarity of the scene had more the appearance of a rustic gala, than the assemblage of a band of patriots, about to strike for life and liberty. By one road, a flock of sheep were brought in; by another, a string of men, armed and unarmed, were advancing. One car came, loaded with a cask of powder, and the next with a keg of whiskey. A hundred voices were calling to each other, and had the fate of nations depended on producing a given person, no one could probably have named the place where he might be found. Yet, mob-like as was the appearance of the insurgents, there were materials among them,
had they been only properly employed, adequate to effect the most important objects. Of the thousands on the hill, doubtless a great majority of their number were drawn thither by the novelty of the business. Some had collected from curiosity-more from compulsionthe prospect of good cheer had induced some a hope of plunder had instigated others-one had been brought by his wife, and a second been persuaded by his neighbour-a few, however, came there seeking freedom, and freedom only; and many a breast in the crowd had devotion within it, to have filled a rank in the Pass of Thermopylæ. These men, indeed, were to be dreaded : the overwhelming advantage of martial discipline did not deter them from striking for victory; and the alternative in defeat, the scaffold, had not terror to appal them from the bold attempt.
As the afternoon approached, the rebel videttes came frequently in, announcing the march of the Royal army. Each fresh report of their advance had very contrary effects on the hearers. Some received it with cool, determined resolution; some with indifference; and others with evident alarm. A few dropping shots turned the eyes of all to the road by
which the King's troops were expected. It was an interchange of fire between their videttes and a rebel outpost; the latter, although no pursuit was attempted, were rather flying than retreating to their friends. This unmilitarylooking proceeding, however, was observed by a young leader, who galloped down the hill, and rallying the fugitives, awaited on the road the nearer approach of the Royalists. In a few minutes their advanced guard, consisting of the Monaghan militia, and the flank companies of a Highland regiment, debouched from the thick hedges, which had till now concealed their march, and the rebels, skirmishing as they retired, fell back upon the town.
At this moment Henry O'Hara reached the rebel line; the van of the Royalists halted, waiting for the main body to come up, as they were ignorant what force might be posted in the village. A fine yeomanry corps, with cavalry and artillery of the line, deployed from the covered road, supported by the infantry regiments, with their field-pieces (which then were attached to every corps), the rear of the entire being closed by dragoons and mounted volunteers.
O'Hara observed the oversight committed by the rebel leaders in withdrawing their forces from the town. The streets were for a time tenable against a superior force, and the irregularity of street fighting was particularly favourable to the operations of a disorganized body. Without a moment's hesitation he descended from the heights with his tenantry, and succeeded in occupying the main street, as the light infantry of the Royal army were moving forward to take possession of it. The advanced guard, however, halted as they reached the entrance of the village, and resting on their arms, they communicated with the centre, and awaited further orders. The cover of some houses effectually sheltered them from the insurgents, and a cessation of fire on both sides produced that awful stillness which causes the heart to beat more quickly than the noise and clamour of the actual conflict. Some of the rebel leaders supposed that the Royalists would content themselves with occupying the entrance of the village till morning; but Henry concluded that they would naturally possess themselves of
the means of shelter and repose. He was not mistaken. From a small eminence he perceived the artillery coming up, and the light troops, which formed the rear-guard, extended themselves into the fields, upon the flanks of the main body, which, forming itself into close column, advanced to attack the town.
The light infantry having sprung forward from behind the houses which concealed them, the firing re-commenced. The Royalists advanced in double quick time, and the insurgents awaited their attack with unexpected steadiness. The soldiery seemed inclined at first to push forward with the bayonet, but awed by the determined attitude of their opponents, they changed their method of attack, and breaking from close order, and opening right and left, threw themselves under cover of houses and archways, and supported from their shelter a galling discharge of musketry. The artillery had now got into position, and opened a lively cannonade, and O'Hara perceiving that a few discharges must dislodge the revolutionists, ordered a retreat. They fell back, accordingly,