American Civil War Armies (3). Specialist Troops by Katcher Ph., Volstad R.

By Katcher Ph., Volstad R.

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In Cromwell’s own words ‘… it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future …’ The alternative would not only have been to risk discontent in the army at a time when its main tactical advantage was its cohesion and discipline, but it would also have called into question his suitability for the Irish command, especially if it could be shown to have lost control over the army in its first major engagement. What ought not to be forgotten is that at this time, Cromwell was simply one lieutenant-general amongst a number of officers of similar rank in the Commonwealth army and that whilst, through patronage and family ties, he could count on a number of allies amongst them, there were also a number of rivals and opponents who would have had no qualms about taking advantage of any mistakes he may have made.

What exactly was discussed between the two men will most probably never be known, but the result was that Aston and his small force left the protection of their defences and were then taken into custody and disarmed by Axtell’s men who, in the following moments set in motion the train of events that led to one of the most controversial events in Irish history. Within minutes, most of Aston’s men were either dead or dying, whilst their commander himself lay bleeding on the flagstones, bludgeoned to death with his wooden leg, seized from him by soldiers in the belief that it contained money and precious stones.

Col. Daniel Axtell) 5 Col. Robert Venables’s regiment of foot 6 Col. Robert Phayre’s regiment of foot 7 Eastern battery 8 Lt. Gen. Michael Jones’s regiment of horse 9 Col. Chidley Coote’s regiment of horse (presumed) 10 Maj. Daniel Abbott’s dragoon detachment (five troops) 11 Cavalry reserve (four regiments) 12 Infantry reserve (three regiments) X JONES 1 8 9 10 C A MILL MOUNT 4 DULEEK GATE 11 3 12 1 2 EVENTS 1 2 September: a flying column under Michael Jones arrives before Drogheda and, having crossed the Boyne at Oldbridge, takes up position covering the western approaches to the town.

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