Evidence of Captain Joseph Bennet

EVIDENCE-Captain-Joseph-Bennet

Joseph Bennet, A True and Impartial ACCOUNT OF The most Remarkable Passages in IRELAND, &c.

Captain Joseph Bennet played a small though significant part in the siege of Derry.  In late April 1689 the morale in the garrison had somewhat improved after the final days of Lundy’s ill-fated tenure under the leadership and authority of Governors Baker, Walker and Captain Adam Murray.  On the 20th of April, the same day that Lundy made his escape from the city, Claude Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn, rode to the walls and offered the inhabitants a full pardon in return for a peaceable surrender to James II.  Murray sallied out to meet him and flatly rejected Abercorn’s offer of a colonel’s commission in the Jacobite army and a £1,000 gratuity, thus proving his loyalty to the inhabitants of the city.  However during their brief conversation, Murray noticed the Jacobite force moving several cannons and ordnance into firing positions which did little to engender trust between the parties.  Murray told Abercorn to leave immediately lest he be shot by the city’s defenders who were standing atop the walls.  This less than gentle persuasion convinced Abercorn to return to the Jacobite camp.  Nonetheless the city now stood utterly surrounded, and when Captain Jemmet surrendered Culmore Fort to the Jacobites, Derry’s survival looked increasingly bleak.  The Governors called a Council of War and agreed that it was absolutely imperative that they get word to London that the city continued to hold firm in the face of the Popish army, but badly needed supplies and reinforcements.   Baker and Walker feared that Colonels Richards and Cunningham would spread rumours in England that the city had already fallen or was doomed to do so.  Lundy’s escape into Scotland held the same dangers which rendered the chance of procuring support all the much harder.  The Governors therefore determined to send Captain Joseph Bennet to London with the message that the city held firm to the Protestant cause.   To ensure that Bennet made it through the Jacobite camp unmolested, soldiers at the Windmill in front of Bishops’ Gate fired in his direction as he ran from the city, taking care not to hit him, creating the illusion that he was a deserter.  Bennet escaped and travelled through Scotland and England, before informing William & Mary’s Court that Derry stood firm to the Crown.  The Honourable The Irish Society ordered £10 should be paid to him for his daring and bravery, recognising that the line of communication Bennet kept open proved absolutely vital in the survival of the city.

Though this evidential article is primarily concerned about Bennet’s information pertaining to the siege of Derry and Lieutenant Colonel Lundy’s military leadership, his published account A True and Impartial ACCOUNT OF The most Remarkable Passages in IRELAND (London, 1690) is of wider value for historians.  Bennet’s account offers a great deal of information about the Williamite war effort in Ireland, especially in southern and eastern Ulster and Munster, and his experience and knowledge of soldiery meant he was well placed to judge Lundy’s military preparations and leadership.

Bennet’s A True and Impartial ACCOUNT OF The most Remarkable Passages in IRELAND amply demonstrates Irish Protestants’ intense fear of falling victim to ethnic and sectarian violence at the hands of their Catholic neighbours.  Memories, myths and exaggerated tales of the 1641 Rising in Ulster fanned the flames of Protestant panic.  Bennet noted that Protestants in Dublin, Meath, Longford, Louth and Cavan so feared the earl of Tyrconnell’s Catholicisation of the Irish Army that many journeyed to Ulster for succour, ‘leaving all their substance to the disposal of the insatiable ravenous Irish, who would impudently in the day-time drive horses and cows, with thousands of sheep, from the owners thereof before their faces, who dared not to ask them what they did’.  Others quit the kingdom entirely, journeying to Lancashire, Cheshire, Bristol, Wales, Devon and the Isle of Mann where they spread tales of impending doom.  For those that stayed, persistent rumour mongering of a Catholic uprising gave a distinct impression that the bloody history of the 1640s was about to be repeated.  By February 1689 the increasingly Catholic dominated army numbered 45,000, with Catholic civilians also apparently arming themselves with the aid of the earl of Tyrconnell.  Tyrconnell’s army, like Thomas Wentworth’s incarnation of the 1630s, was ill paid, ill supplied, ill disciplined and far from professional.  Shorn of adequate supplies to feed an engorged force, soldiers were forced to live at free quarter, leading to reports of pillaging and stealing from the local populace wherever they were garrisoned.  Fears of a Catholic rising were most keenly felt in Ulster, with anonymous letters purporting to demonstrate details of shadowy cabals plotting mass murder and the usurpation of the Protestant status quo.  Bennet articulated these fears, noting that,

These letters did so run about the nation, that in few days all the Protestants were upon their defence, and every private man making his house a garrison, by keeping great and strong guards in the night-time, insomuch that if their nearest relations had come to visit after night, they were answered out of casements, spike-holes, or windows, with blunder busses on guns at their breasts, to know their business:

He further noted that these fears were exacerbated when it was reported that a rising was planned for 9 December 1688.  As a result ‘there was not a Protestant in the whole kingdom, but was on his guard that whole night in his own respective dwelling, or joined with some neighbours in some sort of strength’.

This fear was particularly keenly felt in Londonderry.  On the 23rd of November 1688 the earl of Tyrconnell ordered Lord Mountjoy and his regiment to march to Dublin from Londonderry in order to purge several companies of Protestant officers and soldiers and replace them with Catholics. In the interim the Irish Lord Deputy ordered the earl of Antrim to send his regiment to replace Mountjoy’s and garrison Londonderry.  However wider events overtook Tyrconnell’s commands.  On the 3rd of December a letter was found lying in the street in Comber, Co. Down, addressed to the earl of Mount-Alexander.  Most likely a forgery, it forewarns of a massacre of local Protestants by Irish Catholics on the 9th of December.  Copies of the letter were distributed throughout Ireland, leading to rising fears in the Protestant community of massacres that rivaled popular memory of the 1641 Rebellion.  Even if the Comber letter was a forgery and the tales of massacre were vastly exaggerated, the fact that Protestants believed them to be true is hugely significant, especially in regards to the reaction of the citizens of Londonderry to the earl of Antrim’s oncoming Redshanks.  On the 6th of December 1688, Colonel George Philips, the aged former Governor of Londonderry, witnessed the earl of Antrim’s regiment of Redshanks entering the town of Newtonlimavady (modern Limavady) where he was resident.  Unnerved by the contents of the Comber letter which had likewise reached the town, he sent a letter to Alderman Samuel Norman in Derry via a messenger which set out the dangers of admitting Antrim’s regiment to the garrison. When Phillips observed an advance party of Redshanks leaving Newtonlimavady for Derry the following day, he sent another letter to Alderman Norman, telling him in no uncertain terms that the gates of the city should be closed and Antrim’s regiment prevented from entering.  However, not only had Philip’s first letter already arrived in Derry, but another copy of the Comber letter had also been received by Alderman Tomkins and a discussion took place with Ezekiel Hopkins, Anglican Bishop of Derry, and other local clergy on the most expedient course of action.  During this discussion, Philips’ second messenger reached the city before the oncoming Redshanks’ vanguard with the advice to shut the gates.   The Bishop argued that as loyal subjects to the Crown, the aldermen had a duty and obligation to permit Antrim’s regiment within the walls of the city.  James Gordan, minister at Glendermott on the Waterside, opposed this notion and vehemently appealed for the gates to be closed.  They agreed that a small detachment of Redshank officers should be permitted into the city.  However their actions did not engender trust with the citizens of the city as they immediately argued with John Buchanan, the Deputy Mayor, and various sheriffs over the blank billets for officers to be garrisoned in the city.  As the remaining Redshank vanguard marched towards the Ferry Quay Gate, thirteen apprentices, namely William Cairnes, Henry Campsie, William Crookshanks, Alexander Cunningham, John Cunningham, Samuel Harvey, Samuel Hunt, Alexander Irwin, Robert Morrison, Robert Sherrard, Daniel Sherrard, James Spike and James Steward, took matters into their own hands, seized the keys to the gate, raised the drawbridge and shut Antrim’s force outside the walls.  Bennet believed that the reaction of the apprentices in shutting the gates was as a direct result of the fear created by the Comber Letter.  He postulated that,

whether it was, that these new levies looked so dreadfully starved, or the townsmen had an inclination to keep Popery out, they shut the gates of the town on the appearance of this new regiment, and utterly denied them entrance.

When Tyrconnell heard that Antrim’s regiment had been refused entry to the city, Bennet believed he immediately regretted his decision as it demonstrated ‘how indiscreetly he had commanded the whole regiment to march out of the garrison before others were ordered to possess that place’.  He therefore ordered Mountjoy and his regiments back to Londonderry.  Bennet contemptuously stated that Mountjoy and his men rested for only three days in Dublin after a 110 miles march in the depth of winter before being ordered to return, terming it ‘altogether needless’.

Mountjoy arrived back at Bishops’ Gate on the 12th of December where a delegation of ten citizens led by Phillips, who had been made Governor on the 9th of December, rode out to negotiate terms.  It took until the 21st of December for the Articles of Agreement between Mountjoy and the citizens to be agreed.  Under the Articles of Agreement, Mountjoy agreed to publish a general pardon under the Great Seal within fifteen days ‘for all matters and things relating to the late commotion and revolution in the said city; for all offences done against the law, murder excepted’.  Until the pardon had been delivered the inhabitants in arms would continue the guard the city.  The Articles of Agreement also stated that no soldiers would be garrisoned inside the walls of the city except for two regiments totaling 120 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lundy and Captain William Stewart.   The inhabitants of the city demanded that these regiments be at least 50% Protestant.  If Mountjoy’s forces were ordered the leave the city by King William for the defence of his realms then the inhabitants would continue its resistance.  It was further agreed that until the 26th of March 1689 no soldiers from Antrim’s Redshanks would be permitted quarter either inside the garrison or in the city liberties.  Two of Mountjoy’s sons would remain in the city as ‘pledges for the full and final performance of these articles’.  After purging several regiments of Catholics, Lundy marched into the city the following day and is appointed military governor of the city after Colonel Phillips agreed to resign.

Bennet noted that in his duplicity Tyrconnell had also employed Mountjoy to send letters to ‘his friends in the North’ to assure them that he had no intention of sending his Irish army into Ulster, or creating new levies or quartering them upon Protestant estates.  Mountjoy informed the citizens of Derry that he was bound for France to receive orders from the exiled James II to make Tyrconnell lay down the sword of state.  This ‘so much pleased the people, that all things began to grow pretty still and quiet again’.  This presented Tyrconnell with an opportunity to nefariously continue to go about his business, ‘raising men, and sending arms, privately into the countrey, to such as he had given Commission; and in a very short time, notwithstanding his promises to the Lord Mountjoy’.  Bennet believed that Tyrconnell was still weak at this point, believing ‘it is most certain, that if some troops had marcht up towards Dublin, the Earl of Tyrconnel would certainly either have fled, or surrendred the castle, not having above ten companies of foot, and some few horse in Dublin, and these being all new rais’d raw men’.  In particular he believed Tyrconnell feared the ‘Scotch Army marching to Dublin’, so he raised and armed several regiments of dragoons and foot and secured Newry, Drogheda and Dundalk against the Presbyterian settler populations of Antrim & Down.  Not only did this result in cutting off communication with the rest of the island, it meant the Lord Deputy could ‘march down his army against them when he pleased, and at his own leisure, and they never have the least account of their motion, which has proved too true, as you shall hear hereafter’.

As well as providing some background information to the siege of Derry, Captain Bennet’s True and Impartial ACCOUNT OF The most Remarkable Passages in IRELAND suggests that Lundy was responsible for a catalogue of poor military decisions across the province which put immense pressure on the garrison in Londonderry quite some time before his escape in disgrace.  Bennet noted how Lundy’s lack of support for Protestant forces in the east and south of the province allowed the Jacobites to advance upon Protestant garrisons with little opposition.

In particular, Lundy’s orders cost the Protestant defenders the key strategic garrisons at Armagh and Glaslough, Co Monaghan.  William, Lord Blayney had been appointed as commander-in-chief for Armagh and Monaghan by the General Council of the Union, or the Council of Five, a regional executive committee of leading Ulster Protestant gentry and peers which established and oversaw defensive associations across the province.  The Council of Five consisted of ‘the Cock of the North’ Sir Arthur Rawdon, Sir Robert Colvill of County Antrim, James Hamilton of Newcastle, County Down, James Hamilton of Tullymore, County Down and John Hawkins, also from County Down.  Blayney established his base of operations at Armagh, commanding a force of around 1,800 untrained and ill-disciplined soldiers.  Nearby loomed the shadow of a Jacobite force around 3,000 strong at Charlemont fort, a near impenetrable bastion of Gaelic Irish resistance during the wars of the 1640s.  In the early weeks of 1689 continual plundering of Protestant homes by Irish soldiers from the fort led to a stream of refugees making for Mongahan Castle.  On the 13th of March 1689 news reached Blayney that his home in Monaghan town had been plundered, resulting in many Protestants fleeing the town and castle and heading for Glaslough, where they were surrounded by Colonel John McKenna and 600 Irish soldiers from the Charlemont garrison.  Blayney immediately called a council of war and resolved that he would attempt to relive Glaslough, but if this proved impossible, he would march to Dungannon, then cross the River Bann at Toome and meet up with Sir Arthur Rawdon’s force in County Antrim.

Rawdon had been under pressure in Co. Antrim since early March when Major General Richard Hamilton’s army left Dublin and garrisoned Newry.  Rawdon had been garrisoned around ten miles away at Loughbrickland and sought reinforcements from the General Council of the Union at Hillsborough to bolster his position.  However on the 11th of December 1688 the earl of Mount Alexander advised him that none could be spared and he should instead retreat to Dromore.  Captain Joseph Bennet believed that Lundy’s lack of leadership and support had led to the military insecurity and eventual failure of the eastern Ulster forces.  In early February 1689 Mount Alexander had written to the Governor begging for reinforcements to bolster the defence of counties Antrim & Down should Richard Hamilton advance from Newry.  Lundy refused to send any reinforcements, fearing it would compromise the security of the garrison.  He instead informed the Earl that he planned to send an expeditionary force and two field guns to Dungannon, believing a successful defence there would prevent the Jacobites moving on any garrisons further north.  Lundy suggested that Mount Alexander should bolster the defence at Portadown to prevent any Jacobite advance.  However, should Mount Alexander come under attack, Lundy promised to march to his assistance.  It was an assurance he never fulfilled.

In Co. Armagh, the Irish Jacobite Colonel McKenna set up a series of ambushes after hearing Blayney’s force had begun its march on Glaslough.  On the 13th of March Captain Matthew Anketel and Captain Richardson took seven files of infantry and a handful of dragoons to flush out the Jacobites and clear the road to Glaslough.  Despite being outnumbered by five-to-one, they met McKenna’s force near old Viking earthworks around a mile from Glaslough Castle, inflicting heavy casualties upon them.  In Bennet’s narrative, Anketel’s bravery stood in stark contrast to Lundy’s later dithering and cowardice.  They killed 89 Irish including McKenna and his son.  Only Anketel lost his life on the Protestant side, killed by a ‘rogue lay[ing] behind a bush…the only person lost in this skirmish’.  The success proved to be short-lived.  Bennet stated that Blayney’s continued possession of the Armagh garrison was of pivotal importance to the survival of the Protestant coalition as holding this strategic point would cover the main approaches from Newry to Enniskillen and Londonderry.  It became all the more important to protecting Rawdon’s retreating soldiers after the debacle of the Break of Dromore.

On the 14th of March Hamilton’s Jacobite army utterly defeated Mount Alexander’s Protestant Association near the village of Dromore, Co. Down, with as many as 400 killed and many hundred more deserting, their headquarters at Hillsborough captured, and Mount Alexander himself fleeing to England.  In order to preserve any semblance of Protestant control on the east of the province, Blayney required reinforcements.  However Bennet noted that Lundy, ‘not sending any men to re-enforce the place, as was expected, and the enemy in a manner surrounding the town, before the Lord Blany would stir, or quit it, was at length forced to make his way to Colerain, with about 7 troops of horse, and 8 companies of foot’.  Lundy’s lack of material support even almost nearly led to the eradication of Blayney’s forces altogether.  After hearing of Blayney’s intention to retreat to Coleraine, on 16 March the Jacobite garrisons at Charlemont and Mountjoy sent a force of 1,200 men north to the Ardtrea Bridge in order to block his approach across the Ballinderry River.  The Jacobites planned to send a smaller force of 500 men to fall on Blayney’s rear to encircle and entrap him.  Blayney barely escaped the snare.  Had he reached the bridge just fifteen minutes later he may have sustained heavy casualties.  As it was the 1,200 Jacobites arrived later than planned and fell instead on his rearguard, firing indiscriminately, though inaccurately.  Blayney responded swiftly, ordering two companies back to the bridge, ‘to make a handsome engagement of it’.  Their first volley of musket fire caused the Irish to break and retreat in disarray.  Blayney then set his horse upon the fleeing Jacobite force, killing 155 outright and causing many more to drown as they attempted to scramble in desperation across the Ballinderry River.   Save the loss of just two horses, Blayney continued his march towards Coleraine.

Bennet also relayed evidence which he believed demonstrated that Lundy’s lack of military leadership caused the unnecessary surrender and retreat of Protestant forces from Coleraine in April 1689. He compared Lundy unfavourably with Gustavus Hamilton, who himself had seen his loyalty to William & Mary questioned having formerly been cornet to the Piers Butler, 3rd Viscount Galmoy who Bennet frequently refers to as an archetypical Irish Jacobite villain.  For example, Bennet recalled a particularly gruesome account of the executions of Wolston Dixie, eldest son of the Dean of Kilmore, and one Edward Charleton by soldiers under Galmoy’s command during the siege of Enniskillen.  When Dixie and Charleton refused to turn apostate and pray for James II, they were beheaded and their severed heads were kicked down the main street and fixed upon the Market House.

Bennet noted that the defeat of the eastern Ulster regiments at Dromore and the retreat of Blayney from Armagh and Glaslough allowed Major General Richard Hamilton and Major General Dominick Sheldon to ‘refresh their men in that plentiful country; for it pleased them so well, that they did not very eagerly press forward towards Colerain, until that garrison was made very strong by great bodies of horse and foot of the Protestants, coming daily to them’.  Bennet recounted that the town was fortified by a ‘mud wall of a considerable height, and a deep wet ditch’ around three sides of the town, with the River Bann and a drawbridge protecting the fourth side.  After the Break of Dromore, Rawdon had been discredited and Mount Alexander fled to England.  Gustavus Hamilton assumed military leadership inside the town and Bennet praised his defensive preparations, noting how ‘he did not spare any charge or labour to make the place tenable’, including demolishing the bridge at Portglenone and burning boats moored on the Bann to prevent the Jacobites bypassing Coleraine by crossing Lough Neagh or Lough Beg at another point along the river.

On the morning of 27 March Major General Richard Hamilton led a small detachment of around 1,000 men and five field guns to besiege Coleraine.  His efforts to capture the town initially proved to be in vain.  After fruitless attempts to break the town’s defences and losing as many as 60 men in the process, the Jacobites retreated under the cover of an unexpected snowstorm.  Bennet noted that ‘the enemy meeting with this repulse, contrary to expectation, (for they really thought to get the town on their first appearance) marched back to Balymony, Balymenagh, Antrim, and other Towns thereabouts’.  Gustavus Hamilton’s successful defence of Coleraine and his efforts in destroying the bridge at Portglenone forced the Jacobites to find another crossing point over the Bann.  In order to prevent this, Hamilton left a garrison of 3,000 men at Coleraine and redeployed the most of the rest of his force at strategic points along the river north of Lough Neagh.  Sir Arthur Rawdon was stationed at Moneymore to prevent Colonel Gordon O’Neill advancing his Jacobite force on Coleraine.  Colonel Edmondston guarded the pass at Portglenone itself where he had carried out some impressive defensive preparations, including building trenches that were impervious to fire from across the river.  Clotworthy Skeffington’s regiment was detached to at Vinterstown (Bellaghy), with men placed at every crossing between Toome and Portglenone.  One of Skeffington’s detachments was placed at Newferry Ford at the northern tip of Lough Beg under the command of Major John Mitchelburne, a future Governor of Londonderry.  Sir John MacGill was stationed at Kilrea, repulsing an initial attack from Hamilton at Agivey Bridge.

Despite Gustavus Hamilton’s proactive military preparations, on the 10 of April five or six boats filled with Irish soldiers crossed the Bann around a mile south of Portglenone, threatening to encircle Edmondston’s troops and outnumber Skeffington’s thinly spread regiment.  Despite Rawdon riding with all due haste to reinforce the Protestant companies, Bennet accounted his efforts to be in vain stating,

this matter was not long in dispute; for Col. Nugent (Son to the Earl of West-Meath) with about sixty granadeers, on the 10th of April, before day, came over a little above the Bridge of Portglanone in a boat, and marched his men so close, and firing in such good order, that he soon gained the trench, where about forty of the Protestants were, who deserted the same for want of ammunition (as it was reported,) and then the rest of the foot fled.

Bennet blamed Lundy for the lack of ammunition and provisions believing that this led to the ruin of the Protestant forces in control of counties Londonderry and Antrim.  However despite the lack of ammunition, Bennet noted how some of the Protestant officers and soldiers displayed extreme bravery and gallantry in the face of insurmountable odds.  Sir Arthur Rawdon and three of his officers, Captain James MacGill, Captain Henley and Captain Dunbar ‘stood, and charged Nugent and his sixty men, (although their men left them) and disputed the matter for a short time’.  However MacGill was slain and Henley ‘desperately wounded’.  Bennet recalled that Rawdon engaged directly with Nugent, ‘the bullets flying thick about him’ until he was forced to retreat.  In contrast to unsavoury characters like Viscount Galmoy, Nugent demonstrated his honour as a man of noble birth even at the height of hot-blooded battle.  Bennet noted that,

the business being over, on viewing the bdy of Capt. Henly, being strangely mangled, Col. Nugent observed him to move; and asking whether he was not dead, Capt. Henly said, he was not; and therefore desired honourable quarters, which was given; and he sent to the hospital near Colrain, and well recovered of his wounds, by the particular directions of Col. Nugent.

Such an example meant Lundy’s moral turpitude was brought under further scrutiny, comparing unfavourably even with some Irish Catholic Jacobites.

According to Bennet’s True and Impartial ACCOUNT OF The most Remarkable Passages in IRELAND, when Lundy heard that the Jacobites had passed across the Bann he,

forthwith ordered all the forces at and about Colrain, to march into the Laggan, and to quit the garrison of Colrain, although it might have been kept for a considerable time; but his orders were observed, and all the forces marched to London-Derry (burning and destroying all the country between Colrain and Derry, before them where Col. Lundy assured the army that they should fight the enemy very soon; and to that end a Proclamation was set forth, which very much encouraged both officers and soldiers.

As streams of refugees arrived at Derry from Coleraine, it caused a great deal of panic inside the city walls about their ability to withstand a siege.  The citizens were therefore greatly encouraged by the return of David Cairns to the city on the 10th of April 1689, carrying news that the heroism of the defenders had captured the imagination of the country as a whole, but particularly at Court and in Parliament at Westminster.  Cairns informed Lundy that relief was on its way across the Irish Sea to aid the defence of the city against the Jacobites.

When a small detachment of Major General Richard Hamilton’s army was spotted on the far side of the Foyle, the jubilation occasioned by Cairns news meant it was ‘not much regarded, or taken notice of’.  Little known to the defenders inside the city, the bulk of Hamilton’s army marched from Limavady towards Strabane where he intended to join with the King himself, the earl of Galmoy and Major-General Pusignan and cross the River Finn at the strategic fords at Clady and Long Causeway.  Bennet noted that when Lundy eventually learned of the enemies movements he was advised that ‘the enemy could not stay in that country, which was ruined before by the Protestant army, and therefore must of necessity press and force their way into the Laggan, being a plentiful countrey’.  Lundy was further informed that if he took quick and decisive action, he could march out of the city and secure the passes against any Jacobite advance.  If Lifford, Claudy and the Long Causeway could be secured and adequately supplied then Bennet believed ‘there was no danger of the enemy getting into that good country, where the whole Army may be maintain’d till relief came out of England’.

However Bennet contemptuously noted that ‘these reasons made no sound in his ears, or at least seemed little to regard them, and suffered the enemy to have a days march before him; so that when he had ordered some few regiments of foot to secure these passes, the enemies whole body were drawn up near these places’.  The defence of these key strategic crossing points proved to be an utter debacle and Lundy was even accused of treachery, purposively sacrificing men under his command by failing to give them adequate supplies of ammunition or serviceable weapons in order to hand the initiative to the Jacobites army.  Bennet equivocated on this notion, adding ‘whether [the Jacobites undertook their offensive at Clady] upon a sign from Col. Lundy or not, I cannot positively say’.  He certainly noted his disgust at Lundy’s perceived cowardice, stating that,

Col. Lundy fled, crying out, You are all cut off, shift for your selves; suffering about two hundred of the Protestants to be cut off, he making his way to London-Derry, and indeed the whole regiment posted at Lifford, had certainly been lost, had not some gentlemen of greater courage or more honesty, made a halt with the horse, and brought up the foot, after the loss of 100 of them; and then according to Col. Lundy’s directions, all the army marched with what haste they could to Derry; but when they came there, the gates were shut, and about 8000 kept out of the walls, and dispersed about the country; so that if the enemy had pursued, all these poor souls might have been lost; but as it was, many of them were lost, for they made down to Evishein [Innishowen?], where several of them were killed, as well by the rabble of the country, as the army, besides getting a great many good arms.

Not only had Lundy’s lack of leadership, and perhaps even outright cowardice and treachery, weakened the Protestant defence in the Laggan valley, but his orders also cost the Williamite coalition control of Sligo.  On the 14th of April Bennet noted that Lundy had written to Lord Kingston in Sligo and begged him to advance north with all due haste to rendezvous with his own forces to prevent the Jacobites from crossing the River Finn.  Bennet believed that Kingston, Major Vaughan, Cornet Nicholson and Henry Nicholson who marched 1,000 horse and foot at Lundy’s request ‘were decoyed out of the two strong forts at Sligoe, which might very well have held out as long as Derry, and been a great relief to many of the Protestants in Connaught’.  They marched as far as Ballyshannon in County Donegal, but after being told that there was ‘no room for his men, or forage for his horse in London-Derry’, he would be better to ‘shift for himself, and that his men might take the late King James’s protection’.  Kingston instead captured a French vessel at Castle Doe and brought as many of his men with him as he could, the rest bolstering the defence of Enniskillen.  Bennet postulated that ‘this carries the face of contrivance, in regard his Lordship was not able to make his way to London-Derry, nor to return to Sligoe, the enemy possessing themselves of those forts so soon as they were deserted’.  The implicit finger of blame pointed squarely at Lundy.

When Lundy returned to the city after the disaster at Clady, his poor decision making continued, for when Colonels Cunnigham and Richards arrived in Lough Foyle on 15 April 1689, it offered a great deal of comfort to the inhabitants of the city that they had the moral and material support of the Crown and Parliament in withstanding the Jacobite advance.  ‘But alas!’, noted Bennet,

it was to little purpose for as soon as Col. Cunningham and Richards came up to the town, Col. Lundy assured them there was not ten days provision in the garrison; and thereupon a Council of War was called, and ’twas concluded, that the town was not tenable, for want of provisions: Upon which, Cunningham and Richards immediately returned to their men on board, and waited two days to bring off Col. Lundy, leaving the town to make conditions for themselves, having before brought off most of the considerable men of the army, who, neither through fear, or disaffection to the cause they had espoused, left the place, but meerly cheated and deluded by this blind Council of War.

The resolution by Cunningham and Richards to return to England ‘amazed the town’, and sent the inhabitants into a blind panic.  Short of men and supplies, many wondered if they could withstand a siege from the Jacobites.  The garrison sent messengers to both Colonels, insisting that if they brought their reinforcements within the city’s walls and secured it for William& Mary, then the remaining regiments of horse and foot would take to the field, ‘and leave the town to themselves’.  However Bennet noted that the messengers did not return to the city with the Colonels’ answer and absconded, further heightening the fear of those still inside the city’s walls that they would be abandoned to their fate.  When James II himself appeared outside the walls on the 18th of April Bennet noted the city’s defenders found their stomach for resistance, giving him ‘a warm salute with their great guns, and kill’d three of his horse with a cannon-ball; which put a stop to his career’.  Observing the violence of the soldiers defending the city, Lundy sent Colonel Thomas Whitney round the walls to command them to cease firing.  Bennet noted that,

he not made soon off, he had certainly been thrown over the walls: Col Lundy finding how resolute the men were, resolved to let them take their own measures; and within some few hours after, the Earl of Abbercorne was sent with a parly from the late King, for to surrender, permitting them their lives, estates, religion, and a free pardon for all offences past; but all this would not work with the people, who utterly denied to surrender on any conditions.

Unperturbed that the inhabitants ‘would not do what he designed’, Lundy tried more nefarious and underhanded means to affect their surrender. Captain Bennet noted that they key of Ferry Gate went mysteriously missing, with the gun which protected the gate uncharged and the gunner missing from his post.  As a result ‘the whole town was allarm’d, and every man repair’d to the wall, and Col Murray appointed Governor that night, upon which, Col. Lundy secur’d himself in his house under a guard of his own Red-coats, fearing the soldiers of the town would use violence against him’.  Bennet was mistaken that Murray had been named Governor for when Lundy absconded the following morning, the town appointed George Walker and Henry Baker as Governors, with Murray given a senior military position to organise sallies against the Jacobite army in the Laggan valley.  Bennet believed that ‘this election mightily pleas’d the people, and were, notwithstanding Col. Cunningham and Richards had left them, resolved to defend the place’.  Thus Bennet’s account of Governor Lundy’s role in the siege of Derry concluded.