October 12th 1798 The Battle Of Tory Island – Irish Revolutionaries
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October 12th 1798 The Battle Of Tory Island

October 12th 1798 The Battle Of Tory Island

During the 1798 rebellion, Wolfe Tone was still in France organising another French exhibition to be sent to Ireland.

Humbert & Tandy had already left for Ireland in August & early September, and now on September 16th 1798, eight frigates led by the battleship Hoche under the command of Commodore Jean-Baptiste-François Bompart with 3,000 men, left Brest for Ireland, accompanied by Wolfe Tone.

Although the ships left Brest under cover of darkness, they were soon spotted by the British navy, a cat and mouse game started which lasted nearly a month as Bompart made many attempts to feign his real destination of Co Donegal and lose his perusers.The French did reach Ireland, but by October 12th it was clear the French would not be able to land their forces as the British Navy surrounded them and the battle of Tory Island began at 7.00am.

The battle resulted in some of the French ships been captured and the others fleeing back to Brest.

It was a complete disaster, as the French had 700 casualties and 2,400 were taken prisoner including Wolfe Tone.

All the French prisoners including Wolfe Tone (who by all accounts fought very bravely during the battle) were treated as prisoners of War and taken to Letterkenny.

The French officers who survived the battle were invited to dinner by the Earl Of Cavan who commanded the district in which they were being held.

Wolfe Tone who up to now had averted attention was recognised by an old college associate Sir George Hill who greeted him by name apparently not knowing he had not been recognised yet.

Wolfe Tone was immediately arrested and put in chains, despite his objections that as a French officer he should be treated as a prisoner of war, his objections were ignored and he was rushed to Dublin for court-martial.


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