Remembering The Battle Of Killala
After the British won the battle of Ballinamuck they focused on taking back Connacht from what was left of the French & Irish rebels.
The British began a ruthless campaign of retribution against the people of that area, burning many homes, and killing people suspected of being a rebel or helping them.
Many people fled to the town of Killala Co Mayo which was still held by the French & Irish rebels, especially from Ballina as the British advance led by General Trench was marked by burning homes which could be seen for miles.
The French were led by five officers Charoust, Boudet, Ponson, Truc & O'Keane and the Irish rebels were led by Capt. Bellew & Richard Bourke.
On September 23rd The British reached Killala, the French and Irish correctly anticipated that the redcoats would attack the town from two directions, the main body of the rebels positioned themselves on the Ballina road behind low stone walls on each side of the road and engaged the British when they arrived.
The fighting on the Ballina Road last twenty minutes which resulted in the rebels retreating into the town suffering massive casualties, they were pursued by the Roxburgh Cavalry into the town, the Kerry militia hell-bent on revenge went from house to house killing anyone suspected of being a rebel.
It's estimated that the Irish rebels lost 500 men but the French and British casualties are unknown.
So after thirty-two days of freedom, Killala was now under British control again and over the coming day's anyone suspected of being a rebel was killed, but the French were treated as prisoners of war and sent to Dublin than onto London, except for their Irish officers like O'Keane
O'Keane was sent to Castlebar, where he was tried by Court-martial but Bishop Stock spoke on his behalf. He was expelled from Ireland and forbidden ever to return to British territories again.
Capt. Bellew & Richard Bourke were not so lucky, they were found guilty and sentenced to death and executed. Another prominent Rebel, Roger McGuire, was transported to Botany Bay but his father was hanged.
The reign of terror went on for weeks, many people were killed including Fr Andrew Conroy who was hanged for helping General Humbert reach Castlebar.
The battle of Killala on September 23rd 1798 was the last land battle during the rebellion of 1798.