Count Daniel O'Connell

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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O'Connell, Daniel, Count, was born at Darrynane, in the County of Kerry, in August 1743: of twenty-two children by one marriage he was the youngest. Having studied mathematics and modern languages, he entered the French army at the age of fourteen, as lieutenant in Lord Clare's regiment of the Irish Brigade. He served with honour in the Seven Years' War in Germany; and at its conclusion, having gained much experience and-studied military engineering, he was attached to the Corps du Genie, and became one of the best engineers in France.

He distinguished himself at the siege and capture of Port Mahon from the British in 1779, and at the unsuccessful siege of Gibraltar, in September 1782. From the plans of assault on the latter place submitted to him, he felt satisfied that the attack could not succeed; yet he claimed the honour of leading a body of troops, and was wounded in nine places. Soon after this he was appointed Inspector-General of the French Infantry, with the rank of a general officer. At the Revolution it is said he declined a military command pressed upon him by Carnot, feeling it his duty to remain near Louis XVI., and share the fortunes of the royal family.

Eventually he joined the French Princes at Coblentz, and took part in the disastrous campaign of 1792. He then returned to Ireland, and was appointed to the command of an Irish regiment in the British service. During the peace of 1802 he visited France to look after a large property to which his wife was entitled. He was one of the British subjects seized by Napoleon, and remained a prisoner until 1814. The advent of the Bourbons restored him to his military rank in France; and he enjoyed in the decline of life full pay as general in the French army, and as a colonel in the British service. Refusing to take the oath of fidelity to Louis Philippe in 1830, he was deprived of his French emoluments. He died at the country seat of his son-in-law, Madon, near Blois, 9th July 1833, aged 89. He was uncle of the great Daniel O'Connell.

Sources

186. Irish Brigades in the Service of France: John C. O'Callaghan. Glasgow, 1870.

256. O'Connell, Daniel, Life and Speeches: John O'Connell, M.P. 2 vols. Dublin, 1846.

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