Orders and Instructions for our trusty and well-beloved John Cunningham

From Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689 by Thomas Witherow

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Orders and Instructions for our trusty and well-beloved JOHN CUNNINGHAM, Esq., Colonel of one of our regiments of foot, and upon his death or absence, to Col. SOLOMON RICHARDS, or to the officer in chief, with the regiments whereof they are Colonels.


You are without delay to repair to the quarters of the regiment under your command, and take care that it be in a readiness to march to Liverpool at such a time as you shall appoint.

Whereupon you are to go to Liverpool, and to inquire what ships there are in that port appointed to carry over the two regiments, whereof you and Solomon Richards are Colonels, to the town of Londonderry; and whether the frigate ordered for their convoy be arrived there; and as soon as the said ships and frigate shall be in a readiness to sail, and fitted with all provisions necessary for the sustenance of the said regiments in their passage to the said town, and for their return from thence, if there be occasion.—You are to cause Col. Richards' regiment to go on board, and at the same time to order the regiment whereof you are Colonel to march to Liverpool and to embarque with all speed.

And whereas, we have ordered one thousand arms to be carried to Liverpool, you are to cause such a number of the said arms as shall be wanting in the said regiments to be delivered unto them, and the residue of the said arms and stores now there to be put on shipboard, and carried to Londonderry, to be there employed for our service as the Governor of the said town and you shall think fit.

And we having also directed the sum of two thousand pounds sterling to be paid unto you at Chester, by Matthew Anderton, Esq., collector of our customs there, you are hereby authorized and required to receive the same, and to dispose of the said sum towards the necessary subsistence of the said regiments, and for the defence of the place, in repairing and providing what shall be defective therein, and to such other uses as you with the Governor of the said city, with whom you are to entertain a good correspondence and friendship, shall find necessary for our service; of all which expenses you shall give us an account by the first opportunity.

When the particulars necessary for the voyage shall be fully complied with, you are then, wind and weather permitting, with the regiments under your command to make the best of your way to Londonderry, and being arrived there, or near that place, you are to make inquiry, whether the said city be yet in the hands of the Protestants; and whether you may with safety put our said regiments into the same; and in that case you are to immediately acquaint Lieutentant-Colonel Robert Lundy, our Governor thereof, or the Commander-in-Chief for the time being, with our care in sending those regiments and stores; and for the further relief of our Protestant subjects in those parts, and delivering him our letters and orders to him directed, you are to land the said regiments and stores, and to take care that they be well quartered and disposed of in the said city, following such directions as you shall receive during your stay there from our said Governor Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Lundy, in all things relating to our service.

You are to assure the Governor and inhabitants of Londonderry of further and great succours of men, arms, money, and provisions of war coming speedily from England for their relief, and the security of those parts, and in the meantime you are to make the best defence you can against all persons that shall attempt to besiege the said city, or to annoy our Protestant subjects within the same.

You are to give us an account soon after your arrival (and so from time to time) of the condition of the place, the fortifications, number, quality, and affection of the people, soldiers, and others therein, or in the country thereabouts, and what quantity of provisions of all sorts for horse and foot and dragoons, shall or may be brought up and secured in those parts for our service, without the necessity of bringing any from England, upon sending more forces thither.

You are to inform us whether Captain James Hamilton be arrived at Londonderry, and how he has disposed of the money and stores committed to his charge: and in general you are to return to us an account of everything, which you in your discretion shall think requisite for our service.

In case you shall find it unsafe to land the regiments at or near Londonderry, so as to put them into the town, which you are to endeavour by all reasonable and prudent means; you are not to expose them to extraordinary hazard in so doing, but to take care that they be carried in the same ships and under the same convoy, with the arms, stores, money, and provisions above mentioned, to Carrickfergus, and to endeavour the landing of them there, if the same may be done with safety, or otherwise to Strangford, at both or either of which places you are to use the same caution, and to follow as near as may be the like directions as are now given you in relation to Londonderry; but in case you do not find it for our service to land the said regiments at any of the said places, you are then to take care that they be brought back to the port of Liverpool, giving us speedy notice for our further orders.

Given at our Court at Whitehall,
this 12th day of March, 1688-9,
By His Majesty's command,
In the first year of our reign.

Additional Instructions for our trusty and well-beloved Colonel John Cunningham, or the officer in chief with . our two regiments of foot, whereof he and Colonel Richards are Colonels.

Whereas we have ordered £2000 sterling to be paid unto you by several bills of exchange, over and above the £2000 you shall receive from our collector in the port of Chester; you are accordingly to receive the same; and upon your arrival at our city of Londonderry, to pay £500 thereof to our trusty and well-beloved Robert Lundy, Esquire, Governor thereof, as of our royal bounty, in part of the reward we intend him for his faithful services, and the residue of the said £2000, you are to employ towards the defraying the contingent charges which our said Governor, yourself, and Colonel Richards, shall find requisite for the security of the garrison, or of such other place where our said regiments shall arrive, or be put on shore; provided always that you do not in any manner put off or delay the departure of our said two regiments from Liverpool to Londonderry, in case the said sum be not immediately paid unto you by the respective persons from whom it is to be received.

Given at our Court at Whitehall, the 14th of March, 1688-9, in the first year of our reign.
By His Majesty's command,

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Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689

Thomas Witherow's thoroughly researched and well-annotated work is a classic account of the Siege of Derry, from the shutting of the gates against the Jacobite forces by the thirteen apprentice boys to the relief of the city by Major-General Kirke's fleet in July 1689. The defence of Enniskillen and the counteroffensive actions of the Enniskilleners is also ably documented.

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Fighters of Derry

William R. Young’s Fighters of Derry has for decades been one of the most overlooked works on the Siege of Derry and as a local genealogical resource. First published in 1932, the book was the product of ten years’ research into identifying participants at the siege which the author undertook when suffering from ill-health in the latter part of his life.

The book is essentially divided into two parts: the first contains 1660 biographical entries relating to the defenders of Derry, tracing, where possible, the family lineage; and the second part includes 352 entries on the Jacobite side. Apart from individual accounts of eminent protagonists in the siege, such as David Cairnes, Rev. George Walker, the Duke of Schomberg, Patrick Sarsfield, etc., there is also background given to many of the most influential families involved in the conflict.

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The Actions of the Enniskillen-men

While the epic siege of Derry is usually accorded its proper place in history, the contemporaneous exploits of the Enniskillen men are often overlooked. This is manifestly unjust because the Enniskilleners demonstrated bravery and heroism in battle at least equal to that of the defenders of Londonderry. Some, of course, rate the actions of the Enniskillen men more highly. As far as Revd Andrew Hamilton, the Rector of Kilskeery and author of A True Relation of the Actions of the Inniskilling Men (1690), was concerned ‘The Derry men saved a city but the Enniskilleners saved a kingdom.’

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