Colonel Robert Lundy

From Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689 by Thomas Witherow

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CHAPTER III....continued

A fortnight before Hamilton's army crossed the Bann, Lundy had urged the Protestant forces to fall back, saying that he could spare no ammunition to defend Coleraine, but that he had collected in Derry provisions sufficient to last a year. But the fact was that he took no pains to provision the city, and any stores that found their way there were brought by others.[40] When at last the Protestant forces, retreating from the Bann, reached Derry, they found that, so far as Lundy was concerned, nothing was done; not only so, but that he spoke so despondingly of the ability of the city to sustain a siege, that many were disheartened, and, even before the Jacobites arrived, some had fled away to Scotland and England. As early as the 10th of April, when Counsellor Cairns returned from London to Derry, he found, to his surprise, that many officers had already left, and that, owing to the discouraging way in which the Governor spoke, many others were preparing to depart.[41]

Mr. Cairns brought with him the following letter from King William to Lundy:—

"WHITEHALL, 8th March, 1688/9. "SIR,—I am commanded by the King to acquaint you that His Majesty's greatest concern hath been for Ireland, and particularly for the Province of Ulster, which he looks upon as most capable to defend itself against the common enemy. And that they might be the better enabled to do it, there are two regiments already at the sea-side ready to embark, in order to their transportation into the province, with which will be sent a good quantity of arms and ammunition, and they will be speedily followed by so considerable a body, as (by the blessing of God) may be able to rescue the whole kingdom, and resettle the Protestant interest there. His Majesty does very much rely upon your fidelity and resolution, not only that you should acquit yourself according to the character he has received of you, but that you should encourage and influence others in this difficult conjuncture to discharge their duty to their country, their religion, and their property, all which call upon them for a more than ordinary vigour, to keep out that deluge of Popery and slavery which so nearly threatens them.

"And you may assure them, that beside His Majesty's care for their preservation, who hath a due tenderness and regard for them (as well in consideration that they are his subjects, as that they are now exposed for the sake of that religion which he himself professes), the whole bent of this nation inclines them to employ their utmost endeavours for their deliverance; and it was but this very morning that His Majesty hath most effectually recommended the case of Ireland to the two Houses of Parliament, and I do not doubt but they will thereupon immediately come to such resolutions as will show to all the world that they espouse his interest as their own.

"As to your own particular, you will always find the King graciously disposed to own and reward the services you shall do him in such a time of trial.

"And for my part, whatever I can contribute either to the general service of that kingdom, or to your own particular satisfaction, I shall never be wanting in. Sir, your very humble servant,


"Subscribed for Colonel Lundy, Governor of Londonderry."[42]

Such a letter from his King would have stirred the blood of a soldier, and nerved him to any effort which it was possible to make; it could fall coldly upon the heart of none, except a coward or a traitor. It produced, as might be expected, no effect on Lundy. Along with this communication, Mr. Cairns carried with him written instructions from Government for his own guidance,[43] and a certificate from Lord Shrewsbury, dated the 11th March, 1689, stating that for two months previously he had waited constantly on His Majesty and the Privy Council in the interests of Derry, and had behaved with "prudence, diligence, and faithfulness."

At the instance of Mr. Cairns, a Council of War was held in Derry on the evening of the day of his arrival, and to it these documents were submitted: whereupon the following arrangements were entered into by the officers present, and agreed to as Articles of War:—

At a Council of War, at Londonderry, present—

Lieut.-Colonel WHITNEY.
Lieut.-Colonel WHITE.
Lieut.-Colonel JOHNSTON.
Lieut.-Colonel SHAW.
Major BARRY.
Lieut.-Colonel PONSONBY.
Major HILL.

"1. Resolved—That a mutual engagement be made between all the officers of this garrison and the forces adjoining, and to be signed by every man. That none shall desert or forsake the service, or depart the kingdom without leave of a Council of War. If any do, he or they shall be looked upon as a coward, and disaffected to the service.

"2. That a thousand men shall be chosen to be part of this garrison, and joined with the soldiers already herein, to defend the city; the officers of which thousand, and the garrison officers, are to enter into the engagement aforesaid.

"3. That all officers and soldiers of any of our forces, in their neighbourhood, not of this garrison, shall forthwith repair to their respective quarters and commands.

"4. That all colonels and commanders of every regiment, or independent troop or company, be now armed and fitted, that so we may take up resolutions for field service accordingly: the lists to be sent hither by Saturday next.

"5. That the several officers in their respective quarters shall take care to send in provisions to the magazines of this garrison, for supply thereof: and take care that they leave with the owner thereof some of their victuals and provisions for their own support, and to send in spades, shovels, and pick-axes.

"6. That the thousand men to be taken into this garrison shall have the old houses about the walls and ditches without the gates divided among them, to be levelled with all possible speed.

"7. That the several battalions and companies in the city shall have their several stations and posts assigned them, to which they shall repair upon any sudden alarm.

"8. That all persons of this garrison, upon beating of the retreat every night, shall repair to their several quarters and lodgings.

"9. That a pair of gallows shall be erected in one of the bastions, upon the south-west of the city, whereupon all mutinous or treacherous persons of this garrison shall be executed, who shall be condemned thereunto by a court-martial.

"10. That the articles of war shall be read at the head of every regiment, battalion, troop, or company; and that all soldiers shall be punished for their transgressing them, according to the said articles.

"11. That every soldier of the garrison, and noncommissioned officer, shall be weekly allowed out of the magazines, eight quarts of meal, four pounds of fish, and three pounds of flesh for his weekly subsistence.

"12. That every soldier, and non-commissioned officer, shall be allowed a quart of small beer per diem, as soon as the same can be provided, until some money shall come to allow them pay.—Agreed upon at the said Council of War, and ordered to be copied."[44]

As a means of checking the desertion, now grown so frequent, it was proposed by Colonel James Hamilton, and unanimously agreed to, that the officers present should subscribe and issue a declaration, to the effect that in future none should leave the kingdom without leave of a Council of War:—

"We, the officers hereunto subscribing, pursuant to a resolution taken and agreed upon at a Council of War at Londonderry, held this day, do hereby mutually promise and engage to stand by each other with our forces against the common enemy, and will not leave the kingdom, nor desert the public service, until our affairs are in a settled and secure posture. And if any of us shall do the contrary, the person so leaving the kingdom or deserting the service, without consent of a Council of War, is to be deemed a coward, and disaffected to their Majesties' service, and the Protestant interest.

"Dated the 10th of April, 1689.


A copy of this resolution was affixed to the Market-house, and when read in the morning at the head of each battalion, it was received by the people with acclamation and approval. The effect of all this was to induce the soldiery and the citizens to believe that Lundy meant to fight; an appearance which it was necessary to maintain for a few days longer.

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[40] Evidence in Hempton, p. 400.

[41] Mackenzie, 10th April.

[42] Mackenzie, Appendix.

[43] See a copy of this document in Appendix, No. 7.

[44] Mackenzie, App., p. 55.

[45] Mackenzie, 10th April.

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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