Last night, our club played our own version of the Break of Dromore having been inspired by several earlier posts on the same subject. Our battle was somewhat different and we took quite a few of our cues from Sam Campbell’s piece in the Dromore Historical Society’s journal.
In this version of the battle, the Protestants were not entrenched in the village but arrived late to defend the ford of the Lagan River and found Hamilton’s troops were already crossing. The Royal army’s task was simple. They were to clear the road to Hillsborough of the Protestant rebels. The Protestant Association had a much harder task in this battle. Despite being low on ammunition and knowing that they had been caught on the hop(-1 morale applied), Sir Arthur Rawdon had decided to engage the Royal Army before they could complete their crossing.
What followed was a Jacobite comedy of errors. Despite my stacking the odds in favour of the Jacobites, in order that the likelihood was of a historical outcome, the Jacobite musketry and cannon fire was appalling. All of the Foot troops on both sides were Raw save for Major Henry Baker’s Companies. Yet even one of the Protestant Militia units was lured into close range (and first fire) for the three Pike and Shot Jacobite Foot Battalions, they still managed only a single hit despite the increased Die and double the rolls.
Tyrconnell’s much vaunted Regiment of Horse(Drilled Elite) were also suitably embarrassed when they assumed that Dragoons would not be foolish enough to attempt a charge on them and placed a Move Order. Magill’s Squadron of Dragoons crashed ntonthe leading squadron after rolling a 6 and ‘just’ reaching their opponents. The Horsemen took the charge at the Halt and were promptly driven back in disarray. The only saving grace was that the Protestant Dragoons were unable to follow up.
As the Dragoons placed a Form order to recover from Disorder, Colonel Sheldon revealed the Charge order and Tyrconnel’s men prepared to exact revenge, only to fail their Morale Test and withdraw. The third squadron finally did charge in the following round but failed to break the glorious ‘Magill’s Comber Dragoons’. The Dragoons were finally broken two rounds later by the return of Tyrconnel’s first and second Squadrons into the fight, despite having been reinforced themselves by a second squadron of their own men.
The light gun that Hamilton’s men had manhandled over the Lagan Ford had fired four times and only managed a single wound on the same Protestant militia that was currently facing down the Regiments of Lord Slane, Lord Clanricarde and Lord Westmeath. The militia passed their morale, shrugged off the damage and won the Dice off to launch a charge against Westmeaths battalion. In the excitement and exasperation at the Jacobite ineffectiveness, we completely forgot that they couldn’t charge as they weren’t Enniskilleners. By the time we realised our mistake, Westmeath’s Battalion had lost the first round of melee and as Raw troops, were about to compulsory rout. The heroic legend of Captain McClenaghan’s Rathfriland Militia was carved in stone.
The game took longer than we thought. Even with roughly seven or eight units per side, we played for three hours without reaching conclusion. It was decided that it was marginally a victory to the Jacobites, due to the fact that both squadrons of Protestant Dragoons had died to a man alongside Captain Magill. In our campaign, he won’t be Derry bound.
As a final aside, the Jacobite Dragoons of Lord Dongan manoeuvred out onto the Protestant flank but found themselves facing Baker’s men across a bog. Poor Orders rolls on both sides left both these units facing each other and doing nothing for the entirety of the battle.