Battle of Benburb, 5 June 1646 (Ireland)

Battle during the Irish revolt (1641-1652) that played a key part in triggering the English Civil War, between the rebel Ulster army of Owen Roe O'Neill, and the Scottish Covenanter army in Ulster, commanded by Colonel Robert Monro. After a period of inactivity, O'Neill had been persuaded by Giovanni Rinuccini, the Papal Nuncio in Ireland, to resume activity. At the same time, Monro, whose army was very short of supplies, had decided to sortie from Belfast to raid for supplies. The two armies came together at Benburb, and Monro decided to fight. The battle started late in the afternoon, and for the first two hours, O'Neill, an experienced soldier, managed to hold his army together under severe Scottish fire. However, at sunset he ordered his infantry on to the attack, and the Scottish cavalry retreated. What started as an orderly retreat rapidly became a rout as the Scottish cavalry and infantry tangled in the increasing darkness, and the Scottish army fled the field, abandoning six cannons and almost all of their muskets, a godsend for the under-equipped Irish. While both the Nuncio and the Pope celebrated a victory that they expected to lead to the freeing of Catholic Ireland, Parliament and the Scots were reminded of the danger they faced from Ireland, and began to prepare for what became Cromwell's Irish campaign (1649-50)
cover The English Civil War , Richard Holmes & Peter Young, an early work by one of the country's best known military historians, this is a superb single volume history of the war, from its causes to the last campaigns of the war and on to the end of the protectorate.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (9 April 2001), Benburb, battle of, 5 June 1646 (Ireland), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_benburb.html

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