Irish expedition to Scotland 1644
Background to the Expedition.
In September 1643 a truce was made between the Marquis of Ormonde leader of the Royalist regime based in Dublin with the Confederate Catholics of Ireland. The purpose of the truce was so that on the one hand Ormonde could send some of his forces from Ireland to fight for King Charles I back in England while on the other hand the Confederate Catholics could concentrate their forces against the Scots and Parliamentarian forces in Ireland.
King Charles I was also hoping for help from the Confederate Catholics of Ireland in the form of troops he could use in the British theatres of the war. However he could not be seen to be directly in league with the Irish Catholics, as to associate with them would alienate many of his British supporters. He decided to negotiate through Randal MacDonnell, Earl of Antrim who was loyal to him but also held the rank of Lieutenant General of the Confederate Catholic armies. The plan was for Antrim to lobby the Confederate Supreme Council based in Kilkenny to allow him to raise 2,000 Irish troops to be sent to Scotland and 10,000 troops to be sent to England.
In February 1644 Antrim was in Kilkenny where the Confederate Council agreed to arm and equip 2,000 men and transport them to Scotland but they refused to send men to England. They probably agreed to the Scottish expedition as it was advantageous to themselves in that it might draw away the Scots army in Ulster which was at that time the biggest threat to themselves in Southern Ireland. At the very least it would keep the Scots army in Ulster pinned down close to the ports and prevent them from campaigning in Southern and Western Ireland.
Ships of the Expedition.
The expedition sailed in late June 1644 from the port of Passage in County Waterford in 3 ships arranged by the Kilkenny merchant Patrick Archer, The Christopher, The Angell Gabriel and The Jacob of Ross. These ships were to be protected by The Harp, a frigate which sailed out of Wexford.
List of Officers in the Expedition.
A list of the officers and the numbers of soldiers exists in the Ormond manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland. The names are mostly those of Ulster Gaels who would have come from what is now North Derry and Antrim which were areas under occupation by the Scots at that time. There are also some Leinster names such as Ledwitch, Deasy and Newgent and also some names of likely Highland Scots exiles. There are 3 regiments listed commanded by Colonel James MacDermott, Colonel Manus O’Cahan and a “Lieftenant-Generall Mac Donnell” who is most likely Antrim’s brother Alexander who it seems didn’t actually travel at all as there is a statement in the Commentarius Rinnucianianus that a ‘Thomas O’Lachnanus’ commanded a regiment in the name of Antrim’s brother. This is likely the ‘Sarjeant Major Thomas Laghtnan' listed by Antrim. Overall command was given to Major General Alasdair MacColla MacDonald who is not on the list.
"List of men gone unto the Isles. Sent by the Lord of Antrim to my Lord Ormonde, 15 Nov. 1644"
A list of Collonell James Mac Dermott's regiment, in briefe. The Collonell's one [own] company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers: Lieutenant Sorly Mac Donnell Ensigne John Mac Heaghin Sarjants William Mac Keon and Hugh O Kealte
Lieftennant-Collonell Jo. Mac Donnell's company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers: Lieftennant Arte Carragh O Guilluir Ensigne Donnagh O Guilluire Sarjant Donnagh McGilhany
Sarjeant-Major Swyne's company consisting of 100 men complete. Lieftennant - Ensigne - Sarjant -
Captain Twole O Hara's company consisting of 100 men complete. Lieftennant James O Hara Ensigne Bryne O Hara Sarjeantas Manus O Hara and Christopher Sherlogge.
Captain Hugh O Neal's company consisting of 50 men complete Lieftennant Daniell O Neale Ensigne Laghlan Mac Keon Serjeants Eivar O Mullan and Henry O Mulchallin.
Captain John Mac Cleane's company consisting of 50 men complete Lieftennant - Ensigne - Sarjeants
Summa Totius 500 besydes officers.
A breefe note of Collonell O Cahan's regiment:
Collonnell Cahan's own company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers Lieftennant Cnogher O Cahan Ancient Dualtagh Mac Duffy Sargeants of the company Owen O Cognoghor and Hugh Mac Cormacke
Lieftennant Collonnell Donnaghe O Cahan's company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers LieftennantShane O Cahan Ancient John Cooper Sarjeants of the company Bryen Oge Mac Cormacke and William Oge Mac Cormacke
Sarjeant-Major Ledwitch his company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers Lieftennant James Dease Ancient Bartholomew Newgent Sarjeants of the company Tohill Moddirrt Mac Illrey and John That.
Captain Art O Neale's company consisting of 100 men complete. Officers Lieftennant Con O Neale Ancient Bryen O Neale Serjeants Hugh Oge Lavery and Hary O Muldowne
Captain John Mortimer's company consisting of 50 men complete. Officers Patricke O Mallen, Lieftennant Phelim O Donnelly, Ancient Daniel Mac Duffy and James O Mulhollan, Sargeants.
Captain Rowry Duffe O Cahan's company consisting of 50 men complete. Officers John Mac Guyer, Lieftenant Donnagh O Cahan, Ancient Edward Keltey and Terlagh Mac Cana, Serjeant.
In all, 500 besydes officers
A list of Lieftenant-Generall Mac Donnell's regiment.
The said Lieftenant-Generall's owne company consisting of 100 men complete. Captain -, Lieftenant -, Ensign -, Sarjeant
Lieftennant-Colonell John Mac Donnell's company consisting of 100 men complete. Lieftennant -, Ensigne -, Sarjeants
Sarjeant Major Thomas Laghtnan's company consisting of 100 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Sarjeants
Alexander Mac Coll's company consisting of 100 men complete. Lieftenant John Hamilton, Ensigne -, Sarjeants
James Mac Donnell's company consisting of 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Henry Mac Henry his company consisting of 50 men complete. Lieftenant Congher Mac Henry, Ensigne Patricke Mac Hughe, Serjeants Richard Mac Henry and Shane Roe Mac Hugh
Captain Patricke Mac Henry's company consisting of 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Randle Mac Coll Mac Randle Mac Donnell's company consisting of 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captaine Evar Mac Quillin's company consisting of 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Garrett Mac Quillin's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Donnell Crome Mac Alster's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant Huiston Mac Daniell. Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain William O Shiel's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain John Reli's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Donnagh O Cahan's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Manus O Cahan's company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
Captain Cormucke Oge O Hara his company, 50 men complete. Lieftenant -, Ensigne -, Serjeants
In all 1030 besides officers.
Expedition arrives in Scotland
On the 6th of July the expedition captured 2 English ships off Duart in Mull which ‘were laden with wheat, rye and sack’ and on the 7th of July Manus O’Cahan landed with 400 men in Morvern while on the 8th of July MacColla landed the rest of the army on Ardnamurchan. According to Leith’s Memoirs of Scottish Catholics ‘gradually the rumour everywhere spread that a cruel, savage and foreign enemy had invaded the country’. After marching inland and linking with the Scottish Royalist leader the Marquis of Montrose this small army participated in a year of unbroken Royalist victories in Scotland, fighting in 6 major battles, Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, Auldhern, Alford and Kilsyth.
'Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates' - David Stevenson
'Highland Warrior' - David Stevenson
'Confederate Catholics at War' - Padraig Lenihan