Hi everyone. My first post in this group. 

One particular interest of mine is the Battle of Fontenoy, especially the Irish involvement. This battle, took place on 11 May 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession 1740-48, in the Austrian Netherlands (now southern Belgium, not too far from the French border). On that day, six Irish infantry regiments (Clare, Lally, Bulkeley, Dillon, Rooth, Berwick) and one Irish cavalry regiment (FitzJames) formed part of the French army of Louis XV, which defeated the Pragmatic Allies of Britain, Hanover, Austria and the Dutch Republic. The Irish regiments played a substantial part in the French success at Fontenoy. There were also Irish fighting in the British ranks, so to an extent countrymen faced each other at Fontenoy (which wasn't unusual, as the Irish 'Wild Geese' often joined different European armies, and sadly and invariably often ended up fighting each other).

The victory at Fontenoy became a thing of legend in Ireland, with the country subject to the Penal Laws at the time, and entered into folklore. A century later, poems and literature were still being written about it, at a time of resurgent Irish nationalism. Unfortunately, today Fontenoy seems all but forgotten in the Emerald Isle, probably due to the passing of time as much as anything else. This is a pity. The 275th Anniversary of Fontenoy will occur in 2 months, on 11 May 2020.

Anyway, I've previously put together a website on Fontenoy and Irish involvement, which will continue to grow over time. As of now, it has (1) a Database of Irish participants who were (or may have been) at Fontenoy, with 300+ names; (2) a Roll of Irish Participants (giving greater detail on such persons); and (3) a Blog, which is a recent addition.

It can be read here: https://11may1745.wordpress.com

Hopefully it might be of interest to some of you.

Doug. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for posting this. I did not see any of my families names on the list, though I know I have Wild Geese membership in my family's history.  I thought it appropriate to drop Emily Lawless's famous "Fontenoy" poem. Slainte

Fontenoy, 1745

by Emily Lawless (1845-1913)


1. Before the Battle; night.

Oh, bad the march, the weary march, beneath these alien skies,
But good the night, the friendly night, that soothes our tired eyes.
And bad the war, the tedious war, that keeps us sweltering here,
But good the hour, the friendly hour, that brings the battle near.
That brings us on to battle, that summons to their share
The homeless troops, the banished men, the exiled sons of Clare.

Oh, little Corca Baiscinn, the wild, the bleak, the fair!
Oh, little stony pastures, whose flowers are sweet, if rare!
Oh, rough the rude Atlantic, the thunderous, the wide,
Whose kiss is like a soldier's kiss which will not be denied!
The whole night long we dream of you, and waking think we're there -
Vain dream, and foolish waking, we never shall see Clare.

The wind is wild to-night, there's battle in the air;
The wind is from the west, and it seems to blow from Clare.
Have you nothing, nothing for us, loud brawler of the night?
No news to warm our heart strings, to speed us through the fight?
In this hollow, star-pricked darkness as in the sun's hot glare,
In sun-tide, in star-tide, we thirst, we starve for Clare.

Hark, yonder through the darkness one distant rat-at-tat!
The old foe stirs out there, God bless his soul for that!
The old foe musters strongly, he's coming home at last,
And Clare's Brigade may claim its own wherever blows fall fast.
Send us, ye western breezes, our full, our rightful share,
For Faith and fame, and Honour, and the ruined hearths of Clare.

11. After the Battle; early dawn, Clare coast.

"Mary Mother, shield us! Say, what men are ye,
Sweeping past so swiftly on this morning sea?"
"Without sails or rowlocks merrily we glide
Home to Corca Baiscinn on the brimming tide."

"Jesus save you, gentry! Why are you so white,
Sitting all so straight and still in this misty light?
"Nothing ails us, brother; joyous souls are we,
Sailing home together, on the morning sea."

"Cousins, friends, and kinsfolk, children of the land,
Here we come together, a merry, rousing, band;
Sailing home together from the last great fight,
Home to Clare from Fontenoy, in the morning light.

Men of Corca Baiscinn, men of Clare's Brigade,
Harken stony hills of Clare, hear the charge we made;
See us come together, singng from the fight,
Home to Corca Baiscinn, in the morning light."


(Emily Lawless, born in Kildare in 1845 was the daughter of the third Lord Cloncurry. She died in 1913).

http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/literature/fontenoy_1745.htm

Thanks Douglas.

If I do come across a Lawless at Fontenoy, I’ll post about it here. Emily Lawless is most appropriate, and mentioned for that very reason at https://11may1745.wordpress.com

Thank you sir!  I appreciate you excellent research, writing,and dedication.  Looking forward to reading more.

Cheers!

Douglas

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