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Reasons for capitulation at Limerick, 1691 (Author: John Wauchope)

letter 2

The reasons the French general gave major-general Wauchope and Sarsfield lord Lucan for the capitulation:

Mr. Clifford having suffered the enemy to make a bridge upon the river Shannon see [ A Jacobite Narrative] p. 171, gave them thereby an entry into the county of Clare, which was almost the only place we had to subsist the horse and dragoons, the want of forage in the town having hindered us to bring in the horse and dragoons into the town; and the enemy having on the second of October passed to the county of Clare with the greatest part of their troops, the ruin of them was inevitable, as well by the great number of the enemy that would have fought them, as by the want of provisions, so as the horse and dragoons must capitulate or disperse.


The question men made was, whether France could send horse and dragoons enough to make us keep the country that is so ruined, and desolate that half the flesh necessary for the support of the garrison of Limerick, that is nothing but the ruins of a town, could not be drawn from the country.

We should want bread on the fifteenth of October, and we expected none from any part of the country, and we had no news that the convoy from France was parted from Brest; and if it were come to the mouth of the river of Limerick we could not hope to be able to make use of the bread before the last of the month of October, even if the French fleet had burnt the English fleet then in the river, and passed all the batteries the enemies might make of both sides of the river.

All these reasons maturely examined made us desire general Ginkel to let us retire into France with such of the troops as had a mind to go, being assured of the greatest number of them; having no troops to establish the king but by going into France, there to make the war, being not able to make it here. And if we had stayed to the last day of our food we could not obtain any capitulation, and the enemy might thereby have our troops; whereas now, by passing them into France, we may be in a condition not only to oppose the Common enemy, but also to make a descent into England or Scotland, if it pleased God to give the French fleet such a victory over the enemy's fleet as it had last campaign.