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Unhappy Campers: Dundalk (1689) And After

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Chapter Summary

Relying heavily on the first-hand accounts of a chaplain, a colonel, a cavalryman and a foot soldier, this chapter tries to reconstruct the Dundalk disaster; reconstruct rather than revise, since the episode is barely mentioned and the received version of events is sketchy. It states that nearly half the troops disembarked in Ulster in mid-August 1689 by the Duke of Schomberg died of ?flux' and ?fever' by the following Christmas. Contemporary eyewitness accounts and civilian records point to dysentery and typhus as the main ?flux' and ?fever' respectively. The chapter demonstrates the ineffectuality of medical advice based on contemporary miasmic theory in keeping large bodies of soldiers healthy, if they stayed encamped in the same place too long. The reasons why Schomberg chose to stand fast are explored. These include his personal experiences, the logistical constraints on movement, the strategic imperative to move, and the tactical difficulties of so doing.

Keywords: Duke of Schomberg; Dundalk Disaster; soldiers



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